questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

tokyo - kyoto - hiroshima - osaka

Tokyo - Kyoto - Hiroshima - Osaka

Hi there,

I have a couple questions regarding the JR pass and it's use. At the moment I'm looking at buying a 7 day JR pass.
We will be arriving in Tokyo and then going to Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka. My plan is as follows:

11Dec - Arrive in Tokyo
16Dec - Travel from Tokyo to Kyoto (Activate 7 day JR pass)
19Dec - Travel From Kyoto to Hiroshima
21Dec - Travel from Hiroshima to Osaka
22Dec - (JR pass expires)
23Dec - Leave Japan from Osaka

Q1) Would it be worth purchasing a 7 day travel pass to travel between Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka?

Q2) Once I purchase a JR pass, can the exchange order be emailed to us or must it be delivered?

Q3) Must we activate or JR pass to make a reservation? For example, if I want to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto on the 16Dec morning do i need to activate my JR pass on the 15Dec to make a reservation? Or is it possible to make the reservation on the 15Dec then activate the JR pass on the 16Dec?

Any advice will be much appreciated.
Many thanks in advance.


Hi there!

A 7 day JR Pass will become cost effective if you spend at least ¥28,300 on JR train tickets. Here's the ticket cost breakdown for the travel you intend to do during your specified 7 day period:

  1. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13,420 (164mins, 513km)
  2. Kyoto > Hiroshima: ¥10,990 (112mins, 380km)
  3. Hiroshima > Osaka: ¥10,820 (109mins, 345km)

JR ticket cost: ¥35,230 for 3 legs

As you can see you'd make good savings with a 7 day pass. Also, if you activated it on the 15th rather than the 16th, you could use it to travel around Tokyo, or even go on a day trip to Nikko (~¥10,000 return ticket price).

As the Exchange Order is a physical document when you purchase your JR Pass exchange order it must be mailed to you rather than send via email.

Regarding reservations, you do need to have activated your JR Pass in order to make a reservation. However, when you activate your rail pass you can specify any date up to 1 month in the future for your validity period to start. This means that you can activate your rail pass on the 15th, specifying a starting date of the 16th. With the activated (but as yet not valid) JR Pass you can place free reservations for any travel within your 7 day validity period, including the 16th before the validity period actually begins.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Hi Mari,

Thank you very much for your reply! Your information is very helpful!

I have a question about the use of the JR pass. Does the time of activation effect when the JR pass expires?
For example, if I activate my JR pass on 15th December at 5pm does that mean it expires on the 21st December at 5pm?

Any advice will be much appreciated.
Many thanks in advance.


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