questions & answers: general japan travel

is jp railway pass needed?

Is JP Railway pass needed?


I am in doubt if it makes sense to buy a JP railway pass for my trip to japan.
I am unsure if I will actually save money by this. From the prices I found on Hyperdia, it seems that it will actually be cheaper to just buy the tickets separately without seat reservation. However, I dont know if seat reservation is mandatory on most trains?
Also is it difficult to buy tickets at the train stations - and can you buy a ticket for a whole trip at a time or do you need to buy all tickets separately at each station when you switch trains?
Finally, why are the prices the same for a direct train and if you change train multiple times on the same trip?

My trip is as follows:
16. Oct - Narita to Hakuba
18. Oct - Hakuba to Matsumoto
20. Oct - Matsumoto to Kyoto
22. Oct - Kyoto to Uno
24. Oct - Uno to Hiroshima
25. Oct - Hiroshima to Tokyo
29. Oct - Tokyo to Narita

I hope you will be able to help!


Hi there,

That's actually quite a bit of travel you plan to do and a 14 day JR Pass will give you good savings compared to purchasing normal tickets. All the numbers in Hyperdia are confusing to a lot of people, therefore we made our own JR Fare Calculator. You can use it to get an approximate cost of tickets and savings for your itinerary.

I did so for you here:

For seat reservations please see:

Hope you find this useful,


Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your reply.
Looking at the calculation you have been so kind to do for us, then it looks as if this price include seat reservation?
But from what I understand in connection to our itinerary, then the seat reservation is not mandatory, expect between Narita and Tokyo?

Best wishes


Hi Camilla,

Reading your reply, I think that you may be confusing the seat fee in Hyperdia with the cost for making a seat reservation.

For instance look at the route Tokyo - Kyoto. As you can see the ticket price is made up of the following: Total:¥ 13,910(Fare:¥ 8,210 Seat Fee:¥ 5,700). The Total is the price that you would pay for the ticket. The fare is the price for distance travelled and the Seat Fee the price for travelling on a Shinkansen or limited express train. Only local trains don't have a seat fee. Outside of this, seat reservations have a small fee as well (around 500yen per ticket). You see this at the right side of the route in Hyperdia. The JR Pass also includes this.

Hope this helps,


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