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Should I get the JRP?

over 5 years ago
1 response

I'm wondering if it's worth it for myself and my husband to get JR passes while visiting Japan for 9 days in August.

We are flying to Narita and then plan to take a train to Kyoto.
Two days later a train from Kyoto to Hiroshima and then from Hiroshima to Tokyo.
While in Tokyo we will do a day trip to Nikko. We are flying out of Japan from Tokyo.

I've looked at travel costs but many of these routes use the Nozomi train which is not included in the JRP.

Are there any (good) alternatives to Nozomi that are included in the JRP?

Do you think it's worth it to get the 7 day JR Pass?

Also, How long does it take to get the JRP one ordering it online?
I live in Manhattan. Is there somewhere I can buy it (not online)?

Thanks for your help!

1951 posts
over 5 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there!

Here are some answers for you:

Valid non-Nozomi Shinkansen for the Japan Rail Pass

Firstly, yes, the JR Pass is valid on the route from Tokyo to Hiroshima and Kyoto using the Tokaido and Sanyo shinkansen lines. As you point out the key point is that the JR Pass is not valid on certain classes of Bullet train. There are several types of bullet train that run on the Tokaido and Sanyo shinkansen lines:

  • Kodama (Normal, stops at all stations)
  • Hikari & Sakura (Express, stops at main stations only)
  • Nozomi & Mizuho (Super Express, stops at very large cities only)

The JR Pass is valid on the Kodama, Hikari and Sakura types of Shinkansen, but is not valid on the Nozomi and Mizuho classes. In practice, the Hikari and Sakura bullets reach the same top speed as the Nozomi and Mizuho trains and use the same type of actual train, but stop at more stops on each route. For example, for the trip down from Tokyo to Kyoto, the Hikari service runs 15mins slower than the equivalent Nozomi service, and so for holiday travel is more than acceptable. There are 2 (or more) Hikari/Sakura services an hour on the Tokyo > Hiroshima route so you should find it very easy to get the bullet train you need.

You can look up precise train timetables and costs at the Hyperdia travel planning website and learn how to use Hyperdia to show non-Nozomi bullet trains valid for use with the Japan Rail Pass through our video blog.

Itinerary costings & JRPass value check

Assuming you'll spend a few days in Tokyo at the end of your trip without the Japan Rail Pass, here are some projected costs for you:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥2940, (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13220, (164mins, 513km)
  3. Kyoto > Hiroshima: ¥10790, (112mins, 380km)
  4. Hiroshima > Tokyo: ¥18050, (292mins, 894km)
  5. Tokyo > Nikko: ¥5430, (121mins, 150km)
  6. Nikko > Tokyo: ¥5430, (117mins, 150km)

TOTAL: ¥55860 for 6 legs

As a 7 day JRPass is ¥28,300, you'll make great minimum savings of ¥27,560 with one over standard JR tickets so I certainly recommend it.

Delivery within the US

Our delivery within the US is 1 working day after dispatch so if you were to order today your rail pass should be with you in Manhattan by Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest. You can find a list of non-online locations to purchase rail passes online here.

Hope this helps!

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