questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

green car jr pass on shinkansen

Green Car JR Pass on Shinkansen

We have bought the Green Car JR Exchange voucher in our country.
We are a family of 6 travelling from Tokyo to Hakodate on 30 Dec. Understand that this is really busy period.

Our plan is to to take shinkansen to Shin-Aomori and then unlimited express to Hakodate.

Please advice on the following:
1)What is the advantage of travelling by Hayabusa as against Hayate, other than the fact that Hayabusa is faster?
2)How much would be the additional cost that we need to pay for the reserved seats for a)Hayabusa b)Hayate
3)What other alternative routes do we have if we want to cut down on additional payment, without having to spend more than 4 hours from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori?

Look forward to your kind response.

regds
Lysander

lysander
lysander

Hello Lysander,

1.) Well the Hayabusa is more shiny! It also makes fewer stops on the way and is more modern. Also it is Green! Not just the color but the Green Seats are amazing and include complementary drinks! The Hayabusa is completely covered by the JR Pass.

2.) None and None :) Both are completely covered by the JR Pass, so no extra fares.

3.) The only alternative would be flying but that will be more pricey at the end of the year.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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Dear Daniel
Thanks so much for the info. It really helps because I was getting conflicting answers from a few different sources earlier.

A few more questions on the reservations:

1)When I tried making reservation online at the JR East website for a friend who is going on earlier on 16 December, they gave him a reservation confirmation.
However, even though we clicked under the JR Pass holder (green car), there was a seat reservation charged at JPY11820. That was the reason I thought that this amount was above the basic fare. He bought the green car exchange voucher.

2)What does this amount mean? That he will only be charged if he does not cancel in advance or does not turn up?
I thought that a 'no show' will be charged at JPY380 only (as indicated in the website)

3)I will only reach Tokyo on 27 Dec and that was why I am afraid that I may not get reserved seats on the shinkansen. Would taking the earliest train at 0632hrs on 30 Dec make the likelihood of getting one better?

4)I read in the earlier Q&A thread that you actually did not recommend reservations through online. May I know what are the disadvantage of doing so? I actually was under the impression that it would be much a safer and better process. But now with the charge on my friend's reservation, I'm not sure anymore.

Thank you so much for your kindness.
Hope to hear from you.

lysander
lysander

Hi again!

1 & 2.) This is odd, I tried to check the booking system but unfortunately don't have a valid account to do so. My advise would be to contact JR East by Phone they speak English and are very helpful. I would also expect just a reservation fee of 380yen or so, which is only charged if you don't pick up the tickets. Don't worry to much about the charge though, tickets can always be re-funded and you would only have to pay a refund fee of around 500yen or so.

3.) Possibly! It's always hard to say but early trains are traveled less frequently, I there might be a good change that it would be easier to find seating at that hour.

4.) A possible reason I could think of is that tickets have to be picked up 1 day in advance. It's hard to say exactly what I meant without the context? Could you link the question you where looking at before? This way I could give you a better answer.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
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Hi Daniel
Thank you so much for your kind response. This being a Sunday & all.

Following the thread above:

1) & 2) Ok, I'll book online one month before my travel and take your advice of not worrying too much ;)

3)Ok, will likely go for early morning schedule.

4)I may have got you wrong. I stand corrected here. This is the link:
http://www.jrpass.com/forum/topics/using-the-japan-rail-pass/posts/booking-trains-for-new-year-days

5)Another question please:
For the unlimited express train from Aomori to Hakodate, can we book in Tokyo at our day of arrival, which is 27 Dec too? Or do they have a website for reservation too?

Thank you for kind attention and patience.

lysander
lysander

Hi again!

4.) Ah yes, why I would not recommend using Eki-Net is that you need a good understanding of Japanese or a Japanese friend. This brings a lot of hassle and you can't book JRPass tickets, so they will have to be re-booked under the JR Pass by a JR staff person. It can also be a lot of work to explain what you want, as this is far from common.

5.) Train tickets can be booked at any JR station! So you could get the tickets for Aomori right away!

Does that clear things up?

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
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Hi Daniel

I feel so enlightened with your answers!
Thank you so much.

lysander
lysander

Hi Daniel
I wish to share with you and others in this forum that I've booked the Hayabusa shinkensen under the JR East online reservation. The eki.net is in English. Pl find the link - http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ . (Understand that JR East is the only one which has it in English)

I called the international enquiry line as you've advised earlier. The officer speaks English and was efficient in directing me what to do. I've booked and JR sent me a confirmation on that day itself that my seats have been reserved for 30 Dec, which is the rush period. I don't think I'm going to have much problem changing the voucher to tickets at the station when I arrived on 27 Dec.

I'm thankful to you. And am totally delighted that I've made reservations before my arrival. Peace of mind ;)

lysander
lysander

Hi again!

Glad to hear it worked out so smoothly. Glad to hear your feedback, i'll certainly keep it in mind if other forum visitors have related questions!

Let me know if there's anything I can help you with!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
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