I will be travelling to Japan (april 22 till may 8) with my family. Since there will be 8 of us, including 2 children, I wan't to be careful and choose best itinerary possible, not to end up in crowded areas during Golden Week. The biggest concern is our trip from Kyoto to Tokyo (it can't be avoided) on Saturday, april 27th, right when the Golden Week begins. Could you please advise me, is it possible that we won't get seats or will have difficulties? We will make a reservation as soon as we land on april 22nd. I read that this year will set a record because of prolonged holidays and the holiday bookings will be triple.
Thank you in advance!
It is possible that trains will be crowded, but what you need to know is that there is a huge exodus of people leaving the big cities at the start of Golden Week, and their return at the end. If you are not fighting the Japanese for the same seats, Golden Week does not have to be so bad. More info also is at:
You cannot make seat reservations for the train you are mentioning unless you have an activated pass or a purchased ticket. That said, when you activate your pass, you don't have to have that date as being your first - you can set a future date as your first and then make seat reservations for it. You can do it at any JR office and they can quickly tell you if there are seats open for all of you. That said, you'd probably have better luck with the earliest morning departures.
Actually, you are traveling during one of the most beautiful times to be in Japan - the cherry blossoms are gone unless you go way up north, but there are a lot more - the tulips, azaleas, peonies, nemophila, shibazakura and much more. You are also right on time to see the wisteria, which can be breathtaking.
The Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi in one of the prime spots to see the wisteria.
You can see train schedules, times, fares, connections etc at
If using the JR Pass, under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.
Also, you can look at some previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:
There are also loads of other tips on
Thank you very much for your advice and many tips, we are looking forward to exploring Japan and can hardly wait. We will reserve our seats as soon as we arrive and hope to be lucky I am guessing that many Japanese won't be leaving Kyoto and going to Tokyo that day, so hopefully if my prediction is correct we won't have any trouble.
Best regards and thank you again.