questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

which is more cost effective?

Which is more cost effective?


My wife and I are travelling to Narita on May 26th, then on to Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima and return to Narita 6 days later. Is the JR Pass the most cost efficient way or would individual tickets be better? Also, is it possible to upgrade to a green car once the ticket is activated?

Many thanks,



Hi Paul!

Normally a 7 day pass makes sense if you do a return trip between Tokyo and Kyoto. As you're planning on doing a lot more travel than that I can certainly recommend a 7 day JR Pass over normal JR tickets.

Here is a cost breakdown for you to find out how much you will save:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥3,140 (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13,020 (164mins, 513km)
  3. Kyoto > Kobe(hyogo): ¥3,240 (54mins, 75km)
  4. Kobe(hyogo) > Hiroshima: ¥10,580 (129mins, 378km)
  5. Hiroshima > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥19,940 (369mins, 973km)

JR ticket cost: ¥49,920 for 5 legs

Once you have purchased your JR Pass I'm afraid you cannot upgrade/downgrade, and so if you have a standard class rail pass and want to use the Green Car you will have to pay the full green car seat price (although the basic line price will be covered).

I hope this helps!


Hi Paul - I don't personally think a Green car is worthwhile (it is most effective in the JR-East area), but you can read more on the benefits here:

Hope this helps!


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