questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jrpass a good solution for our itinerary ?

JRPASS a good solution for our itinerary ?


we're trying to find out if the JR Pass is a suitable solution for our 2 weeks visit to the Tokyo and Kyoto/Nara areas.

However, after some research we're now quite confused by the variety of train connections (would like to use Shinkansen whenever possible) and railway companies, the exceptions to consider (exclsuion of ceratin trains) etc. etc.

We now hope to get here some help and clarification on how to get our travel within the Tokyo area and between our prime destinations organized and to find out if the JR Pass is the right and cost-efficient way to go.

Our current schedule looks like this:

  • spending our first ca. 5 days in Tokyo with sightseeing in the more central parts of Tokyo, but also visiting a few sites away from the center e.g. Nikko

  • going from Tokyo to Atami around midday / afternoon of Nov 11

  • continuing from Atami to Kyoto in the afternoon of Nov 12

  • going from Kyoto to Nara in the afternoon of Nov 15

  • returning to Tokyo from Nara later in the day of Nov 16

  • exploring Tokyo for a few more days

So far we have been unable to figure out how to stitch together the different railway options and to determine the usefulness of the JR Pass for this itinerary.

We would appreciate a lot any help, clarifications and recommendations you can give us to resolve our questions.

Thanks much


Hi there!

Japan has the most extensive railway system in the world and it's no wonder that many people who visit it for the first time can become a little overwhelmed by it all. That's why we are here to help :)

Looking at your itinerary, the JR Pass would cover all train travel between the places and cities which you plan on visiting. This includes Shinkansen travel between Tokyo - Atami - Kyoto, in addition to your side trips to Nikko and Nara.

I've made a little inventory of normal ticket prices below, in order to see if a JR Pass would suit your travel.

Tokyo - Nikko ¥ 5,430
Nikko - Tokyo ¥ 5,430
Tokyo - Atami ¥ 4,080
Atami - Kyoto ¥ 12,650
Kyoto - Nara ¥ 690
Nara - Tokyo ¥ 13,750

For a total of ¥ 42,030, given that you would do the above travel with a 7 day JR Pass (¥ 28,300), you could save **¥ 13,730. In addition the JR Pass can also be used on the local JR network in Tokyo.

What you could do is get a 7 day JR Pass and start using it on Nov 10, use it to travel to Nikko and after when you start exploring the country.

I hope this helps!

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this is excellent info and your response time has been very impressive - thanks a lot for the great job you're doing here in this forum.

Two more questions:

How would the economic picture change if the whole itinerary is done in first class ?

Can you recommend an additional x-days or week pass for travelling in the Tokyo metropolitan area so that we wouldn't be limited by trains where the JRPass is applicable ?



Hi Again,

When you upgrade to 1st Class (Green Class) the economic picture does not significantly change. You would actually make higher savings with the Green Pass over buying tickets as you go (of course the pass it self is a little more pricey too).

There are a lot of different transport companies and methods in Tokyo and there's not a single pass to cover them all. What I would recommend doing is purchasing an IC Card, which is a prepaid public transport card which you can use to pay for all your travel. Simply charge it beforehand with 2000yen or so and swipe it over the ticket gate when you enter and exit the station. This way you don't have to buy single tickets or worry about finding the right ticket price, making for some very convenient travel.

I hope this helps you too!

Expert button 2

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