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Beware of JR pass

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Beware of JR pass

We bought a 7 day pass for green cars. Went to make reservations 3 days in advance and was unable to make a reservation in green car, almost didn't get one in regular car. Made another reservation a week out and couldn't get the time we wanted. If you're primarily using it for the Shinkensen trains, There's limitations.Most trains bullet trains available for JR pass only run once per hour, while Nozomi trains run much more frequently and have direct routes without transfers.

We asked the guy at the train office why the trains were so busy on a Wed. and he said these are trains for JR pass holders. So if you buy one these make your reservation as early as possible.

We thought we would save a few bucks with the pass but are losing money on it because we couldn't get in the green car.

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24 replies to this topic
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1. Re: Beware of JR pass

Where and when were you using it? I'm one week into using my 14 day green car pass and haven't had an issue yet.

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2. Re: Beware of JR pass

I walked up 10 minutes before the train left from Tokyo to Kyoto on Saturday morning and didn't have any problem getting a seat. The train was quite full, but there were still seats. I don't have a green car pass, though.

Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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3. Re: Beware of JR pass

I've used a Green Pass at least twice a year for the last 10+ years and never had a problem reserving seats. The only exception is the Sakura Shinkansen which has just 24 Green seats. You'll need to book 3-4 days ahead for the Sakura.

London, United...
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4. Re: Beware of JR pass

I had no problem in April. Maybe you were travelling during golden week or some other holidays.

I did find the Hikari to be the "tourist" train and the green car was almost exclusively foreign tourists.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Beware of JR pass

Did you go during a major holiday season? If so, then you would have to reserve well ahead. I have used JR passes in the past and never had these type of problems. Yes the JR Pass doesn't work on every train but that is really something a person who researched before making a purchase of a pass would know.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Beware of JR pass

I'm sorry to hear that the Pass isn't working out for you. I've used the Pass extensively, but book many of my reservations several weeks in advance, and rarely have to take a different train because all seats are taken. But I travel in the fall, which might be a less busy time.

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7. Re: Beware of JR pass

A poor workman blames his tools.

JR Pass, including the Green version, requires purchasers to do more planning to gain the benefits of the discount.

Good luck next time, but the fault, dear Cassius, is......

Nakano, Japan
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8. Re: Beware of JR pass

Don't just look at Shinkansen. There are more interesting things beyond that.

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9. Re: Beware of JR pass

Clearly not representative experience.

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10. Re: Beware of JR pass

I've traveled all over Japan using a Green pass on several visits. I almost never make advance reservations and just show up at a Shinkansen station and book the next train. The only time I didn't get an immediate reservation was on a trip from Hiroshima to Kyoto. Even then, I just had to wait for the next train.

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