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Definitely helped us get around Japan. It was nice on the longer trips to have reserved seats. Really not necessary on shorter trips.
Definitely worthwhile buying in advance!
Great buy! we used the Shinkansen a few times from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. Saved heaps of money and could also use it on some of the lines around Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, though we did still need to occasionally purchase subway tickets. I highly recommend this if wanting to travel around Japan!
Viator's part of this purchase was handled really well. We loved these trains and having the first class reserved seats. The voucher was delivered quickly. The instructions were excellent. The only downside was that the line to trade it in at the airport for our pass was 90 minutes long. That was exhausting after a 14 hour flight and two hours in customs. This is on JR, and not Viator. They recommend using a less-busy location in the city, but that would mean buying transportation into the city. It doesn't seem right to have to do that after paying for the pass. Instead, why don't they just improve their process so they can move people through more quickly?
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