questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

12 days travel

12 Days Travel

Hi,

I am planning a family trip to Japan (a group of 5) in November 2015. Below is my preliminary itinerary and not too sure when to use my 7 days JR Pass according to my schedule. Can you please provide some insights?

Nov 11: Arrived to NRT airport in the afternoon (2ish)
- Taking the NEX to Tokyo and from Tokyo to Kyoto (probably will take 3-4 hours train ride I believe from airport to Kyoto in total) Can I use the JR pass on NEX?

Nov 12 to Nov 16
- 3 days Kyoto tour (Kiyomizudera / Kinkakuji / Fushimi inari Shirm / Arashiyama and maybe Sagano) Can I use the JR pass for the Kyoto local touring?
- Day tour to Nara - Day tour to Osaka

Nov 17
- Back to Tokyo

Nov 18 - 22
Tokyo City tour and leave on 22nd

Thanks,
Jacqueline

jykkwan
jykkwan

Hi again,

Forgot to ask what passes should I be getting for my stay in Tokyo? I haven not figured out the itinerary for my Tokyo stay yet but assuming mainly city tour in Tokyo.

Thanks,
Jacqueline

jykkwan
jykkwan

Hello Jacqueline,

The JR Pass works very well for your itinerary. The 7 day JR Pass is almost the same price as a normal return ticket Tokyo - Kyoto using the Shinkansen and you can make some nice savings by using it for travel on the Narita Express, to Nara and even within Kyoto to Fushimi Inari and Arashiyama (the other places in Kyoto require other transport).

Think it really looks good for the rest. Have a look at this blog post if you are looking for some more information on Nara.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

As for your stay in Tokyo. Either look at Day tickets or buy an IC card, such as Suica to make traveling around Tokyo as easy as possible.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi,
Yes, you have made a good plan.
You can use the Pass on the N'Ex. Within Kyoto there are a few JR buses that take the Pass, but by and large you need to take city buses and subways. There is a separate Kyoto city bus pass you can use, but when streets are crowded, traffic can move very slowly. You can use the JR Pass to get from Kyoto Stn to Arashiyama as well as the [Fushimi Inari Shrine].(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EandKTAwfOM "Fushimi Inari Shrine"). Fushimi is the most time consuming; you could spend a couple of hours to over half a day if you want to romp over all the trails, but the other 2 places don't take nearly as long to see. In Arashiyama don't miss the Otagi Nenbutsuji, which is one of the most humorous and whimsical places you could visit in Japan.

In Tokyo, a few of the best places to see are the Tsukiji Fish Market, plus the site that every last tourist goes to see, the Sensoji Temple. If you are in Tokyo on a Sunday afternoon, be sure to go visit Harajuku to see the youth with their wild fashions. Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park are next to it and well worth seeing also. And be sure not to miss the Shibuya Hachiko intersection especially on a weekend when it looks like half the city is crossing the street at once.

You still have a large chunk of time in Tokyo, and you will be there in the prime time of the autumn colours, so some day trips would be well worth it. Nikko would be an ideal choice. Kamikochi is another possibility, and Hakone is nice as well.

Best of luck.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Thank you very much for all the useful suggestions and clarification. Can you please let me know if I could use the JR pass to Osaka?

Regards,
Jacqueline

jykkwan
jykkwan

Hi,
Certainly you can. It's about 3 hours between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka Station.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Hi,

By looking at the Kyoto Train/Subway route map (http://www.jrpass.com/images/map/map_kyoto_metro.pdf), can you please confirm if the JR pass only apply to local line and Shinkansen line? Which train or subway line cannot be used in Kyoto? I am confused about Kyoto subways and private railways. Can I use the JR pass on Kyoto subways or private railways?

I am thinking to stay at Grand Prince Hotel which is 30 mins away train ride from Kyoto train station. Just wondering if the JR pass would cover it ot not?!?!

Thank you.
Jacqueline

jykkwan
jykkwan

Hi Jacqueline,
With extremely few exceptions (some former JR lines, for example, but none that apply to your plans) the JR Pass is only valid on JR lines - and there are very few in Kyoto. You could take the JR train to Arashiyama, and down to see the Fushimi Inari Shrine, but for the subways you can't use the Pass. Your hotel is not near any JR lines, unfortunately, but you can look into getting a Kyoto subway day pass. It's pricey at ¥1200 but the subways in Kyoto are definitely not cheap either.

Best of luck!

Toraneko
Toraneko

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