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Green car worth it? 2020/5/20 10:13
Hi, i just booked a flight ticket to japan next year for about 38 days! The plan is to discover from top to bottom. Sapporo to Fukuoka.my question is, is the green car JR Pass worth it? if so, I will purchase two to satisfy my entire trip. feedback would be great, thanks!
by Bran85  

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/20 11:01
The normal cars are already very comfortable. I personally don't think the extra cost for the Green car is worth it.

Note that you shouldn't just buy nationwide JR Passes to fully cover the length of your trip. Work out your itinerary first, then add up costs and research all the passes available. You may find that a combination of regional passes, and perhaps even having some days not covered by a rail pass (e.g. if you stay in one city for a few days - the passes pay off for long-distance travel, not within cities) may be more cost-effective. This website has a comprehensive list of the rail passes available, and assessments of each, under "Plan a Trip > Transportation > Rail Passes".

It takes time to work this out, but it worth it if it saves you money! I usually use an Excel spreadsheet to plot all my planned rail trips, then look at total prices based on no pass, nationwide pass, or combination of rail/bus passes. For my last trip of 3 weeks, after a lot of research I ended up using a combination of no pass (buying tickets individually, usually through the SmartEx app), a bus pass for one region (trains were less frequent and less direct), and no rail pass. That combination was cheaper than buying a 21-day, or even 14-day, nationwide JR Pass.
by / (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/20 12:19
The seats are slightly better. My reason for getting a green JR Pass is for easier booking, and for the front seats on wide view limited express trains.

I traveled during golden week, and a lot of people travel during that week. When I was in Hiroshima, I walked up to the counter with my green pass, and just booked the next Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka station. When I walked up to the platform, I found at least two schools of students, waiting to board. If I had a regular pass, I am sure that I would have waited two or three trains to board. There was a flower festival in Hiroshima during golden week, which included a large Yosakoi Parade.

The second reason for a Green Pass, is to book a seat on the front row of a wide view limited express train. The first car of the train, with the engineer, is a first class car. Try to get seats 1C or 1D, because the train engineer sits in front of 1A and 1B. You will be able to see out the front of the train. I enjoyed the trip across the Seto Inland Sea from Okayama, and the trip along the coast from Shin-Osaka Station to KiiKatsurra Station. On both trips, there are many tunnels to pass through. I have also heard the trip from Nagoya to Takayama is also very scenic.

This was a little less obvious, but the first class cars tended to be closest to the elevators, and it was slightly easier to get to them.

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

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/20 17:28
If you have room in your budget and prefer to have your own armrest (or at least your space on a wide armrest), then it is worth it.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/20 20:38
It really depends on the type of tourist you are. If you have a slightly tight budget - then it's probably not worth it.

For me - if I have a reasonably large amount of long distance travel to do - then I would consider the Green Car. The Shinkansen green car is a bit nicer, but it also tends to be less crowded, easier to book and less likely have people standing in the aisles if it's a long weekend. Note that you can still stay in the normal car with the green car pass.

As someone said - the slightly slower express trains such as the one between Fukuoka to Nagasaki or Hakodate to Sapporo is really where the difference is. It's also an odd thing to say - but sometimes look for cheap flights between locations which are FAR from one another. For example - if you wanted to go to Sapporo to Fukuoka.

by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/21 01:05
It depends on your budget and on how you like to travel. The bullet train, in general, is already very comfortable and has a good travel experience. But if you are looking for the best comfort, spacious train cars, and seats, facility to book your seat and some goodies, then the Green Pass can fit better to you!

I recommend you to take a look at all the Green Pass' benefits before making a decision.

I wish you an amazing trip! :)
by Mark (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/21 06:34
it is nicer in the Green car, less crowded, usually close to escalators etc. We used to go green car all the time. But ignoring cost, tbh I prefer the ordinary reserved cars. The green cars usually have businessmen in them or wealthy Japanese. The reserved cars or non reserved have more of the locals enjoying holidays. It is nicer among that enthusiasm.

I would say though that for the wideview cars, if the green car is the first car that is the one you want to be in as you can look out the front and spy on the driver. It is quite interesting watching them.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/21 07:09
There are a number of advantages - larger seats, more room, closer to escalators (done for a reason) and generally a better travel experience. If you are doing a lot of train travel across 38 days, then those small differences add up.
The other issue mentioned above is to use a pass or not. Over the years travelling extensively in Japan we have moved away from using rail passes because the main routes were becoming too unpleasant filled with tourists with way too much luggage, limits of available trains, and not being able to book in advance (full trains occur more than you might expect). For many schedules the cost of buying individual tickets is not much higher than the rail pass cost (and there are discount tickets too), but the flexibility and being able to secure seats ahead of other people has distinct advantages.
Having said that, if you are doing really long distances in a short time, the savings do add up pretty quickly.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/21 07:43
I agree with that. We travel a lot during our trips but more and more it is local trains, usually no leg of a trip more than 50km. We havent bought a rail pass in the last 12 trips.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/21 10:19

The plan is to discover from top to bottom. Sapporo to Fukuoka
Without knowing your full itinerary, I would say JR PASS would be a good choice. Green car or no Green car, if money's no object, why choose a "second best" ?
by .. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/21 11:15
There are a couple of things I donft like about the green pass. One is the stupid footrests on the green cars in the shinkansen trains. For one thing, I just do not find them very comfortable. For another (and this rarely gets mentioned), they get in the way if you want to keep a piece of baggage such as a backpack or large tote bag down on the floor in front of you, which I kind of like to do. Otherwise the seats are comfortable, generally better than the seats in the regular cars.

