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Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

washington, dc
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Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

I have been advised that we should get a train pass for 7 days by this site but I have run the numbers thru the hyperdia web site and I am still not sure. The prices difference is fairly negligible (I think) and we are not going to be doing any unscheduled traveling. The fact that the non-jr pass train (the "romance car")to Hakone is more convenient and that I'd like to take Nozomi on one or two legs of the trip is also making it difficult for me to pull the trigger to get the pass. However - all the literature and discussion on these pages push the pass so I am wondering if I am going to make a grave mistake....Some questions for the train savvy-

Are the Nozomi trains more pleasant to ride - in addition to being slightly faster?

Are there any differences between the green and ordinary beside space (ie. beverage food service etc.)?

Is it easier to board/book with the pass? I know that it is free to reserve w/the pass and have figured that into my calculations.

How much do the individual various modes of transport cost in Hakone? We would only need a one-way "romance car" ticket but it looks like it might be worth paying roundtrip anyway to get the package. Not sure if the Y3900 pass for travel inside of Hakone is worth it but hard to tell w/out knowing the cost of the train/tram/cable car.

Our itinerary is Tokyo -Hakone (Odawara or Hakone-Yumoto)/Odawara-Kyoto/Kyoto-Himeji(roundtrip)/Kyoto-Nara(roundtrip) and then Kyoto-Narita Airport.

THIS IS THE KIND OF THING THAT MAKES ME WANT TO FALL OFF THE WAGON AND GET A TRAVEL AGENT PLEASE ADVISE!!

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

I will reply to some of your questions--just my opinions of course.

No significant difference between Hikari and Nozomi trains, other than speed.

Differences between green-space like you say. No additional services (on the trains you plan to take-some in Kyushu give complimentary beverage and slippers).

Easier to book with pass-no difference at all.

One advantage of the pass--you can just jump on a train for no particular reason. If it is a rainy day, you can travel elsewhere and without a pre made plan. That is worth something to me.

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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2. Re: Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

You will definitely come out ahead with the JR Pass. The roundtrip Tokyo-Kyoto(with Nara)-Himeji is around 38,000+ Yen already. The Narita Express ride from Tokyo back to the airport is around another 3,000 Yen so you are coming out way ahead of the JR Pass cost of 28,300 Yen. Saving at least 13,000 Yen off a normally 41,000 Yen fare (32% off) is not a bad deal.

Hakone Free Pass is definitely worth the money. On a clear day, you may pay an additional fare to ride the Romance Car from Shinjuku to Hakone so you can get a view of Mt. Fuji.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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3. Re: Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

I also vote for the pass. You must be making an error in calculating. A travel agent could not tell you any more than has been discussed on this site. All of the trains are fast and pleasant to ride. There is a difference but none that you'll notice.

Perth, Australia
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4. Re: Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

I agree with everyone else a JR pass is worth every penny.

We had time to spare on our trip last month and used our JR pass to jump on a train to the next city. Totally unplanned and we saw a beautiful garden.

You can also use the pass around Tokyo, not to mention the Narita Express.

Use your JR pass to get to Odawara then purchase the Hakone Pass to do the Hakone loop which on a clear day the ropeway will offer great views of Mt Fuji.

We purchased Ordinary passes and found the seats more roomy and comfortable than airline seats.

Auckland Region...
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5. Re: Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

Hi Story,

I've lost count of the number of times that I (and family) have used a JR Rail Pass. The savings are substantial. Depending on distance travelled a one week pass can pay for itself in the first 2 or 3 days.

Without doing the calculations I'll hazard a guess and say that your pass will have paid for itself somewhere around Himeji. We haven't ridden the Nozumi but having seen it I don't think it is worth the extra expense to get from A to B a little faster.

Green class is more like an airline business class seat. ( no it does not convert to a bed ). Ordinary class on Shinkansen and Express trains would put the economy class of some well known airlines to shame. I've used both classes and have no hesitation in recommending ordinary class. Go for the rail pass.

Cheers.

Aoyama Dori and San...
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6. Re: Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

The top speeds are the same at 270k/h on most of the Tokaido corridor. Actually, the Kodama also travels at the same top speed. The differences are the frequency, slightly newer train sets and less frequent stops (making them quicker). The N700 sets (primarily Nozomi) also have Internet access since 3/2009.

<<<No significant difference between Hikari and Nozomi trains, other than speed.>>>

7. Re: Train travel - questions for the train travel gurus HELP !!

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