Travel with Japan Rail Pass

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Access from other cities

There are several Shinkansen (bullet train) lines in Japan.
Kyoto is on the Tokaido-Shinkansen (bullet train) line, which is the most main Shinkansen because it connects Tokyo and Osaka (the 2nd biggest city).
Tokaido-Shinkansen (the blue line from Tokyo to Osaka) and Sanyo-Shinkansen (the orange line from Osaka to the west) are directly connecting, so you can go through without change.
Hiroshima and Fukuoka, the both famous sightseeing places are on Sanyo-Shinkansen, that are very convenient from Kyoto.
Japan Rail Passes

Japan Rail Pass

Japan Rail Pass
Originally uploaded by fletcherjcm
If you travel in Japan by Shinkan-sen or other local JR lines, Japan Rail Pass is very useful and reasonable.
It costs 29,110 JPY for 7 days pass. Round ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto costs almost same (27,200 JPY).
You can buy Japan Rail Pass (Exchange Order) ONLY outside Japan. Click here and buy it before you leave to Japan. Note Nozomi, the fastest train on Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen line, is NOT available, but Hikari is available instead. Hikari is much fewer than Nozomi. Need to check the timetable on this website.

Information Center at Ueno station
After arriving in Japan, you need to change "Order Exchange" to "Japan Rail Pass" at terminal stations.
Now you can get on JR trains, and you can reserve seats with the pass for JR express trains and Shinkansen.
Normally there are 3 types of cars in JR express trains and Shinkansen. Non-reserved seat car, reserved seat car and Green car. Green car means first-class. There are 2 types of Japan Rail Pass, Ordinal Class and Green Class.
Subways and some suburbs lines are not JR. Japan Rail Pass is not applicable for them.

Shinkansen inside - ordinal seats
Originally uploaded by 85+02
Japanese trains are clean and comfortable, and much better than airplane's economy class. But ordinal seat is small.
If you can afford to buy Green Class type of Japan Rail Pass, I recommend it. The price difference isn't big.
Japan Rail Passes

Tokaido Shinkansen

Originally uploaded by Cheng-en Cheng
There are 3 type trains of Tokaido Shinkansen.

Nozomi: Super express (yellow) (N/A with the pass)
Hikari: Express (red)
Kodama: Stop every station (blue)

You can distinguish them by the sign color on the side of train. (Hikari is red.)
Kodama takes too long time. Hikari is good for Kyoto travel with Japan Rail Pass.

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