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Yavianice

Japan Rail Pass updates for 2020

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Yavianice

There are going to be some changes to the Japan Rail Pass this year, starting in April, in time for the olympics

 

  • New website for ordering Japan Rail Passes; No more exchange orders. Before you had to go to some website (sometimes shady inflated priced ones) and buy an exchange order with expensive shipping (so it won't get lost), keep the exchange order, and then fill out all the details when you get to Japan in the Exchange Office. No more. Now you just buy it on the new (unannounced) website, pick it up from the JR office when you arrive.
  • New reservation system. People can now use ticket machines to make reservations and don't need to rely on a JR travel office. This goes in tandem with the new luggage reservation system required starting in May this year on the Tokaido - Sanyo shinkansen.
  • Ability to use ticket gates. Now Japan Rail Pass users can use automatic ticket gates and don't need to show their pass when they enter the train station. This was already possible with the Japan Rail Pass Kyushu.

 

Kinda curious if they are going to update anything else; one can only hope... *cough* ability to use Nozomi trains *cough*

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ben_issacs

Yaviance,

On Nozomis and the one in Kyushu, perhaps three cars reserved for RP users, one greenie, two ordinary, but that could result in loss of revenue.

Regards, 

Bill,

Melbourne.

 

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Yavianice

@ben_issacs I don't get it? Are there concrete plans to allow RP users to use the Nozomi's?

 

I don't like the fact that (for example) Nozomi's also run the last trains. Turning them to Hikari's or whatever, or do 1-2 cars for RP users, would already help a lot.

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katoftw

They ain't huge changes.  But at least they make the JRP usage a little more user friendly.  JR West already does all things already for their passes.

 

But for the national pass it will free up the movement at manned gates as you can use fare gates instead.  Buying online etc isn't much of a change.  Still gotta go through the exchange process.  Being able to use ticket machines instead of going to ticket windows and/or service counters should save much time.  Those windows and counters just just so busy these days.

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Yavianice

@katoftw Maybe the exchange process is streamlined like they are for the reservation pickups? E.g. pay online, go to the JR exchange office, show your creditcard you purchased it with and your passport with the visa in it. Saves maybe 5 minutes instead of writing everything down at the exchange office, and avoids the hassle of not losing your exchange order since there isn't one etc.

 

I am curious though, does the JR pass as a ticket that can go through the ticket machine not wear after a while, especially on the 21 day pass? Besides it being much easier to lose/destroy accidentally (folds etc.)

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chadbag

Hopefully this does not lead to more expensive passes.  I've found the competition online to be quite high and have found a few sellers that usually come through with better pricing, free Fedex (US) delivery, etc.  The new system won't need delivery but maybe you end up paying "list" price and not some discounted price the online seller has (due to lowering their own margin to get the sale (?) ).

 

Hopefully all the bugs are worked out before our next trip in December 2020.

 

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Yavianice

Online sellers do discounts? Didn't know.

 

I always purchase them in the HIS japanese travel agency near me (I pick them up from there, also) which always has lower prices than the first few hits on google (by about 10-20 euro per pass).

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katoftw
6 minutes ago, Yavianice said:

@katoftw and avoids the hassle of not losing your exchange order since there isn't one etc.

My understanding is there will still be something you have to take in to exchange for you pass.  But buying directly online means an emailed version etc etc.

 

Instead of finding a specific approved retailer, some online or you have to drive to etc. And then getting the order mailed out to you.

 

JR West's version is just a emailed order that you print out yourself.

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Yavianice

@katoftw I dunno. We will find out I guess and I will post more about it if I know more. I'll be ordering another set of JR passes in April anyway.

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chadbag
1 minute ago, Yavianice said:

Online sellers do discounts? Didn't know.

 

I always purchase them in the HIS japanese travel agency near me (I pick them up from there, also) which always has lower prices than the first few hits on google (by about 10-20 euro per pass).

 

They don't all sell at the same price, right?  So the ones selling for less are discounting it.  You yourself said that the HIS japanese travel agency near you is cheaper than the online hits by Google.  They are offering a discount.

 

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chadbag
3 minutes ago, katoftw said:

My understanding is there will still be something you have to take in to exchange for you pass.  But buying directly online means an emailed version etc etc.

 

They could do it like JR East does the seat reservations: Just present the credit card you used and they find it in the system, look at your passport and visa (you already entered passport info as part of the order), and then you are done.   Your emailed order receipt is your backup in case there is a problem.

 

Just speculating.  The linked article says there is no more exchange order, whatever that means.

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chadbag
14 minutes ago, Yavianice said:

I am curious though, does the JR pass as a ticket that can go through the ticket machine not wear after a while, especially on the 21 day pass? Besides it being much easier to lose/destroy accidentally (folds etc.)

 

I am wondering if it is not a pass that goes through the machine, but an NFC thing that is read like they read Suica at the ticket gate.

