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Japan Rail (JR) Pass questions (consolidated)

Japan Rail (JR) Pass questions (consolidated)

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Old Mar 19, 19, 7:42 pm   -   Wikipost
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About Japan Rail Pass
JAPAN RAIL PASS, a joint offering of the six companies comprising the Japan Railways Group (JR Group).
__________________________________________________ _____________

Eligibility
(1) You are a foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad for sight-seeing, under the entry status of "temporary visitor" or

(2) You are a Japanese national living outside of Japan who has both their Japanese passport and written proof—obtained from the embassy or legation of Japan in the foreign country where they live—that they have been living legally in the country for 10 consecutive years or more.
__________________________________________________ _____________

Validity Period
The validity period of a JAPAN RAIL PASS is the consecutive 7, 14, or 21 days period beginning on the date the PASS is first used.
Within three months from the date the Exchange Order was issued, you must turn in your Exchange Order to obtain your JAPAN RAIL PASS
(for example, an Exchange Order issued on April 15 would have to be turned in by July 14).

more information: http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/index.html
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Old Mar 12, 19, 5:42 am
  #436  
 
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
Looks like I'll be buying the 14-day nationwide pass, which is a fantastic deal.

One gripe, though: best I can tell from the JR website and this thread, seat reservations may only be made in person at various locations. Do I have that right? Japan seems to be familiar with the Internet. Is there any reason why they make seat reservations so inconvenient to book?
I would consider the Green Car pass for the 2-week Railpass, it was so nice to never wait in ticket lines, and also the cars are so quiet and peaceful. That said, the regular cars are very nice too. I found the price difference not that bad, especially once you get to a 2-week pass price.
Also- if you can't get online to reserve seats, no worries-- just do ALL of them when you arrive to Japan. You can reserve them at any JR ticket window across the country.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 10:03 am
  #437  
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Originally Posted by kyushuman View Post
I would consider the Green Car pass for the 2-week Railpass, it was so nice to never wait in ticket lines, and also the cars are so quiet and peaceful. That said, the regular cars are very nice too. I found the price difference not that bad, especially once you get to a 2-week pass price.
Also- if you can't get online to reserve seats, no worries-- just do ALL of them when you arrive to Japan. You can reserve them at any JR ticket window across the country.
Thanks. Yes, I planned on going Green as the price isn't that much higher. I didn't realize that I could reserve seats for the whole trip at the start. Thanks for that tip.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 12:07 pm
  #438  
 
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
... I didn't realize that I could reserve seats for the whole trip at the start. ...
Just don't try to do that at the airport when you activate the Rail Pass upon arrival. The agents at the airport JR service center get very busy when an international flight comes in and will only do your first segment or two along with the Pass. I prefer to do my onward reservations at my first arrival station before heading to the hotel. You can also just stop in at a large JR station during your first day or so at your first destination.
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Old Mar 12, 19, 7:54 pm
  #439  
 
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
Japan seems to be familiar with the Internet. Is there any reason why they make seat reservations so inconvenient to book?
I guess for Japan as a whole, the move from paper to electronic has been really slow. My friends working in Japanese banks here in SG complain a lot about the sheer amount of physical signatures that need to be done on paper printouts for routine processing (whereas many other European/US banks have moved to electronic approvals). Probably a culture thing?
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Old Mar 12, 19, 8:57 pm
  #440  
 
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
Just don't try to do that at the airport when you activate the Rail Pass upon arrival. The agents at the airport JR service center get very busy when an international flight comes in and will only do your first segment or two along with the Pass. I prefer to do my onward reservations at my first arrival station before heading to the hotel. You can also just stop in at a large JR station during your first day or so at your first destination.
You don't have to exchange the pass at the airport, either, if you'll be staying in Tokyo for a few days*. I usually go to Tokyo Station's JR East Travel Service Center the morning after arrival https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/customer_...ter_tokyo.html on the side facing the Imperial Palace (Marunouchi) to exchange the pass and make my first reservation, then go to a Midori No Madoguchi (official ticket office) to do the rest or any complex bookings. The offices which handle JR Pass exchanges are often quite busy and may only make the initial seat reservation if they're busy. Tokyo to/from Shin-Osaka is a pretty common tourist route that a visitor's office is well equipped to handle. Making reservations for special scenic JR trains can be a little more complex.

JAPAN RAIL PASS exchange offices | JAPAN RAIL PASS

* You also don't need to exchange the pass on the same day you'll start to use it. So you could exchange on the 1st and have it set to start the 7th + 14 days if you'll be departing from Tokyo on the 7th.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 3:46 am
  #441  
 
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If I arrive at NRT, I'd like to exchange my voucher right then and use it to ride the NEX. I am also getting a 14-day Green Pass. If I start it on Sunday, shouldn't it last until the next Sunday 14 days later?

Why wait?
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Old Mar 14, 19, 4:19 am
  #442  
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Originally Posted by Busymann View Post
If I arrive at NRT, I'd like to exchange my voucher right then and use it to ride the NEX. I am also getting a 14-day Green Pass. If I start it on Sunday, shouldn't it last until the next Sunday 14 days later?

Why wait?
Why wait?
You can exchange the pass at NRT, and that may well be the most convenient place to do so.
However, the pass is activated once you actually use it. As the activation is not on a machine that can measure 14x24hour periods, it is done the old fashioned way.
You get 14 calendar days. So if you begin at the end of day one, that’s that. You won’t get credit for the earlier part of the day you missed.

