questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr rail pass - travel from tokyo to obatake or yanai

JR Rail Pass - Travel from Tokyo to Obatake or Yanai

I am going to Japan with 2 elderly people and need to travel from Tokyo to Obatake or Yanai in Yamaguchi Prefecture using our rail pass. What is the best route to take and how many hours will it take to get there? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Maxie
Maxie

Hi there,

I think the most important thing will be to minimise transfers on a trip like this. How about this itinerary to Obatake from Tokyo? It has 2 very simple transfers and the shinkansen used have very comfortable seating. The journey is a long trip of 6h 20 however, so as you were travelling with a JR Pass you could think of stretching your legs at Shin-Osaka while you change train (you'll have 30 mins to transfer), or perhaps adding in another stop somewhere along the way to Osaka from Tokyo in Shizuoka.

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

hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Yes, I agree, Mari...and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR INFORMATION!! I hope it is not too much to ask, but we are staying at the Park Hotel in Minato-ku and I am worried about the morning train rush to get to Tokyo station. Do you know what hours or metro lines I should avoid? Also, I was told by the hotel in Oshima that I must get to Obatake by 3:00pm. Is there a similar route that you provided above that will get me there by that time from Tokyo?

Maxie
Maxie

Hi there!

Ideally you should avoid 6-9am, but based on your requirement to be in Obatake by 3pm, I'm afraid you'll need to take the bullet trains leaving the Tokyo area around 7:30. See this itinerary for more.

From the Park hotel you should get the JR Yamanote line at Shinbashi to Tokyo - it should only be a few stops, but as the train will be very busy if it is a weekday, I recommend taking a taxi.

If you're worried about seat availability on the bullet trains, you can reserve seats as soon as you have activated the Japan Rail Pass in Japan at the JR ticket counter.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Again, much thanks Mari! You are so knowledgeable. Given what you told me, perhaps I should skip buying the rail pass and put them on the Nozomi. After we get back from Obatake, we need to go back to Tokyo and then go to Oomagari in Akita, but it seems even with those two trips, it is almost equivalent to what a 7 day (green car) rail pass would cost. Do you agree?

Maxie
Maxie

Hi there,

The costs of the trip with normal non-green tickets would be:

  • Tokyo > Obatake (¥19,180 normal / ¥26,110 green)
  • Obatake > Tokyo (¥19,180 normal / ¥26,110 green)
  • Tokyo > Omagari (¥16,170 normal / ¥19,300 green)
  • Omagari > Tokyo (¥16,170 normal / ¥19,300 green)

Total cost: ¥70,700 normal / ¥90,820 green car

The cost of a 7 day normal rail pass is ¥28,300, and a 7 day green pass is ¥37,800. Assuming that all the above travel is required, I think you'll make huge savings with a rail pass, especially if you include your Akita trip.

Using the Nozomi would allow you to leave Tokyo a later for obatake (9am nozomi arrives around 3pm in obatake), so you'll have to balance whether the savings are worth it in your case or not. If you were to go the JR Pass route, a taxi from your hotel to the station for the 7:30am train would be a very small extra expense compared to the overall savings you could make over standard tickets.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Yes - definitely. Once again, thank you!

Maxie
Maxie

The Nozomi is faster of course but the savings you can get from a pass are far more substantial.
Yamaguchi has some very good places - mostly ignored by the tourist books and guides. But at least there are far less crowds to deal with. One of the very best is the Akiyoshi Limestone Cave, which is part of the Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park, near Mine City. You can use the pass to take a JR bus from the JR Yamaguchi station. It is truly breath taking. Other good places to see in the area are Hagi Castle in Hagi City, along with its old preserved samurai district, and Mori clan temple grave sites. Shimonoseki has some great places to see as well.

Toraneko
Toraneko

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