questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

travel tokyo to hakone and then hakone to kyoto, and back to tokyo

Travel Tokyo to Hakone and then Hakone to Kyoto, and back to Tokyo

Good evening,

i already bought my Japan Rail Pass and intend to travel from Tokyo to Hakone, and then from Hakone to Kyoto and back to Tokyo in the next two weeks or so.

From the Shinkansen Timetable I understand I can travel from Tokyo to Odawara with Kodama trains.

1st question
- I downloaded from JR Central website the timetable for Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen, but the heading of the timetable says "The Japan Rail Pass is not valid for the Nozumi and Mizuho trains, including non-reserved seats. Japan Rail Pass holders have to board the Hikari, Sakura or Kodama when using the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen". Is this true? It seems to me that excluding Nozumi and Mizuho trains, there are only limited options - 1 every 60 minutes - from Kyoto to Tokyo.

2nd question
- from Odawara to Kyoto, is it preferable to take a Kodama train westbound (again not too many options, 1 every hour), or to get back to Shin-Yokohama, and then take a faster vtrain from there to Kyoto?

We intend to travel mid- to late- morning to Odawara and from Odawara to Kyoto, and probably early or mid-afternoon from Kyoto to Tokyo.

Many thanks in advance for your advice,
Kind regards,
Enrico from Luxemborg


Hello Enrico,

1.) You can use the Hikari, Sakura, Kodama and Tsubasa services south of Tokyo. There is a Hikari service generally every 30 minutes.

2.) There are a couple of Hikari trains that stop at Odawara. If there is none within a reasonable time frame, then I would just get on a Kodama to Kyoto (I don't like transfers when they can be avoided). Alternatively you can travel south and transfer to a Hikari down the line. Sometimes this is faster.

3.) I also recommend learning to plan with Hyperdia. This is a great tool to help you find the best routes and you will never have to look at an other time table.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $255.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.