questions & answers: using the japan rail pass



We plan to do a 7-day vacation in Japan with a very simple Shinjuku-Kyoto-Shinjuku itinerary. We plan to explore Tokyo for 4 days, travel to Kyoto on the 5th and stay overnight, then back to Tokyo on the 6th day. Is it advisable to still get a Japan Rail Pass? Or is there a less expensive alternative? Thank you.


Hi there!

The only pass that covers both of these areas is the nationwide Japan Rail Pass. I think the choice is between the 7 day Japan Rail Pass (¥28,300) and individual tickets.

A simple return from Shinjuku to Kyoto by bullet train costs ¥26,040, which means you'll need to spend a further ¥2260 on JR tickets for a 7 day rail pass to be worthwhile.

Depending on where you land into Tokyo, a return on the Narita Express to the airport is around ¥5000, and travel on the JR network around Tokyo can easily cost around ¥500-1000 per day. Both of these things are covered by the JR Pass, so I think it's likely that you'll make good savings with the JR Pass and also retain the flexibility to visit other areas by JR Pass completely for free.

Hope this helps!


Thank you very much for the quick reply. If we decide to stay in Tokyo for all of 7 days, will it still be advisable to get a Japan Rail Pass or is there a metro pass that can cover everything?

We will land in Narita and we'd like to explore Tokyo in a relaxed manner, not to be rushed from one place to another. Any tips on the must-see sights and in what order? Offhand, these are ideas for our trip- Tsujiki Market, Tokyo Tower, Shibuya Crossing Sighting while having coffee, Shopping and Dining, Asakusa Temple, Roppongi. I'm now wondering if these are enough. :-)

Thanks very much.


Hi there!

I think if you stay in Tokyo for all 7 days and stay within the metro area a JR Pass will not be the best choice. In this situation I recommend purchasing several 2 or 1 day unlimited Tokyo metro passes in addition to a return to Tokyo using the Keisei Skyliner + 2 day unlimited pass. Note that these deals are only available at Narita airport so be sure to stock up on arrival.

I think in addition to your must-see sights, you should also visit the Skytree, Harajuku, Roppongi hills and Nakameguro thought to be honest part of the joy of Tokyo is the diversity, so the best advice is to buy a up to date guide book (or just go for a walk) and dive in! :).

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