questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

buy 21 day pass or not

Buy 21 Day Pass or Not

My Itinerary:
April 1- 4: Hachioji- Matsumoto
April 8-12: Tokyo-Kyoto
April 15-17: Tokyo-Sendai
My Question: On all routes, without reserved seats, it is cheaper to pay as you go. HYPERDIA always includes seat reservations making it more economical to buy a 21 day JNR pass. Research shows reserved seats are not necessary, but is it wise to have reserved seats? Also, I will be in Japan for five weeks using local JNR lines. I am also considering buying the JNR East pass to cover the Matsumoto and Sendai trips and paying for the Kyoto trip. I guess it depends on paying for reserved seats or not. What do you suggest?


Hi there!

From reading your question I get the impression that all the fares in Hyperdia are the cause for some confusion.

Have a look at this route Shinjuku - Matsumoto as you can see the ticket price is the following: Total: ¥ 6,710 (Fare:¥ 3,890 Seat Fee:¥ 2,820). The fare is the price for the distance traveled, the seat fee is the charge you pay for high speed trains such as the Shinkansen en limited express trains, you always pay this fare, no matter if you reserve a seat or not. Lastly there's the seat reservation fee which is 500yen and included in the Seat Fee (you can select a non reserved seat on the right in Hyperdia). All of this generally is not something you have to worry about as the JR Pass covers it all, however it can be useful when decides on what pass to use.

What I would recommend is buying a 14 day JR Pass (45,100yen) and use it for your travel Tokyo - Kyoto and Tokyo Sendai, which adds up to the following.

Tokyo - Kyoto ¥ 13,220
Kyoto - Tokyo ¥ 13,220
Tokyo - Sendai ¥ 10,890
Sendai - Tokyo ¥ 10,890

For a total of ¥ 48,220 or ¥ 3,120 in savings. Remember that the JR Pass is also valid for local travel around Tokyo on the JR Network and any travel you may do would add to your savings.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Daniel-San, I was hoping you were still out there. You certainly cleared up a number of questions. That will work out great because, at some point, I planned on going to Kofu to visit friends and I didn't want to stop on my way to Matsumoto. I will order the 14 day pass this evening. Thank you



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