questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

visiting japan for 16 days

Visiting Japan for 16 days

I am visiting Japan for 16 days. I have already planned my stays which are going to be Yokohama, Osaka and Tokyo. Arriving and going from Narita airport. Have not yet booked any transfers between cities or to and from the airport. Thinking of bulettrain and buses transfers. What is the best thing to book if I want to book a japan rail pass. Is it worth it? Will it cover all of my transfers with bulettrain, buses and transfers in the cities that I will visit?
Thank you

akaratzias
akaratzias

Hi there!

for a 16 day stay, you would benefit from a 7 day pass provided your trip down to Osaka and back to Tokyo was within a 7 day period. For a 14 day pass to make financial sense you would have to plan on doing more travel I think. Here's the cost breakdown for the long distance component of your trip:

  1. Tokyo > Osaka: ¥13950, (194mins, 556km)
  2. Osaka > Tokyo: ¥13950, (194mins, 556km)

TOTAL: ¥27900 for 2 legs

As you can see, a 7 day JR Pass (¥28,300) will come in ¥400 more than purchasing single JR tickets for your return to Osaka, but you gain a full 7 days of free JR travel in addition. Because of this I recommend a 7 day pass provided you are going to Osaka and returning within 7 days.

The JR Pass will cover all JR train, buses and bullet trains (Except the nozomi and mizuho class services). Please note that although Tokyo and Osaka have good JR overground train services, the subway and city buses are generally not operated by JR and will require a separate charge if you use them. Here's map of JR lines in Tokyo for reference).

hope this helps!

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mari
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Thank you very much for your help!

However I am still not sure what pass I should buy.
My schedule with hotels already booked is the following:
1/9/2012: Narita airport - Yokohama
7/9/2012: Yokohama - Osaka
9/9/2012: Osaka - Kyoto
9/9/2012: Kyoto - Osaka
11/9/2012: Osaka - Shinagawa Tokyo
11/9/2012 - 16/9/2012: Daily transports in Tokyo using train from Shinagawa station
16/9/2012: Shinagawa - Narita Airport

Thinking of getting two 7-day pass with a break between them on the 8/9/2012
Or I should go for a 21-day pass

What do you think?
Thank you so much

akaratzias
akaratzias

Hi there,

I think for your trip you should aim for a 7 day Japan Rail Pass for use on the 9th until the 13th. In addition to this I recommend purchasing one of the following deals for transport into and around Tokyo:

I think as you're going to be in Tokyo for more than a few days, the NEX + Suica is possibly a better choice. Bear in mind that as it's a limited prepaid card (rather than infinite use day pass) it very much depends on your travel plans - break out the calculator ;).

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Thank you!
I think I found the best solution.....
1/9: Suica + NEX one way to Yokohama : 3500
7/9 - 14/9: 7 day pass to use for trips to Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo-etc and inside Tokyo for 3 days more : 28300
14/9 - 16/9: Keisei Skyliner one way + metro 1 or 2 days open ticket : 2980
For Tokyo after the 14th I will have both the prepaid Suica and the open ticket

What do you think?

akaratzias
akaratzias

I'm afraid that both the Keisei + Metro Pass and the NEX + Suica deals are only available for purchase at Narita. In addition to this the singles fares are only valid from Narita to Tokyo.

Given this I think you should purchase the return Suica+NEX from Narita, and then also purchase 1 day metro passes on busy travel days but on quieter days simply use the Suica for simple point to point ad-hoc travel.

Hope this helps - I wish the combined deals were more widely available!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Unfortunately the Suica and NEX return ticket is valid only for two weeks and my return journey is after that.
So I will have to take two single way

akaratzias
akaratzias

Ah that's a shame - I'd not factored that in! In that case, I think the Keisei Skyliner + Metro pass deals are the best for you and are valid for 6 months rather than 2 weeks! Although it does say 2 weeks on the Suica+N'EX website, I'm going to call JR to confirm the 2 week policy tomorrow as it seems very short!

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

That is excellent, very kind of you.
On the other hand Keisei and metro is not very convenient since I am staying
at Shinagawa station which is not in the stations included free for use in the metro pass
I am still thinking of the best deal! The best is NEX and Suica if it could be done for 16 days!!

Thank you very much
p.s. I am just trying to organize everything as better as I can to enjoy such a wonderful country and
you are really helping me to do that!! Thanks!! :)

akaratzias
akaratzias

aah ok. yes, the best is the NEX+Suica. I'll let you know what I find. If it does not look possible then at least you can benefit from the single NEX+Suica route. You would have to pay separately for the return however.

If you don't manage to get the NEX+Suica and went for the Keisei option there is a metro station called Sengakuji which is a 10min walk from Shinagawa (here's a walking map).

I'll let you know how I get on with JR :)

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mari
Expert_button_2

(I'm afraid that both the Keisei + Metro Pass and the NEX + Suica deals are only available for purchase at Narita. In addition to this the singles fares are only valid from Narita to Tokyo.)

I think NEX can take me to Yokohama:

http://www.gatewaylax.com/narita_expressjp.asp "It includes a round-trip ticket between Narita Airport and the Tokyo/Yokohama area on the Narita Express train" Also I can buy both single NEX and Suica when I arrive to Narita. Two single way Narita-Yokohama and Shinagawa-Narita. Is it possible to buy two NEX and Suica per person? I think not.
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/suica-nex/ : "This offer is limited to one Suica & N'EX purchase per person"

akaratzias
akaratzias

Hi there,

Yes, you're right that the NEX goes as far as Yokohama - I was meaning 'in the direction of travel' Narita > Tokyo/Yokohama, sorry for the confusion!

This would mean that you can only purchase a single N'EX+suica for use in the direction of travel Narita > Tokyo/Yokohama. In addition it appears that you can only purchase one per person (not entirely sure why you'd want more than one...)

I'll clarify these points on the phone to JR when Japan wakes up.

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mari
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Because I will need one ticket when I arrive and one when I leave since I will not be able to buy a return ticket. That means that I will not be able to buy a second for my return?

akaratzias
akaratzias

Yes, I'm afraid you'll only be able to take advantage of the single leg NEX/suica offer when travelling in the direction of travel from Narita to Yokohama. As you're unable to purchase a single NEX/suica in the direction of travel from Yokohama/Tokyo to Narita you will need to purchase a separate standard single for your return.

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mari
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