Fare and/or Seat Fee

I am still unsure how to go about checking the fares. For example Kyoto to Narita costs a total of 15980 consisting of Fare 9290 and Seat Fee 6690 (all yen, of course).
Can I risk just buying a ticket for the costs of the Fare only, being 8750?
Any help for above would be appreciated. Many thanks!

It depends on the trains. Are you using Hyperdia? If not, I suggest trying it for clarity. Some trains require a seat reservation, others don’t. When you buy a ticket, you can reserve a seat at the same time. The Kyoto to Narita route will involve the bullet train and one or more other trains. If it shows you a seat fee, go ahead and include it in your total. :slight_smile:

Thanks Frances,
You are most helpful. I AM using hyperdia and all trains from Kyoto to Narita are mentioning seat fees. At some stage I thought I have read somewhere that you can take your chances of not reserving a seat, I suppose that then is different to buying a seat fee?
Thanks again,

Hi Brigitte,

The trains here can be pretty confusing. Let me try and explain:

  • Shinkansen (bullet trains) have two types of seating available - reserved and unreserved. A number of carriages are set aside for unreserved seating, so you get your basic ticket (or rail pass), line up on the platform and take your chances of getting a seat when you board. This can save you a few hundred yen (not very much, certainly not the multiple thousands of yen that may be suggested), but there is a risk that you will have to stand the whole journey if all unreserved seats are full! The recommended thing to do is reserve a seat, which you can do for free if you have a JR rail pass, or at a cost of a bit extra (not that much) if you are traveling without a JR pass - you just go to the ticket office at a JR station to do this.

For some other trains, e.g. the Narita Express from Tokyo to Narita Airport, all seats are reserved, meaning that, despite what may appear to be a split fare, you have to pay the whole amount to ride the train.

Does that make sense?

Thank you so much again, Frances. And yes, those trains are confusing. Let me be more specific: the fare from Kyoto to Narita leaving at 10.59 am, arriving 14.57 pm is Yen 9290, seat fee 6690, according to Hyperdia. This is certainly more than the few hundred yen you mention.

If we would buy a single ticket at Kyoto Station can you buy “Fare only”? We are at a loss here and would appreciate your further helpful comment.

Many thanks again.


Hi Brigitte,

Okay, hopefully this will make it a little easier:

  1. Ignore the part next to the orange “ticket” at the top - the distinction made between the fare + seat fee is actually artificial. You cannot just pay the “fare” portion listed there.

  2. Click on the drop-down menu under “seat fee” for each train. You will see that the Shinkansen offers three choices - green (this is business/first class), reserved and unreserved. Either way, you must pay an extra fee - you will see about a 900-yen difference between reserved and unreserved, maybe less depending on your dates. For the Narita Express, you will see that the choices are between green and regular reserved, but again, either way you need to pay.

Hope that helps. Have a good trip!

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