Going to Japan anytime soon? I suggest you buy a JR pass!
It’s definitely worth buying a Japan Rail pass if you intent to leave Tokyo. You’ll have to order this pass a couple of weeks before your trip (ours took about 8 weeks to arrive). For more information about the JR pass I’ve written this post for you. You can find all information about how the Japan Rail Pass works here.
For about 29000¥ (235€/$) you’ve got a 7 day JR pass that you can use on most of the Shinkansen (bullet trains) and the JR train within Tokyo. It might sound expensive but a return ticket Tokyo-Kyoto is already almost the same amount. You’ll have to order the pass online (you can do so at this website). A couple of weeks later you’ll receive a voucher at your home address. Once you arrive in Japan you can exchange this voucher for a JR pass at one of their offices. There’s one at Tokyo station and at the airport for example. For a full list of offices click here.
With your JR Pass you can reserve seats for most bullet trains. You can already reserve seats online before your trip for some trains. You can reserve the tickets online via this website. We went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Hirosaki in the North and booked our train tickets online a few weeks before we went.
You can also reserve seats for trains at one of the JR offices in Japan. Just show your pass and tell them which train you want to take. There are many bullet trains going to each destination every day so you can often still book a seat for a train that will leave that same hour.