In trying to plan an itinerary (Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu, Osaka, Tokyo) it seems worth it to get a JR Pass. What does a 1st class pass get me that a regular pass won't? Are the green seats available at no extra charge with either pass?
Yes, for that sort of itinerary, it's well worth getting a Japan Rail Pass, especially if you're going for a 7 day trip.
The First Class pass gets you access to the Green Car seats. With a Normal Japan Rail Pass you are restricted to standard class and will have to pay an upgrade to use the Green Cars.
Here is a post explaining more about the Green Car seats. The new Sakura JR-West/Kyushu Shinkansen that travels from Osaka to Kagoshima in Kyushu also has full Green Car facilities, so you can travel in Green Car all the way from Tokyo to Kitakyushu and back.
Both rail passes will let you reserve seats totally free of charge, so make sure you make the most of the facility!
Hope this helps!
Thanks, Mari. That was very helpful. Do I get a follow-up question? My wife will be in meetings during the days we are there, I get to explore and enjoy the cities. To be helpful, I am hoping I can do the seat reservations for both of us while she works. Is this possible, or does she need to be present? If I can do this without her being present, do I carry both JR Passes to the reservation window? Are both of our passports needed?
Whoops! Sorry I missed this!
Ideally she'd be present to get the reserved seats with you, but I've done similar things in the past and as long as you go to the counter with both JR Passes (I've never been asked for Passports once the rail pass is activated), then you should be fine.
Hello, sorry to intrude into different question, but I think it'll be good to clarify it here and also find an answer to my question.
"With a Normal Japan Rail Pass you are restricted to standard class and will have to pay an upgrade to use the Green Cars."
So can I use "green seats" with like, half-value or something, using only normal JRP? I'm wondering since I'd like to try green cars once in some trains just once.
Or I absolutely can't use those without paying their full, regular fee?
Sorry, I was unclear in my original reply. Rail charges in Japan are made up of 2 broad components:
- Seat fee
- Base (or "railway") fee
If you were to reserve a green car seat with a normal JR Pass you would need to pay the full green car seat fee, but would not need to pay the base fee as the JR Pass would cover this.
For a worked example, on this trip from Osaka to Hiroshima, The base fee is ¥5460. This would be covered by the standard JR Pass whichever seat class you chose. If you want to use the green car with the standard class JR Pass, you'll need to pay the green car seat fee of ¥7980, bringing the cost of the trip to ¥7980. You can compare this cost with the normal full ticket Green Car fee of ¥13,440. In effect you do get discounted green car travel with the standard JR Pass.
Following this example through, it's worth noting that the cost difference between a standard and green car 7 day pass is ¥9500, so it may be worth simply going for the full 7 day green car pass rather than paying the seat fee depending on the route you intend to use the rail pass on.
I hope this clears things up!
hmmm, shouldn't it be something like "green seat fee - unreserved seat fee"?
but anyway thanks for an answer. i'm just looking forward to see both green and regular cars as I love trains :D
It would be far better that way, I agree!
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