questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

tokyo-kyoto and inner city travel

Tokyo-Kyoto and inner city travel

Hi, I'm going Japan in the summer and am wondering if it's worth me getting a Rail pass.

I will be in Japan for 10days, I am going to Tokyo first and will do a day visit to Mount Fuji National Park, I will also be staying a few days in Kyoto and then am going back to Tokyo. Will I get the value from a rail pass?

Does the rail pass work on the bullet trains, I've read that it takes around 45 minutes to get to Mount Fuji National Park from Tokyo on the bullet train, is this correct? Also do you know how long the journey is from Tokyo to Kyoto, can this be done in a bullet train?

Also can I use the rail pass on trains within Tokyo, as it would be very useful for me to travel by train within the city rather than long walks. If I can't use the Japan Rail Pass for inner city train travel is there a pass I can buy or is it cheaper to just buy day passes or specific returns?

Lastly, if I have a Rail Pass do I still need to make reservations for train journeys (inner city & to Mount Fuji &Kyoto), if so how far in advanced does this need to be done for example the day before travel?

Thank you in advance for any guidance you can provide in this matter, really appreciate it :)


Hi Mel,

I do think that a JR Pass would be a value to you. The 7 day JR Pass is about the same price as a normal return ticket on the Shinkansen between Tokyo - Kyoto (and yes the pass is valid for the Shinkansen). Basically any additional travel you may do with the pass is what you save. For instance travel within Tokyo on the JR Network or travel to or from the airport or you could really top off your visit to Japan and make a day trip or two to other places. Either way a JR Pass could be of great use.

Now a bit about the practical stuff, seat reservation. Seat reservations are recommended for Shinkansen and limited express trains on longer distances, such as when you visit Kyoto. Each train both has reserved seats and non reserved seats. You can just hop on a train and use a non reserved seat, alternatively reserving a seat in advance can give you a little peace of mind as your seat is guaranteed, so to speak and you don't have to line up beforehand on the platform to secure a seat. Local trains, which you may use to travel around Tokyo for instance, don't have seat reservations. You just get on and off when you want.

Travel times with the Shinkansen. Kyoto is 140-160 minutes away from Tokyo when using the Shinkansen. Fuji really depends on where you wish to visit. Visiting Hakone for instance is 36 minutes away, while other areas my take longer.

Hope this helps!


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