We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Reserving seats for rail pass

Which Kyoto hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Brisbane
Level Contributor
43 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Reserving seats for rail pass

We are using a 7 day rail pass from Nosawa to Takayma to Kyoto and finally to Tokyo. Our last leg is on 30/12/13 - should we reserve seats on all the legs or just the one to Tokyo from Kyoto? If we are not arriving in Japan till 17/12/13 we will have enough time to reserve seats? I have heard you can't reserve seats outside of Japan and I am concerned about not being able to get on the train for our last leg and not even sure about the other ones.

Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
7,895 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

Togari Nozawaonsen station to Naoetsu station : seat reservation not possible

Naoetsu to Takayama station : seat reservation possible, free

Takayama to Kyoto station : seat reservation possible, free

Kyoto to Tokyo : seat reservation possible, free

Even when all seats have been booked out by then, you can always get on "Unreserved Cars". You might or might not find a seat there.

www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/search.html…

Tokyo and California
Destination Expert
for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
Level Contributor
23,477 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

Reserve seats once you get to Japan. You'll be just fine.

Adelaide
Level Contributor
100 posts
79 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

Hi Debbie,

Don't worry it is all so easy in Japan. We have just returned from Japan also had 7 day Japan Rail pass. We had 'ordinary class'. Just turned up at the station on the day we wished to travel and was allocated a ticket with reserved carriage and seat number literally 15 minutes before travel! it is all really easy and you will be given options of what time you wish to travel. I recommend choosing 30 minutes prior to actual train leaving time to find the gate ect without panic. We only 'Just' made our Tokyo-kyoto train!

I have travelled extensively but was expecting the train in japan to be a challenge just findind the exhange office then getting tickests ect. but is really easy.

Japan is truly a fabulous place, enjoy!

Melbourne,Australia
Level Contributor
837 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

As in the previous post train travel using the JR pass was easy, despite the fact thet we are very inexperienced travellers. We reserved seats whenever possible. We used Hyperdia to check train timetables and wrote down the train we wanted to reserve tickets for. This overcame communcation problems if little English was not spoken. We usually reserved tickets for the next leg of our trip when we arrived at a destination and had plenty of time ,as there are often queues at the ticket offices and sometimes you end up at the wrong office, particularly in the big stations. Also , as mentioned above, leave yourself time to find gates, check you have the right train and perform any transfers needed. Hyperdia suggests times but these were very tight if you didn't know where you were going

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
155 posts
361 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

I just got my 14-day pass and the sellers said that I cannot reserve, that there are 2 cars in the front and I just show up and there are always seats available. Is this true? It sounds like I can make reservations. I have a busy, tight schedule, so want to make sure I get all the trains I need. Thank you.

Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
7,895 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

Here you go http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html

Melbourne,Australia
Level Contributor
837 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

As on the link above, you certainly can make FREE reservations and as most cars are reserved it generally makes sense to do so if you can.

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
Level Contributor
22,861 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

>> that there are 2 cars in the front and I just show up and there are always seats

On most trains yes. There are some trains that are 100% reserved such as Narita Express and certain Shinkansen to the north-east and there is no unreserved car.

>> I have a busy, tight schedule

maybe the pass is not right for you. Nozomi trains for instance are much more frequent than the Hikari. You can't get on Nozomi with a rail pass.

Edited: 6:22 pm, May 12, 2013
Tokyo and California
Destination Expert
for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
Level Contributor
23,477 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

>>>I just got my 14-day pass and the sellers said that I cannot reserve, that there are 2 cars in the front and I just show up and there are always seats available. Is this true?<<

Your seller is mistaken. Who was that? You certainly can make reservations with the pass. Some trains are reserved seats only and others such as Hikari Shinkansen trains have 5 unreserved cars. It all depends on the particular train.

Adelaide
Level Contributor
100 posts
79 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Reserving seats for rail pass

Hi Harlan8,

I was lead to believe like you that you could not reserve seats on the shinkansen unless had a 'green' japan rail pass (1st class). We had an 'ordinary pass' and we used the Hikari trains and each time we were given a ticket with a 'reserved seating'. We did not request this it was just given automatically at the ticket office. We did not pre-reserve anything and i am not sure if we were just lucky but none of the Hikari trains were full. There were plenty of seats.