questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

is jr pass best option from tokyo - kyoto-osaka 10 day family holiday

Is JR pass best option from Tokyo - Kyoto-Osaka 10 day family holiday

Hi there,
we are a family of 4: 2 adults & 2 children(13 & 8yo) travelling to japan iin September. Is the JR an economical way of travelling around our 10 day holiday, or are other rail passes available instead. We arrive at Narita Airport staying in Tokyo for 5 days and plan to see sites around Tokyo and close surrounds. Then we will be off to Kyoto and staying there for futher 5 days, but travelling to Osaka for day trips. We will then have to get from Kyoto to depart at Osaka Kansai Airport.
I would like the fastest way to get from Tokyo to Kyoto and Kyoto to Osaka, as I am not interested in doing long travels in between the cities and aslo need to get to and from Airports in the fastes route.
Appreciate your answers. Thanks!


Hi there!

Normally a JR Pass pays for itself if you do 1 return trip between Tokyo and Osaka, but as you'll be only going 1 way over a 10 day period and may not be doing much more long distance travel, I recommend purchasing individual bullet train tickets for your trip to Kyoto from Tokyo and smaller 1 and 2 day passes and tickets over the nationwide JR Pass.

I recommend you look into:

  1. Narita Express + prepaid SUICA card deal
  2. Keisei Skyliner + 1 or 2 day metro cards - an alternative (and faster) express train into Tokyo from Narita
  3. Kyoto and Tokyo tourism offices based in each station - ask what the best value discount tickets are. Often these offices have special tourism tickets but don't have the funds to heavily market them, so I'd always check here before buying any tickets.

Note that the trip from Kyoto to Osaka is on local trains and only takes 20mins so this shouldn't impact to heavily on travel time. From Tokyo to Kyoto, the fastest route will be via the bullet train system onboard a Nozomi class shinkansen. From Kyoto to Kansai Airport, be sure to use the direct Haruka express train for the fastest route.

Hope this helps!


Hi Mari,
Thank you very much for your reply!

Yeah, we were not sure what was best and your explanation is very clear. Will look into your suggestions!



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