questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass or regular tickets?

JR Pass or regular tickets?

Hi there,

Here is my itinerary:

Day 1) Narita airport to Tokyo (Shinjuku hotel)
Day 2) Tokyo
Day 3) Tokyo (Shinjuku hotel) to Hakone
Day 4) Hakone to Kyoto
Day 5) Kyoto to Nara to Kyoto
Day 6) Kyoto
Day 7) Kyoto to Tokyo (Shinjuku hotel)
Day 8) Tokyo
Day 9) Tokyo (maybe Nikko)
Day 10) Tokyo
Day 11) Tokyo to Narita airport

Would it be worth it to purchase a JR Pass and activate on Day 1?



Hi there!

Yes a JR Pass would be worth it! The 7 day pass is just about the same price as a normal return by Shinkansen and any additional travel you may do is basically free, this travel from the airport and a visit to Nara.

In Kyoto you can use the pass for travel to places such as Fushimi Inari which is not to be missed :)

I hope this helps!


Hi Daniel,

I've changed my Tokyo hotel to Shibuya Excel Hotel. Can you please help me with which trains to take for my itinerary?
I'm very confused on whether I should purchase the JR Pass or just purchase single tickets along with the airport bus the Shibuya hotel offers for 3,000 yen each way.

Which train would I take and at which station?

Day 1) Narita airport to Tokyo (Shibuya Excel Hotel)
- take airport bus directly to hotel for 3,000 yen?

Day 2) Tokyo - Sight seeing at Imperial Palace Plaza / Grounds of Meiji -Jingu / Tokyo Tower
- can you use JR Pass for these places?

Day 3) Tokyo (Shibuya Excel Hotel) to Hakone (Ryokan at Gora station)
- would like to sight-see around Hakone: ie: Lake Ashi cruise

Day 4) Hakone (Ryokan at Gora station) to Kyoto
- how to get there from Gora station?

Day 5) Kyoto to Nara to Kyoto

Day 6) Kyoto
- would you recommend another side trip? Hiroshima? Osaka? Kobe?

Day 7) Kyoto to Tokyo (Shibuya Excel Hotel)

Day 8) Tokyo - Fish market in early morning, Asakusa Temple, Ginza, etc.

Day 9) Tokyo - Nikko day trip
- how to travel there?

Day 10) Tokyo - other areas must see?

Day 11) Tokyo (Shibuya Excel Hotel) to Narita airport
- take airport bus directly to Narita for 3,000 yen?

Many thanks!


Hi Monique-chan,

The shuttle bus which is hotel offers looks like a good deal to me, it's about the same price as a normal train ticket and you can combine it well with a 7 day JR Pass.

Getting a JR Pass would be a great addition to your trip, you can use it to travel to Kyoto, Nara, Nikko and even Hiroshima. A 7 day JR Pass is just about the same price as normal tickets for a return Tokyo - Kyoto, this means that any additional travel is what you save. This can really add up if you use it to make side trips to Nikko for instance.

Here's a little break down of ticket prices:
Hakone (Odawara station) - Kyoto ¥ 11,750
Kyoto - Nara return ¥ 1,380
Kyoto - Tokyo (Shibuya) ¥ 13,520
Tokyo (Shibuya) - Nikko (return) ¥ 9,640

This adds up to ¥ 36,290 the 7 day JR Pass is ¥ 28,300 so you would save at least ¥ 7,990 you can also use to JR Pass for a potential visit to Hiroshima and Miyajima (which alone would save you an other ¥ 22,720). In addition you can also use the JR Pass on the JR Network in Tokyo. I would recommend using the JR Pass from day 4-10, this way you can really make the most of your pass.

On day 3 when you travel to Hakone, take a direct train from Shibuya to Shinjuku, here you can board the Odakyu line to Hakone and travel on to Gora, consider buying a Hakone Free Pass for this journey as it covers all kinds of transport in Hakone and gives many nice discounts.

On day 4, from Gora take the Hakone Tozan Railway to the station Hakone-Yumoto, from there take a local train to Odawara station from where you can catch a bullet train directly to Kyoto.

On day 6, I would certainly recommend making a day trip to make the most of your time in Japan (and your JR Pass). Hiroshima is a great visit, the peace memorial museum is not to be missed. In addition you can make a side trip to Miyajima which is one of the most iconic places in Japan.

On day 9, when you visit to Nikko, take a train to Tokyo station here you can board the Shinkansen (bullet rail) to Utsunomiya, here you can transfer to the Nikko line bound for Nikko.

  1. In Tokyo consider a visit to Odaiba which is a very modern part of Japan had is a very interesting area for shopping and other attractions. Tokyo is very large and offers countless areas of interest, let me know if you have any special interest and I can give you more specific recommendations.

Hope this helps!


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