questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

19 days trip advice

19 days trip advice

Dear Mari,

We will visit Japan from 23rd Aug to 10th Sep, 2012. It is the first time for us to travelling in Japan, a country that we have always want to see. We are trying to see which pass suit us the best, since there are so many alternatives. We would like to spend the least money to see a lot places in an easy way. Your answer to us is vey appreciated!

Day 1-5: Tokyo, arrival from Narita Airport
Day 6-7: Fuji Mountain
Day 7-9: Nagoya
Day 10-11: Nara
Day 12-14: Kyoto
Day 15-18: Osaka, One day trip to Kobe
Day 19: Departure from Kansai Airport

So I wonder should I purchase the 7-days pass or 21-days pass? Also is the railway pass enough for travelling inside Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka?

Thank you very much for your help!

Best regards,
Chelsea

liuyaya18
liuyaya18

Hi Chelsea!

For a trip like this, I recommend you purchase individual tickets for your long distance legs, and then buy up local or municipal passes as needed. A 7 or 21 day pass would be overkill for the amount of travelling you're planning to do in this trip. To illustrate lets take a look at your costs:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥3140, (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Otsuki: ¥3060, (84mins, 87km)
  3. Otsuki > Nagoya: ¥12520, (211mins, 414km)
  4. Nagoya > Nara: ¥6380, (98mins, 189km)
  5. Nara > Kyoto: ¥690, (44mins, 41km)
  6. Kyoto > Osaka: ¥540, (28mins, 42km)
  7. Osaka > Kobe(hyogo): ¥390, (27mins, 33km)
  8. Kobe(hyogo) > Osaka: ¥390, (25mins, 33km)
  9. Osaka > Kansai airport: ¥3340, (57mins, 64km)

TOTAL: ¥30450 for 9 legs

  • 07 day rail pass (¥28,300) saving: ¥2150

As you can see, only if you did all your travel in a 7 day pass would it make sense (and even then only slightly). You will also need to purchase metro or bus tickets on top of this to get the most out of Tokyo/Kyoto and Osaka.

Rather than the Japan Rail Pass, I recommend you look into the following city level passes and deals in addition to separate JR tickets:

If you're on an ultra tight budget and do have time to spare, you should also check out the prices of highway buses, which will also travel to the majority of your destinations.

You can look up precise train timetables and costs at the Hyperdia travel planning website and learn how to use Hyperdia for JR Pass holders through our video blog.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Dear Mari,

Thank you very much for your quick response! We have already booked hotel:

Fuji Onsenji Plaza Inn (富士温泉寺Plaza Inn)
Funatsu 6677
Fujikawaguchiko, 401-0301
Japan

It seems Hakone is on the other side of Fuji San. Does the Pass cover the hotel area as well? And there are so many different passes through the link that you have provide, we have a little problem on choosing therm again. Could you help us to sort it out? Your answer is very appreciated!

Thank you very much!

Best regards,

Chelsea

liuyaya18
liuyaya18

Hi Chelsea,

For Kawaguchiko, you can use the Japan Rail Pass to get to Otsuki. From here you'll need to use the non-JR Fujikyu lines to get to Kawaguchiko. If you don't go for the nationwide Japan Rail Pass, you should look into the Mt Fuji round trip ticket and Kanto Area Pass, which will both get you to Kawaguchiko and offer varying degrees of flexibility.

Based on this, I think you should aim to purchase:

  • NEX + Suica (for Tokyo)
  • Mt Fuji Round Trip Ticket (as above)
  • Kyoto City Bus All-day Pass
  • Osaka is a bit of a hard one. If you think you'll do a lot of travel it'll be worth picking up a all day pass, otherwise a prepaid rainbow card is the most flexible option.
  • For the days when you travel to other kansai destinations (eg, travel to Kobe and Kyoto) you may want to get a kansai thru pass as this will cover travel within and between cities. It really depends on how much travel you think you'll be making.
  • JR tickets as needed between Tokyo Nagoya and Nara

Finally, with all the discount tickets the degree to which they are a 'good deal' really depends on how much you'll travel. Each one will only give relatively small savings so you can wait until you get to your destination and see how much travel you think you'll make before you decide to buy or not.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Hi Chelsea,

For Kawaguchiko, you can use the Japan Rail Pass to get to Otsuki. From here you'll need to use the non-JR Fujikyu lines to get to Kawaguchiko. If you don't go for the nationwide Japan Rail Pass, you should look into the Mt Fuji round trip ticket and Kanto Area Pass, which will both get you to Kawaguchiko and offer varying degrees of flexibility.

Based on this, I think you should aim to purchase:

  • NEX + Suica (for Tokyo)
  • Mt Fuji Round Trip Ticket (as above)
  • Kyoto City Bus All-day Pass
  • Osaka is a bit of a hard one. If you think you'll do a lot of travel it'll be worth picking up a all day pass, otherwise a prepaid rainbow card is the most flexible option.
  • For the days when you travel to other kansai destinations (eg, travel to Kobe and Kyoto) you may want to get a kansai thru pass as this will cover travel within and between cities. It really depends on how much travel you think you'll be making.
  • JR tickets as needed between Tokyo Nagoya and Nara

Finally, with all the discount tickets the degree to which they are a 'good deal' really depends on how much you'll travel. Each one will only give relatively small savings so you can wait until you get to your destination and see how much travel you think you'll make before you decide to buy or not.

Hope this helps!

Af705d2483ca769d2753af956a5d149b?s=50&d=mm
mari
Expert_button_2

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