questions & answers: general japan travel

japan rail pass and

Japan rail pass and

My wife and I are traveling to Japan in December, we'll arrive at Kansai and stay in Osaka for 7 days from which point we'll be taking day trips to Kyoto and Kobe, from Osaka we travel to Hiroshima for 2 nights then to Nagoya for a day and then to Tokyo for 7 days. I plan on purchasing the 14 day rail pass for the major legs, Osaka-Hiroshima-Nagoya-Tokyo-Narita.
I also plan on getting the Osaka unlimited 2 day pass for the first few days then activating the rail pass.
My questions are:
1) Is it woth it to buy the green pass or stick with the regular pass?
The reason I ask is that this will be a busy travel time in Japan and I expect the Shinkansen to be crowded, will it be easier to get seats if I have the green pass?
2) Are there other passes that I should get for travel on the private subway lines?
3) Since we arrive on the 20th of December will trains already be booked for travel around the the end of the year?
4) I saw trains scheduled on Hyperdia to Gala-Yuzawa from Tokyo Station in the past but don't see them anymore, do they still run to Gala-Yuzawa?
Thanks

Erik
Erik

Hi there!

1.) Going for a Green Pass can be a great way to avoid some of the traveling crowds and travel in a more convenient manner. You should keep in mind that Green Cars and the amount of Green seats differ per region in Japan. For instance trains between Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima have about half a car of green seats available while trains between Shin-Osaka and Tokyo can have up to three cars available. So it will be easy to get seats to Tokyo but you may have to reserve seats to Hiroshima somewhat in advance.

In general I think that most people are fine with an ordinary pass but it is money well spend if you wish to travel in a more convenient and relaxed manner.

2.) The Osaka unlimited pass allows for unlimited travel on the Osaka Subway so you are fine there. In Tokyo consider buying a Tokyo Metro one day pass which allows for unlimited travel on the Tokyo metro and only costs 710 yen.

3.) You will be completely fine if you book your train tickets for New Year on the 20th or even the 25th. Bullet trains on the Shinkansen depart every 10 minutes and and single train can have up to 1200 seats, making for a lot of available travel seats!

4.)Gala Yuzawa is still reachable by JR! I don't know why it does not show up in Hyperdia but you can look for ECHIGO-YUZAWA instead which is only one stop away from Gala Yuzawa.

I hope this helps!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel, the information was very helpful, I do plan making my reservations for the Shinkansen when I arrive on the 20th just to be sure we have seats, I'll take your advise on the Tokyo Metro pass also.

Thanks!

Erik
Erik

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