The third — and likely final — video in my Japan travel series involves a how-to for Japanese train reservations. Why final? I’m getting out of Dodge soon, so I wanted to get one more helpful video beforehand. It’s also getting tiresome, innit?
Anyway, the photo below shows a variety of train tickets acquired through the use of the JR East Rail Pass (Tohoku Area). If you’d like a comprehensive look at that pass, you can read my review in recent post.
Fortunately, there are different methods that can be used to make Japanese train reservations. You can try the online option; however, I haven’t tried that process yet.
There’s also the irritating albeit simplest method of showing up at the station and booking there. Unless you’re at the ticket office right around opening or closing, lines at hubs like Tokyo, Shinjuku, Kyoto, and Hakata (Fukuoka) are miserably slow. On the other hand, you might find a station employee who speaks English (or to a lesser extent, Chinese/Korean). Plus, you can just show screenshots of the train you want, and swipe your credit card.
But if you want to firewalk with me on the wild side, and attempt the Japanese train reservation machines, that’s what this video is about.
In addition to Japanese, the machines have English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), and Korean.
They’re really best if you already have a rail pass. My advice would be to shove the rail pass into the machine before doing anything else. It reads your pass, and eliminates superfluous options; that’s a bonus right there.
There are a lot of screens to get through — hence, the video — but it can save a lot of time as versus waiting at the ticket office.
When you’re passing through the ticket gate, don’t forget to put it all tickets when entering. And when exiting, what if you want to keep the ticket(s) as a souvenir? Head to the stationmaster (waiting by one side of the ticket gates), point to the ticket(s), and say omochikaeri kudasai (お持ち帰り下さい). Basically, it means “to-go, please.” They’ll stamp it to cancel it, and that’s that.