Japan Rail Pass (Click here to buy JR Pass) is one of the best deals you can get your hands on if you are going to visit Japan. In this post I will explain why JR Pass is so good, how to choose the right one, and how to order it.
Why Japan Rail Pass is awesome
If you are planning your trip to Japan, it is very likely that you have already thought about how you are going to get around once you are there. You might even have heard about Shinkansen – the Japanese bullet trains which travel at up to 300km/h (186mph). There is no doubt that train is the best method of transportation in Japan as a tourist. The train network in Japan is huge, and the trains are precise, fast and comfortable.
Essentially the JR Pass is a travel pass that let’s you (foreign visitors) travel unlimited with JR Trains through out Japan. The only major exceptions are three super high speed commuter trains (Nozomi, Mizuho, Hayabusa), which the pass is not valid for. The same distances are however covered by other bullet trains which make a few more stops and therefor travel marginally slower. The pass exists in 7, 14 and 21 day versions and exists as standard class or “green car” class which is essentially first class.
So why is this so fantastic? Because taking the train in Japan is normally extremely expensive! A single return trip between Tokyo and Kyoto will pretty much make the JR Pass worth it. A 7-day JR Pass costs around $271 in 2018. A return ticket Tokyo-Kyoto-Tokyo costs $247 or Tokyo-Hiroshima-Tokyo $340.
Added bonus: the JR Pass also covers the Narita Express from Narita Airport to Tokyo (and vice versa) and all local JR trains, including those inside Tokyo as well as trains to almost any destination you can imagine.
Most people like to visit a bit more than Tokyo when in Japan. The table below shows what your standard one week round trip will cost without the JR Pass and how much you can save by choosing a JR Pass instead.
|Narita Airport <-> Tokyo (return ticket)||$38|
|JR Yamanote line daily usage inside Tokyo (3 days of ¥500)||$15|
|Tokyo <-> Nikko (return ticket) Day Trip||$95|
|Tokyo -> Kyoto||$123|
|Kyoto -> Hiroshima||$100|
|Hiroshima -> Tokyo||$170|
|Total:||$541 or $271 with JR Pass|
The right Japan Rail Pass for you
The JR Pass comes in 7, 14 and 21 day versions. You can also choose between standard class and Green Car. Green Car is like a first class cabin, so if you prefer to travel first class that might be for you. There are also passes for children at reduced prices.
Which pass you pick is up to you, but I can recommend to make a rough itinerary of your trip before buying the pass. Depending on your itinerary the 7 day pass might be sufficient for a 10 day trip, or the 14 day pass enough for a 18 day trip if you start or end your trip by staying inside a big city like Tokyo or Kyoto for a few days.
You choose when you activate your pass. It is only valid from the day you activate it at a JR office.
How to order a Japan Rail Pass
JR Pass can only be purchased from outside Japan! So you have to make your decision before you get there. The passes are sold online via foreign vendors. Once you have placed an order they will send you an exchange voucher by courier. This voucher you will have to bring to Japan and exchange for a JR Pass at a JR Train Station.
For my last few orders I have used this vendor. They deliver quickly and the order process is simple. I always got my vouchers within 24 hours of ordering.
How to use a Japan Rail pass
Activation of JR Pass
As I mentioned earlier, you have to exchange your voucher at one of the major JR train stations when you arrive in Japan. You can find a list of those stations here and a map of where to find the major exchange stations here. There are exchange offices at major airports too. At the exchange office you fill in some forms and go to the counter with your voucher, pass port and forms. You will then be issued your JR Pass and you are ready to go! It’s quite simple.
Note: on the forms you fill at the train station you can specify the first day of use for your pass. That is quite practical if you are near an exchange office, but won’t need the pass for another few days.
How to use JR Pass at station
Using the JR Pass is really easy. When you want to enter the train boarding area you walk through the manual ticket check counter instead of the automated one. Here you show your pass to the ticket inspector, and you are good to go. That’s it. Same procedure when you want to leave the gated area. The first time you use the pass it will usually be stamped.
Most trains don’t require a seat reservation. On some trains it’s not possible, on some it’s optional and on a few it is mandatory (Narita Express, scenic trains and sleeper trains). As a JR Pass holder you get free seat reservations, so just head to the ticketing office before boarding your train to get a seat reservation. I can recommend to reserve the day before for long trips during rush hour. I also have a post on how to take the Shinkansen. That post covers reserved and unreserved seating.
we plan to travel from kushu to hokaido for 21 days around this coming spring, 2019
That sounds like an amazing trip! You might be able to follow the cherry blossoms up through the country.
