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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 14, 19, 1:08 pm
  #451  
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Originally Posted by Busymann View Post
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?
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.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 1:12 pm
  #452  
 
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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?
Lots of good reasons detailed above. I'm with ksandness as I just pay out of pocket and head into town. The slight exception is if I really want a specific tourist only ticket and the only exchange spot is at the airport or arrival in the late afternoon and I'm leaving the next day on Shinkansen before the pass exchange office opens (Tokyo Station Pass exchange opens 7:30 am) .

Originally Posted by ksandness View Post
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.
I usually find the pass exchange line at Narita or Haneda to be longer and
1) I'm not the most patient after a long flight and much more amenable to waiting in a slow moving line after shower, sleep, and food.
2) I don't need a JR pass while I'm in Tokyo or NRT to/from Tokyo. I use a Suica or Pasmo IC Card (and/or the tourist/local X day pass) instead. IC Card makes it really easy to transit from one rail company to another within a station, too, so I can go where google/hyperdia tells me and not stop to figure out it is allowed on a pass or search for a manned exit.
3) If you only need ~7 continuous days of long distance rides, the ordinary price difference of 17,280 JPY - 6000 N'EX r/t (assuming you use a machine and don't go inside for a RT ticket at 4,000) is still 11,280. It usually isn't cost efficient to use a JR pass for local transit, even less so with a Green Pass since local city lines are bench type seating w/o Green cars. That's a lot of subway rides.
4) I tend to head to more remote areas on regional JR passes. Agents used to dealing with international tourist routes aren't the best at booking such reservations or I've already made seat reservation for JR East on eki-net and need to pick up the slips at a JR office 1 day before trip.

So if an itinerary looked like this then I'd just go with a 7 day pass.
Day 1-4 Tokyo
Day 4 Tokyo to Kyoto
Day 5-9 Kyoto, Osaka, Nara
Day 9 Kyoto to Himeiji to Hiroshima
Day 10 Hiroshima to Tokyo
Day 11 Tokyo

If I were chasing cherry blossoms or fall leaves and it seemed like I might need to head to Sendai or Nagoya on days I thought I'd be staying put, then I'd probably get a 14 day pass, pickup a regional pass, or pay out of pocket.
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Last edited by freecia; Mar 14, 19 at 2:19 pm
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Old Mar 14, 19, 1:31 pm
  #453  
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Originally Posted by freecia View Post
So if an itinerary looked like this then I'd just go with a 7 day pass.
Day 1-4 Tokyo
Day 4 Tokyo to Kyoto
Day 5-9 Kyoto, Osaka, Nara
Day 9 Kyoto to Himeiji to Hiroshima
Day 10 Hiroshima to Tokyo
Day 11 Hakone to Tokyo

If I were chasing cherry blossoms or fall leaves and it seemed like I might need to head to Sendai or Nagoya on days I thought I'd be staying put, then I'd probably get a 14 day pass, pickup a regional pass, or pay out of pocket.
OP is visiting in July and intends to stay based in Tokyo for most of his trip (is considering Westin)
Westin Tokyo or Prince Sakura Tower In July? Other Advice Needed
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Old Mar 14, 19, 2:53 pm
  #454  
 
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
OP is visiting in July and intends to stay based in Tokyo for most of his trip (is considering Westin)
Westin Tokyo or Prince Sakura Tower In July? Other Advice Needed
Ah, I see. It is a matter of how far apart OP wants to spread his longer distance trips and price sensitivity. A JR Green pass only covers the base fare and the seating for Gran Class would be out of pocket https://www.jrailpass.com/blog/shinkansen-gran-class https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/29448547-post9.html Best make that reservation at a proper midori no madoguchi and allow a bit of time.

If he wanted to group a few days of travel or visit Hakone en-route to/from Osaka, returning the other way via Nagano then I could see a 7 day pass offering better financial value. Tokyo gets pretty hot in July and taking things a little slower and further apart might be nice if price isn't a big factor.

