questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

narita - tokyo - nikko. jr kanto pass or nex/suica?

Narita - Tokyo - Nikko. JR Kanto Pass or NEX/Suica?

Hello, I will be in Japan in the beginning of April. My itinerary is as follows:
April 10 - Narita to Shinjuku
April 11, 12, - Tokyo
April 13 - Shinjuku to Kinugawa Onsen in Nikko
April 14 - Kinugawa Onsen Nikko to Shinjuku to Narita

I am wondering if it would be better for me to get the
a) NEX/Suica package at 5500 Yen, plus separate round trip tickets to Shinjuku to Kinugawa Onsen
b) JR Kanto Area Pass at 8000 Yen

Also, I'm reading the fine print on the Kanto Area pass and I'm wondering If i'm reading says the Kanto area pass does not guarantee reserved that the case for all passes, or just for Kanto area pass, and why?

It also says, that a separate fee is required on the Nikko, Spacia Nikko, or Kinugawa that goes outside JR East requires extra payment. Does that mean that if I get the Kanto pass, i would have to change trains and pay extra to get to the Kinugawa onsen?

And, does the Shinjuku to Kinugawa onsen train go directly to the onsen?

Thank you!


Hi there,

The print you are reading applies to every pass, what it means is that once seats are sold out no new seats may (will) become available and thus there may be periods that seats can not be guaranteed. It's their way of saying that there is a limit of seats available.

I looked the ticket prices up for Shinjuku --> Kinugawa Onsen and a single ticket is ¥ 3,900 by direct Ltd. Express train. You could also go by local train for ¥ 1,890 including ¥940 on non-JR lines, that route looks like this. It turns out that part of the railway track is owned by a different company than JR so the JR-Kanto pass does not cover the full journey.

If you have the JR Kanto pass you can travel to Nikko and from there take the Tobu line to Kinugawa Onsen that will cost 300 Yen. The Route would look like this. Also this access guide.

The difference in price between both option is not that much, if you plan on doing more travel with the Kanto pass it may be the most economic option.
Option A.) NEX/Suica package becomes 5,500 + (1,890x2) = ¥ 9,280 total.
Option B.) Kanto pass ¥ 8000 + (2x300) from Nikko = ¥ 8,600 total.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Thank you Daniel-san, for answering my question so thoroughly!

I do have further questions though - I had a look at the routes that you outlined, which look great- but just to make sure i understand correctly:

The Non Stop Kinugawa Express is not available on any JR pass - it is the quickest (by 1 hour) and most expensive and only non stop option, and only runs twice a day each way. Can these be bought at the train station on the day of or should these be bought before hand?

The trains on the Hyperdia site are not part of any package and are bought separately at the train station at 1890Y on the day of and take an average of 3 hours. Do the transfers mean i have to get off the train and catch a different train?

The trains included on the JR kanto pass are totally different then the trains mentioned above, and include a direct Shinjuku to (where?) and then a physical transfer (get off train to a different line?) to the Tobu railway which will incur an additional cost of 300Y payable at the time of transfer. Is it only 1 transfer on this route?

Do I have any of the information incorrect?
Thank you so much for your help.


Oh, I'm also wondering where I can find the timetable for the kanto pass trains from shinjuku to (where?) and the timetable from the tobu train to nikko/kinugawa?

And is there a package deal for the non stop kinugawa express?
thank you!


Hi Again!

You can use the Kinugawa Express with the JR-Pass but you will have to pay ¥1560 for the part that is not covered by the JR-Pass / JR-East Pass. You can make reservations at any manned JR Counter. There is also a special package available for the express train.

If you decide to go with the Suica option + the 1890Yen tickets, than you can simply swipe your Suica card over the ticket gate and the right amount will be taken of your Suica card so you won't have to buy tickets. In case you do want to buy tickets you have to buy separate tickets for each company you travel with (e.g. ¥950 ticket for JR and ¥940 the other). I think you can stay on the train if you and the only transfer will be from JR. This may depend on the train you take though.

The 300Yen extra route is if you take the train from Shinjuku to Nikko like this and then on like the route mentioned before. This does include a couple of transfers.

For timetables, I would recommend using Hyperdia I don't have a traditional timetable with all the lines.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

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