questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

booking sleepers with jr passes

Booking sleepers with JR passes

Hi,

We're heading directly to Niseko from Chitose airport and after a few days in the snow are planning on getting the sleeper from Sapporo to Tokyo. We've already got our 7 day rail passes (arrived very quickly after ordering online!)

We need to exchange the vouchers for the actual rail pass at a station office - this is likely to have to be in Sapporo rather than the station nearest to Niseko.

My question is - can we reserve / book seats on the sleeper from Sapporo to Tokyo before we have exchanged the voucher for the rail pass?

I know we will have to pay extra for the sleeper with the rail pass.

Kind regards,

Andrew

abrice
abrice

Hi Andrew - I'm afraid that you'll need to have exchanged the voucher in Japan before you can place reservations on the sleepers. It's a common problem, but currently there is no simple solution :(

Sorry I can't be more help!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Thanks for that Mari!

Do you know if we can exchange the vouchers at Kutchan station? It's the closest station to Niseko...

Also, do the sleeper carriages usually sell out / book out? Would we still be able to get a seat or bed on the sleeper the same day we exchange the vouchers?

Kind regards,

A.

abrice
abrice

There is no exchange office at Kutchan Station,but if you're landing at New Chitose I recommend you exchange your vouchers there on arrival, specifying a starting date for your validity period to be the day you are travelling from Sapporo to Tokyo (you can specify a starting date upto 1 month into the future). This will also let you reserve seats/places on the sleeper at least a few days in advance to maximise your chances!

I recommend that you try and use the Hamanasu sleeper to Aomori, and then in the morning catch one of the superfast Hayabusa Bullet Trains down to Tokyo.

It's hard to give any hard guarantees about sleepers. They do sell out, but mainly on Fridays/Weekends and public holidays. You may well be luckier if you are travelling during the week. The best recommendation I can give is that you have a backup plan in case you are unable to book a bunk on the day you want.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Mari you have been very helpful!!

We will look to exchange our vouchers at Chitose, try and book the sleeper to Aomori then, and enjoy the morning ride to Tokyo with breakfast!

Thank you again!!

A.

abrice
abrice

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