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jr rail pass for walking challenged senior?

JR Rail pass for Walking Challenged Senior?

I’m a 65 year old traveler with bad knees who can walk 20 minutes with canes or ride a light bike for 2 hours on flat areas. Stairs and concrete are difficult. We love parks, old towns, canal rides, beaches & snokeling. Plus a few temples without lots of stairs!
We're considering a JR rail pass for 7 days, but I worry about stairs at smaller stations? Are there cars and good bikes for hire at the stations?
Our ROUGH itinerary:
April 4th : arrive Narita
April 5th: fly to Okinawa for 3 days
April 8th: fly to Osaka. Train or shuttle to NW Kyoto (near Kinkakuji Temple) for 4 nights
Apr 9th: Kyoto and Arashiyama
Apr 10th : Day trip to Nara area
Apr 11th : Day trip to Hikone /Omi Hachiman
April 12th: Bullet train - Kyoto to Yokohama (2 nights)
April 13th: Day trip to Kamukura
April 14th : Day Trip near Yokohama?
Do you see a 7 day period that would be economical with the JR pass? Or would a 5 day Pass 18 be better. Which stations have stairs only?
Thank you, Jan


Hi Jan,

Japan is very accommodating for people who may require a little extra help to get around. You will find elevators at many stations, special access gates and so on. Smaller stations can be somewhat harder though, in such a case it is best to ask JR staff to assist you. All major stations have car rentals but perhaps better is that there are always taxi's available, which generally are not too expansive for shorter distances.

I checked the distances and route that you'll travel and think that it would be best to buy normal tickets for your travel. Your long distance travel is limited to a one way ticket Kyoto - Yokohama. The JR Pass is best used for longer travel but it would not pay of right now, even with all your other travel, which is all relatively local. What I would recommend going is staying the night in Hakone when you visit it or travel on to Yokohama/Tokyo as it is close to Tokyo/Yokohama and directly on the route between Kyoto - Yokohama. Traveling back to Kyoto really would add a lot of unnecessary travel.

For a day trip near Yokohama I would recommend Kamakura which is not too far and home to the big Buddha.

Unfortunately it is pretty hard to find out which stations may not have an elevator, let me know if you have any station you are worried about and I could probably find out for you but making a list would take hours.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Thank you Danielsan
I would like to buy a rail pass rather than trying to pay each time at machines. My Google searching has left me with more questions.
1) How long does the "hikari hayatoku kippu," take from Kyoto to Yokohama and what is the cost?

2) I was wondering if it would work to buy one Seishun 18 Kippu 5 day spring pass which has five days of travel for 11,500 Yen and allows two people to share? Could two of us go from Osaka to Kyoto; one person return Omi Hachiman, with two stops in Lake Biwa area that day; then two from Kyoto to Yokohama?
3) How many hours would this take if not on the bullet trani and could we reserve?

4) Will finding a seat on any of these trains be difficult at this busy time?

5) Perhaps would a local Kyoto pass would be better for our 4 days in Kyoto?
Domo arigato, Jan


Hi Aunt Jan,

1.) This would mean that you are traveling on the Hikari express, which takes about 150min from Yokohama - Kyoto. The thicket is 11,500yen but needs to be purchased at least a week in advance at a JR Station but usually is sold out days before that. Therefor I don't think that this ticket would be useful for you.

2 & 3 & 4.) The Sheishun Kippu is also something which may not be the best option for you. It only allows for travel on local lines and for instance is not valid on the Bullet train from Kyoto to Yokohama. This would take 487 Minutes and at least 6 transfers. Also all seats are non reserved on local trains, so there's a good chance that you'd have to stand for a longer period of time.

5.) In Kyoto you could consider buying a Kyoto bus pass, which is valid for one day and costs 500yen. A normal bus ticket is 220yen per ride so it's easy to make savings.

Expert button 2

Konnichiwa Danielsan We want to buy a JR Rail Green Bullet ticket from Kyoto to Kannai Station,near where our Yokohama hotel is located.
1) I know April is a very busy time. If we buy the ticket at Narrita Airport April 3rd, will there likely be room for us on the April 12 Tokaido Shinkansen in first class?
2) We are seniors with luggage. Could you recommend the easiest way to transfer from the Bullet train to Kannai Station?
Domo arigato
Jan & George


Hi Jan & George,

Although April can be busy, there are also a lot of train seats available. Shinkansen depart very frequently (about ~10min) and can carry over a 1000 passengers each. This gives a lot of availability and reserving seats should not give you any problem on the 3rd.

2.) I guess this is when you travel from Kyoto to Kannai station. In that case it would be best to take the Shinkansen to Shin-Yokohama station and take the metro directly from there. Here is an example itinerary.

Douitashimashite :)

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