So far after some extensive research it seems that reserving the tickets on eki-net.com when the tickets goes on sale seems to be the surest way of securing my seats over the new year period. The different options can be found here. I'll be travelling from Atami station to Kyoto on the 29th and collecting my tickets ahead of time on the 24th in Narita. However I have some questions with regards to collection and payment of tickets.

  1. Since it seems that the credit card is charged only upon collection, can I supersede the payment with my JR pass on the day of collection? (possibly cancelling and reserving them using my JR pass, or having part of the fees waived?)
  2. If that is not possible, and payment have to be made on top of the JR pass, can a foreign credit card be used? (It seems to accept my card during account registration)
  3. Can the tickets be collected at Narita airport where the JR pass is being exchanged?
  4. Lastly, if I were to reserve the tickets on the 24th when I arrive using my JR pass, how likely will tickets still be available?
  • You may want to note that the JR Pass does not cover the Express Fees on some Shinkansen and that even with the JR Pass you will have to pay the excess should you choose to use these services (ie. Nozomi services etc.). Nov 2, 2016 at 6:44
  • @TheWanderingCoder yes I am aware of that, that's why I'm mainly looking at tickets for Hikari or Kodama Shinkansen. But frankly speaking, since I'm actually heading to Kyoto from Atami and not Shinagawa, Kodama Shinkansen is actually less hassle for me as there is no need for me to change trains albeit a bit slower as it stops at every stop
    – lonestarz
    Nov 3, 2016 at 6:22
  • Indeed it is. I am not sure of your complete itinerary and if the JR pass covers all days, but if you are going to be using the Kodama on that one trip and it is possibly either side of your JR pass validity, it may work out cheaper getting a ぷらっとこだま ticket instead. Nov 4, 2016 at 0:15
  • @TheWanderingCoder I'll be there for 16-17 days so yes I'm getting the 14 day pass, I've worked the math, even with getting the JR pass and purchasing the advance ticket from Atami to Kyoto, the total works out to be cheaper than buying all train tickets individually. My plan will probably be reserving the tickets on eki-net anyway. And I'll see how's the situation like on the day I arrive. If there is a fair amount of seats left, I'll just cancel my tickets and rebooked it using my JR pass.
    – lonestarz
    Nov 4, 2016 at 2:13
  • In that case, stick to the JR Pass. As @fkraiem says, the official New Years break doesn't start until the 30th so you shouldn't have any problem with seats (unless you are trying to leave on or after 5pm). Nov 4, 2016 at 4:51

2 Answers 2


The 29th should not be particularly busy, as most sources I find indicate that companies will usually let employees off on the 30th (example). That said...

  1. "Paying" with your pass is not possible. Cancelling and making a new booking with your pass is possible, but the price of the ticket will first be charged on your card and then refunded minus a handling fee of 330 yen*. It is of course possible that someone else will book the seat in the interval.
  2. Foreign cards are normally accepted.
  3. Yes.
  4. As I said above, very likely.

* The rules for determining handling fees are somewhat complex, the handling fee is 330 yen in this case, but not always.

  • thanks a lot for the reply. I would likely not mind bearing the cost of the handling fees if I can have a peace of mind. do you have any idea how much the handling fees usually are? Does cancelling the ticket and rebooking it on the JR pass runs the risk that the tickets will be taken in that small window of period? Sorry if I sound kinda paranoid as I have my mom with me and want to minimize the risk that I have to queue in line for over 2hrs on the unreserved car.
    – lonestarz
    Nov 1, 2016 at 7:58
  • So I come across something today, that mentions this, "(If you have Japan rail pass) You are not charged on your credit card when you reserve or charged when you received the ticket (at a Midori no Madoguchi). You must show your credit card you used for the reservation when you receive the ticket. As shown in the picture below the actual ticket issued shows the fare is 0 yen." Not sure how true this is, source at link and link. Something for people to note
    – lonestarz
    Nov 2, 2016 at 3:53
  • That's if you use the English eki-net site, which does not work for you.
    – fkraiem
    Nov 2, 2016 at 3:57
  • oh dratz, saw the ticket image originating from Shin-Osaka heading towards Ogura and thought it applies too :( ... thanks for the heads up!
    – lonestarz
    Nov 2, 2016 at 5:31
  • Just came back from Japan, while I don't think its a sure way to get advance reservation through eki-net. However in my case, they waive the cost of 2 out of the 5 shinkansen tickets I made in advance upon seeing 2 of my Japan rail pass.
    – lonestarz
    Jan 9, 2017 at 3:39

Just thought I'll like to add on to this answer in case there are people who might want to find out more about getting tickets over busy periods in Japan.

  1. On Nozomi, It seems that the tickets for smoking seats runs out faster

  2. On Hikari and Kodama, non smoking seats usually runs out faster instead

  3. Even on Kodama, reserve seatings run out a few days ago for the 29th. However there are still ample seats for green cars.

  4. There are ample seats all round on the 28th Dec

Hope this helps if anyone is looking for answers.

  • 1
    1. I have not found this to be the case at all. In general non-smoking seats fill up faster, even on Nozomi although this may change per service (ie. the rush on the night of the last work day of the year (which this year is generally Thursday 29) may be proportionately filled by smokers. 2. I agree. 3. On the 29/30th even green cars can be fully booked, this does depend on time and the sections you are attempting to travel (ie. good luck getting a seat on Thursday night from Tokyo to Hakata if you haven't bought it before the day). Dec 19, 2016 at 1:45
  • 1
    cont... 4. The 28th is still classed generally as a workday hence unless people use their Annual Leave (and miss various work functions on the 29th) there isn't usually a lot of travellers. On the other hand the 30th is generally a solidly busy day - you will get to travel but you may have to wait if you want to order tickets on the day. It is thus best to travel on the 28th if you can. Dec 19, 2016 at 1:47
  • yeah i manage to get my tickets for the 29th. been poking around on eki-net every few days since like 1-2 months ago and it has been an interesting exercise for me haha
    – lonestarz
    Dec 19, 2016 at 2:01
  • Eki-Net? They don't handle Tokaido Shinkansen reservations at all. (JR East only handles the Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen). For Tokaido reservations you need to see jr-odekake.net/goyoyaku/e5489 (Free) - JR West or jr-central.co.jp/ex/index.html (540 - 1080) - JR Central Dec 19, 2016 at 2:04
  • they do if you create an account in Japanese, you just need a Japanese address and a cellphone number, this is the site i use link
    – lonestarz
    Dec 19, 2016 at 3:40

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