questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

shinjuku > osaka > kyoto > shinjuku

Shinjuku > Osaka > Kyoto > Shinjuku


My sister and I are travelling to Japan in three weeks and were hoping for some guidance regarding the JR train lines to get between our major destinations.

We'll be starting our trip in Shinjuku and will then be travelling to Osaka via the bullet train. What is the best way to get there? Which journey will mean that we have the least amount of transfers?

From Osaka we will be heading to Kyoto. Again, what is the best way to get there on the bullet train? Is there a direct line?
Also from Osaka we will be doing a day trip to Nara. Is the Yamatoji Rapid Service the best way there? Does this line run from Osaka Station?

From Kyoto we will be heading back to Tokyo (Shinjuku). What is the best way back?

Thank you for your time,


Hello Claudia,

To start with a bit of general advice, I recommend learning to plan with Hyperdia this way you can find any route/timetable and more. It's a great tool for planning with the JR Pass. We also have a useful interactive map with all JR lines included.

I also recommend familiarizing yourself with the Tokaido Shinkansen. This is the main line in Japan connecting Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. All on one line.

Travel from Shinjuku to Osaka, first use a local line (such as the JR Chuo line) to Tokyo or Shinagawa station. You can use the Hikari Shinkansen from those stations to Shin-Osaka directly. From Shin-Osaka, local trains run into Osaka.

You can use the JR Kyoto line from either Osaka or Shin-Osaka station to Kyoto, you can also use the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka. Both take about 30 minutes.

Hope this helps,

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