questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

japan rail pass vs ic cards

Japan Rail Pass vs IC Cards

Hi everyone! I will be traveling to Japan with my family this April. We are a family of 5 adults with 1 child. We will be staying in Tokyo for 6 days and Osaka for 8 days. In Tokyo, I am thinking of doing side trips to Nikko and/or Yokohama. For Mt. Fuji, we will be joining a tour so I don't think we are going to take the train/s. The train station near our location is along the JR Yamanote line, so I think we will be using the JR in Tokyo area. For Kansai Region, we will be staying in Osaka for 8 days and we will be doing day trips to Kyoto (for 2 days), Nara, Kobe, etc. The station near our location is a subway and we'll only be needing the JR Pass to go to Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, etc.

My question is, will it be worth it to purchase a JR Pass (7 days or 14 days)? I've been reading a lot and some are saying that the JR Pass is only worth it if you are doing day trips and going to far places every day like (Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima-Osaka-Kyoto). What do you suggest? Should we get a JR Pass or should we buy reloadable cards instead?

And can we purchase shinkansen tickets directly without buying a JR Pass?

Thanks!

joyce.09
joyce.09

Hi there,

The JR Pass is best used for intercity travel, such as between Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and so on. It's hard to say for sure, without knowing your full day by day itinerary but the impression I get now, is that you'll do a lot of local travel in Tokyo and Kansai and do a one way trip Tokyo - Kyoto. In this case its likely more economic to buy normal tickets, these can be purchased at any station.

The easiest thing to do is have a look at prices around www.hyperdia.com, and see if those add up to the price of a JR Pass.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel,

Thank you so much for you reply! I really appreciate it.

Actually the only "far" destinations I will be going to from Tokyo is probably Nikko or Yokohama. And for Kansai Region, I am thinking of getting the Kansai Thru Pass since I will only be going to Osaka-Kyoto-Nara-Kobe-Himeji.

My itinerary would be something like this:
Day 1-3 - TOKYO
Day 4 - MT. FUJI
Day 5 - TOKYO
Day 6 - NIKKO
Day 7 - TOKYO-OSAKA
Day 8 - KYOTO (Day trip - will return to Osaka)
Day 9 - OSAKA
Day 10 - OSAKA
Day 11 - KYOTO (Day trip - will return to Osaka)
Day 12 - NARA (Day trip - will return to Osaka)
Day 13 - KOBE (Day trip - will return to Osaka)
Day 14-15 - OSAKA

I am using Hyperdia and found out that one way Tokyo-Osaka is around 14,140 (with reserved seats). I saw that an unreserved seat would cost about 8,750.. Since I will be there on April, I think there will be a lot of people so I was thinking of getting reserved seats. What would you suggest?

Thank you again for your help!! I really appreciate it :)

joyce.09
joyce.09

Hi there,

This helps me a lot finding the best option but must indeed conclude that buying normal tickets would work here.

Btw, don't get confused by Hyperdia pricing, only look at the total there. A seat reservations is only around 500yen (you can adjust this on the right side of a route in Hyperdia).

A Kansai Pass would be nice for travel to Himeji!

Hope this helps,
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel,

Great, thank you so much! Can we buy tickets directly for the shinkansen on Hyperdia? Or would you know where I can buy it online?

Nice, I am actually considering buying Kansai Thru Pass for 3 days (Nara-Kobe-Himeji)! :) Thanks a lot!

joyce.09
joyce.09

Hi again!

Hyperdia is only for planning, tickets can be purchased at any station once in Japan. Its not possible to do so online.

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel,

Thank you so much for all your help!! :) I really appreciate it!! :)

joyce.09
joyce.09

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