How to Get Tickets for SHINKANSEN. What is the Best Way?
In this article, I’m going to discuss types of Shinkanesen tickets and how to get them.
For basic information on Shinkansen, check What is Shinkansen?
You need to choose two things first: seat class and reserved or non-reserved seat.
Step 1: Choose Seat Classes
Typical Shinkansen has two seat classes: one is ordinary, and the other is green car.
Most people take Ordinary seats because they are cheaper.
Green car, on the other hand, is more expensive than Ordinary car.
As you might guess, it is like business class on airplanes. It’s more spacious and quieter as there are less people in Green car.
For instance, some businesspersons choose Green car as it’s quieter and they can concentrate on their work while travelling.
Families choose Ordinary car because they want to chat and enjoy travelling with other family members.
In addition, there is Gran class for certain Shinkansen.
It is like First class on airplane. Seats are big and very comfortable, and supplies including blanket, newspaper and slippers are available.
Tickets are more expensive than Green class.
Step 2: Choose Reserved or Non-reserved
You can either reserve your seat or don’t reserve and take a seat if available. Reserved seats, of course, cost more but your seat is guaranteed.
If you purchase non-reserved seats, however, you may not get any seats depending on your luck.
For instance, lots of people use Shinkansen and travel around during Golden Week (long holiday period between the end of April and beginning of May), Obon (around the middle of August) or the end of December.
If you have non-reserved seats during those peak periods, you will probably have no seats available.
Although Shinkansen is comfortable, you might want to get reserved seats if you are on board for a few hours.
If you know when you are travelling, it’s better to book early. Earlier the better because it’s cheaper and there would be more choices for available seats.
How to Get Tickets
Here are two ways to get tickets for Shinkansen.
It’s the easiest way to purchase tickets. The only problem is that it’s only available in Japanese.
Simply go to one of URLs below:
West Japan Railway Company
East Japan Railway Company
Kyushu Railway Company http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/index.jsp
Central Japan Railway Company (English available)
Enter departure and arrival station names, date and time.
Then you choose a seat (aisle or window) and seat class (ordinary or green car).
After you book, you need to go to nearest JR station and get tickets.
You can get your tickets from vending machines (みどりの券売機) or information centre (みどりの窓口).
Bring your credit card, confirmation number (starting with 4, 5 digits) and last 4 digits of your phone number.
You can pick tickets up anytime before you leave. You cannot get into Shinkansen without tickets. You will be asked to pay full amount if you don’t pay properly.
Most of the website above don’t have English pages (except Central Japan Railway Company), so it might be easier for you to go to Information Centre (みどりの窓口) in stations.
Write down your date and time on paper and show it to salesperson. They will help you to purchase tickets.
Depends on date, availability and price of tickets vary. Purchase your tickets through online or in person to make sure you have a seat reserved for you.