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katoftw

@chadbag Yup your speculating does make sense though.  Seems they way they would do it.  Cannot see them reinventing the wheel when other
JR companies have the same processes in place.

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katoftw
1 minute ago, chadbag said:

 

I am wondering if it is not a pass that goes through the machine, but an NFC thing that is read like they read Suica at the ticket gate.

Like the JR West passes

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chadbag
Just now, katoftw said:

@chadbag Yup your speculating does make sense though.  Seems they way they would do it.  Cannot see them reinventing the wheel when other
JR companies have the same processes in place.

 

In all fairness to @Yavianice it was his speculation first 🙂

 

Let's hope it is streamlined and makes the process a lot easier for us.  Without jacking up prices.

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Yavianice
27 minutes ago, chadbag said:

I am wondering if it is not a pass that goes through the machine, but an NFC thing that is read like they read Suica at the ticket gate.

 

Pretty sure they will not do this, because that would mean a massive cost to acquire NFC readers for all rural stations in japan or for all the one man trains / conductors to check it. I'm pretty sure they will do a ticket like JR Kyushu does (see link for example) https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/railpass/railpass.html.

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chadbag
1 minute ago, Yavianice said:

 

Pretty sure they will not do this, because that would mean a massive cost to acquire NFC readers for all rural stations in japan or for all the one man trains / conductors to check it. I'm pretty sure they will do a ticket like JR Kyushu does (see link for example) https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/railpass/railpass.html.

 

Even with an NFC type thing, you could still have a "pass" that you could show to the personnel at the gate for small rural stations, one man trains, etc. like you do now.

 

Or, What do Suica users do at those places?  Probably go to a ticket booth and buy a ticket?  So let the ticket booth issue a one time ticket for the route when you show the pass (if you want to enforce the machine use).

 

A 21 day piece of paper pass going through the machines is a little risky in terms of wear etc.

 

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railsquid
21 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

Even with an NFC type thing, you could still have a "pass" that you could show to the personnel at the gate for small rural stations, one man trains, etc. like you do now.

 

Or, What do Suica users do at those places?  Probably go to a ticket booth and buy a ticket?

 

 

If the station is inside the Suica (or whatever) coverage area, it will have one or several free-standing Suica (or whatever) terminals at the station exit.

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chadbag
4 minutes ago, railsquid said:

 

If the station is inside the Suica (or whatever) coverage area, it will have one or several free-standing Suica (or whatever) terminals at the station exit.

 

Yeah,  The argument was made on what would happen if you were not in an area with NFC.  That is what I was trying to come up with a hypothetical solution.  Since existing NFC (Suica, ICOCA, *CA) users have the "same" problem a future JR Pass user if the JR Pass had NFC would have a similar solution.

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railsquid

I assume the pass would have something visible on it to show station staff in that case.

 

If you reach a station outside the Suica etc. area with just your Suica etc. card, you're effectively travelling without a ticket, I'm not exactly sure what would happen in that case (would probably involve stumping up the fare from the edge of the Suica etc. area at the very least), but not comparable to the JR pass case.

 

47 minutes ago, chadbag said:

A 21 day piece of paper pass going through the machines is a little risky in terms of wear etc.

 

If it's a commuter-pass style card, like wot was common in the olden days before NFC, wear shouldn't be an issue. However losing it might be, and it will be mighty inconvenient for railpass and normal users, as the number of gates which accept magnetic tickets is dwindling, so the railpass users will need to hunt-the-ticket gate and normal users will be inconvenienced by clueless railpass users blocking the ticket gates wondering where to put the ticket.

 

From the comfort of my internet-side armchair, a booklet about the size of the current one (harder to lose, easier to show) with printed information and an embedded NFC thingy would be a good solution.

Edited by railsquid
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Keith

A great step forward. This will definitely save time at big stations with not having to go through the manned gates.

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bikkuri bahn
Quote

a booklet about the size of the current one (harder to lose, easier to show) with printed information and an embedded NFC thingy would be a good solution.

Yes, something like a passport-sized version of the Eenmalige OV-chipkaart they use in the Netherlands.

 

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RossDensha

So with this changes, where would the best website to buy a pass be?

Googling [Japan Rail Pass] gives you several websites that all seem to mean the same thing!

 

Edit: Note to Self: Read the thread properly before posting, Ross!

 

Edited by RossDensha

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Yavianice
7 hours ago, RossDensha said:

So with this changes, where would the best website to buy a pass be?

Googling [Japan Rail Pass] gives you several websites that all seem to mean the same thing!

As specified in the article, JR will launch their own website soon.

 

The address of the website is unknown as of now.

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Yavianice

Very confusing, but the new Japan Rail Pass website is https://www.japanrailpass-reservation.net/

 

scheduled to go live on June 1?

 

Anyway, here is more information in japanese for something japanese people cannot buy. https://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2019/20200217_ho02.pdf

 

More information will be available in April 2020, and posted on the official JR pass website here https://japanrailpass.net/en/

Edited by Yavianice

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