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7 day green rail pass in April/May 2020/1/23 02:52
We arrive in Tokyo on 21 April and plan to travel to Kyoto on 25th, then on to Hiroshima on 28th and from there to Takayama on 1st May. We will return to Tokyo on 4th May. I assume it makes more sense to use pass from 25th April to 1st May and buy separate tickets Takayama to Tokyo rather than buy a 14 day pass?
Also will pass cover all the journeys from 25th April to 1st May?
How difficult will it be to book seats using the green rail pass given that its a busy time of year & holiday period in japan.
by Lorne (guest)  

Re: 7 day green rail pass in April/May 2020/1/23 12:02
The 7-day national pass for Tokyo -> Kyoto -> Hiroshima -> Takayama is a good option. With changes to the pass in "spring" they are looking at changing the booking in advance, but for those trips you should be able to get around ok despite golden week. The pass covers the JR network and those places are served by JR.
Returning to Tokyo, the two usual routes are either via Nagoya or Toyama. A cheaper option is bus to Matsumoto and train to Shinjuku/Tokyo.
If your are arriving/departing Narita on the 4th the 14-day round trip N'Ex ticket is good value.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: 7 day green rail pass in April/May 2020/1/24 03:25
Golden Week is April 29th to May 5th this year. I have traveled during golden week, and I was glad that I had a JR green pass, especially while catching a train out of Hiroshima. I saw three schools worth of students (different uniforms) sitting in rows on the Shinkansen platform, waiting to board a bullet train.

Even with the heavy traffic on golden week I just walked up to the ticket counter in Hiroshima, and got a first class ticket on the next JR train. I did not realize how booked the trains were for basic seats, until I got to the platform.

One of the reasons I get and enjoy having a green pass, is for limited express wide view trains. A wide view train has a 1st class car at the front of the train, an a forward view for the passengers. My favorite trains are from Okayama across the the Seto Inland Sea to Shikoku, and from Shin-Osaka Station down to KiiKatsurra Station. I have been told that the trains to Takayama are also wide view, and I would advise you to look into getting seats 1C and 1D on the train. If you exchange your pass at the airport when you arrive, and you know when you are planning to go to Takayama, book these seat immediately.

I would think about getting a discount ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto, and then having a 7 day green ticket when you travel to Hiroshima, to cover the heavier traffic of golden week.

Finally, If you are expecting the JR pass to be a golden travel ticket, you are going to be disappointed. I have never heard a chorus of angels singing, when the JR clerk handed me my pass, and when I left the building, clouds did not part, and I was not illuminated by a beam of sunlight.

Most cities have private local transportation systems, and so subways, bus lines, trolleys, cable cars, ferries, and ropeways may not be covered. There area also private train lines that compete with JR, which will also not be covered. The ferry to Miyajima Island is covered by the JR pass, so there are a few exceptions. I also think there are a few JR busses that are covered, too. There are also some tracks owned by private train lines, which JR uses. Getting on a JR train that uses these tracks will have a use fee, that the conductor will collect. Tokyo to Nara, and Kyoto to Amanohashidate are two examples of this.

It is sometimes hit and miss. Looking at when you are traveling, you might want to do a day trip to Mount Koya, Nara(temples), Osaka Namba(shopping, eating), and Yoshino(cherry blossoms) from Kyoto. The JR pass can get you to two of the three. Getting to Mount Koya requires travel on a Nankai private line, which is covered by a World Heritage Pass, or a Kansai Thru Pass. Travel to Mount Yoshino is by Kintetsu private line, and is covered by a Kintetsu rail pass, except for the one day pass.

Nara and Osaka Namba are both covered by the JR pass but Ifm going to mention that the Kintetsu and Kansai Thru passes will also cover busses in both areas, so visiting these areas may be aided by a non JR pass.

I believe the best example of what is not covered by a JR pass is going to the Kansai Thru pass official website, and looking at the map, and list of covered systems.

I hope this rant has been helpful to you. Lots of the places I mentioned have pages here at Japan Guide. I would suggest looking at these pages, as well as the ggetting aroundh pages, in the cities you are traveling to. Good Luck, in planning your trip.
by ebaychucky311 rate this post as useful

Re: 7 day green rail pass in April/May 2020/1/24 03:38
Oops... Itfs Tokyo to Nikko (not Nara) tha goes over Tobu private line train tracks. If you do plan to visit Nikko, look into the many flavors of Tobu-Nikko train passes.

Japan Guide has a lot of information on visiting Japan, and I am dropping private train lines, and possible locations, to give you ideas to explore at Japan Guide. You may not have thought about going to Mount Yoshino, which has about a thousand cherry trees, at four different elevations up the mountain. Thatfs 4000 cherry blossom trees in total.

Good Luck, in planning your trip.
by ebaychucky311 rate this post as useful

Re: 7 day green rail pass in April/May 2020/1/26 01:34
Thanks for all the info. One last question, with green passes, will it be easy to bring our luggage ( 1 large case & 1 handcase each) with us in the carriage Or should they be sent on by hotel to next destination?
by Lorne (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 7 day green rail pass in April/May 2020/1/26 04:48
On the two airport express trains, there was a special area for additional luggage. There is also overhead racks on every Shinkansen and limited express trains, and behind the end seats.

I have always traveled with a large suitcase, a small suitcase, and an overnight bag. The main problem is local trains which may not have overhead racks, especially at rush hour, when there is standing room only.

Once again, good luck planning your trip.
by ebaychucky311 rate this post as useful

Re: 7 day green rail pass in April/May 2020/1/26 06:01
Hi!

I believe sometime in May, possibly the first, all larger suitcases must have a reservation if you wish to take them on certain shinkansen lines.

Please see here:
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2274.html

and
here
https://matcha-jp.com/en/7887?type=news

So depending on the size of your large bag, you won't be able to take it on the shinkansen in May depending on your itinerary. I believe, the Hokuriku and some of the Tohoku shinkansen lines have actual large suitcase luggage storage racks from what I remember. I've not needed to use them since I tend to forward.

I am a huge fan of luggage forwarding services, probably more so than a lot of other frequent posters to this forum. I love the convenience of not needing to carry my suitcases on local transport once I get to my destination. If it's a very short trip, that is one thing or a line I know is frequently not packed, but I don't ever like taking anything beyond a small purse on a local bus.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 7 day green rail pass in April/May 2020/1/26 17:36
Thanks everyone, all replies have been great help
by Lorne (guest) rate this post as useful

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