questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

pre-book tickets/seats

Pre-book tickets/seats

Have used JR pass for several times. However, my previous trip I have encountered a problem whereby the itinerary that I have fixed with all the hotels being booked and some prepaid, I couldn't get seats on the train that I intended to take as I can only exchange the tickets upon my arrival in Japan with my JR pass. Therefore, do you have any better suggestion? I will be traveling again this coming September itinerary as below:

Arrival Tokyo on 4 September

4 Sep : Narita - Asahikawa
5 Sep : Asahikawa - Wakkanai
7 Sep : Wakkanai- Sapporo
9 Sep : Sapporo - Ikebukuro
10 Sep : Ikebukuro - Miyajimaguchi
10 Sep : Miyajimaguchi- Ikebukuro
14 Sep : Ikebukuro - Narita terminal 2

If I were to purchase a 7days JR pass for,the remaining days (3 nights) in Tokyo and also traveling to Narita airport what do you suggest? A metro pass (3 days) and a one way N'EX? Or is there any better way?

Please kindly revert ASAP.
Thank you

conywoo
conywoo

Hi there,

The JR Pass gives you amazing savings with the above itinerary - no doubt about that. However you'll be covering a lot of miles, so be sure to know what you'll be getting into. Will you try to travel from Narita Airport to Asahikawa in a single day? It's 10 hours from Tokyo to Sapporo by train and I am not even sure if you could manage Narita - Asahikawa in a single day without a domestic flight.

For local travel, it depends on what you will visit in Tokyo. Both JR and the Tokyo metro has day passes available for
around 750yen per day. These can give good value if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thanks Daniel for you kind opinion. That is exactly what I intend to do. I was wondering if I could get my seats confirmed as hotels has to be booked before arrival and the other time I had all hotels booked but I couldn't get seats for the train I intended to take. I just need advice if I can book all the trains before arrival and get the tickets issued upon arrival to avoid all these unpleasant circumstances. I hope someone could advise me on this matter. As I have planned the itinerary as listed previously.

Cheers,
Connie

conywoo
conywoo

Hi Connie,

It's not possible to reserve seats before arriving in Japan. Generally this is not a problem though, especially when traveling up north. Although I do understand that you have experienced otherwise.

You could reserve the seats for Tohoku using Ekinet but only if you can pick up the tickets the evening before.
http://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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

Dear Daniel,

Thanks very much for the information provided. However, if I need to travel to Asahikawa the day of my arrival it won't be possible to pick up the tickets the day before 😊. The website provided is only for JR east and doesn't cover up to Hokkaido. By the way the website is under maintenance at the moment once I click onto the "select train".

Since it is not possible to book or reserve the seats before arrival, I may have to try my luck then. I have been using JR pass for quite a number of years and find it very convenient worthy until last year December when I failed to get my tickets and seats, also going to Sapporo. It was all fully booked and sold out. So I have to make hotels cancellation and nearly unable to get a hotel due to the changes in my planned itinerary so last minute. It was quite a disappointment as I was traveling in a party of five. It was quite challenging as it was so last minute and most of the hotels were fully booked too.

Thank you so much. If you have any other way you can recommend to me please kindly advise.

Best regards,
Connie

conywoo
conywoo

Hi,
As Daniel said, you should know what you are in for. It is simply impossible to go by rail from Narita to Asahikawa in a day after arriving. Technically it is possible if your plane were to arrive extremely early in the morning - but the train ride in total is about 14½ hours. It would murder the whole day and you wouldn't arrive feeling like you want to go see anything. Do you really want to fly around the world, land in Japan, and then spend even longer on a train? I am curious as to what you plan to see that warrants such an expenditure of time to get there....

The sensible choice would be to fly. You can easily fly from Narita to Sapporo in a couple of hours on a cheap carrier like Jet Star or Peach, for a low fare of about US$35 per person. You'd still have time to do some sightseeing, instead of spending all your time on a train.
Likewise, riding Wakkanai-Sapporo is another 5 hours on a train. Going from Tokyo to Miyajima would be another 4½ hours on trains. It is doable, but not leaving you with not much time to see a lot.

For your time in Tokyo, you could get a 3 day subway pass and take a cheap 1000 yen bus to Narita. The N'ex is nice but pricey if you are paying out of pocket one way.

Good luck

Toraneko
Toraneko

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