questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

green or ordinary?

Green or Ordinary?

Hi Daniel,

We are traveling Aug 9-Aug 22 going to Tokyo-Hokone-Kyoto then back to Narita airport to depart Aug 22.

I plan on purchasing the 7 Day Pass and not start using until Aug 16 when we travel from Hakone to Kyoto and then while in Kyoto, we will be using it for trips to osaka/Nara/hirsohima, etc.

I read that this is going to be Obon season and the trains will be busy. Do you think it is necessary to consider purchasing the green/first class due to this reason? Or do you think the ordinary pass would suffice? Given the dates that we will do most of our train travels Aug 16-22, will Obon train travelers lessen by this time?

Can you also detail the difference between the two passes, ordinary vs. green? It's almost $100 in difference, which is significant, do the benefits outweigh the cost difference?

Thank you in advance!!!



Hi Perina,

I think that an ordinary pass would be fine. To key to gaining seats is reserving them a day or two in advance. So if you just want to be sure of seating stick with an ordinary pass.

The reason why I would consider traveling by Green Car is that a lot less people travel in Green Class and it's a great way to pass the travelling crowd. Green Seats also offer extra space of more relaxed nice which is also nice.

More details about green class can be found here.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Thank you Daniel!

So you think despite Obon season, Ordinary should be ok as long as we reserve.

Considering that we are 4 adults traveling with 3 kids (ages 5, 8, 10), would you think it's necessary to consider Green during this season? Worth the extra expense, you think??? Green does not allow on express lines like Nozomi, does it?


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