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7 months ago
2 responses

Dear all,

Can I say how impressed I am at the details and quality of advice I've seen on this site so far?

Here goes with my query -

I am travelling to japan on holiday in April 2019 with my wife and two children (aged 12 and 9)
We plan to stay in the above cities in the following order

31/3/19-3/4/19 Tokyo for 3 nights (Asakasa) then travel on 3/4/19 to Hakone

3/4/19 Hakone overnight then on to Kyoto on 4/4/19

4/4/19-7/4/19 Kyoto (3 nights) travelling Sunday 7/4/19 to Hiroshima

7/4/19-9/4/19 Hiroshima (2 nights) travelling 9/4/19 to Osaka for 3 nights

12/4/19 return to UK from ITM Airport Osaka

My current reading of the various travel guides suggests that a JR pass would be useful as we'll be travelling inter city. However, as the National JR passes will cost us £711, I want to make sure I'm not wasting money.

For example, I've looked at local trains from Tokyo to Hakone ( the Odyaku Romance car has its attractions and the cost for us all comes out at £37 to £69 depending upon the time of travel). I thought that would be a nice trip to take and so my plan was to activate our 7 day JR passes on 4/4/19 when we leave Hakone, meaning we can use if from Hiroshima to Osaka on the seventh day.

I haven't yet costed more than one option for the journey from Hiroshima to Osaka accurately, but it looks to be more than double the costs of Tokyo to Hakone, so it makes sense to use any JR pass for the later journeys. I'm using Google Maps to try to cost the various individual journeys but I am slowly losing my mind and ability to count!

Given there are four of us, we planned on using taxis in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka as it might even out the costs of rail tickets. I understand that JR passes dont help much in the inner cities but am happy to be corrected. I have therefore concentrated on the inter-city travel. I was last in Japan in 2005 and have no memory of how we got around apart from walking in Gion!

I've costed the inter-city train fares and they add up tp over £1100 but I'm not sure I've found all the cheaper options and I havent factored in any local passes or deals apart from the Hakone Free Pass.

Any help or suggestions would be very welcome!


15896 posts
7 months ago

Hi Jim,

Japan can indeed become daunting when planning each trip and looking at the cost. The JR Pass sort of takes this away, as you just buy one ticket and that's the price you pay. Of course, do you want to know whether you actually save money?

Hakone (Odawara station) -> Kyoto ¥ 12,080
Kyoto -> Hiroshima -> ¥ 11,090
Hiroshima -> Osaka -> ¥ 10,230

For a total of ¥ 33,400, the JR Pass is 29,110yen. At this point, you're already making savings and have covered your expensive longer distance trips. From there, any additional travel you do with the JR Pass, only adds more to your savings. This could be local trains in Kyoto to Arashiyama, the ferry to Miyajima, the sight seeing bus in Hiroshima or the local JR network around Osaka. Then times 4 (as the yen prices above are per person) and it really adds up.

I'd start using the JR Pass once you depart Hakone, you can get on the bullet train directly to Kyoto from Odawara station, in Hakone. Up to then, you could use a Hakone Free Pass to explore the Hakone Area. This would also allow you to take the Romance Car, at a small additional fee. The days prior in Tokyo, either look at day passes or just the taxi.

Hope this helps,

2 posts
6 months ago


Thank you very much for the excellent advice. It helps a lot. I am also very happy that it is broadly what I had in mind, but the extra detail is very useful to know.

Now, off to the JR website and then back to the Collins Easy learning Japanese CD's!


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