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Travel Rail travel in Japan

The Cheyne

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thank you.
i've not been to Japan before, and the transport seems a bit daunting ..and expensive.
 

Glenski

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It's bound to be expensive, but show me a place on the planet in the developed world where it isn't expensive.

It really isn't all that hard to navigate, though. Bigger cities have plenty of English, and people are very willing to try answering questions. Some may even take you by the hand (literally) and show you where to go.
 

kittychan81

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You shouldn't worry, travelling around Japan is so easy and fun, the transport is excellent and people will be happy to help you. I would really recommend getting the Japan Rail Pass, it will enable you to hop on and off the Bullet Train up and down the country and is really fast! This online site sells them at the latest exchange rate and can send worldwide jrpass.com
I'd get out of Tokyo fast and really explore other areas of the country, there's so much to do!
Good luck!👍
 

travelbyrail

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JR East Pass

For anyone thinking of traveling to Japan since the Earthquake of March 11th, 2011 please the following post taken from the ACP Rail International website:

Due to the Earthquake of March 11th, 2011 and the subsequent events that have since unfolded, the East Japan Railway Company (EJR) has decided to suspend the sale of all the East Japan Rail Passes overseas including the 3 Day Pass promotion. EJR apologizes for this situation and hopes that clients understand this decision. They hope that things will be resolved and that sales will begin again shortly.
 
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teddyursa

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Hi, All,

I made a mistake in my air ticket which I could not refund or change. So now I would have to travel by train from Osaka to Yonago, Tottori, Hiroshima and then back to Osaka.

Could you help clarify or advise on:

1) I'm planning to get the JR West Sanyo Area pass. But when I googled, it seems to imply that the pass is only valid for the Sanyo main route. Yonago and Tottori are on the JR San-in line. :( Does the JR West Sanyo area pass still apply?

2) I am travelling on Nov 5 - 12. Is there a need to reserve train tickets in advance? I googled and did not find any public holidays in this period.

Many thanks!
 

Petaris

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Hello teddyursa,

Check out this link: JR Pass, JR East Pass, JR West Pass, JR Kyushu Pass, JR Hokkaido Pass

It gives details about the JR West Rail Pass.

Here is the relevant info:

JR West-Sanyou Pass
Excursion Pass for the Osaka-Okayama-Hiroshima-Hakata Area.

This pass can be used in the ordinary-class cars for 500-Series "Nozomi" and other Sanyo Shinkansen trains (reserved or non-reserved seats) while traveling in the Sanyo area to such famous sightseeing locations as Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Hakata.
Sanyo Area Pass Description

Four-day and eight-day (consecutive days) passes are available.
These passes allow unlimited use, within the designated area, of the following trains are transportation services operated by JR-West. "Nozomi", "Hikari", and "Kodama" Sanyo Shinkansen super express trains, "Haruka" limited express trains, ordinary-class cars on local trains (reserved and non-reserved seats), and the Miyajima ferry line in Hiroshima.

* When using reserved seats, you must obtain a reserved seat ticket (at no extra charge) from a JR-West ticket office "Green Window" or a TiS travel center prior to boarding the train.
Based on that info it doesn't look like you are limited to only the one line but I could be mistaken. Maybe try contacting your travel agent or whoever you are planning to get your rail pass through to see if the limitation really exists.
 

teddyursa

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Hi, Petaris,

Thanks. Actually I have asked ANA but the airline (I could purchase the JR pass via ANA since I've bought an ANA ticket to Japan) was not able to confirm if the pass could be used on JR-San'in line. So I contacted the Japan National Tourism Organization in Singapore. The person who answered my call was not able to advise as well. I've sent JNTO an email and I'm still waiting for their response.

I just didn't expect that it is so difficult to confirm if the pass could or could not be used.

Thanks again. :)
 

Bulbasaur

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I highly recommend (like so many of you already) to use a JR pass. I used one for my second holiday to Japan back in March 2011. I bought it from the same place that issued by Studio Glibli Museum ticket: My BUS.

Even when the tsunami had got the shinkansen shut down for a while mid-holiday, they got it back up so incredibly fast so our travelling back from Osaka to Tokyo did not need to be interrupted.

It was amazing. I must say, they blow the ol' UK out of the water and know how important a train service is! You have nothing to worry about when it comes to Japanese trains! 👍

It's a shame that the Yen has shot up in value since but it is understandable... we won't be going again for a while. In the meantime, I shall practice my Japanese!
 

Toritoribe

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JR West San'yo Area Pass
8 Days 30,000 Yen, 4 Days 20,000 Yen
valid for Shinkansen “Nozomi”
not valid for travel on the San'in line (i.e. not valid for travel to Yonago and Tottori)

Japan Rail Pass
7 Days 28,300 Yen(Standard Car)
not valid for Shinkansen “Nozomi”
valid for travel on the San'in line
 

Alexb

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I have not been in Japan for a long time but I have used the JR card when I was there last time which saved tons of money for me.
 

