questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

do i need a national japan rail pass?

Do i need a national Japan rail pass?

Hi i am travelling to Japan over December-Mid January.

We are flying to Niseko to ski then planning around a week in Tokyo and a week seeing Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukouka

Our plan is simply spend week in Tokyo over NYE then use a rail pass to see Mr Fuji then travel through those cities

(in order: tokyo - Mt Fuji - Kyoto - Osaka - Hiroshima - Fukouka)

then fly back to Tokyo from Fukouka.

My question is do i need a national rail pass to do this? I have seen there is a Western Japan pass but not sure this would cover everything.



Hi there,

The only rail pass that would cover all of your itinerary is the nationwide pass as the legs around Tokyo and Mt Fuji will not be covered by the rail pass.

As a quick check on wether a 7 day nationwide pass would make sense for you, lets take a look at your costs:

  1. Tokyo > Otsuki: ¥2860, (85mins, 87km)
  2. Otsuki > Kyoto: ¥14650, (235mins, 561km)
  3. Kyoto > Osaka: ¥540, (28mins, 42km)
  4. Osaka > Hiroshima: ¥10150, (104mins, 345km)
  5. Hiroshima > Hakata: ¥8900, (69mins, 280km)

JR ticket cost: ¥37100 for 5 legs

As you can see you'll make good savings with a 7 day pass, however would make even more savings if you included your ¥21,520 return leg to Tokyo from Hakata/Fukuoka which would effectively be free within the 7 day pass.

Hope this helps!


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