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Be Prepared for Changes in Shinkansen Seating Options During the Year-End Holidays!

October 04, 2023

Be Prepared for Changes in Shinkansen Seating Options During the Year-End Holidays!

As mentioned in this article, the year-end holidays of 2023-2024 will see a significant change in Shinkansen (bullet train) seating options.
The option for unreserved seats on the Nozomi trains will no longer be available.
Instead, all seats (both regular reserved and green car seats) will require advance reservations.

Unreserved seats on Shinkansen have been popular among travelers for their cost-saving benefits and the flexibility to board trains at their convenience without strict time constraints.
However, even for those who prefer unreserved seats, it's essential to take note of the changes during this year-end holiday season.

Here, we'll provide detailed information about the period and routes affected, so if you're planning a Shinkansen journey during the year-end holidays, be sure to read on for the details!

What's the Affected Period?

The period during which all seats will be designated is from December 28, 2023, to January 4, 2024.

However, for Shinkansen services other than the Nozomi trains, such as "Hikari," "Kodama," "Mizuho," and "Sakura," unreserved seats will still be available during the same period.

Additionally, JR Tokai has announced a similar policy for periods of anticipated congestion in 2024, namely during Golden Week (early May) and the Obon festival (mid-August).

Which Routes are Affected?

The affected routes with all seats designated include the stations where the "Nozomi" Shinkansen of the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines stop.

These stations are as follows:

  • Tokyo Station
  • Shinagawa Station
  • Shin-Yokohama Station
  • Nagoya Station
  • Kyoto Station
  • Shin-Osaka Station
  • Shin-Kobe Station
  • Okayama Station
  • Hiroshima Station
  • Kokura Station
  • Hakata Station

Make sure to plan accordingly if you intend to travel during this period on the affected routes. Travelers seeking unreserved seats may need to consider alternative Shinkansen services. 

Secure Your Shinkansen Tickets for 2023-2024 New Year Holidays in advance!

With this announcement, it is expected that reserved seat reservations for the Shinkansen during the year-end holidays will be more crowded than usual, making it more challenging to secure seats.

If you're planning a trip to Japan for the year-end holidays, it's a good idea to secure your tickets with us now!

Seat guide

Shinkansen seats are available in four levels depending on the comfort and services your require.

Ordinary Seat

Regular seats used on Reserved cars and Unreserved cars of Shinkansen. Consider it as "economy class" seat.

Green Seat

Better seats with more space than ordinary seats. All Green Seats are reserved only. Consider it as "business class" seats.

Reserved Seat (Ordinary Reserved Seat)

Your seat is reserved and secured when you book your tickets. Head to the station with a peace of mind.
Seats are the same as Ordinary Seat.

Green Reserved Seat

Better seats and free blankets. Popular among Japanese business persons, executives and people who values comfortable travel. Consider it as "business class" seats.

GranClass Seat

Know as "First Class" of Shinkansen seats. Only available on Hokuriku and Tohoku Shinkansen lines. Gran Class seats comes with airline-like amenities and meals.The most expensive of all.

Unreserved Seat

You can take any open seats in unreserved cars of any train on the departure date. (No departure time will be indicated on your tickets.)
The best seat type if your priority is the cost and are traveling during less-crowded season/time.



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