Shinkansen Gran Class: The ultimate luxury bullet train

Japan has been a legend in commuter travel for over half a century. Early Japanese train travel featured decadent luxury, such as on Japan’s famous night trains. The introduction of the Shinkansen bullet trains added new levels of speed to the mix, creating excitement and lessening the chances of travel related discomfort.

Japan continues to stay ahead of the game with new innovations – luxury trains such as the Seven Stars Kyushu, and the increased velocities of the soon to be released Maglev. Another such innovation is a new luxury class available on the Shinkansen bullet train lines – the Shinkansen Gran Class.

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Japan Explorer Pass and Other Flight Discounts

Some travelers shy away from exploring the country of Japan because they have been told it is among the most expensive places to travel. This, however, does not have to be the case. A little prior planning can go a long way towards lessening the expense of your next Japanese vacation.

Plane tickets often make up the bulk of travel expenses, followed by accommodations and food. Consider the following suggestions for saving money on the first leg of your journey: getting there. You may also find deals on Japan airlines domestic flights if traveling from one part of Japan to another.

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Train Suite Shiki-Shima and Twilight Express Mikukaze: New luxury trains in Japan:

Even before the advent of the shinkansen bullet train in 1964, luxury trains, often called “blue sleeper trains,” were a common sight across Japan. These trains were designed, not only as an efficient mode of transportation but as an experience in themselves. Getting there truly was half the fun.

In recent years, however, the use of luxury trains has largely given way to the rapid travel offered by the shinkansen. The last of the “blue trains” ceased operation in 2015. While some have called this “the end of an era,” luxury seekers are not to be disappointed by Japan’s all-new line up of first class rail accommodations. Beginning in spring 2017, JR East and JR West will be launching two “cruise trains” for your traveling enjoyment.

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Getting around Tokyo with the JR Pass: Metro, trains and more

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is the most densely populated metropolitan city in the world, home to nearly 40 million people. The Tokyo Metropolis, as the area is officially known, spans nearly 850 square miles (nearly 2,200 square kilometers). Tokyo enjoys a rich cultural history, as it has been the seat of government in Japan since the year 1603.  Tokyo is comprised of twenty-three wards, each operated as an individual city.

Getting around in a city of this size – especially as an international traveler – may at first seem intimidating. However, Tokyo’s public transportation system, which includes airports, trains, buses, taxies, and pedestrian traffic – has been designed operate smoothly. With your Japan Rail Pass in hand and with the help of this travel guide, you will soon be navigating the streets and stations of Tokyo like a pro.

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Riding the JR Thunderbird Express around western Japan

Picture snow covered peaks overlooking lush forests, reflecting into serene blue-green lakes. Steam rises from natural hot springs, where people gather to be rejuvenated by the warm water. Charming towns and villages housing historic architecture dot the map. This is just the ideal scene set by the Japanese Alps, a series of three mountain ranges located on the Japanese island of Honshu.

Now, imagine yourself enjoying this view while traveling to your next destination on one of Japan’s famous bullet trains.

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Getting around Kyoto with the Japan Rail Pass

You’ve read about all the engaging attractions Kyoto has to offer – from its famous temples to its transcendent botanical gardens. After all, Kyoto is considered the premiere sightseeing location in Japan. But as an international traveler, you are also concerned with how to get from place to place once you arrive in Kyoto. Does Japan’s maze of rail and bus lines intimidate you? It doesn’t have to.

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How to use the local city bus in Japan

When most people think of transportation in Japan, they envision the vast railroad network and the Shinkansen bullet trains. While the trains are a primary means of transportation throughout the country, the rain lines do not go everywhere. Sometimes, the traveler has to take a bus to get around town or from the train station to their destination.

The use of local buses is especially useful in large cities such as Kyoto. Additionally, local buses are at times the only way to access some of Japan’s greatest secrets, getaways to small towns located deep within the countryside.

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Riding Japanese night trains with the JR Pass: Sunrise Express and more

While many people choose to fly or take a bullet train, the still-popular overnight trains are a real treat for international travelers. Why take a night train? These trains allow you to travel quickly overland, arriving at your destination by the following morning. Also, you will be able to sleep while you travel, more comfortably than on an airplane or an overnight bus. If you are planning a visit to Japan, consider booking travel on one of these trains, using the following tips.

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Transporting luggage in Japan: luggage forwarding and coin lockers

You’re using your Japan Rail Pass to tour Japan. You depart your train in a new town, and you want to see some of the sights before settling into your next location. What, though, will you do with all of that luggage?

Fortunately for you, Japan has the solutions for just such a travel dilemma. International travelers may be unfamiliar with the luggage forwarding services and coin-operated lockers available in many places throughout Japan. Consider the following travel tips to make your stay in this beautiful country easy and hassle free.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics with the Japan Rail Pass

Some would consider it the trip of a lifetime: attending the 2020 Olympic Games in the bustling city of Tokyo, Japan. Tourists are already scrambling find tickets. The games, often simply called Tokyo 2020, are scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 of that year. Over twelve thousand athletes from two hundred and seven countries are expected to participate in thirty-three types of summer sports.

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