questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass and reservation

JR PASS and reservation

Hi, My family of four adults visiting Japan between 26th Dec and 30th Dec. Planning to visit following cities during this short trip. My questions are

  1. Is JRPASS the best option for this travel plan or any other passes will work ?
  2. In order to reserve online, do we have to purchase the JRpasses in advance and also is it true that we can reserve only one month in advance ?
  3. What is the web site to reserve seats ?

26th Dec - KYOTO
27th : TOKYO

Many thanks.


Hi there,

The JR Pass is the way to go if you want to do the above trip by rail. However I am afraid that there's too much travel time between cities to get much out of your trip. Nagasaki is a long way from Tokyo and going there for a single day is just not viable. Perhaps if you took a domestic flight but even then I don't think that there'd enough time to see much.

As for reserving seats, it is not possible to do so online. You can do so in person at any JR station in Japan.

Please be sure to review your route, you can check travel times using

Expert button 2

Your itinerary, as is, simply would not work. From Tokyo to Nagasaki by train using the pass would be over 7 hours, almost completely eating up your daytime. What you could do however is replace Nagasaki with Kanazawa, which is a beautiful city in itself, with the country's most beautiful traditional garden and many other nice sights.
If you traveled by bullet train as much as possible in the early morning and after sunset, you'd still be limited in what you could see but still manage to see a few places. In Tokyo 2 of the most popular places are the Sensoji Temple and the Shibuya Stn Hachiko crossing, where an ocean of people are always crossing the street. In Kyoto the three best sights though are the Kinkakuji Temple, Kiyomizudera Temple, and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Fushimi is the most time consuming.
For a day trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima, it is possible if you start very early - you can cover the best places in Hiroshima City (Peace Park/Museum, castle, Shukkeien Garden) and spend about ¾ of a day to see Miyajima. Some people just go see the Itsukushima Shrine with the giant "floating" torii, but that'd be really cheating yourself - the Daishoin Temple is also a must-see place. There are several other pagodas and temples, and climbing Mt. Misen offers a superb view over the whole area when the weather is good.
And if you can squeeze it in, seeing Nara, especially the Todaiji Great Buddha is an extraordinary place, as well as many other historic temples, shrines and gardens in the area.

Best of luck.


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