questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass clarification

JR Pass Clarification

Hello, thanks for all your previous help, and the help I am sure I am about to receive! I am planning to take a train from Hakodate to either Nikko or Kyoto, and I have a few general questions. I have a JR Green Pass for 14 days, at any point while taking trains will I be required to pay an additional costs for tickets, such as "seat-fees"? Also, if I activate the pass on the 27th of January, but buy a ticket for a short trip that night and don't use the pass, will it count towards my 14 days? Can I activate the voucher to become a JR Pass at the New Chitose Airport Station? To give a basic idea of my plan, I will take a train from Sapporo to New Chitose Airport, stay a night, then plan to travel from New Chitose to Hakodate for the day, get on a train from Hakodate to Nikko that night, and then from Nikko to Kyoto soon after. Please let me know any tips or problems I may face, and once again, thank you for all your help!

zcorbett
zcorbett

Hello there,

The JR Pass will cover all fees on JR lines and you won't have to pay anything extra!

You may select a stating date when activating the JR Pass and you don't have to start using it right away. In order words, you can just buy a normal ticket for arrival and start using the JR Pass the following day.

The JR Pass can be activated at Shin-Chitose Airport between 8:30-19:00, otherwise you can do so at Sapporo station.

Please note that there's no night train from Hakodate to Nikko, there used to be the Akebono train but this one has been retires, the only way to travel there is by day. Be sure to keep this in mind when planning. You can however use the superfast Hayabusa train between Aomori and Toyko.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Incredibly helpful, one follow up question, how can I be sure that I am getting on the right train the JR pass supports? Will it just not let me go through, or do I run the risk of getting on the wrong train and owing money? Will my JR pass cover the hayabusa train, I thought I read it doesn't cover these trains? I guess it was more than one questions, but as always, thank you!

zcorbett
zcorbett

Hi there,

It's pretty hard to take the wrong train, so don't worry. On a JR station all trans are valid. The only place where you should mind taking the wrong train is if you take the Shinkansen south of Tokyo without a seat reservation, don't board trains market as Nozomi/Mizuho and you will be fine! Making seat reservations in advance will avoid this problem, as the JR Staff will always book you on the right train.

The Hayabusa train is covered by the JR Pass, it's awesome btw!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thank you Daniel, and you have been so incredibly helpful...can I sneak in one more request for advice? I have started to notice that my attempt at just "winging it" and taking trains around will be more difficult, especially from Hokkaido (New Chitose Airport) on. I think I can manage my trip from New Chitose to Hakodate easily, however, looking at trips from Hakodate to places like Kyoto are proving a little difficult to decipher. I use the HyperDia site, and if you could give me any advice (again, thank you) I would be so grateful. Thanks in advance!

zcorbett
zcorbett

Certainly, it all can look very complicated when looking at train routes in Japan.

First familiarize yourself with the Shinkansen (literally new main line), it is basically one long route that stops at many important places in Japan. Current going from Aomori (just below Hakodate) all the way down to Kyushu (Kagoshima).

Here is a great map.

Basically traveling from Hakodate - Kyoto would mean, taking a limited express from Hakodate - Aomori, from there the Tohoku Shinkansen to Tokyo and from there the Tokaido Shinkansen to Kyoto. It's a long ride btw, so try to split it up!

Once you are familiar with the Shinkansen, you can use our interactive map for all other train routes in Japan.

Hope this clears things up a little,
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Very helpful, if you're around Japan and want to meet up I'd love to buy you a beer or food for a thank you!! You have been great!

zcorbett
zcorbett

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