questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr kanto or jr east or jr rail pass

JR KANTO or JR EAST or JR rail pass

Hi, me and my wife were travelling to Japan from 17 -16 Feb '14. We would be landing at Haneda airport on the 18, 19- travelling to Kawazu, Shizuoka area. From there on we wanted to cover up Hakone loop ( for which we would be buying the hakine pass from gotenba station ) and the sight seeing places around Mt. Fuji.
We also wanted to visit the jigo kudani snow monkey park , and if possible takayama.
We would keep one or two days for seeing around tokyo city, around taito.
But to do all this, i'm not sure which pass would be ideal for us, the 3-day JR kanto pass or JR 5- dayEast pass or the JR 7-day rail pass.
Also is there any way I can travel from gotenba station to matsumoto?
During this weather is it advisable to rent a car and drive from matsumoto to takayama?
Please advise.


Sorry the dates are 17-26 feb '14


Hi there!

To see if a JR Pass would be helpful it is important to have an itinerary which is a bit more exact. For instance visiting Takayama or not could mean a difference around 10,000yen in travel costs. However for just a visit to Tokyo - Shizuoka - Gotemba and use a Hakone pass from there for travel around Hakone and to Tokyo. The only pass which covers all the travel is the JR Pass so you can discard the others, leaving the only question if it is better to buy normal tickets or a JR Pass for your travel. Let me know once you have a more definite itinerary and ill check normal ticket prices versus to price of a JR Pass for you!

Traveling from Gotemba to Matsumoto is possible but a bit of a pain since it takes about 4 hours and involves a couple of transfers.

If you do travel from Matsumoto to Takayama I'd probably recommend since it is a bit more relaxed than using a car, although both options are viable. Here's an example itinerary for the train.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

thanks Daniel,
Well, for starters, this is our first time travelling to Japan. It's normally cold at this time ( hopefully not too cold ). Our itinerary mostly something like this :
1) 18th landing at Haneda Int airport, station around Ottorii Station, first day we only planning to see around the city ( tsukuji fish market, imperial palace, shibuya crossing ). Does JR Pass cover all this too, or should we buy individual trains?
2) 19th, travel from ottori station to Kawazu station for the Kawazu Zakura matsuri and seven waterfalls and end of the day stay around Gotemba station. Note: Here do they have dolphin and whale watching tours at Futo Port? If so, we wanted to do it before arriving at Kawazu station in the morning. N how do we book the tour?
3) 20th from gotemba station, we wanted to do the Hakone loop tour 1 day, and the other day, rent a car and see the Mt Fuji 3 caves, lakes, and probably Fuji safari Park. Just tat in which sequence to put it, I wasn't sure.
4) 21st evening travel from Gotemba station to Kumagayu station, depends on 3), but we wanna reach Kumagaya station at the end of the day
5) 22nd travel from kumagaya stn to nagano stn and see the snow monkey park and around, don't know if I shud rent a car here or use local transport, evening to matsumoto station
6) 23rd Now from matsumoto station I wanted to go to takayama station via road and visit shirakawago and around, and be back same day to matsumoto. Can this be possible?
7) 24th, Matsumoto station to taito, and see around Tokyo ( Ueno, Shibuya, sumida, minato ) the next 2 days.
8) 25 th night depart from nareta.

This is our till now itinerary...So am still confused which pass to buy, to make the best possible economical sightseeing?
Please advise


Hi Again!

1.) Yes the JR Pass can be used to travel to all these places using the local JR Network.

2.) Unfortunately I don't have much information about Whale watching tours nor could I find much information about it on Google. Perhaps the best option is to look up the website of the tour company and see what the possibilities are.

3.) That's quite a packed day! I think that it would be possible but may need good planning beforehand. Here's a useful map which you can use to plan your itinerary.

4.) Travel by rail from Gotemba to Kumagaya is little over 3 hours by rail, be sure to keep this in mind when planning your day. I'd aim at taking a train around 5-6 P.M.

5.) Travel from Kumagaya - Nagano is about 160KM so you could travel there by car or train. Travel time using the Shinkansen is about 75min/¥ 5,550.

6.) Yes it is possible but you'll spend a good amount of time on the road. I'd estimate around 3H of travel time from Matsumoto to Shirakawago but it is certainly possible.

Since you'll be traveling so much by car, I think it would be best to buy normal train tickets for your train travel. From reading your itinerary I can tell that there's going to be a lot of travel time, so I'd suggest looking up the routes beforehand using Google Maps so you know what to expect.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

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