No JR Pass? No problem :)

Saw from website that the price of a 7-day JR rail pass is S$458 @ 1.6195 exchange rate wayyyy back in Sep.

It should be ALOT lower now, the yen has been falling slowly but steadily for the past month ever since the 16 Dec 2012 election.

Anyway, for those not inclined to rush from city to city within the short 1-week period, there are other transportation options that can be bought inside Japan (unlike JR Pass which can only be bought outside Japan).

Taiwanese classmates mentioned overnight bus services from ¥3,000 ~ ¥4,000, but the cheapest I found were sleeper buses for about ¥8,000 to ¥9,000, 9 hours ++ I think?

Not one for uncomfortable sleepovers in bus coaches, I found a fairly good deal to go up to Tokyo from Osaka by Shinkansen for ¥10,000 (less than 4 hours trip).

ぷらっとこだま(Puratto Kodama)

Puratto Kodama

Puratto Kodama Shinkansen Ticket from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo, plus free drink coupon

Though it comes with lotsa restrictions (can’t change date, time, seat, etc) it is a good deal considering the convenience of not being tied down to the 3-day pass or 1-week pass or in my case 3 years back, 3-week pass (at a price tag that was higher than my air ticket  。・゚゚・(>д<;)・゚゚・。  ). Think of it as an air ticket on land without the hassle of airport scans  o(=´∇`=)o

Seems like many locals use buy this ticket too, which can only be bought from travel agencies JTB or JR Tokai Tours (JR東海ツアーズ), and not from the JR train stations which would cost around 14k. The free drink coupon that comes with it can be redeemed at the kiosks inside the train station on the waiting platforms, but only those which display the Puratto Kodama label. Incidentally, most of these kiosks close before 8pm, so if you are on the late train, tough luck you won’t be able to redeem your drink 😛

Coke & onigiri

Coke & onigiri, only coke is from free-drink coupon, onigiri has to be paid for

Milk Tea

Milk Tea – can get a pretty decent size bottle of cold drink with the free coupon, or a smaller size warm bottled drink

Usually on Shinkansen staff sell drinks onboard on push-carts, but strangely for both my trips, there were none. There are vending machines onboard, so no big issue.

Since this service is well used by locals, it is advisable to buy in advance ahead of any long holidays. I had to pay extra for green-car seat on the return trip on X’mas day at ¥11,500 because normal seats all fully booked, but gosh! The green car sure is posh!

Green Car Carriage

Green Car Carriage, with lots more leg room, music channels at arm rest, foldable adjustable footrest

Not bad la, worth it  (=´∇`=)にゃん

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