questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

availability of seats in december

Availability of seats in December


My husband and I are planning on traveling to Japan between December 23rd and December 30th, 2013 and would like to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. Our plan was to purchase the Japan Rail Pass tickets and use it to travel to these cities.

What we want to know is how difficult will it be to find seats on the trains using the Japan Rail pass at that time? Would the Green car seats allow for more flexibility?

Thank you,


Hi there!

Traveling around the new year especially around Dec 30 and Dec 31, can be very busy and obtaining seats of the same day that you travel may be hard. Would I would recommend doing is making reservations once you are in Japan and have activated your JR Pass, you could make reservations for your full itinerary if you wished, otherwise I would try to make seat reservations for the end of the month at least 2-3 days in advance. Travel around the 23rd-26th won't be a lot different that during normal times so I don't think that you have to worry about this period at all.

As for traveling Green, it is a great way to avoid the busy train cars but Green Seats between Osaka-Hiroshima are rather limited and it may actually be harder to get a seat for that part that for normal seats.

Hope this helps!


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