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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 2A Japan Rail Pass

I was planning to post my latest Travails of Trump, but last night thought, why don't I shorten some of them, and publish more than one.  So today, you will get four, with the final one being ON THE MATTER OF AMERICAN BEING GREAT, AGAIN.  Anytime you see a letter after the day, that means there be will another one or more.  Just scroll down.

First, about Japan Rail Pass, you must get a voucher before you leave your country (Well, on a trial period, not true today and until March 31, 2018, for you can now get this pass at very large stations for a slightly higher price.).  Approximate cost (depending on exchange rate):
  • One week:  $350 for First Class (Green Car),  $265 Second Class
  • Two weeks:  $570 FC (GC), $420 SC
  • Three weeks:  $750 FC (GC), $540 SC
A child (6-11) pass is half the above price, which means 5 and less get on for free.  There are all kinds of rules, but I look at one week as just the cost of one night at the Tokyo Westin and three weeks as one night at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo.  It's very convenient, and as the cost is reasonable, splurge, travel in the Green Car (which is not colored green).  You can catch any Japan Railway (JR) train, bus and two ferries (to Miyajima and Miyajimaguchi).  You can't use your pass for the various city subways.

How convenient?  Say you want an adventure for dinner.  Use your pass to go to Nagano, which is 150 miles from Tokyo.  A bullet train will take you there in an hour and 40 minutes.  You can party on the train...and sleep in your seat coming back.  

If you miss your train, just jump on the next, or get a reservation for the next train.  They don't penalize you for missing trains, and don't seem to care.  

I thus yesterday arranged to get my Japan Rail Pass at Shinjuku Station.  If you follow my lead, take the East Exit, make a right turn and 50 yards of walk to the left will bring you to (I get lost every time):


I've never seen such a long line before.  I had to wait for an hour.  Across the walkway is where you can then get your ticket reservations:


I had about a dozen legs, and the effort took another half an hour.  Cherry Blossom weekends are a real pain to get Green Car seats.  But you can stand in line and sit in the unreserved trains.  After more than 25 passes, I've never yet had to do this.  Next as Day 2B:  Hachiko and Shibuya Station.
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