JR Kansai Area Pass : FAQs

  1. How do I validate my JR Kansai Area Pass?
  2. What is the difference between Ordinary and Green?
  3. What is the difference between a Super Express, Limited Express and Express train?
  4. Do I need to make reservations?
  5. How does the cost of a Japan Rail Pass compare to P2P tickets?
  6. When are the busy travel periods?
  7. How do I identify a station name during travel?
  8. What dining facilities are available on board the trains?
  9. Are there any luggage restrictions?

1. How do I validate my Japan Rail Pass?

Rail Plus will issue an exchange voucher which must be presented in Japan, at any JR Station that has a Japan Rail Pass Exchange Office. You will receive two Exchange Order vouchers labelled A and B (located in top right hand corner) which must be presented locally within 3 months of issue date. At that time you must specify the date you want to start using the Pass. It can be any date within one month of the date the JR Kansai Area Pass is exchanged.

Important: At the time of exchange you will be asked to fill out a short application form and show your passport with the temporary visitor stamp that you would have received on entry into Japan. You must have your passport with you at the time of the exchange. A photocopy is not acceptable and without your passport the exchange cannot be made.

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2. What is the difference between Ordinary and Green?

The difference is in the comfort factor similar to airline seating (economy class as opposed to business class). Configuration is 2 seats on each side of the carriage with a middle aisle.

A trolley service is available in both classes offering a range of snack food items and beverages, which must be purchased (not included in the cost of the Japan Rail Pass).

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3. What is the difference between a Super Express, Limited Express and Express train?

The difference is the number of stops the trains makes.

E.g. the Super Express from Tokyo to Kyoto will make limited stops however an ordinary Express train on the same route may stop 15-20 times.

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4. Do I need to make reservations?

In Green class, reservations are compulsory on Shinkansen and most Limited Express and Ordinary Express trains. Ordinary class has both reserved and non-reserved seating.

There is no charge to reserve seats. Reservations must be made in Japan and can be performed at any JR Rail office or at a sales office of a JR associated travel agency. At the time of making a reservation, you must present your pass to obtain your reservation ticket.

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5. How does the cost of a Japan Rail Pass compare to P2P tickets?

Purchasing individual rail tickets in Japan can become quite expensive.

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6. When are the busy travel periods?

  • December 25th to January 5th: The New Year holiday period is the most popular travel time for Japanese people, for vacations and returns to hometowns areas.
  • April 29th to May 5th: There is a large-scale of travel throughout Japan for leisure and recreation.
  • August 13th to 15th: Another time for traditional travel to hometown areas, called the Obon season.

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7. How do I identify a station name during travel?

All stations have their name in both Japanese and English.

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8. What dining facilities are available on board the trains?

Shinkansen trains offer either a dining car or buffet car. Both western and Japanese food is available. Most long distance train services also offer mobile trolley services offering box lunches of local specialty Japanese food as well as snacks and drinks.

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9. Are there any luggage restrictions?

Yes:

  • Travellers may bring up to two pieces of luggage on board free of charge
  • Each piece of luggage must not exceed 250 cm (total length x width x height)
  • Length must not exceed 2 meters
  • Weight must be no more than 30 kilograms (items such as umbrellas, handbags, etc. are excluded

    Travelling from late May 2020 (details still be confirmed & are subject to change)

    • All shinkansen (bullet train) passengers are required to reserve storage space for extra-large luggage 
    • Reservations are free of charge
    • Extra large luggage is any item that whose length, width, and height total 160-250 cm. 

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