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Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/7 10:34
One thing that is really nice about riding Green is that the cars tend to be much, much, less crowded. I've been to Japan numerous times, and I've almost always used a Green JR Pass (unless I am not traveling long distances). To me, and my family, it is the peace and quiet that exists in Green Cars that is a contrast to the atmosphere in Ordinary Class. On more than several trips, we have had a whole car nearly unoccupied while we travel. During such trips, I sometimes walk through the train, and it is such a contrast, when one goes from Ordinary to Green to Ordinary.

I guess we might miss out on a random encounter with a really nice stranger which makes your day. But we would miss out on the screaming of a couple of toddlers being scolded by their mother, who is, at the same time, trying to quiet her 9 month old.

I don't mean this to sound elitist, but this kind of solitude is priceless. As has been said above, if you can afford it, go for it.

Dale
by Oenophile Angler rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/7 11:09
There's a big mistake in there somewhere, as Amyranth's calculations don't seem to add up, and there's too many red flags in the (very basic) itinerary that he outlined. It's not important though, and his basic message has some good points to keep in mind.

For example, the 7 day pass doesn't fully pay off for a trip between Tokyo-Kyoto and back by a few thousand yen. You have to use slightly more than the major travel to make it full use of it.

And the exchange rate does have a small influence on the value of a JR Pass prices that depends on how far in advance you purchased it and especially who you bought it from. Note that the exchange rates that the JR Pass seller apply are not necessarily the same as what you can exchange your cash for, and this could have a measurable effect on the value. It's not really an apples to apples comparison.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/7 12:21
i think getting the green pass is a waste of money, but that my opinion because you spend most of your time riding public transportation than shinkansen,
by Seiko (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/7 16:49
I used a green pass too. Worth every yen. Only once there were long lines when there was an accident and my train arrived two hours late and I missed all my connection trains and tried to rebook as everyone else.

The extra leg room is nice, the wider seats are nice, you always get a window seat and sometimes you are the only person in the carriage.

I quite liked being alone for a change in Japan.

Do to me having the JR pass, I made a 7 hour trip from Osaka to Tokyo and back just to see Fujisan because when I was in Tokyo and Hakone, there always was bad weather. Imagine being in Hakone and not seeing Fujisan...

Only once did I think I did not get a window seat, because the seat was C. But to my surprise, it was a line of single seats on one side of the train (which you could also look out the front)

If I ever get to go to Japan again, I will use a green pass again.
by fatgermanbloke rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/7 21:36
Green Pass: no thanks. Regular JR seats are perfectly large enough. Much more legroom than regular seats in the UK (speaking as a 6ft+ person). I'd rather spend that extra cash on the other great things Japan has to offer.

Wifi on trains: no thanks. I'm on holiday. There's enough free wifi in hotels to cover any needs I may have. I'm on holiday in an amazing country, having spent a considerable amount of money to get there, and I may not have chance to come back for a long time...I don't need to mess around on the internet. Facebook will carry on without me just fine.

"Free" coffee: nothing is free. It's all built into the cost of your ticket. I'd rather a cheaper ticket and buy my own drinks. (Free beer and bento...now THAT's an idea ;0)). But seriously, can you imagine how long it would take for the trolley to get down the train if all the green car passengers were having free coffee?

Japanese trains are pretty much the best I've ever travelled on (I've been across most of Europe on trains, and some of them are arguably comparable, but none have been distinctly better).

Not being able to reserve in advance could possibly be a worry if you're travelling in very busy times, but we've been twice over Christmas and New Year and had no problems. Once you've activated your JR Pass, you can make reservations for your whole trip if you want to.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/7 21:45
The Sakura seats are 2+2, so if you do much travel on JR West's area of influence, it's like getting a Green Car service without paying for it!
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/7 23:49
Thank you, I agree with you Winter Visitor.

pink pass, blue, pass purple pass, aqua pass, who cares, let me be able to sleep on the train on long ride and let me get a window seat with the power plug in that all I care about. Plus itfs cheaper if you bring your own food and drink.