ETA: People have asked if they should get an IC Card if they only plan on using the JR Pass and I still think they should. It is incredibly handy to pay with Suica at the convenience store or vending machines near train stations without carrying a lot of change. Most of the station ekiben places also take Suica. You don't really need to pack a lot of water in a bag in July because chilled bottled drinks are readily available. I also don't believe it is possible to ride the train to Odaiba solely on JR without a surcharge for the Rinkai line https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3008.html
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Last edited by freecia; Mar 14, 19 at 3:07 pm
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Old Mar 14, 19, 3:17 pm
  #455  
 
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Originally Posted by sfvoyage View Post
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.
+1 In my case, a local international branch of a Japanese Travel Agency usually offers the best price and local pickup, saving me a shipping fee for regional passes which still require an official ticket. I also noticed Klook.com prices JR Passes in yen and charges in USD or SGD based on customer's home country. No DCC from their end.
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Old Mar 14, 19, 4:46 pm
  #456  
 
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Since there is no local official seller in my city, I usually use the closest one that will take a phone or internet order and ship the exchange order to me via next day delivery. In my case, near the Bay Area, I use TTA. I've never had a complaint.
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Old Mar 15, 19, 3:37 am
  #457  
 
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I don't mind paying separately to get back tho'. I'd be paying to go forward otherwise.

I will get a PASMO card for other travel and most certainly at least carry ¥ 20,000.Ha, until I looked on Hyperdia, I didn't know the NEX had Green cars. Cool beans.

I'll be paying for Gran Class to Nagano to just experience it and probably not paying for it to come back. We may even start at Tokyo Station at the lounge.
I'll be going to so many places, Nagano, Yokohama, Enoshima, Osaka, Asakusa, Akihabar, etc that I won't fussed about 7 consec days and just do the 14 to cover everything except the last day.

Last edited by Busymann; Mar 15, 19 at 3:44 am
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Old Mar 15, 19, 2:49 pm
  #458  
 
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Originally Posted by Busymann View Post
I'll be paying for Gran Class to Nagano to just experience it and probably not paying for it to come back.
Upgrade from rail pass (green or ordinary class) is 9860 yen.
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Old Mar 15, 19, 3:02 pm
  #459  
 
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Originally Posted by beep88 View Post
Upgrade from rail pass (green or ordinary class) is 9860 yen.
I thought that depended on the length of trip?
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Old Mar 15, 19, 10:31 pm
  #460  
 
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Originally Posted by Busymann View Post

I'll be paying for Gran Class to Nagano to just experience it
Originally Posted by Busymann View Post
I thought that depended on the length of trip?
Tokyo <-> Nagano
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Old Mar 18, 19, 10:01 am
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Originally Posted by beep88 View Post
Tokyo <-> Nagano
I understand. I'm leaving from Shinagawa tho' unless I wanna do the lounge. I think that's ¥119,000.
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Old Mar 19, 19, 3:06 pm
  #462  
 
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Japan Pass and Bullet trains

I understand from reading this post, that if I buy the pass in the US. I can pick up the pass either at NRT airport or downtown somewhere if have a few days before activating it. My question is if I buy the higher class, do I need a seat assignment every time? Is this an extra cost? Does the pass include bullet trains? Many thanks.
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Old Mar 19, 19, 3:40 pm
  #463  
 
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All details available from official Japan Rail Pass website:

About JAPAN RAIL PASS | JAPAN RAIL PASS

" The JAPAN RAIL PASS is valid for reserved and non-reserved ordinary car travel on all Japan Railways (JR) Group Shinkansen “bullet trains” (except for the “Nozomi” and “Mizuho” services), ... "

" JAPAN RAIL PASS itself does not insure seating options. If you want to use reserved seating, be sure to get seat reservations before boarding (no additional payment needed). ..."


All Green Class seats are reserved.
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Old Mar 19, 19, 5:49 pm
  #464  
 
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Originally Posted by mphall View Post
I understand from reading this post, that if I buy the pass in the US. I can pick up the pass either at NRT airport or downtown somewhere if have a few days before activating it. My question is if I buy the higher class, do I need a seat assignment every time? Is this an extra cost? Does the pass include bullet trains? Many thanks.
There are different types of bullet trains, some are included in the JR Pass and some are not.

And no, seat assignments don't cost anything extra no matter whether you travel green or ordinary.
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Old Mar 20, 19, 3:37 am
  #465  
 
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Gran Class is NOT available on the JR Rail Pass.
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