questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

5 weeks- tokyo-kyoto-osaka

5 Weeks- Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka

Hi all,

My poor brain is becoming overwhelmed with whether or not we should get a JR Pass...! So much info out there... But I would love to get some answers more specific to my needs.

My very good friend, my boyfriend and myself are planning at trip to Japan to see the Cherry Blossoms next year (Late March- Early April). We plan on staying for approximately 5 weeks. So far, we know for sure that we will stay in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Spending approximately 10 days in each place (total 30 days). We might do few day trips out to Mt Fuji, Hiroshima and possibly a day or two in Nara?

We will most likely also end our trip in Tokyo (Another 5 days). = 5 weeks.

Now, because we are not doing travel great distances over Japan, and mainly sticking to the city centres, is it worth getting a 21 day JR Pass?

Many thanks!


Hi there,

Since you will be staying mostly in the City center I don't think the 21 Day JR-Pass will make for a good option.
Since you have quite some time in every city you could consider using night buses to get around, they are a very cheap option and for instance Tokyo --> Osaka can be as low as 3,500 Yen and you save money on accommodations.

A 7-Day Pass could be an option if you can plan some of your long distance travel / day trips in its period of use.
For instance
Tokyo --> Kyoto ¥ 13,220
Kyoto --> Hiroshima ¥ 10,790
Hiroshima --> Kyoto ¥ 10,790
Kyoto Nara (return) ¥ 1,380

For a total of 36180, the 7 Day JR-Pass is 28,300 saving you 7,880. It also comes with the convenience of not having to buy single tickets every time.

Have a great time in Japan!

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Even though we will be doing lots of traveling in the city centers for at least 8-10days? @Daniel-san

Because I looked into getting JR passes for the city centers (eg. 4 day, 8 day and 10 day passes), and when I added it up to the cost of just traveling between each major city it was more than a JR Pass....?? Or am I miss calculating somewhere?

And note: traveling to each town spending at least 10days in that town, before moving to the next.... So unless I could choose the 7 days I don't think it would be beneficial to me... @daniel-san :/

Hi Again,

When you travel locally in a city ticket prices generally are around 150-250Yen for one way.
For instance the difference between a 7-day JR pass and a 14-day JR Pass is 17,000Yen, if you want to travel locally only you would have to make 85 rides in 7 days, so as you can see it is not very economic for just local travel.

I know you plan to stay in every city 10 days but since you mentioned going to Hiroshima and Nara on day trips, I was trying to explain in my previous post that planning them in a 7-day period can result in savings if you use the JR Pass.

What I am wondering about are the 4 day 8 day and 10 day passes that you are referring to, the nation wide JR-Pass comes in 7, 14 and 21 day. The ones you are referring to are most likely regional passes that can only be used in a certain area.

Hope this clears things up,

Expert button 2

My appologies, yes I was referring to JR regional passes! :)

And before I begin to ramble on and on- I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you!!! For all your help!!! I really do apprieciate you taking the time to answer my novice questions! And I appologize for my lack of knowledge, especially as you are JR Pass Expert! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!..

...... Now.... I will show you the calculations I have come up. Please let me know if I've gone somewhere wrong, or if there is a cheaper alternative. (Although, as much I would love to use the night bus because it's so cheap, my friend is about 6ft3 tall... so with really long legs, he would hate the night bus... unless they are quite spacious in comparison to Australian busses?? Because busses here aren't very spacious!)

Tokyo---> Mt Fuji 4000Yen (Note: I will probably see if I can organise a proper round trip. I just did a hyperdia search for the meant time)
Mt Fuji---> Tokyo 4000 Yen
Tokyo ---> Kyoto 13 220Yen
Kyoto ---> Hiroshima 10 790Yen (Note: I will also organise a proper round trip for this one.... Hyperdia gave me these numbers haha!)
Hiroshima ---> Kyoto 10 790Yen
Kyoto ---> Osaka 540 Yen
Osaka ---> Tokyo 8510Yen

Now, this all totals to 47 850, which obviously, does not make up for the cost of a 21 Day pass..