Glenski

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Alexb,
In case you haven't noticed, nobody has posted here in a long time (2 years) either. Why bother?
 

japan4everyone

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Hi there. Im planning to visit Japan in September-October and im planning to rent a car for the first week in order to visit Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto so the second week i can spend in Tokyo. I know that this may come a bit expensive but Im worried that i will get lost using a public transport. What's your suggestion?
 

Mikawa Ossan

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Expect trouble when you try to rent a car in Japan.

The airport might be easier, but several years ago I rented a car In Japan at a local Nippon Rent-a-Car, and they were very hesitant to rent to me, a foreigner, until they saw my Japanese driver's license.

You may very well not have any trouble, but if I were you, I would make certain that you learn the trains at least well enough to make them a viable back-up plan before you go. Just in case.
 

zoomingjapan

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For the places you've mentioned it wouldn't make sense to get a rental car. Public transportation in Japan is VERY easy to figure out - and usually it's also cheaper.
 

Glenski

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Public transportation is safer and easier. Unless you plan to go to some very out of the way destinations, go public transport. Those places you names will have bilingual signs. You'll also save money on getting an international driver's permit, too. Think you'll get lost just the same? Imagine trying to read a highway sign when you are going fast or at night or in bad weather. Plus, if you aren't driving, you have freedom to gawk at anything as long as it's visible.
 

japan4everyone

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that really put my mind @ ease because i was worried that it will be difficult to understand the signs and get lost amongst the routes. cheers for that :)
 

letslearn

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Hi All,
I believe this to be the best place for my question.
I have travelled in japan by various trains for specific trips, however I'm trying to plan a rail trip around japan starting and finishing in Tokyo. Initially I would like to travel south (shikoku, Kyushu) then via a clockwise route, travel north by western Honshu to Hokkaido then back to Tokyo through by the east side region. I realise that their are many JR and private railways, but I was wondering if there was a exclusive map anywhere that might be primarily for railway travel.
I know of sites that specify particular scenic lines e.g tadami line and the main shinkansen lines etc, but I'm hoping to find local lines between places that offer a better experience at a more leisurely pace. I will be in Japan next month, so even if there is a place like a railway centre etc, that would have this type of map that would be great to know. My rail trip won't be for another year so I really want to investigate some really fun and cultural places to visit.
Thanks in advance.
 

letslearn

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Those maps are amazing. That's exactly what I was hoping for. The ryoko site looks especially helpful, and having PDF files will really help me with planning, as I can print out a hard copy.
Really thank you. Sunrise seto here I come!
 

aspenx

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Hi All,
I realise that their are many JR and private railways, but I was wondering if there was a exclusive map anywhere that might be primarily for railway travel.
I don't know of any one central place for _all_ the information you're asking.

My suggestion is to get the longest JR pass you can get and refer to the overall JR map here. Even with that, your transportation is going to cost a bomb.

Anyways, what I would do with the map is to first identify the more major cities I will pass through. Then I will look up interesting places in/surrounding these cities. As convenient and well-networked as it may seem, it is not unusual to wait 2 hours or so for the next train in the more rural places (even though the trains were run by JR!). Trust me, you do not be out in the cold for hours on holiday waiting for some local train/bus just to visit/get out of one "must see" attraction. Much less in the cold of winter.

I don't know how much time you have but I've done a trip looping Tohoku in 1 month with my start/end point in Tokyo. It was extremely tiring to say the least. I don't know how long I would need if I were to loop the whole of Japan!

Good luck! And I wish I could do it too.
 

letslearn

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I don't know of any one central place for _all_ the information you're asking.

My suggestion is to get the longest JR pass you can get and refer to the overall JR map here. Even with that, your transportation is going to cost a bomb.

Anyways, what I would do with the map is to first identify the more major cities I will pass through. Then I will look up interesting places in/surrounding these cities. As convenient and well-networked as it may seem, it is not unusual to wait 2 hours or so for the next train in the more rural places (even though the trains were run by JR!). Trust me, you do not be out in the cold for hours on holiday waiting for some local train/bus just to visit/get out of one "must see" attraction. Much less in the cold of winter.

I don't know how much time you have but I've done a trip looping Tohoku in 1 month with my start/end point in Tokyo. It was extremely tiring to say the least. I don't know how long I would need if I were to loop the whole of Japan!

Good luck! And I wish I could do it too.
Well I want to do some good research into what I really want to see and do. Obviously I have to determine where I can go and how much time I will stay in an area. It may turn out to be impractical to travel to far if I am missing out on enjoying the sites.
I hope to get a list together of regions e.g Shikoku and choose some destinations. As you said it can be tiring so I might have limit my expectations. What was your favourite destination on your loop of Tohoku?
 

Glenski

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East side of Japan from Hokkaido to Tokyo may still have considerable damage from the 311 earthquake and tsunami.
 
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