questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

is the japan rail pass necessary

is the japan rail pass necessary

Hi, will be travelling to Japan in May with the following places in mind:

Flying into Narita airport and taking a domestic flight into New Chitose Airport.

Visiting Hokkaido (Sapporo, Otaru, Furano, Lake Toya, Noribetsu/Jozankei Onsen) for 6/7 days before taking a domestic flight back to Narita airport and into Tokyo (DisneySea, Mt Fuji) for 5/6 days then maybe to Kyoto/Osaka (optional).

Is the Japan Rail Pass necessary to purchase and if so, 7 or 14 days pass?

Thank you!

sallyaxl
sallyaxl

Hello there,

I think buying normal tickets or looking for a Hokkaido Rail Pass is the better option for the Hokkaido part of the itinerary.
Most travel within Hokkaido is not too far from Sapporo, so I think normal tickets is probably the best option. You'd have to run the numbers though to be sure. Find the details for the okkaido Railpass here.

A 7 day JR Pass could be useful if you make a return Tokyo - Osaka/Kyoto with it.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

thank you so much for your reply! So if i decide to remove osaka and kyoto from my itinerary i can do away with the purchase of the JR pass? also, would you suggest renting a car to get to noribetsu/lake toya or just take public transport?

sallyaxl
sallyaxl

Hi again!

Yes, without Tokyo - Osaka/Kyoto, a JR Pass would not give you good value.

For Noboribetsu / Lake Toya, public transport works fine but you will have to plan to trip in advance. Renting a car will allow you to get there whenever you like. Both are good options though.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hmmm thank you for your input! I wont be getting the JR pass then. It will be more worthwhile to just purchase the train ticket from New Chitose airport to get to Sapporo and vice versa yup? Works the same way when i arrive in Narita - Shinjuku?

sallyaxl
sallyaxl

Yes the trip from Sapporo - Shin Chitose Airport is easy to make and is a direct connection.

I guess it's somewhat comparable to using the Narita Express between Narita Airport and Shinjuku.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

I see. Thank you Daniel! Would you suggest 2 or 3 days for Sapporo and Otaru? I am assuming 1.5 days would be sufficient to visit Sapporo area and Otaru will take up half a day? WIll reach Otaru probably late noon and will leave at 7/8pm to go back to Sapporo.

sallyaxl
sallyaxl

Definitely 3 (or more) a one day trip for Otaru and a couple of days for Sapporo is best. It does of course depend on what you wish to see and do in Sapporo but I do think that half a day for Otaru would also suffice.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thank you for your suggestions! Am still in the midst of planning my itinerary and I'm having quite a hard time lol. First time to Japan and it's free & easy! So yup, a lil headache here hahaha. Would you know how much time to allocate in between to be safe to transfer to a domestic flight? Say my JAL flight lands in narita at 1640, can I book the 1800 domestic flight via vanilla air to new chitose?

sallyaxl
sallyaxl

Hi again :)

It's good that you are taking your time to plan.

It's hard to say, as flights can be delayed and such. Also if you book a flight separately, this will mean picking up your luggage first, going trough immigration and maybe transferring to an other terminal. In Such a case I would go for at least 90 minutes but preferably more. Narita Airport is not the easiest of Airports to traverse.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

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