questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

i really dont know if th jr pass is worth it.

I really dont know if th JR Pass is worth it.

Hi Everyone,

I would really appreciate your thoughts as to whether or not the JR Pass is the best option and if so which one?

This is my itinerary:

Arrive Sunday 15 March 6:45pm
Tokyo 15th till 18th (checking out then)
18th Mt Fuji Day Trip
Hakone 18th (checking out 19th)
Kyoto 19th - 21st
Nara 21st - 23rd
Osaka 23rd - 25th
Tokyo 25th - 28th
Leave Midday 28th March from Narita Airport.

Also does the JR pass over form the airport to Tokyo and vice versa? if so do you have to pre book that? any additional info you think would be helpful would be muchly appreciated.


Hi there,

Looking at your itinerary, I do think that buying normal tickets is the best way to go with this one.

A 7 day JR Pass could be helpful if you use it to make a return Tokyo - Kyoto/Osaka within 7 days. However in the above itinerary you'd be coming from Hakone which is closer to Osaka (and thus the ticket prices is lower). In other words, tickets are below the price of the JR Pass right now.

The JR Pass does cover travel to and from the airport. Using the Narita Express or local trains. The Narita Express does require advance seat reservations. This however can be done up to 5min before departure.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Daniel's calculations are correct, however if you tweaked your itinerary a little bit you could make a 7 day pass pay off. Unless you have some places you are dying to see there, you can largely skip Osaka in the daytime. Seeing Tokyo is better and quite enough for a large city. Instead, you could go down to see Hiroshima/Miyajima for 2D/1N, which are excellent. Likewise, it's great you include Nara which is a must-see place, but 2 days is really enough and you could take a day and go see Himeji, which is Japan's finest castle. There have been renovations going on for many years, but it is all finished on Mar 27th, and would make a great visit. Another alternative would be to see Hikone Castle - which should be blooming with cherry blossoms at the end of March and look very beautiful.

For Hakone, look into a pass to see lots of places there:

You wouldn't be able to use your pass to go to Narita, but there is a cheap 1000 bus you can take:


Thanks for the info!

We have booked all our hotels now so we dont want to alter our trp in anyway.

Therefore would the 7 day pass be the best idea from the point we leave Hakone and then return to Tokyo from Osaka its a 7 day period from the day we leave Hakone until the day we arrive back in Tokyo?


As Daniel said, according to your original itinerary, a 7 day pass would not pay off. In that event, just get the regular tickets.

But you could keep your current hotel reservations, and do a day trip for example from Osaka to Hiroshima/Miyajima. Then it would be worth it. You'd need to start early and for Hiroshima City your time is limited to a few places like the Peace Park/Museum and perhaps the Shukkeien Garden, then seeing Miyajima, but it is doable and well worth seeing.


Thanks Daniel,

I had a quick look at HyperDia Journey Planner and the total price I got from Hakone - Kyoto - Nara - Osaka - Tokyo was 40,000 yen.

A 7 day pass was $241 AUD, so from my research the 7 day pass is by far cheaper for the week that we are travelling?

Sorry im new to all this and its quite confusing all the different rail lines and passes etc.


I am not sure how you are arriving at your calculations. The area around Hakone is not serviced by JR so you could not use your JR Pass. You could start using your JR Pass from Mishima Station, taking a bullet train to Kyoto.
So with each leg, using unreserved seating:

Mishima-Kyoto: ¥10,580
Kyoto-Nara: ¥ 710
Nara-Osaka ¥ 800
Osaka-Tokyo ¥13,620

Total: ¥25,710
7 Day JR Pass: ¥29,110

So you would lose ¥3,400 yen by getting the pass. Even if you did just a day trip to Himeji, the pass would then be worth it.
BTW while not part of your long distance itinerary, while you are in the Tokyo area, taking a day to see Nikko would be well worth it.

And you can get a good 3 day Tokyo subway pass also:


Oh gosh,I was counting $710 as 7000 and 800 as 8000.

Yeah thats basically the prices I got as well! If we use the Narita Express from and to the airport though would that then make the JR Pass worth it?..

How far in advance would you suggest booking for the Mishima - Kyoto leg and the other legs after that.

We will have 6 days in Tokyo i think all would we need 2 3 day tokyo passes??


Since you are staying in Japan for 12 nights, and taking the most expensive travel (e.g. bullet train) in the middle of it, trying to use a JR Pass going from/to Narita makes no sense. Which is why I suggested the 1000 yen bus. You would have to rearrange your trip to Kansai to be at the start or finish of your itinerary. But you just wrote you booked the hotels and are unwilling to do that.

You don't have to book the trains to Kansai or elsewhere. You can just show up at the station - although knowing the schedule ahead of time will save you some trouble. Getting 2 three day subway passes would save you time and money - although I honestly would say that 3 days in Tokyo are enough; some day trips to Kamakura/Enoshima and Nikko would offer more variety and broaden your Japan experience. It's up to you though.


No sorry what i meant was if we get the 7 day pass and also used it for the airport transfer would it be worth while? then i just realised that it wouldnt fall in the 7 days because it would be at the beginning and at the end of my trip #confused.

I dont think we want to get a bus we prefer the bullet train isnt it quicker into tokyo then a bus?.. sorry what /where is Kansai did we discuss that before?



There is no bullet train to/from Narita airport. There are 4 main ways to travel - 2 ways by train: the Narita Express train, plus the Keisei, and 2 by bus: the limousine orange bus and the 1000 yen bus.

The Narita Express is one of the fastest, and the only one you can use with a JR Pass - but you are already committing that for the long distance travel in the middle of your itinerary. It stops at several places in Tokyo, and is very good if you are trying to get to the west side of Tokyo. The Keisei is cheaper, with a slightly faster version, the Skyliner. It stops at Ueno and Nippori Stations. The limousine bus is one of the more expensive ways, but it stops at several major tourist hotels and may be more convenient if you have a lot of luggage. The 1000 yen bus is the cheapest, but only goes to Tokyo and Ginza Stations. You need to find what works best for you. This page may help:

There is also a discounted N'Ex ticket:

The Kansai (also called Kinki) region includes Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Kobe. In Tokyo the area and surroundings are called the Kanto area (named after the Kanto Plain it sits on). Again, it's up to you how to allocate your time, but I and many others would say for Kansai, concentrate on Kyoto, Nara and Himeji. You can easily skip Osaka in the daytime, but the city is much more interesting at night - Dotonbori, the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are all terrific at night:

I strongly advise you to read up a lot more and plan your trip - otherwise you will lose out on some of Japan's best places. Know where you are going and try to look up how to get there.

Comprehensive info:

For Tokyo, look through these sites:

For Kyoto:

For Nara:

For Himeji:

Tokyo subways:

Kyoto subway:



So just working out for the first few days in Tokyo 15/3-18/3 including getting from the airport to our hotel in Shinjuku what train pass would we be best getting just the 3 day pass? will that cover the cost of the Narita Express or is that a separate cost?


Hi Shannon,

The 3 day pass only covers the subways - Narita is an hour away from Tokyo by train. Given that when you arrive in Japan you will likely be very tired as well as dragging some luggage, the most convenient way for you to get to your hotel in Shinjuku would be the Narita Express. There is a discount round trip ticket you could take - see:

You are a bit early for the cherry blossoms, but when you get back to Tokyo you should see some good displays even if they're not at their peak. Some good places to see them are:

For Kyoto:

For Osaka:




So slightly off topic but the Tokyo Tower is free for people who will hold a JCB car is that what the 3 day pass is.


Not sure I understand your question - JCB is a credit card company. It has nothing to do with the 3 day subway pass.


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