questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

travel from tokyo to kyoto, with side trip to hiroshima and possibly osaka

travel from tokyo to kyoto, with side trip to hiroshima and possibly osaka

We plan on traveling from tokyo to kyoto, with trip to hiroshima and possibly osaka. The trip from tokyo to kyoto will happen May 17, and to osaka May21, then back to tokyo May25. This may require a railpass for 2 weeks and also I understand the pass cannot be used on these rail lines (tokyo to kyoto and osaka). Is this true? Is a rail pass worth it for us? Thanks.


Hi Louis,

The Japan Rail Pass is valid on the Tokyo to Kyoto/Osaka bullet train route and for travel from Kyoto to Osaka. The only restriction is that you must use Hikari or Kodama class shinkansen rather than the Nozomi class shinkansen. The Hikari service runs exactly the same trains as the Nozomi and achieves the same top speeds, but stops at a few more stations en route and so takes 20 minutes more than the Nozomi. There are 2 Hikari service bullet trains running from Tokyo/Kyoto every hour, so you should find it very convenient.

A 14 day rail pass is worth it if you intend to spend over ¥45,100 on travel. Lets take a look at your planned costs:

  1. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13220, (164mins, 513km)
  2. Kyoto > Osaka: ¥540, (28mins, 42km)
  3. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540, (29mins, 42km)
  4. Kyoto > Hiroshima: ¥10790, (112mins, 380km)
  5. Hiroshima > Kyoto: ¥10790, (126mins, 380km)
  6. Kyoto > Tokyo: ¥13220, (161mins, 513km)

TOTAL: ¥49100 for 6 legs

Based on this, you can see you would make a saving of ¥4000 with the 14 day Japan Rail Pass, and will also able to use the rail pass for further JR travel as needed (for example, a trip to Nikko from Tokyo).

You can look up train timetables and costs for all of your legs at the Hyperdia travel planning website and learn how to use Hyperdia for Japan Rail Pass holders through our video blog.

Hope this helps!

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