You can activate and use the pass immediately, then pay for the return trip to the airport.
Or activate the pass and start using it the next day. If you do this you will need to pay for the trip into Tokyo separately.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 5:57 am
  #443  
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Random question for the savvy: We had a 7 day green car pass for a trip that just ended Tuesday. We got on a clover green car in Kamikura around 6:45 P.M, but didn't have tickets, so we figured we better exit and get some. We exited at Totsuka (or Higashi-Totsuka, not sure), and went to ticket station. They told us that we were ineligible for green car to Shinjuku with our passes. We took standard car back.
Reading up on their site, I can't determine why we'd have been ineligible, and figure we were just given incorrect data.
Any insights? T.I.A.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 7:51 am
  #444  
 
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Originally Posted by joecool1885 View Post
They told us that we were ineligible for green car to Shinjuku with our passes. We took standard car back.
Did you deal with just one employee? The simplest explanation that I can think of is that they were mistaken. Perhaps they had never come across a tourist with a green car pass before. That explanation is harder to believe if you escalated the matter to a manager.
Probably would have been better to stay on the train and speak to the conductor.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 9:12 am
  #445  
 
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To be crystal clear, if you activate the 14-day Rail Pass on Sunday and use it the same day, it will expire at 11:59.59 pm on Saturday 2 weeks later. If your flight out is on Sunday, you would need to pay for the ride back out to the airport. You could also activate the Pass immediately on arrival but designate the next day (Monday) as the "start date,' but then you would need to pay for the first train into the city on arrival day. Pretty much the same out-of-pocket expense.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 10:50 am
  #446  
 
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
To be crystal clear, if you activate the 14-day Rail Pass on Sunday and use it the same day, it will expire at 11:59.59 pm on Saturday 2 weeks later. If your flight out is on Sunday, you would need to pay for the ride back out to the airport. You could also activate the Pass immediately on arrival but designate the next day (Monday) as the "start date,' but then you would need to pay for the first train into the city on arrival day. Pretty much the same out-of-pocket expense.
However, neither the N'EX nor the Limousine Bus will break your budget (they're both about ¥3000 plus change), so if there's a long line at the JR Center at NRT, just pay for the N'EX, the bus, or the Skyliner (even cheaper, especially if you're staying in Ueno or another northern part of the Yamanote Line) at the ticket counter in the Arrivals Lobby and don't worry about the cost.

The reverse also works. If your Pass runs out the day before you leave, simply go to Tokyo Station (or whichever station you are closer to) and buy a ticket there. It should be fine as long as you are not leaving during a major travel period. Give yourself plenty of time so that if the ffirst train you try is sold out (unlikely), you can try the next one.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 11:47 am
  #447  
 
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Why wait?
You can exchange the pass at NRT, and that may well be the most convenient place to do so.
However, the pass is activated once you actually use it. As the activation is not on a machine that can measure 14x24hour periods, it is done the old fashioned way.
You get 14 calendar days. So if you begin at the end of day one, that’s that. You won’t get credit for the earlier part of the day you missed.

You can activate and use the pass immediately, then pay for the return trip to the airport.
Or activate the pass and start using it the next day. If you do this you will need to pay for the trip into Tokyo separately.
To clarify, when I say the next Sunday, I mean midnight Saturday night.

The reason I wouldn't wait is because it's a pay now or pay later situation. On the Sunday of checkout, all I care about is 1 trip to the airport.

However, on the Sunday of check-in, besides the NEX, I may want to take the train elsewhere after check-in. That would at least be 3 train rides (NEX, train from hotel to say, Shinjuku, and then the ride back) vs at check-out, a train ride on the NEX back to NRT.

I know personally, for an upcoming trip, I might want the NEX Green car from NRT then since I have to pay, take the Skyliner back to the NRT (which is cheaper than the NEX.

Hence, why wait?
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Old Mar 14, 19, 12:13 pm
  #448  
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
Did you deal with just one employee? The simplest explanation that I can think of is that they were mistaken. Perhaps they had never come across a tourist with a green car pass before. That explanation is harder to believe if you escalated the matter to a manager.
Probably would have been better to stay on the train and speak to the conductor.
I didn't bother escalating it. I figured they knew what they were talking about until I was on the standard car and researching. At that point, not worthwhile to exit again. Thinking it was a mistake.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 12:27 pm
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I'm looking at the official website, and they list several sellers of the JR pass. Does anyone know if there's a difference between these sellers and whether one or the other is better in price/service? So many online sellers also, not sure which one is the best...is there a highly recommended seller that people generally use?

Buy your Exchange Order for the JAPAN RAIL PASS at one of the following sales offices or agents before coming to Japan.
  • JTB Corp.
  • Nippon Travel Agency
  • KINTETSU INTERNATIONAL
  • Tobu Top Tours
  • Japan Airlines
  • ANA Sales Americas(Los Angeles)*
  • JALPAK, and their associated agencies
JAPAN RAIL PASS: From purchase to travel JAPAN RAIL PASS
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Old Mar 14, 19, 12:48 pm
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When I was researching this a couple of years ago, I found the prices to be fairly similar across the sellers. They all start with the same fixed JPY price, but their prices differ based on when they convert the JPY amount to USD and how often they update this (e.g. some do it weekly). Since the USD to JPY forex rates have been fairly flat lately, I would think the pricing would have been similar. However, some may tack on an opaque fee, so it is worth doing a little research.
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