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railsquid

Hello from Tokyo

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railsquid

Long-time lurker, resident in Tokyo, missing the days when I could roam carefree with a railpass, but just discovering Japanese N-gauge.

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Guest keio6000

Hello!   Past resident of (but still occasional visitor to) tokyo here.   welcome! 

 

Let's be realistic: you could get a rail pass if you wanted to, as identity is basically not checked after the initial issuance (err, activation).   Let's hope, however, that abuses do not lead to curtailment of the excellent program.  

 

Can you tell us what the newly opened model shop that you mentioned in your other post is?  i am now debating if to go to japan in a few weeks for a few days and if i do, this would be part of the fun.   you know, because i find all sorts of excuses to spend a few hundred dollars to put an extra stop into an airline itinerary, hotel in tokyo, transport and food, to save JPY 4000 by getting the slightly used version of a train that i could just as easily buy online in new condition and have deliveered to me :)

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railsquid

Hello!   Past resident of (but still occasional visitor to) tokyo here.   welcome! 

 

Let's be realistic: you could get a rail pass if you wanted to, as identity is basically not checked after the initial issuance (err, activation).   Let's hope, however, that abuses do not lead to curtailment of the excellent program.  

 

The problem is they check your passport for a short-term visa when issuing the pass...

 

 

Can you tell us what the newly opened model shop that you mentioned in your other post is?  i am now debating if to go to japan in a few weeks for a few days and if i do, this would be part of the fun.   you know, because i find all sorts of excuses to spend a few hundred dollars to put an extra stop into an airline itinerary, hotel in tokyo, transport and food, to save JPY 4000 by getting the slightly used version of a train that i could just as easily buy online in new condition and have deliveered to me :)

 

 

As I said in the thread, the shop wasn't that exciting, I can't remember the name but I posted a Google Street view link showing the building. I'm sure there are better shops around.

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Guest keio6000

The problem is they check your passport for a short-term visa when issuing the pass...

 

 

 

As I said in the thread, the shop wasn't that exciting, I can't remember the name but I posted a Google Street view link showing the building. I'm sure there are better shops around.

 

Yes, they check your passport when you get the pass, but that's it.  So that's my point. It is possible in theory when somebody comes to visit you to get them to buy the pass, activate it in their name, and then give it to you.  The chances that you'd be caught are near zero, especially if the person is a family member with a similar name.  They could activate it on the last day of their visit to you and I think it's possible to even activate it "ahead" if you say you're going to start at some obscure station where activation is not possible.

 

To be clear: I do not recommend this and in fact actively discourage it. I wouldnt post it here if i thought this forum was frequented by the sorts of people who might abuse this.  I am just pointing out a potential loophole.  More frequent spot checks of ID by rail pass staff would probably go a long way.  and who knows- ths could be a criminal offense that puts a gaijin card at risk.   but i can see the temptation to do this by people who live in japan who have family members visit them.   one of the family members buys two passes and activates them in different places,giving one to the japan resident "guide."

 

I have friends who are visting japan in two weeks for the first time. Their tame itinerary (land osaka, haruka to kyoto, kyoto to matsumoto via wide view shinano, matsumoto to tokyo, tokyo to narita with possibly a day trip somewhere) doesnt really justify a rail pass.  however, as they DON'T speak japanese and the price is close, people like them might actually want to get one since it makes the often laborious task of getting tickets easier, plus there is no danger that if you miss your train you lose your ticket.

 

actually, now that I've said that, it just occurred to me - how does it work in japan if you miss your train?  if you miss your reserved seat shinkansen, do you then basically use the ticket as a non-reserved?  what about for services where all seats are reserved (or you buy green) and you miss it?  partial refund?   how much?  also, if you buy a ticket, can you refund it, and if so, for how much?  in many years in japan this has never occurred to me..

Edited by keio6000

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kvp

Isn't there a general pass that is not tied to a visa or anything? There is one in the EU and imho it would be logical to have one for the Japanese people, maybe at a sligthly different price but still.

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railsquid

actually, now that I've said that, it just occurred to me - how does it work in japan if you miss your train?  if you miss your reserved seat shinkansen, do you then basically use the ticket as a non-reserved?

That's my understanding. Or you could try and reserve a seat on another train.

 

 

what about for services where all seats are reserved (or you buy green) and you miss it?  partial refund?   how much?

 

You could probably try and reserve a seat on another train (paying extra for the reservation of course). If not possible - refund. I imagine a green car ticket would entitle you to travel in the unreserved section if you really had to.

 

  also, if you buy a ticket, can you refund it, and if so, for how much?  in many years in japan this has never occurred to me..

 

 

 

I've never been in that situation either, but I'm pretty sure it's possible, minus a small processing fee. It's certainly possible with commuter passes.

 

There are some kinds of tickets (e.g. those booked together with a tour) which are not refundable.

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railsquid

Isn't there a general pass that is not tied to a visa or anything? There is one in the EU and imho it would be logical to have one for the Japanese people, maybe at a sligthly different price but still.

 

There are some, but much more limited in scope (by region, days of availability etc.)

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westfalen

Yes, they check your passport when you get the pass, but that's it.

Not always.  On my recent trip a zealous staff member at the Shinkansen wicket at Shinagawa made every one of our group of twenty or so not only show passports but made us take our passes out of the plastic sleeves many of us had them in so he could inspect every square millimetre of them.  Usually your pass just gets a cursory glance, even out in the backwoods where you're probably the first one they've ever seen, but don't count on it.

Edited by westfalen

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JR 500系

Not always.  On my recent trip a zealous staff member at the Shinkansen wicket at Shinagawa made every one of our group of twenty or so not only show passports but made us take our passes out of the plastic sleeves many of us had them in so he could inspect every square millimetre of them.  Usually your pass just gets a cursory glance, even out in the backwoods where you're probably the first one they've ever seen, but don't count on it.

 

To add on to West's, I've got personal experience being checked too for passport and validity. I think there was once at Sapporo station back in 2012 when the staff actually didn't know what that was, and brought my pass and my passport into the office to check with her colleagues/ seniors. Probably a newbie, but she apologizes once she know what it was and returned both to me..

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