questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

9 days tokyo, hakone, osaka, kyoto and back to tokyo

9 days Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka, Kyoto and back to Tokyo

Hi, I'm spending 9 days in Japan, and flying into Tokyo. I intend to purchase the 7 days JR pass but am not sure on which days should I activate the pass? With the JR Pass, do I need to purchase separate passes for travelling within Osaka and Kyoto? Thanks so much!

My itinerary:
Day 1 Airport -> Tokyo
Day 2 Tokyo -> Hakone (Should I use JR pass or Hakone Free Pass?)
Day 3 Hakone -> Osaka
Day 4 Osaka
Day 5 Osaka
Day 6 Osaka -> Kyoto
Day 7 Kyoto
Day 8 Kyoto -> Tokyo
Day 9 Tokyo -> Airport

siew
siew

Hi there!

For Hakone, the JR Pass will get you as far as Odawara from Tokyo. From here you'll need to purchase the Hakone Free Pass (or tickets, but the free pass is best I think) up to Hakone itself on the non-JR operated Odakyu lines.

As you'll be going onto Osaka after hakone and not returning to Tokyo, I recommend:

  1. Purchase the Narita Express + Suica card return deal at Narita on arrival. This will give you travel into Tokyo and back from the Airport, and also ¥1500 of Metro or JR travel inside Tokyo for use on day 1 and 9.
  2. Activate the JR Pass from day 2-8. Purchase the cheapest Hakone Free Pass at Odawara for transport up to Hakone
  3. While in Kyoto and Osaka, visit the tourist information centers at each station. There are a variety of 1-3 day passes available all at different prices, but you need to be sure you'll get good value out of them. For example Kyoto is best explored by bus and foot I think, whereas Osaka will certainly need some metro travel. The options I think are: Osaka unlimited pass, Kansai Thru Pass, municipal bus and metro passes for Kyoto and Osaka.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Thanks! Should I not buy the JR Pass since the Romance Car goes to Hakone too as Romance Car is cheaper?

siew
siew

Can I confirm the Narita Express allows me to travel from airport to tokyo city on Day 1 and back to Airport on Day 9?

siew
siew

Hi there!

Hard to say really. The trip from Tokyo to Odawara on bullet train is ¥3640, whereas the romance car will be around ¥2020 one way or an extra ¥1100 for the Hakone Free Pass from Shinjuku.

If you thought that the travel you list is the only travel you will do, then the costs of the tickets for the 7 day period from odawara onwards will be:

  1. Odawara > Osaka: ¥12,070 (190mins, 472km)
  2. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540 (29mins, 42km)
  3. Kyoto > Tokyo: ¥13,420 (161mins, 513km)
  4. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥3,140 (58mins, 79km)

JR ticket cost: ¥29,170 for 4 legs

As you can see there is a very slight saving with a JR Pass doing it this way round.

In the end, I think your travel plans are a borderline case. If the travel you list is the only JR travel you intend doing, then there won't be much difference between individual tickets and a JR Pass. If, on the other hand, you wanted some travel flexibility (eg, possibility for day trips from Osaka to Himeji, Nara, Hiroshima, Kurashiki), then the JR Pass will give you this and not increase the overall price of your travel.

I can confirm that the Narita Express will allow you to travel from airport to Tokyo on day 1 and back to the airport on day 9 (Provided your airport is Narita airport and not Haneda airport).

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

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