questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

making full use of a jr pass for 7 days

Making Full Use of a JR Pass for 7 days


We are flying in to Narita Tokyo late Sept thru to mid Oct. (12 days) to visit our neice, who lives in Tokyo.
We intend to spend the first week in and around Tokyo and Disney, then spend the second week exploring further afield.
We were thinking of buying two 7 day passes, (or 3 passes, one for our niece if possible) for our second week.
Because we have booked all of our stay in a hotel in Tokyo Bay, we will have to make it back to Tokyo each day.
So our proposed itenery would be :

Tokyo - Hiroshima -Tokyo
Tokyo - Osaka - Tokyo
Tokyo - Kyoto - Nara - Tokyo
Tokyo - Mt Fuji - Hakone - Tokyo

I'm guessing that a JR pass would be cheaper to use than buying tickets locally??
I really would appreciate if you could advise the cost of local ticket purchases against the cost of a 7 day Pass.
I'm not sure if the pass could be used much in Tokyo itself for local transport to and from Tokyo Bay.

Are there any advantages buying a 1st class JR Pass (apart from the comfort differnces).
As our niece is in temporary residence in Tokyo, does this mean she would have to pay full fare locally, when she joins us on our travels?

Thank you as always, for your help :)



Hi there!

A JR Pass will certainly save you money over purchasing single tickets. Lets get a handle on the costs of your JR travel:

  1. Tokyo > Hiroshima: ¥17,850 (295mins, 894km)
  2. Hiroshima > Tokyo: ¥18,250 (292mins, 894km)
  3. Tokyo > Osaka: ¥13,950 (194mins, 556km)
  4. Osaka > Tokyo: ¥13,950 (194mins, 556km)
  5. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13,420 (164mins, 513km)
  6. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690 (44mins, 41km)
  7. Nara > Tokyo: ¥13,750 (227mins, 555km)
  8. Tokyo > Otsuki: ¥2,860 (85mins, 87km)
  9. Otsuki > Odawara: ¥5,410 (103mins, 132km)
  10. Odawara > Tokyo: ¥1,450 (36mins, 83km)

JR ticket cost: ¥,101,580 for 10 legs

As you can see you'll make a good saving on travel by purchasing any of the JR Pass types. (excellent!) You can also make good use of the JR lines within Tokyo - here's a map of JR lines in Tokyo for reference. Although you can use the JR Pass within Tokyo, I recommend you purchase the JRPass for the second week, and purchase individual tickets as needed for the first part of your trip.

Aside from Comfort, the Green cars are more exclusive, and so offer much more space to travel in. That said, on the line between Tokyo and Osaka there are not so many Green car bullet trains available so you will probably find that standard class will be more than sufficient.

If your niece is in Japan under a "temporary visitor" stamp she will be able to use the JR Pass. I recommend you ask her to check the exact visa stamp (or send a photo to you) to verify her status before you purchase.

Hope this helps!

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Hi Mari

Thank you very much for your detailed response.
Another question if you don't mind:)

My niece has sent me a photo of her Japanese Visa, which shows it as valid for one year.
She has been working in Tokyo since the beginning of this year.

I presume she would not be eligible for a JR pass purchased in the UK?
If this is the case, are there passes available for her over there at discount prices, as she would like to accompany us with our travels, and as we can see, the local ticket purchases for our itinerary wil be very expensive for her.

Thanks again.


Hi there,

Yes - you are correct that your niece will not be eligible for the JR Pass. As many of your legs are on the bullet train, I'm afraid your niece will need to pay more than you will with the JR Pass. There are some options she can investigate however:

  1. JR themselves offer small discounts (5-10%) on bullet train tickets if ordered in advance or as a return over a long distance. Your niece should visit the JR ticket office to find out more on these.
  2. Outside many JR stations there are ticket resellers who make bullet train tickets available for a small discount (around 5%). They are reputable, but will need your niece to investigate on foot. There is more information on this option here.
  3. She could fly down to Hiroshima on one of the discount flight carriers in Japan. This is generally only an option over large distances, but will cut out the expensive first hop.
  4. She could look into highway buses for the first hop to Hiroshima. Again, this is not very convenient, but will save some money on the longest leg.

Be aware that all of these discount options are much less flexible than the Rail Pass and may have other restrictions regarding refund-ability.

Sorry to be the bearer of such news!

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