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What is the 2019/20 busy train period? 2019/9/14 07:34
Hi all. I know Japan-Guide is good about posting things like this, https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2276.html, but my question relates to 2019/20 holiday period, which is not posted yet.

I know that the shinkansen can get very busy over the year end holidays, and there is usually a particular weekend or weekends, that get very busy. I have had to stand at the end of a car for 3 hours Tokyo to Osaka before, for making this mistake!

We will be in Japan from 29-Dec-2019 to 13-Jan-2020 this year, and are planning to travel from Tokyo to Nikko on 1/3, Nikko to Karuizawa on 1/5, and back from Karuizawa to Tokyo on 1/7.

I am planning to pre-reserve seats the morning after we get into town on 30-Dec, but wanted to check here to see if anyone has any further insight on the busy times this year, and how busy those particular routes are.

I'm thinking that, being the weekend after a big holiday, Nikko is likely to be very crowded with local tourists at that time, but I've already got our whole itinerary planned, so am not planning to change it. Just need to know how diligent I need to be about pre-reserving.

FYI, we are not getting a JR pass because it doesn't seem to be good value for the little we are doing.

We will take Tobu from Tokyo up to Kinugawa Onsen Station, and will probably book Green Class on the part of the journey that is JR, going Nikko to Karuizawa, and Gran Class on the way back from Karuizawa back to Tokyo.

Look forward to your thoughts and experiences.
by sdg2844  

Re: What is the 2019/20 busy train period? 2019/9/15 08:39
but my question relates to 2019/20 holiday period, which is not posted yet

Yes, it is! Let me quote the page: In 2019/2020, the travel peak is expected to take place between December 28 and 31 (especially on December 28-29) with people leaving the big cities, and between January 2 and 5 (especially January 4-5) in the opposite direction.

from Tokyo to Nikko on 1/3: Nikko will be very crowded with people doing their New Year visit to the local shrines and temples. Likewise, you can expect the trains there to be very crowded. But note that there are many trains that do not require reservations.

Nikko to Karuizawa on 1/5: January 5 can be expected to be very busy in the direction of Tokyo. However, I think you should be able to get seats for the direction of Kanazawa which can be expected to be less busy, especially if you are flexible with time of travel. Again, if you wanted to, you could also make the trip by unreserved seats (but may not find a seat).

back from Karuizawa to Tokyo on 1/7: No problem. The holidays will be over.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: What is the 2019/20 busy train period? 2019/9/15 13:12
Thanks Uji!

Just confirms we should reserve seats so we donft have to hassle with crowds.

I was on the page for busy train times just yesterday before I posted, and it still had 2018/19 times... hmmm....
by sdg2844 rate this post as useful

Re: What is the 2019/20 busy train period? 2019/9/16 04:54
It really doesn't matter what year the wesbite mentions. December 29th-30th and January 2nd-3rd are always the same every year. The calendar dates don't change.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: What is the 2019/20 busy train period? 2019/9/17 08:10
we are not getting a JR pass
In that case, book your seats early December like all the locals - you can do that online.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: What is the 2019/20 busy train period? 2019/9/17 08:24
I have booked the Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka on SmartEX before and it was a lifesaver, as we were alerted to a typhoon closure last September. I was able to change to an earlier train time online without having to wait in the massive ticket lines, and it was a huge time saver.

However, this year we are taking Tobu to/from Tokyo/Nikko, and JR to/from Tokyo/Karuizawa. As far as I know, the Karuizawa Shinkansen line canft be booked online yet. I know nothing about possibility of booking Tobu online. If either is do-able, please enlighten me!
by sdg2844 rate this post as useful

Re: What is the 2019/20 busy train period? 2019/11/19 07:11
Hakata14, but the weekends vary, so also the times when people travel vary. I know weekends aren't AS relevant in Japan, but they are still somewhat so.
by sdg2844 rate this post as useful

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