questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

osaka - hiroshima - hakuba 5 days

Osaka - Hiroshima - Hakuba 5 days

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 teenagers arriving Japan (Osaka) 3/1/13. We will travel to Hiroshima that night and will spend 3 days doing day trips from Hiroshima (including visiting Miyajima and Onomichi and riding to the islands of it to Shikoku then cathcing the ferry back to Hiroshima from Matsuyama) and then want to travel as quickly as possible to Hakuba on 7/1/13. Is it worth us getting a 7 day rail pass - as we will probably want to use the SHINKANSEN NOZOMI 10 to Nagoya? Also is it quicker to get the bus from Nagoya to MATSUMOTO or the train?
Thank you for your help.


Hi there!

The Nozomi to Nagoya from Hiroshima takes 141 minutes via Nozomi class, and 165 minutes using the Sakura and Hikari services that are valid for the JR Pass so there's not that much difference in time/speed between the two I think.

It's far faster to get the train from Nagoya to Matsumoto than bus (the train is 124 mins vs the car journey time of 177mins. I'd expect a bus to take a minimum of 250mins as it has to stop and observe lower speed limits).

As a 7 day pass is ¥28,300, you'll need to spend at least this on JR travel for a rail pass to be worthwhile. Lets take a look at the costs of the travel you detail:

  1. Kansai airport > Hiroshima: ¥11,830 (167mins, 402km)
  2. Hiroshima > Miyajimaguchi: ¥400 (26mins, 21km)
  3. Miyajimaguchi > Hiroshima: ¥400 (28mins, 21km)
  4. Hiroshima > Hakuba: ¥17,040 (440mins, 776km)

JR ticket cost: ¥29,670 for 4 legs

With a 7 day pass you'd make only slight savings, so I think the only benefit of the rail pass in your case is the flexibility to do more travel as needed (any further JR travel is basically free), and the added convenience of not having to purchase tickets. It's hard to give firm advise here as this kind of choice does come down to the individual, but I hope this at least explains your options :)

Hope this helps!

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