questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

split rail pass, tokyo and nagano/kyoto/osaka

Split Rail pass, Tokyo and Nagano/Kyoto/Osaka


My girlfriend and I are heading to Japan shortly. We fly into Narita and will be spending 12 days (19th Jan - 31 Jan) in Tokyo with a possible 2 or 3 night trip to Hakone/5 Lakes/Mt. Fuji area and day trip to Nikko. We will then head to Hakuba area for 8 nights (31 Jan - 8 Feb). We then plan to travel to Kyoto for 4 night and Osaka for 3 nights (8 Feb - 15 Feb) with day trips to Nara and Hiroshima, we will fly out of Kansai.

I believe the the 14 day Japan Rail Pass is a good option from our arrival until we reach Hakuba.

Is it worth getting another 7 day pass for our trips between Hakuba and Kyoto/Osaka or would buying individual tickets be better?

Is the JR Pass a good option for local travel around Kyoto and Osaka?

Thanks in advance


Hey Billy,

I went to Osaka last April (and I'm going this April too). I'd say a Rail Pass is highly recommended! You can take a train to the city center or to the outskirts to visit the Osaka Aquarium (recommended!). When I was in Osaka I also made a day trip to Nara and Hijemi Castle. In Kyoto you'll mainly use the subway which are not JR trains if I remember correctly.

Gino Saputo
Gino Saputo

Hi there!

I think the best option would be to buy a 14 day JR Pass and use it for travel to Nikko, Hakuba, Osaka, Hiroshima and what else you could fit within the 14 day period. These are by far the most expensive trips but I think that you should be able to plan them together in 14 days, even with the 8 nights in Hakuba.

Local travel around Tokyo and around Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara) is not very expansive and it would be better to just buy tickets on the go, although local travel is covered by the JR Pass.

Also for your visit to Hakone consider a Hakone Free Pass to supplement your JR Pass. It covers a return from Tokyo (Shinjuku) to the Hakone region and also provides unlimited travel within the area on pretty much anything that moves.

I hope this helps!

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