questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

tokyo > osaka > kyoto > tokyo

Tokyo > Osaka > Kyoto > Tokyo


I am traveling in Japan with my partner and I am wondering whether we will save money buying a JR Pass.
We are heading to Tokyo then to Osaka (doing a day trip to Hiroshima) and then going to Kyoto for a few nights (doing a day trip to Nara) and then heading back to Tokyo. All this will be within 3 weeks. We would also use it within Tokyo - I am aware that I will be spending more than just the fee for the JR Pass as there are numerous rail companies in Japan. Is it worth using the JR Pass for the week or two we are doing longer e.g. Tokyo to Oaska trips?

Thanks in advance!


Just listening to your goals, it does sound like it would be worth while to get the pass.

A good way to check is to look at rail schedules and fares online. A good site for this that is in English is Hyperdia (google it). Most of those distances are best done with the shinkansen (bullet train), because they're pretty far.

I just did a few quick lookups and here are the prices I came up with, all one way and per person:

Tokyo to Osaka: ¥14,250 (shinkansen)
Osaka to Hiroshima: ¥10,350 (shinkansen)
Osaka to Kyoto: ¥540 (regular JR)
Kyoto to Nara: ¥690

So, maybe not for the three week pass, but if the majority of your travels are within a 1-2 week period, it might be worth it.

Good luck :-)


Thanks very much for your help!


Hi there!

As nighthawk663 says, it may not be worth a 21 day pass (¥57,700). Here's the full ticket price for your itinerary (prices may differ slightly from nighthawk's because of time of day etc):

  1. Tokyo > Osaka: ¥13950, (194mins, 556km)
  2. Osaka > Hiroshima: ¥10150, (104mins, 345km)
  3. Hiroshima > Kyoto: ¥10990, (126mins, 380km)
  4. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690, (45mins, 41km)
  5. Nara > Kyoto: ¥690, (44mins, 41km)
  6. Kyoto > Tokyo: ¥13420, (161mins, 513km)

TOTAL: ¥49890 for 6 legs

As you can see, the basic ticket price for the legs you mention come in at less than the cost of a 3 week pass, so I cannot recommend this option. If you were to fit your long distance travel into 2 weeks however, you would make a good saving of  ¥4790 per person, and would have the added convenience of totally free additional JR travel within those 2 weeks. For mega savings, if you manage it all on a 7 day rail pass you'd save even more over individual tickets, (¥21,590), but it really depends on the pace of your travels.

You can also use the rail pass on all JR trains in Tokyo. (Here's a map of JR lines in Tokyo for reference).

Hope this helps!

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