questions & answers: using the japan rail pass



Greetings -

Trying to figure out if the 7 Day Rail Pass would be worth it or not - I am getting into Tokyo on Sept 1st, then going to Nara on the 4th, Kyoto on the 5th, Osaka on the 6th then flying out of Osaka?

If the Rail Pass is not worth it, how does one buy tickets for the rail and would you advise buying them in advance?

Thanks so MUCH!


Hi Michael,

For a trip like this you'll need to spend over ¥28,300 on individual JR tickets for a 7 day pass to be worthwhile. Lets take a look at your costs:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥3140, (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Nara: ¥13950, (225mins, 555km)
  3. Nara > Kyoto: ¥690, (44mins, 41km)
  4. Kyoto > Osaka: ¥540, (28mins, 42km)
  5. Osaka > Kansai airport: ¥3340, (57mins, 64km)

JR ticket cost: ¥21660 for 5 legs

As you can see you'll need to spend a further ¥6640 on JR tickets for a 7 day pass to be worthwhile. If your itinerary is fixed, I would recommend individual tickets. If you think you'll do any further travel it may be worth using a 7 day pass - a return trip to Hiroshima for example would more than make a 7 day pass worthwhile for example.

If you do decide on single tickets, you can purchase these simply from the JR ticket office on arrival at a JR station in Japan. You can purchase in advance, or on the day of travel. Provided you are not intending to travel during rush hour times, I would recommend you purchase them on the day of travel.

Hope this helps!


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