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Regular (non-bullet) trains?

almost 3 years ago
1 response

It seems nearly all foreign travelers use the bullet trains exclusively, typically with a JRP. At least that's the impression I get from this and other websites. Is there some specific reason for this? Of course I understand that the bullet trains save a lot of time, but on the other hand it seems to me that once you've paid for the JRP, it's the JRP itself that makes you move on pretty quickly from one place to the next, since you'd want to get the most out of the pass.

What if I'd like to travel at a more leisure place, e.g. spend 2-3 days in each place I visit? I would imagine that in that case buying individual tickets for regular trains might work out better. Or is a JRP likely still a cost saver, even when using regular trains? Or is there some other reason that regular trains aren't a good idea for foreigners?

16614 posts
almost 3 years ago

Hi there,

The JR Pass is valid on the Shinkansen Bullet trains and conventional JR lines and trains.

As a comparison, taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto takes around 160minutes on the Hikari Shinkansen and is direct. Using local lines it would take around 8 hours with 5-6 transfers along the way and costs about half of what the Shinkansen would cost. This is why few people do so.

I can't tell you what is more economic without knowing the full route you will be traveling. You can use the JR Pass Fare Calculator to find an approximate ticket cost of a single route or even your full itinerary.

Kind regards,

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