questions & answers: using the japan rail pass




We are a family of 4 ages 56,53, 21 and 18 travelling to Japan in December, arriving at Haneda and starting our stay on 9th December in Shinjuku

We plan the following itinerary and have some questions:

  1. Dec 4th to 9th - Shinjuku, Tokyo and visit to many sights. (Q: How do we buy local metro passes for the 4 of us and is this also through JR?)
  2. Dec 9th morning leave for Kyoto and visit Golden Pavillion and other sights in the city
  3. Dec 10th evening leave for Hiroshima and visit sights in Hiroshima city and also go to Miyajima island
  4. 12th around 11 am leave for ShinOsaka and stop on the way at Himeji. Then continue to ShinOsaka at around 5 pm
  5. 15th around 11 am leave ShinOsaka for Haneda airport via Shinagawa station arriving around 1.30 pm at the international terminal

Some questions:

  1. I am thinking of buying 4 X 7-day Green JR passes, and activating them on 9th Dec to travel on bullet trains. If we buy these, do we still have to reserve seats on every train we take or can we just come to the station and hop on the train?
  2. Does JR operate on all the sectors we are planning and can we use bullet trains on all those sectors?
  3. Can we use the JR passes for local travel in Kyoto, Hiroshima, Himeji and ShinOsaka? Or do we have to buy separate local Metro passes or bus tickets in each of these cities?
  4. Do we need to book separately for our luggage on the trains?

Thanks for your help!


Hi there,

Q1.) You can buy them at any ticket machine at the metro stations. Its very straight forward.

1.) Green seats need a reservation beforehand but you can reserve trains up to 5min before departure, so its basically hop on and off with a quick trip to the ticket window.

2,) The JR Pass includes all bullet train lines in Japan, including travel to Osaka, Hiroshima, Himeji and back to Tokyo/Shinagawa.

3.) Local JR lines are included, which cover most of Tokyo and Osaka, as well as a limited extend of Kyoto. Other travel like the metro is not included.

4.) No, luggage can be placed in the overhead compartments or near the end of each train car.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Thank you. This is very helpful Daniel-san


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