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Is The JR Pass A Worthwhile Investment For Me?

over 3 years ago
1 response


My girlfriend and I plan to visit Japan in July between the 9th and 14th of July this year, staying at a hotel located near to Shinjuku station.

Our grand plans so far involve going to Disneyland one day, Universal Studios another day and Kotyo on yet another day. The rest of our time is LIKELY to be spend wandering around Tokyo itself.

Am I correct in saying that there's not any way to get from Shinjuku to Universal Studios or Kyoto using the Japan Rail pass WITHOUT having to pay additional fees? seems to be suggesting we would HAVE to use at least one Shinkansen line each way at a cost of about ¥5000 each (which, for a return journey for two people to Universal and then the same to Kyoto, is an extra ¥40000 all in!).

I'm confused because Google searches return a lot of people saying you can avoid Shinkansen trains for journeys to Universal or Kyoto and "it's entirely covered by the JR Pass" and "only takes about 20 minutes extra" but the only non-Shinkanzen routes I can find seem to take about TWO HOURS longer!

Anyone have any advice on getting from Shinjuku to Universal and from Shinjuku to Kyoto? Should we get the JR Pass or would we better off without it?

The Shinjuku to DIsneyland trip seems mercifully straightforward with the JR Pass, though if I'm wrong and anyone thinks I should expect problems there then all help and advice is appreciated with that too.

Thanks! :o)

12187 posts
over 3 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there!

The route is completely covered by the JR Pass. I've included a couple of routes below:

Tokyo - Universal city.

Tokyo - Kyoto.

Universal City - Kyoto

All of these are covered by the JR Pass and covered by the JR Pass. A normal return Tokyo - Kyoto on the Shinkansen alone almost pays for a 7 day JR Pass. Basically any additional travel you do is free.

From reading your question I get the feeling that you may be confused about what is covered by the JR Pass. You can use all the Shinkansen in Japan with the JR Pass. The Shinkansen is actually the name for the high speed routes in Japan on which the bullet trains travel (Shinkansen means something like new main line). The thing you have to keep in mind is that some train types (the Nozomi and Mizuhou) trains traveling on the Shinkansen are not covered. You can however all other train types (such as the Hikari) for traveling on the Shinkansen.
The main difference in trains is that the Nozomi make the least stops and are therefor a little faster. However the difference is minimum. As you read before, there's only a 19min difference in travel time between Tokyo - Kyoto.

When searching in Hyperdia de-select the following options:
Airport Shuttle Bus
Private Railway

and leave all other option on, including:
Bullet Train (SHINKANSEN)

Hope this helps!

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