questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

is this kyoto/nara/hiroshima/osaka route best with the 7 day pass?

Is this Kyoto/Nara/Hiroshima/Osaka Route best with the 7 Day Pass?

Hi there,

We are a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) traveling from Singapore to Osaka in March 2012.

1. Can you use the JR Rail pass in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka for normal trains?
2. If we activate the JR pass in Kansai airport on first day at 3pm to Kyoto, it means we will not be able to use it on last day (8th day) for Osaka to Kansai airport, is this correct?
3. Is the sequence/flow for the cities ok or it's better to switch it around due to railway route/timing etc? We are also hoping to catch the cherry blossom (earliest stage) though our dates are ahead.
4. Do I need to exchange for tickets with seats reservation etc for Kyoto> Nara, Hiroshima > Osaka or any destinations in this route plan?
5. Where can I access the train timetable and can I make a booking for these here?

ROUTE PLAN

9/3 Day 1: arr Kansai Airport > Kyoto (flight arr 2.20pm)
10/3 Day 2: Kyoto (parks, gold pavilion & unesco world heritage)
11/3 Day 3: Kyoto > Nara spend day in Kyoto (narrowest street & Gion)
12/3 Day 4: Nara> Hiroshima (arr night) spend day at Nara 
13/3 Day5: Hiroshima > Osaka (arr night) spend day at Hiroshima (Miyajima island)
14/3 Day 6: Osaka (universal studio)
15/3  Day 7: Osaka (castle & aquarium)
16/3 Day 8: Osaka > Kansai airport (flight dep 10am)

Thank you.

Regards,
Leanne

Leanne
Leanne

Hi there,

Here are some answers for you:

Can you use the JR Rail pass in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka for normal trains?

Yes - you will be able to use the JR Pass on all JR trains in these cities. In practice, JR rail only has a good city service in Osaka. For both Kyoto and Hiroshima you will have much better access inside the city using the private subways and bus services.

If we activate the JR pass in Kansai airport on first day at 3pm to Kyoto, it means we will not be able to use it on last day (8th day) for Osaka to Kansai airport, is this correct?

Yes this is correct. If you activate the Rail Pass on your first day (9th), the last day of use will be the 15th.

Is the sequence/flow for the cities ok or it's better to switch it around due to railway route/timing etc? We are also hoping to catch the cherry blossom (earliest stage) though our dates are ahead.

I think the sequence is good - leaving the Hiroshima leg as late as possible will give you as much chance as possible to catch the cherry blossom. As you can see from this map of 2012 predicitons, the Sakura is scheduled to appear around the 30th of March this year. According to official data, the cherry blossom appeared in Hiroshima on the 20th of march in 2010 so you may be lucky this year!

Do I need to exchange for tickets with seats reservation etc for Kyoto> Nara, Hiroshima > Osaka or any destinations in this route plan?

I don't think reservations in advance will be necessary for the local trains between Kyoto, Nara and Osaka, but if you want to have peace of mind you can reserve your shinkansen trains when you exchange your Rail Pass in Japan.

Where can I access the train timetable and can I make a booking for these here?

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

Online reservations are unfortunately not possible for Japan Rail Pass holders in the JR-West area, but as I mention above, I don't think you'll have any problems.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Hi Mari,

Thank you so much!
Really appreciate your time & input.
The info on cherry blossom in Hiroshima is priceless. I'm feeling lucky already :>

Leanne

Leanne
Leanne

No problem! I hope you manage to spot some cherry blossom!

If you don't manage to see any by Hiroshima, you could always take a day trip on the Sakura Shinkansen all the way down to Kagoshima and try your luck there...

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Thanks again, Mari!
Yeah, will keep that in view.
It's gonna be fun :)

Leanne

Leanne
Leanne

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