The other thing I donft like (actually a bigger issue for me) is that you cannot use green cars without reservations. So if you want to be spontaneous and just hop on a train, you have to use a regular car, non-reserved, which is basically a waste of the money you paid for the green pass.

That said, I will almost always get a green pass. I take a lot of train rides in Japan, many of them for the intrinsic recreational value as much as for the need to get from one place to another. I like long day trips that combine scenic train riding with a modest amount of sightseeing at some destination, and the hours spent on the train are usually much more pleasurable in the green car. The regular cars are typically more crowded, and they definitely tend to have more obnoxious people (both foreigners and native Japanese). For me, the green pass is absolutely worth the extra money. But itfs very much a personal choice, and for some people (and some planned itineraries), the money would much better be spent on something else.

I sometimes find myself with a few days left on a green pass while I am in Tokyo at the end of a trip, and I have to say, using it on the commuter trains (such as the Tokaido line) that have green cars is really great. Itfs a terrific way to get to Kamakura, for example. Ifve also used it to ride the Narita Express from Tokyo to Shinjuku a couple of times, and although I was a little embarrassed making the seat reservation, I absolutely loved the ride. (Regular car would have been good enough for that, but I had the green car to myself, at rush hour no less, and it was quite a thrill.) I would never buy a nationwide JR pass just to use in Tokyo, of course, but if youfre going to have a few days left on one, itfs particularly nice if itfs a green pass...
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/21 11:54
Has someone mentioned the fact that, in Green Cars especially in the Shinkansen, a cabin attendant will come around to accept requests to buy and bring merchandise to your seat, such as food? This does not happen in the ordinary-class section, and is very handy if you are traveling with small children or if you have trouble walking.

A lot of my (Japanese resident) middle-age friends prefer to book a Green Car seat for its luxury, but when they find out that the ordinary-class seats on that day happen to be spacey enough to sit with your legs stretched out while keeping your luggage on other unoccupied seats, they realize their Green Car seat wasn't necessary. On the other hand, when the train is packed, we would pay extra to move to the Green Car section on the spot for some peace and comfort.

So, like others have mentioned, it really depends on how you'd like to travel, and you should always remember that you can pay on the spot to move to a Green Car seat (although it's cheaper to pay in advance).
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/22 15:52
Out of interest.. could someone please calculate /tell me the difference in cost for the Nozomi Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima..please. I mean the difference in cost from Ordinary reserved seat..against a Green Car Reserved seat?...thank you
by Barrieaw rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/22 16:23
You can easily find the price differences online, by using a website such as Hyperdia (hyperdia.com/en).
by / (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/22 16:34

by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/24 09:00
Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima - regular seat \10,630, green car \14,290. It's about 80 - 85 minutes. I wouldn't bother with green car, unless you like wasting money.
by tt7 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/24 10:45
Thank you 'Guest' ..for the costing you have posted... I agree the extra cost is not justified...thanks again!
by Barrieaw rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/24 15:45
@ Barrieaw
If your question is linked to the original question about the green JPR, then note that you cannot take Nozomi with any JRP. Even the green one.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/24 16:04
If you travel from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima, I recommend to reserve an ordinary seat on a Sakura train. They are as spacious as Green car seats (in rows of 4 instead of 5 seats), and personally I think they are even better than the Green car seats because they don't have the stupid foot rests that Green car seats have.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Green car worth it? 2020/5/25 06:56
Yes, the Sakura normal seats are one of the best offerings around, and the green "car" on those services is very small. Plus the link to/from Hiroshima from Shin-Osaka is one of the trains that suffers from lack of capacity.
However, using Green Car is not a waste of money for some of the trips around Japan - as covered above, it depends on the traveler and the extra fee can be worth it. For my 2018 spring season I know the green car was a welcome change travelling across the month of June after ten weeks of ordinary car travel.
To provide a counter example, the Marine Liner between Okayama and Takamatsu, the non-reserved cars (like an ordinary commuter train) are fine for the short trip, while the reserved cars (and green cars) have limited space and very little room for luggage (forget the idea of over-head racks). I've used all three classes on that train, and for me, it probably depends on the day and schedule/flexibility is a contributing factor.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

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