a VirtualTourist member from Malaysia
Four of us will be traveling from Matsumoto back to Shinjuku on Thursday April 25th. On the same evening we are flying home from Haneda (eta 2345).
We plan to depart Matsumoto after lunch to arrive in Shinjuku around 5-6pm. Originally we wanted to take the bus since it is much cheaper.
However, we are worried about the potential traffic congestion problem nearer to Tokyo.
Thus, we are now looking at the train option to minimize the risk of missing our flight :))
The Ltd Exp Asuza schedule that seem ideal is the one that departs Matsumoto at 15:19 (eta into Shinjuku at 18:07).
Do we need to buy reserved seats or it is not necessary? We would be arriving into Japan on April 11th. Thus, we have many days to buy the tickets in advance. It is not the timing issue, but cost issue since we are not using the JR Pass, thus seat reservation is chargeable.
If we don't get the reserved seat do we still buy the non reserved seats in advance? Can a non reserved seat even be bought in advance? Sorry... I don't really understand the process of purchasing non reserved seats as I've always bought reserved seats prior to this since I've always used JR Pass during my previous trips to Japan.
Secondly, this train in the normal Asuza and not the Super Asuza, is it equip with toilets?
Well I do not know the answers for sure as I have not ridden this train at that time, but I have travelled on very many Japanese trains and always without a seat reservation. I have only ever had to stand once and even then it was only for a couple of stops. There are specific non-reserved carriages. Make sure you know their location and line up in the right place. Also every Japanese train I have ever ridden hs had toilets exept the short journey, stop everywhere local trains. Toilet wise I am sure you will be fine.
Thanks. So you can buy the non reserved seats in advance?
You do not need to buy reserved seats, but if you sit in the non-reserved seating, you may need to line up early. I tend to line up early for the Shinkansen, but for the Azusa, you might be okay. If you don't get a seat, you can always ask the conductor if you can purchase a reserved seat instead on the train. If you want to be safe, just get the reserved seat and enjoy more of your time in Matsumoto. For non-reserved seats, you may need to be 30 minutes early but that is probably an extreme case. If you get reserved seats, just 5-10 minutes early. 10 to be safe.
Can you buy a non-reserved seat in advance? Yes.
Can you change a reserved seat ticket? Yes.
Will the train have toilets? Most likely Yes. I would be surprised if it didn't.
As for changing the reserved seat ticket, you can do that at the train station and generally there is no charge. They may charge you for changing it, but it won't be the price of a new ticket, unless you changed the ticket after your train departed. If you miss your train, you can usually hop onto a non-reserved car either way.
Thanks again for answering my question so clearly... I read somewhere that you can see Fuji San from the Azusa about 10 minutes before arriving into Tokyo... I forgot on which side, right hand side? Anyway, I guess if we purchase reserved seats we would have a higher chance to sit on the right side of the train... Seen it a few times but its beauty never diminishes...
Yes, as you head towards Tokyo, you want to look on the right. I doubt it is 10 minutes before you reach Tokyo though. Might be about 50 minutes or an hour even. You might be able to see it as you pass Kofu, but unlikely. Looking at the maps, a lot of the route goes through the mountains and Kofu is the only section where you can possibly get enough flatland to see Fuji over the mountains. :(
Have used this train previously and I can confirm that there are toilets.
Re reserved seating, it probably won't be necessary to buy a reserved seat, as Dru says if you are worried about not getting a seat then line up early.
Dru46, you mentioned that if you don't get a seat, you can always ask the conductor if you can purchase a reserved seat instead on the train. This is possible? Same price as if you were to purchase the upgrade prior to the ride?
I think there is a small mark-up. I could be wrong though, but it shouldn't be too much. If you want to play it safe, just get the reserved seats. Otherwise, try not to worry too much about it. I don't think it would be that busy though. Hopefully the worst case is that you can't sit together.