questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

stefanie jaax

Stefanie Jaax

We are arriving in Tokyo on the 6th of April, then travelling to Kyoto on the 10th of April.
My 2 sons age 19 and 18 are travelling from Kyoto to Kagoshima on April 13th and taking the ferry to Okinawa where they will stay for 6 days and then fly back.
My husband and younger son want to travel from Kyoto to Kanazawa on the 13 th and then to Nagano and back to Tokyo on the 20th.
What kind of railpass es do you recommend.


Hi Stefanie!

I've taken the ferry to Okinawa twice myself and it's a great experience!

As to what JR Pass to use, there's only one that covers all your travel which is the normal nation wide JR Pass. The only questions is: will it help you make savings. I'd say yes from looking at your itinerary but let's have a look at hard numbers.

First the travel for your sons with consists of two main parts.
Tokyo - Kyoto ¥ 13,020
Kyoto - Kagoshima ¥ 22,140

For a total of ¥ 35,160 or ¥ 6,860 as the 7 day JR Pass is ¥ 28,300. This is excluding any side trips or local travel you may do, so the savings would end up higher.

Now for your husband, younger son (and you?) it is a little harder. Ideally you'd use a 7 day JR Pass and return to Tokyo before it runs out, however in your case April 13th - 20th is 8 days. Let's look at numbers for this part too.

Tokyo - Kyoto ¥ 13,020
Kyoto - Kanazawa ¥ 6,510
Kanazawa - Nagano ¥ 7,030
Nagano - Tokyo ¥ 7,770

If you add up travel from Tokyo all the way up to Nagano it adds up to ¥ 26,560 which is a little below the price of a 7 day JR Pass. With a little local travel you'd probably still end up making some small savings (for instance a visit to Osaka or Nara). Depending on your bookings so far you could also consider taking a late train back to Tokyo on the 19th savings you the complete fare for this part.

Hope this helps!


Thank you Daniel,
The rail passes for 7 days are on flexible dates or do they have to be used on 7 subsequent days?


Hi Stephanie,

The pass is valid for 7 subsequent days, be sure to plan carefully!


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