Should you buy a Green Car Japan Rail Pass or an ordinary pass? What’s the difference between JR Green cars and ordinary cars? Read on to find out the best way to use Japan Rail trains.
Japan Rail trains © Slick Vic
- First-class cars on Japan Rail (JR) lines are called Green Cars. They are found on shinkansen (bullet trains) and tokkyu (limited express trains) and some sleeper trains.
- Because standards are so high on Japanese trains, even the ordinary cars are usually perfectly sufficient. But, if you want a little more space and a bit more peace and quiet, a Green Car is a good option. See below for pictures.
- Because Green Cars are a bit more expensive than ordinary cars, they tend to be less crowded and the people who ride them are often quieter than the folks in the ordinary cars.
- Green cars are marked with this symbol:
SHINKANSEN SERIES 700 BULLET TRAIN AT KYOTO STATION © calflier001
The Japan Rail Pass: The Green Pass Versus the Ordinary Pass
When purchasing a JR Rail Pass, you must decide between a Green Car pass and an ordinary car pass. If you purchase a Green Car pass, you will be able to ride the first-class Green Car on all trains that have such cars. The advantage, obviously, is that you can enjoy the greater space and comfort of such cars.
The downside is that you will have to make reservations for each trip you take (since all Green Car seats are reserved).
This can usually be done just before you board, except during crowded periods like cherry blossom season and the August Obon travel season, as well as around New Year’s.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Get travel insurance for your Japan trip - book online with World Nomads