questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

should we get the jr pass?

Should we get the JR Pass?


My family will be on a package trip to Hokkaido, thereafter we intend to extend on our own to Osaka, Nagoya and finally to Tokyo . Our departure flight will be from Haneda Airport.

Does the JR pass covers train route from :

  • Hokkaido JR station to the airport
  • Osaka domestic airport to Osaka station
  • Osaka station to Kyoto (2 ways trip)
  • routes within Osaka (not sure any JR route that travel within the Osaka city. Our main purpose in Osaka is going to the Universal Studio)
  • Osaka to Nagoya
  • Nagoya to Takayama to Shirakawa (2 ways trip)
  • Nagoya to MT Fuji
  • MT Fuji to Tokyo or
  • Nagoya to Tokyo
  • Downtown Tokyo to Disney Land
  • Tokyo to Haneda airport

(Kyoto and Mt Fuji trip likely to give a miss if time does not permit)

We will depart from Hokkaido on 11 Dec and leave Tokyo on 18 Dec. Hence I believe the 7 days pass will be unlikely to cover the whole 8 days trips. Any advise how should we maximum the usage of the 7 days pass. Possible to give us the breakdown of prices for each trip and the travel duration?

Thank you

Anna Lee

Anna Lee
Anna Lee

Hello Anna Lee,

This is indeed a difficult itinerary to match to a 7 day JR Pass. Below is a list of ticket prices I can give you. Note that I could not include everything.

Osaka - Kyoto ¥ 560 one way
Osaka - Nagoya ¥ 6,350
Nagoya - Takayama ¥ 5,700
Takayama - Nagoya ¥ 5,700
Nagoya - Fuji - please see below
Nagoya - Tokyo ¥ 10,880

Visiting Fuji requires a little more planning than just a one way trip between two cities. Mainly because Fuji is not one place to be visited but is actually a larger area around Mount Fuji. I'd recommend reading the Wikitravel page about Fuji and then decide on a place to visit in the area, such as Gotemba, Hakone or Kawaguchiko.

Please also note that the bus between Takayama and Shirakawago is not included in the JR Pass.

Lastly i'd recommend learning to plan with Hyperdia this way it's easy to look up route information, travel time and ticket prices within seconds.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Hi Daniel

Thank you for your respond.

Our free and easy trip will start on 11 Dec and tentatively our itineraries are as follow:

11 Dec : Travel from Yubari to Chitose airport, take a domestic flight to Osaka. Land at Itami airport. Itami airport to Osaka station or any Shin Osaka station

12 Dec : to Universal studio (any JR line from downtown Osaka to Universal studio?)

13 Dec : early morning from Osaka to Kyoto. Leave Kyoto at about mid afternoon and travel to either Nagoya or straight to Takayama. (At kyoto station, is there luggage locker which we could temparally store our luggages? What will be the charges? Adviseable to stay at Nagoya or straight to Takayama?)

14 Dec : Takayama to Shirakawa go for a day trip amd back to Takayama.

15 Dec : after lunch travel from Takayama to Tokyo

16 Dec : Tokyo

17 Dec : maybe a day trip out of tokyo (we are thing of going to lake Kawaguchiko to view Mt Fuji or any short trip our of Tokyo. Do you have any suggestion?

18 Dec : Around Tokyo. At about 1900 hrs, we need to get out of Tokyo to Haneda airport.

As per your advised, we have tried to plan our trip using the hyperdia but still not very sure whether the about travel plan is too ambitious and too much time spend on travelling from 1 place to another. Please comments on the tentative itineraries. Appreciate you could also give suggestions of places we should visit or should give a miss.

In your earlier reply, you did not indicate the ticket prices in Hokkaido and Osaka, ie on 11 Dec. Does it means there is no JR train to Chitose Airport and/or from Itami Airport to Osaka city?

Does the JR pass covers Yamanote line in Tokyo?

In Osaka, which is the most convenient station we should be staying to be nearer to the JR line to ease our travel plan? As we are travelling with 2 kids and with the luggages, we would like to minimize our transfer and moving around especially with the luggages.

In your view, looking at the above tentative itineraries, should we get the JR pass? If we get the JR pass, I believe we should activate it on 11 Dec and thus on our last day, we should get an individual JR ticket or limousine to airport, am I right?

Sorry for such a long list of queries and we hope to hear from you again.

Thank you.

Anna Lee
Anna Lee

Hi Anna,

Sorry for the late replay, it's pretty busy over here and your post needed a little extra time :)

I think your plan looks good, there's excessive travel time involved and all is in good order. Good to know may be that you can indeed use the JR to travel to universal studio station without extra fees. Travel to Shin-Chitose airport is also covered but the fee is very small, so I did not mention it. Itami can't be reached by JR but it's not expansive to travel from there to Osaka.

When you travel to Takayama, I'd advise staying the night there. As it's more interesting than Nagoya.

In Osaka I would recommend staying near Osaka station, this makes for a convenient base of travel.

As for the JR Pass, the 7 day JR Pass is about the same price as normal tickets so you could go either way. However the JR Pass could be useful if you made a day trip from Tokyo - Nikko. This is one of my personal favorite day trips from Tokyo and well worth making.

That's a lot of questions, I hope that I got hem all.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Hi Daniel

Many thanks for all the advices. It's really has been great help in our planning for the trip. Despite there might be not much difference in the cost between getting the JP pass or buying individual tickets but we have decided to get the pass which is more convenience especially for my family where we are traveling with 2 kids.

I have also checked on Nikko and yes, it will be added into our itinerary.

One last question, in Kyoto train station, is there any place we can temporally safe-keep our luggages (29 inches) for few hours while we are exploring around Kyoto before we set off to Takayama? If there isn't, we might need to give Kyoto a miss.

Once again, you valuable advices are most appreciated and you have make our Japan trip really 'Free and Easy' :)

Best regards

Anna Lee
Anna Lee

Hello Anna,

Nikko will make for a great addition!

Kyoto is equipped with many lockers, some of which can house a full suitcase. There's also a cloakroom below Kyoto station which can hold your luggage. There's no English information about this available online, so it's best to ask the tourist information point at Kyoto station for directions.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

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