questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr reservations (rail & bus)

JR reservations (rail & bus)

Hi all,

I'll be in Japan during the holidays (12/24/2012- 1/2/2012) and have plans to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Kinosaki.

My biggest concern is that most of the JR trains/buses will be booked by the time I arrive. I plan to use the JR pass for my travels-- but based on my research, advanced reservations can't be made for the trains/buses that I'd need to take. I'd have to wait until I arrive at the airport to make all my reservations.

Are there any suggestions as to how difficult it'll be around that time to reserve train/bus seats? Or any ideas on how to best ensure that I'll be able to get on the trains I need. I'm holding off on my hotel reservations b/c at this point, I'm not sure whether I'd be able to travel to cities according to my itinerary.

Also-- any information on how overnight buses might possibly be reserved ahead of time would be much appreciated (my research concluded mainly with info on trains.)

Thanks very much in advance!


Hi there!

Good news! For the location you list I don't think you'll have any problems with reservations on arrival provided you are not planning on using sleeper trains. There are lots of trains to each of your destinations, so if you are unable to use one, you can always just hop on the next - honestly though, I don't think this will happen.

If you intend to use the JR night buses (reserve at the JR ticket counter, or JR bus center counters), you do stand a little more chance of being no being able to make a reservation. Again, you are only able to make a reservation for these once you get to Japan. The best advice I think I can offer is to have alternative accommodation lined up just in case you cannot make your bus reservation. Many hotels will accept reservations without a deposit so you should be able to cancel (provided you do in good time) once you have confirmed your bus seat.

Hope this helps put your mind at rest - provided you have some flexibility in the train you use you'll be fine.

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