questions & answers: using the japan rail pass



I am flying into Osaka then travelling straight to Kyoto. I'll spend 4 days there including a trip to Nara. From Kyoto I'll take the Shinkansen to Tokyo where I'll stay for 7 days then leave from Narita and fly back home.

  • Is it better to get a JR pass or buy all the tickets separately?
  • If I don't use the JR pass is there any other kind of pass I can use in Kyoto or Tokyo to save time at stations as I'll be travelling with my two young sons.
  • If I don't have a JR pass do I need to book the seats ahead for the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo? And if so can I do that before I arrive in Japan?

Thanks for your help.


Hi there,

I would advise buying normal tickets for the above travel, since there's not enough travel in terms of ticket prices for a JR Pass to pay off.

You can buy an ICOCA Card for travel in Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka and other parts. This is a prepaid travel card, which makes your travel a lot more convenient.

Generally trains don't sell out and it's perfectly okay to buy a ticket 15minutes before departure.

Hope this helps!


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