questions & answers: general japan travel

is 7-day pass the best?

Is 7-day pass the best?

Hello there,

My husband and I are going to Japan from July 16 through the 23rd, and are picking up our son who has lived there for 2 years. We are renting an apartment in Nakano, so that will be our base camp. Since we'll be doing travel 8 days instead of 7, we wondered what we should do...

We will be going from Narita to Nakano. We were told we will travel to Shinjuku and then change trains to the Chuo line. Where can we find time tables for the Chuo Line?

Our son has many places planned for us to visit, but I'm not sure what days for the different days. He has Nikko, Yokohama, Minato Mirai, Kanagawa, Kunitachi, Tachikawa, Machida, Ueno, Omiya, the Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace, Akihabara, Kamakura and the Odawara Castle (yup, all in a week's time!).

Should we purchase a 7-day pass and a one-way N'Ex and Suica pass? I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole procedure. Also, how do you reserve a seat on the Narita Express if you don't have your ticket yet?

Please help a very confused tourist but a very excited tourist. Thanks!


Hi there!

From the sounds of your trip the majority of your travel will be done in and around Tokyo itself. The destinations you list are actually mainly within the general Tokyo area (except Nikko and Odawara), and are not long distance so I think you'll be better off purchasing JR tickets and Metro tickets as needed rather than purchasing a Japan Rail Pass.

I think the NEX + Suica pass is a good options, but you should also look into the unlimited Metro cards that Tokyo Metro offers for foreign visitors (purchase in Narita on arrival). If you do decide to use the Narita Express, you reserve your seat as soon as you purchase your tickets at Narita Airport. If you go for the NEX + Suica deal, then the JR staff will make your seat reservation as part of the process (I've travelled on the NEX many times and it has never been very busy so I'm sure you'll get a seat).

There are many many trains on the Chuo line so it's hard to find an actual timetable. You can look up train timetables and costs for the Chuo line at the Hyperdia travel planning website and learn how to use Hyperdia through our video blog. Here's a sample itinerary from Narita to Nakano for you to get an idea of the trip - it actually looks like the fastest route is via Tokyo station, but your son may be thinking that going via Shinjuku will be a simpler transfer for you to make when you just get off the plane - please confirm with him!

Hope this helps and you have a great time!


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