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Japan Rail Pass, train times, just to be absolutely certain

Travel Forums Asia Japan Rail Pass, train times, just to be absolutely certain

1. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 10y

sole has indicated that this thread is about Japan

Going to Japan for 10 days in a week's time and buying a 7-day Rail Pass.

Have been using this link to find train times: http://grace.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi. So if I do the search exempting the Nozomi train will the results reflect the trains we can use with our rail pass. As far as I've been able to find out from various webpages, including http://www.japanrailpass.net/, that is the case, but not 100% certain

Seems above webpage is a bit more user friendly than http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/e-norikeyin.html but search results aren't the same, as far as I can tell.

thanks
Sole

2. Posted by nickla (Respected Member 223 posts) 10y

I live in Japan and pretty much always use hyperdia.com. Thw only problem with it - and one that wont affect you - is that the prices are often inaccurate. I have yet to have a problem with the times of the trains. With ur rail pass u can indeed use 99 per cent of the trains on the website. The only exception is on certain private lines, esp near tokyo - though not entirely sure how often these will appear in your search results.

3. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 10y

Thanks a lot, no problem, I guess, with those lines near Tokyo, so far our route is: Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka - Nagoya (Inuyama) - Tokyo. So guess we're in the clear :-)

Would you also know about using visa-card, some say it's really difficult to use visa in Japan, even atms should be a problem I've heard. Is that really so? Don't really want to carry a lot of cash, and traveller's cheques I haven't used for ages, remember that it was a bit of hassle as well.

thanks

Sole

4. Posted by saffronsar (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

Hi, I always use ekitan to check for train schedules etc. What you do is enter your start station and destination station and time you wish to start your journey or estimated arrival time and there will be options of routes, prices and time taken. Pretty useful. You might want to see if it helps you.

5. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 10y

thanks, but as far as I can see Ekitan is in Japanese only, and my Japanese is a bit rusty

Hyperdia seems ok to me, just wanted to make sure that leaving out the Nozomi trains would give me a result of all trains we can use with our rail pass :-)

Thanks again

6. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

Quoting sole

Thanks a lot, no problem, I guess, with those lines near Tokyo, so far our route is: Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka - Nagoya (Inuyama) - Tokyo. So guess we're in the clear :-)

So many trains on those routes running very frequently. I never had a problem showing up and getting a train in the next 30 minutes.

Quoting sole

Would you also know about using visa-card, some say it's really difficult to use visa in Japan, even atms should be a problem I've heard. Is that really so? Don't really want to carry a lot of cash, and traveller's cheques I haven't used for ages, remember that it was a bit of hassle as well.

Visa is very hard to use, very few places accept it. ATMs can be a pain - there are so many of them, but so few that accept foreign cards. The ATMs in the post offices take international cards, that's your best bet. I also would try and find a Citibank, which works well for North Americans, but I have heard that Europeans have some trouble with them in Japan. If you go to the Tourist Information Center in the train stations when you arrive, they can usually point you to the nearest international ATM.

There are enough international ATMs, especially in the cities you have described, that I don't think you have to worry about carrying too much cash. If you are worried about carrying around too much, you can probably take out 2 or 3 days worth of cash, and make the trek to the international ATM after that. Of course, then you have to worry about international withdrawl fees...

Greg

7. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 10y

Hi Greg,

Thanks for your reply. It does seem that there are a lot of trains on those routes, so it shouldn't be a problem, did a lot of searching and checking schedules last night :-)

As for the money, a good idea to visit the TIC, will do that, I don't worry too much about withdrawal fees, that's fairly OK. Will bring some cash to last for 2-4 days and from then on will depend on my visa card. We won't really have time to go outside the "beaten track" this time, so as you say, the bigger cities shouldn't pose a lot of problems.

Can hardly wait now, starting to get quite excited about going, though it's mainly because of my son who's crazy about all Japanese :-)

Sole

8. Posted by zags (Respected Member 370 posts) 10y

Hi Sole,
When you first come to the train station, ask for a printed train schedule. I don't know if they have the printed sched. for ordinary trains because they go every few minutes, but they have printed schedule for Shinkansen. The fastest one you can use with JR Pass is Hikari (as you know you can't use JR Pass for Nozomi). Just look up to the schedule, I found it very useful.
Have a great trip!

[ Edit: Edited at Sep 3, 2006 9:23 PM by zags ]

9. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 10y

Thanks a lot Zindy,

Will do that. We have a couple of nights in Tokyo before going to Kyoto, so have some time to check things out.

Really looking forward to going now, no more than 31 hours before we're leaving ;)