AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

ATMs

In Japan most cash machine won’t accept foreign cards, such as Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, etc. The Post Office and Seven Eleven stores are linked to the Cirrus network and will accept foreign cards. Seven Eleven stores are everywhere and every town and most villages have a post office (although the opening times are far shorter than the Seven Eleven). They are also both marked on Google Maps, so you should be able to search the area on a phone or tablet to find somewhere to get cash.

Shinkansen

There are a few types of Shinkansen, Nozami is the fastest and only stops at large cities, Hikari stops at large towns and Kodoma stops at every stop. The different types of Shinkansen also have different lengths and these are usually marked on the platform to show you where to stand. You can buy reserved or unreserved seats. Reserved gives you a seat number and carriage number, unreserved allows you to sit on any seat in the unreserved carriages (usually the front 3 or 5 carriages). We were in Japan in July and on the lines between Kyoto and Tokyo the train was quite full in unreserved, but there was always seats available. In peak season picking reserved (which costs a little more) might be a good idea. Luggage racks are quite large, big enough for big backpacks and reasonable suitcases and are mostly empty. A few towns and cities will require a change to a local train for a few minutes as the Shinkansen line won’t come right into town, these changes are quick and simple. Get an app called Japan Trains, it’s not perfect but it will give you times and prices between destinations and possibly the platform number.