The lovely ladies who work on the train wearing those cute uniforms, I was that sucker who was buying stuff from them even when I didnft need themclol

The only thing I didnft like about the JR Pass, all JR Pass users have to make reservations, I couldnft get ride the non reservations car, I had to wait once and miss a train I needed meet someone in Yamaguchi and I miss an event because of that.

@ Winter Visitor, thanks for comparing Japan and Europe I always wanted to know which was better
@John B, JR West is much better than the JR East, JR West website is better than JR Eastclol
by SeikoSKO rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/8 00:24
To clarify: you DO NOT have to make reservations if using a JR Pass.

If you want to make reservations, then a JR Pass allows you to make them without any additional charge (which can be very useful in some situations). You can also make reservations up until quite late before the train departs, which is good.

But you can just jump into any unreserved carriage with a JR Pass if you want to.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/8 01:09
Thank for letting me know... i wish i knew this, i asked them about this more than once, first time was earily morning when i was trying to make it into Yamaguchi at 10am leaving Osaka at 6am they told me you must make a reservations they pointed to the TOS on the pass for JR Pass users. i'm gonna have to look at my old JR Pass TOS. maybe we (the ticket person and me) didnt understand we each other.

i was happy taking the unreserved car just get on and go a few times, next time i return to Japan. i can just hop on the shinkansen and go.

i ask a person
by SeikoSKO rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/8 05:25
SeikoSKO, Yesterday I had a seat reservation for the Asama 509 From Tokyo Station to Omiya. It was the new E7 series and I wanted to ride it just for kicks. When I got to Omiya, I could have just as easily moved to another, unreserved car, stay on the train and made my way all the way to Nagano if I felt like it. That is the freedom of the pass,

Two years ago, a friend of mine dropped me off at Nagoya Station a bit too late to make my reserved seat train. I mean, I got to the last step, running like mad, just to see the doors close and the train pull away. I waited 3 minutes for the next one and took the first unreserved seat I could find.

The reason you'd want to make a reservation, and I always do, is to secure passage on the train without and queuing up in line on a "first come, first serve" basis and worrying if there are seat available.

I'm no JR Pass expert, as I've only done it 4 times, but I've gone as far north as Sapporo and taken trains with the pass from there all the way to Hakata (Fukuoka). This time around I've used 38,000yen worth of rides for 28,000 yen, but there have been times when, for 45,000 yen, I've taken 135,000 yen worth of rides. I have a treasure trove of JR tickets at home I've kept from every time I've visited. I'm getting ready for my Hayabusa Gran Class trip from Tokyo to Ichinoseki as I type. Going on my annual visits to Kesennuma, and Ishinomaki, with Minamisanriku in between.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/8 06:00
Another tip:

I stay in the Shinagawa area every time I visit Tokyo because of its ease of connections to Narita, Haneda and the Shinkansen system. With a Jr Pass, you can bypass all the local (i.e. rush-hour Yamanote) trains into Tokyo Station if you're heading to the Tohoku Shinkansen by jumping on any in-bound Shinkansen. It does make a big difference if you have luggage, as all the people will be already seated and no one else will be boarding the train at the last stop before the terminus. I even used the pass to get onto a Nozomi after a Giants game at Tokyo Station to go back to Shinagawa, so I was using the bullet train as a commuter train between the two stations. Since all you do is show your pass to the attendant at the manned gate, he has no clue as to your intentions. It's only when the train is underway that they check tickets and seating. But if you're not seated, then they can't really check. Granted, the Nozomi was a fluke. It was the first train leaving, so I took it.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Some thoughts on my first JR pass experience 2014/5/8 21:33
Hey guy thanks.

now i know i can just hop on the unreserved car and go without having to make a reservation.i always start my travel 5 or 6am depending how far im traveling. now i dont have to stop at the ticket center anymore unless i need to make a reservation.
by SeikoSKO rate this post as useful

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