questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

when to use my rail pass

When to use my rail pass


I have a question about using a 7 day pass. I'm only going to buy a 7 day pass because of my short stay and was wondering if it would be cheaper to use it as soon as I arrive in Tokyo to Sendai or whether I should pay for the trip from Tokyo to Sendai then use the ticket once I go to Tokyo for NYE? My Itinerary:

28th arrive in Tokyo Airport
28th-30th Dec Sendai
31st Dec-2nd Jan Tokyo
3rd-4th Jan Osaka
5th-6th Jan Kyoto
7th Jan Narita

So it would essentially run out in Osaka so I would have to buy a ticket from there to Kyoto then Kyoto to Narita. I won't be doing much travelling in Kyoto so are the one way tickets expensive?



Hi Jules!

Here are the costs of your legs:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥2940, (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Sendai(miyagi/jr): ¥10590, (128mins, 351km)
  3. Sendai(miyagi/jr) > Tokyo: ¥10590, (102mins, 351km)
  4. Tokyo > Osaka: ¥13750, (194mins, 556km)
  5. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540, (29mins, 42km)
  6. Kyoto > Tokyo: ¥13220, (161mins, 513km)
  7. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥2940, (58mins, 79km)
    TOTAL: ¥54570 for 7 legs

Looking at these costs, you'll get maximum value by starting your JR Pass on your trip from Sendai back to Tokyo on the 31st, and then using the Nobi Nobi seats/beds in the sunrise seto sleeper train from Himeji at 11:30pm on the night of the 6th arriving on the morning of Tokyo 7th . This will limit your ticket costs to ¥16,470, plus you'll save on accommodation for 1 night on the sleeper train up to Tokyo (total cost  ¥44,770 - 1 night accomodation).

If you've already got accommodation planned, then I think on balance I'd recommend using your JR Pass as soon as you arrive and then paying the Kyoto to Narita fare. It'll be easier to handle as soon as you arrive and the actual travel savings are very similar. (total cost: ¥44,460).

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Thankyou so much, extremely helpful!


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