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Using Kyoto and Tokyo as base for JR Pass travel

over 5 years ago
2 responses


We are travelling to Japan in October with hotels booked in Kyoto, Hakone and Tokyo. We are planning on the following day trips and would just like to know is this feasible - and is the JR pass the best option. Checking on Hyperdia seems to suggest would be slightly cheaper to buy individual tickets. Having said that husband is keen on the first class option, and would also welcome any suggestions for additional day trips from Kyoto

20th Oct: Narita airport to Kyoto
22nd October: Kyoto to Nara for the day
24th October: Kyoto to Hiroshima for the day
26th October: Kyoto to Osaka for the day
28th October: Kyoto to Hakone (one way)
30th October: Hakone to Tokyo (one way)
1st November: Tokyo to Nikko for day trip

1951 posts
over 5 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there,

For a trip of this length I think you're looking at a 14 day pass to give you most peace of mind, although a 7 day pass from the 20th-26th could also well give you some savings. Lets take a look at your base JR ticket costs to get an idea of the overall costs of your trip for comparison, assuming you'll depart from Nartia within the 14 day period:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Kyoto: ¥16330, (238mins, 592km)
  2. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690, (44mins, 41km)
  3. Nara > Kyoto: ¥690, (44mins, 41km)
  4. Kyoto > Hiroshima: ¥10990, (112mins, 380km)
  5. Hiroshima > Kyoto: ¥10990, (126mins, 380km)
  6. Kyoto > Osaka: ¥540, (28mins, 42km)
  7. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540, (29mins, 42km)
  8. Kyoto > Odawara: ¥11950, (177mins, 429km)
  9. Odawara > Tokyo: ¥1450, (36mins, 83km)
  10. Tokyo > Nikko: ¥5630, (121mins, 150km)
  11. Nikko > Tokyo: ¥5630, (117mins, 150km)
  12. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥3140, (58mins, 79km)

JR ticket cost: ¥68570 for 12 legs

  • 14 day rail pass (¥45,100) saving: ¥23470

Based on your JR ticket prices, you stand to save over ¥23,470 each with a 14 day JR Pass so I can certainly recommend this option over individual tickets.

The Green Car is certainly more spacious and exclusive, but is not available on all bullets between Tokyo and Kyoto. We have a good blog post on the benefits of the green car here.

From Kyoto, I think you've got all the bases covered - If you think you'll have time I recommend looking into trips to Koyasan on the Kii Penninsular to the south of Kyoto, and Kinosaki Onsen hotspring which is around 2 hours from Kyoto with a JR Pass on the Sea of Japan coast. Both are best as overnight stays, but could be reached in a day.

Hope this helps!

2 posts
over 5 years ago

Mari thank you, this is very helpful. Is it possible to tell in advance which trains have green cars?

1951 posts
over 5 years ago
Expert button 2

Most routes on Hyperdia do include the green car, but I do know from experience that the main one on your trip with patchy coverage is the Tokyo-Kyoto route. The others should have good coverage.

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