questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

should i or should i not get jr pass

Should I or Should I Not Get JR Pass

Dear Sir,
I will travelling to Japan in Jan, 2017. There will be 3 of us in a group. At this point we are not sure if renting a car or using JR Pass would be a better choice. I hope you can advice us. Here are our itinerary -

Jan 4: Arrive in Kansai. Stay in Osaka
Jan 5: Visit Osaka. Stay in Osaka
Jan 6: Go to Tokyo. Stay in Tokyo
Jan 7: Visit Tokyo. Stay in Tokyo
Jan 8: Go to Sendai. Stay in Sendai
Jan 9: Visit Sendai. Stay in Sendai
Jan 10: Go to Hakone. Stay in Hakone
Jan 11: Visit Hakone. Stay in Hakone
Jan 12: Go to Kyoto. Stay in Kyoto
Jan 13: Visit Kyoto. Stay in Kyoto
Jan 14: Go to Kansai. Depart from Kansai International Airport.

As you can see the distance to travel in between locations are quite far. I am a little worry about the travelling time. I hope you can advice me if -
1. we should get a rental car or JR Pass
2. time to go from Osaka to Tokyo, Tokyo to Sendai, Sendai to Hakone, Hakone to Kyoto, Kyoto to Kansai Airport.

Many thanks in advance for your kind help.

ChowHC
ChowHC

Hi there,

1.) I am a bit biased but would definitely get a JR Pass here. You buy the one ticket (The JR Pass) and use it for all your travel. It covers all of the above trips and you can make very good savings compared to purchasing normal tickets. There is also something magical about seeing the landscape fly-by while traveling at over 300 KM/H.

2.) For travel times, I recommend learning to plan with Hyperdia this way you can find any route/timetable and more. It's a great tool for planning with the JR Pass. We also have a useful interactive map with all JR lines included.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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Dear Sir,
After much considerations, I have decided to opt for JR Pass. Kindly advice if it would be possible to buy the tickets in Japan or must it be done outside of Japan. I shall look forward to your advise soon. Thank you.

Regards,
Chow HC

ChowHC
ChowHC

Dear Sir,
I missed out one additional question - the fuss about reserved and non-reserved seating. Do I need to buy first class tickets in order to get a reserved seat? I don't understand how the seating works. What are the circumstances that will lead me into getting a reserved or non-reserved seats and would I get booted out of the seat or, worst, the train if I have a non-reserved seat? Kindly advice. Thank you.

ChowHC
ChowHC

Hello Chow HC,

You can make reservations at any station in Japan, it is not possible to do so from outside of Japan.

Both first class and ordinary class can make use for reserved seating. You are not allowed to take a reserved seats without a reservation and will be asked to leave the seat if you do. You can always use a non-reserved seat too.

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Daniel-san
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