questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass from niigata to ryotsu port-sado island?

JR Pass From Niigata to Ryotsu Port-Sado Island?

Can JR pass be used on ferry from Niigata to Ryotsu Port-Sado Island?

Also heard reservations are required to ride the ferry. If so, where online can seats be reserved?

rsonomura
rsonomura

Hi again Ruby!

I'm afraid the Niigata > Ryotsu line is run by a private (non-JR) company called Sado Kisen, so you will not be able to use the Japan Rail Pass for this bit of your journey. Here is the schedule of the ferrys from Niigata to Ryotsu for April (their is enough english to make them understandable).

Regarding reservations, it does look like you'll have to book your ticket advance. Here's a google translation of information for first time ferry travellers on the Sado Kisen Ferry, and a list of reservation telephone numbers you may find useful.

Online reservations can be done here, but again, only in Japanese, and google translate won't work in order processing pages...

Your best option is to call the Reservation Service Center on 025-245-6211 between 8:30-17:00 Japan time, or the Tokyo office (where they'll have more english speakers) on 03-5390-0550 and arrange your reservation over the phone.

For reservations (both telephone and internet), you don't have to pay immediately, but instead pay at the ferry gate when you go to pick your tickets up, so there's no harm in giving them a call - think of it as practice for your trip :) !

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Dear Mari:

Thanks for the detailed explanation. You are the best!

Aloha
Ruby

rsonomura
rsonomura

is this process still valid?
you seem to get a receipt number when booking over the phone, but do they also send a coupon or other documentation before you arrive.
Also is the booking for a particular departure time, or redeemable anytime?

peterjkane
peterjkane

Hi peterjkane:
It's been 3 years since I visited Sado Island. I had a family member in Japan book the reservation by phone so I don't remember the details about receiving documentation. I do remember that you MUST book for a particular departure. It's a pretty big ferry so if you choose to go on the unreserved part of the boat, I don't think you will have any problems getting on.

We wanted seats in the reserved cabin so it was necessary to make advanced reservation. Personally if I were to do it again, I would go with the non-reserved cabin. If you have a tendoncy to get seasick, then go with the reserved cabin where there is a mat to lay down on.

In some of the unreserved section it can get crowded like sardines but you can also go to the lounge area where coffee and refreshments are sold. There are table to sit on and can stay there for the duration of the trip.

Hope this helps.

rsonomura
rsonomura

Hi Rsonomura, are you referring to the Jetfoil or the Car ferry when you say "it's a pretty big ferry?" We want to go on the Jetfoil.
In any case you can go to the terminal and get a ride in the unreserved section without booking, just like the Shinkansen.
However I think I'll try and book just for peace of mind.
We are going to japan for 2 weeks, and Sado in the second week, so we should be able to book when we are over there.

  • Peter
peterjkane
peterjkane

We rode the car ferry. Saw the jetfoil fly by. It appeared to be a rougher but faster ride on the jetfoil; think I would totally get motion sickness riding the jetfoil.

The speed was like riding the hydrofoil from London to Dover. I'm not so young anymore so for me, the calmer the ride, the better. Sado is a very quaint place, people are extremely friendly and helpful. Bountiful seafood, interesting places to visit. Have fun.

Ruby

rsonomura
rsonomura

Thanks very much for your feedback, I'm really looking forward to Sado.

peterjkane
peterjkane

You are welcome and aloha.

rsonomura
rsonomura

You are welcome and aloha.

rsonomura
rsonomura

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