questions & answers: general japan travel

travel japan september 2012 jr pass

Travel Japan September 2012 JR Pass

Hi,

I will be traveling to Japan for two weeks on September, we are four people two of them are my parents, we have the following itinerary. First 3 days in Tokyo, then 7 days in Nara after that 3 days in Kyoto and then returning 3 more days in Tokyo.

I have three questions, the first, is if the JR pass can be used to transport between Naryta Airport to Tokyo, second, if it is worth it buying it with this itinerary taking into account the cost of transportation between these cities and last, while in Nara could we use the JR pass to travel to Hiroshima?

Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Omar

omatuk
omatuk

Hi Omar,

Yes, you can use the Japan Rail Pass on the Narita Express which runs between Narita Airport and Tokyo, and you can also use it on the Sakura or Hikari bullet trains between Nara/Kyoto and Hiroshima.

About whether a rail pass makes sense for your trip, lets take a look at your costs:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥3140, (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13420, (164mins, 513km)
  3. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690, (45mins, 41km)
  4. Nara > Hiroshima: ¥10990, (167mins, 393km)
  5. Hiroshima > Kyoto: ¥10990, (126mins, 380km)
  6. Kyoto > Tokyo: ¥13420, (161mins, 513km)
  7. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥3140, (58mins, 79km)

TOTAL: ¥55790 for 7 legs if purchasing JR tickets

Whether a 7 day pass is worth it will depend on if you decide to visit Hiroshima or not. In general a 7 day pass (¥28,300) starts to break even if you do a return trip to Kyoto. In your case however your return to Tokyo would be out of the 7 day period and so a 7 day pass will not be worthwhile for your itinerary in it's shortest state.

However, if you were to do a return trip to Hiroshima, your standard JR ticket costs for the period would be ¥36090 within a 7 day period and you would save ¥7790 with a 7 day pass.

If you do visit Hiroshima, you can save even more with a 14 day pass. Including the return to Tokyo and the travel to and from the Airport into your overall itinerary, you would make overall savings of ¥10,690 overall with a 14 day pass. In addition to these base savings you have the flexibility to change your plans (eg, making a day trip to Nikko from Tokyo), and can make good use of the JR Pass around Tokyo and to a limited extent in Kyoto to make further savings. Here's a set of maps of JR lines around major cities that should help you plan.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Mari,

Thank you for your reply, it is extremely useful for a foreign understand who everything works in Japan, I will buy the JR pass.

I have read in the internet (i do not lnow if it is true), that we have to send the luggage and we cannot travel with it on the train, do you recommend a service and how does it works, for the airport-hotel-several cities in japan, etc.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Sincerely,

Omar

omatuk
omatuk

Hi Omar,

There is actually a good amount of space on the bullet trains for luggage and so you should be able to take around 1-2 items with you as you travel. There is always an area behind the last seats in each car for luggage with space for 6-8 suitcases there. In addition there is an overhead luggage rack suitable for small-medium size bags. We have a good blog post on this here that should tell you more.

If you are travelling with a lot of luggage then you may want to use the luggage forwarding service you mention, called 'kuroneko yamato". This service relays luggage from point to point within Japan with a next day service depending on your requirements. You'll be able to ask at your hotel front desk for this service and they will arrange everything for you. Unlike many other countries, this service is very common in Japan and is very very safe, so if you need to use it you can use it with confidence. You can learn more about this luggage delivery service here.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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