If in Tokyo I got a JR East 10 Day unlimted Pass = 32000Yen
And if I got a 2 8 day JR Sanyo West Passes for Kyoto and Osaka = (30 000Yen x2) 60 000Yen
And then another 4 day pass for Tokyo for when we travel back to Tokyo for when we leave = 6000Yen

Add this to 47 850 for just traveling to major cities, I have a total of 145 850............. which suprasses the cost of a 21 Day Pass.. And saves me approximately 43050Y..

But I suppose- it is more of a question of whether I will use those Regional Passes to their full potential?

-___________- MY BRAIN!!!


Appologies!! I forgot to mention how I calculated my savings!!

So, If got a 21 day + 14 day JR Pass (to make a total of 35 days) = 102 800Y (As to whether I can get two passes....!!! Another question all together!!!!! BRAIN!)

So subtract my total of 145 850

= saving 43050

Hi Again,

With all the passes and travel options available it does indeed get complicated! Even for me haha!
If you buy a 21-day pass + a 14 day pass you would indeed save quite a bit of money over the local passes you mentioned before. Like you said it would come down to your usage of the passes, if you plan on staying local there are much better ways to get around. For instance take the 1-day Tokyo Metro Pass They go for 710/Yen a day, if you bought one for every day in Tokyo you would only spend 7,100 (as compared to the 32,000 Yen JR East 10 Day pass). Here is a website with more day tickets in Tokyo. The great thing about day tickets is that you can decide day by day is if you want to use them or not.

In Osaka you have the same 1 day metro pass system. Here they go for 810 Yen or you can buy a 2 day Osaka sightseeing pass that allows unlimited rides + free entrance to many places. Say you would do this every day! plus buy the 2 day card, you would spend 2700+(8x810)= 9180 total for Osaka! (compared the the 30,000 pass).

Now Kyoto is a bit of a different story, the city does not have a wide metro system like Osaka or Tokyo, instead it has 2 metro lines and for the rest buses go everywhere! There are day passes available here too! A all day bus pass is only 500 Yen. Personally I think the best way to get around in Kyoto is if you hire a bicycle or if you have your accommodation in the city center you could probably reach most places on foot! Additionally there is also a metro all you can ride pass for 600 Yen. Now say you use the bus ticket 5 days (=2,500) and the metro pass 5 days (-3,000) then you would spend 5,500 on local travel in Kyoto. (Again compared to the 30,000pass that can't even be used inside Kyoto).

Now say you would do the following:
In Tokyo use the Metro passes 7100,
In Osaka also the metro passes + the 2 day sightseeing pass 9180
The local travel methods in Kyoto 5,500
Then the first time you travel to Tokyo you take a comfortable night bus that costs about 7,000 Yen and is also suited for tall people like your friend (I am about the same height and used them before) .
Then for your trip to Hiroshima and the way back to Tokyo you use the 7-day JR Pass 28,300 (as mentioned before)
Then for Fuji you would use a highway bus from Shinjuku that is 1,700/ yen one way (3,400 total for the return)

In total you would spend 60,480 on travel in total, which is still better than 102 800 Yen :)

Let me know what you think!

Expert button 2

(I liked your msg twice- that's how much I liked your post! HAHA!)


Thanks Daniel- san!!!!!!!

May I ask, Daniel-san...... Why should I get the 7 day JR Pass when I go to Hiroshima...... I'm trying to find where we discussed this................. :|

Thanks Daniel-san..

Hi Again,

Why I think a 7-day JR-pass is a good option for Hiroshima is because a return is 21,580 Yen from Kyoto, the price of the 7-day JR Pass is 28,300 so if you do a little more travel you will be able to make some nice savings with it.
For instance I thought if you combine your visit to Hiroshima with your way back to Tokyo 13,220 you would be able to make some good savings.

Have a great time in Japan!

Expert button 2

PS: Thank you for liking my post twice!

I am glad to hear you found it useful!

Expert button 2

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