questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

which pass is most economical for family travel?

which pass is most economical for family travel?

We are 2 adults and 2 children (ages 9 and 12) who will be traveling by train on the following routes in late August:
Tokyo - Hiroshima
Hiroshima - Osaka
Osaka - Kyoto
(we will also be going from Narita Airport to Tokyo, and Kyoto to Kansai Airport, but as this is outside the 7 day window, it may be better to buy separate tickets for these trips)

Please advise whether it is more economical to buy individual tickets or a Japan Rail Pass.


Hi there!

As a 7 day pass is ¥28,300, you'll need to spend more than this on JR tickets to make one worthwhile. Lets take a look at the costs for the travel you mention:

  1. Tokyo > Hiroshima: ¥17850, (295mins, 894km)
  2. Hiroshima > Osaka: ¥10220, (109mins, 345km)
  3. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540, (29mins, 42km)

TOTAL: ¥28610 for 3 legs

As you can see it is slightly cheaper to use a 7 day pass, coming out with an overall saving of ¥310. While the savings are slight, the simplicity of travelling with a JR Pass (especially with children) and the options it opens for doing day trips if needed means that I can recommend it in this case.

Please note that you'll be able to use the JR Pass on JR lines around Tokyo and Osaka too, so if you plan your trips well you should make even more savings.

Hope this helps!

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