Hi , I have plans to go Japan for 7 days! I will go from narita to Tokyo , Tokyo to fuji, Fuji mountain to Nagoya, then Nagoya to Kyoto for 2 days then I go back to narita airport! Should I buy Jr pass for 7 days? Thanks
My wife & I plan a trip from Los Angeles to Japan Visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima in ten days. We are thinking of flying round trip LA to Tokyo, back to LA. On arriving to Tokyo we are thinking to take the train to Hiroshima, spend 2-3 days in Hiroshima, then go to Kyoto spend 2-3 or three nights where we visit Osaka, and then go to Tokyo for 4-5 nights.
Does that make sense
It sounds like a great and doable itinerary. Kyoto has a lot to offer, so 2 days is probably a minimum. You shouldn’t see any big challenges with your plan 🙂
I am flying to tokyo on 16 Nov and flying back from Osaka on 24 Nov, should I consider buying the JR Pass (tokyo-osaka-kyoto-osaka-nara-osaka)?
Unless you make some longer side trips, then it is not worth it for your itinerary.
We are planning to spend some couple of weeks in Japan as from May 2nd, visiting Tokio, Kyoto and Osaka. I wish to use some days to visit some ancient and tourist unspoiled location, where original japanese culture can be tasted.
What place would you advise as to comply with that desire?
Hi Eduardo! That sounds amazing. I’m sure you’ll have a really great trip. While especially Kyoto is very beautiful, it is also very well visited by tourists. I completely understand why you want to see some traditional Japan which hasn’t been turned into a tourist attraction. If you want to get away from the crowds, but still experience some unique culture and history, then I recommend you to travel to Shikoku. Shikoku is home the 88-temple (1200km) pilgrim route known as Shikoku-88. If your travel mode allows it, take a day to explore a stretch of this pilgrim route by foot, or by car. I can recommend the section near the city of Sakaide, which covers temples number 79, 80 and 81. An alternative to this could be exploring the Engyo-ji temple mountain near Himeji. See this article: https://www.touristinjapan.com/engyo-ji-temple-mount-shosha/
I hope this helps, and I wish you the best possible trip through wonderful Japan.
Thank you. I have the same question as Eduardo, but was wondering is such place could be found closer to the shore and in a 2/3 hours train ride from Osaka. Thank you,
Thanks for your question. If you enjoy a hike, then maybe you could consider walking a stretch of the ancient post-road. The stretch between the two towns of Magome and Tsumago (about 9km) is popular, and really beautiful. You will both experience some charming small towns, and the beautiful Japanese country side.
With the right timing you can get there from osaka in 2.5 hours by public transport (Shinkansen to Nagoya, Train to Nakatsugawa, short bus ride to Magome).
Alternatively you could explore the prefecture of Tottori and it’s coast to the north-west of Osaka. It. It is no commonly visited by foreign tourists.
We are visiting Tokyo and Kyoto next month for 7 days and was wondering which pass we should buy. Is it the JR EAST pass? I don’t see a JR tourist pass.
It sounds like a good plan for a 7 day stay! A standard single ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto is around JPY 13710 ($120/€110) per person. That makes the round trip $240/€220. The price of a full 7-day Japan Rail Pass is $265/€230. With that in mind, if you plan to make any other trips on JR trains during your trip, then the additional $25/€10 may quickly be worth it. For instance a side trip to Nara or simply the local JR trains that run inside Tokyo.
Hi, Me & my wife coming to Japan for business & tourism purpose. We will land at Narita Airport on 5th March and will stay 2 nights at Tokyo then will go to Osaka by bullet train & we will stay 2 night there & then will come back to Nariat airport by bullet train from Osaka.
Just for go & come from Tokyo to Osaka, which ticket is cheaper ? JR Pass or individual ticket ?
Expecting you prompt suggestion.
Thanks for your question. With your short itinerary you can actually save a bit by getting a 7 day Japan Rail Pass instead of individual tickets.
The ticket from Tokyo to Osaka and back again will total 28900 YEN (USD 263 / EUR 232) per person.
A return ticket on the Narita Express from the airport to Tokyo and back costs 4000 YEN (USD36 / EUR 32) per person.
A 7 day JR pass costs USD 264 / EUR 233.
Since you travel to and from Narita within a week, the 7-day Japan Rail Pass will cover the Narita Express from the airport to Tokyo and back again.
Effectively you will save around 4000 YEN (USD36 / EUR 32) per person by getting a Japan Rail Pass.
can I use this JR pass within Tokyo train ?
Will arrive in sapporo and stay couple of nights. then travel to Niigata, tokyo , osaka and back home in Singapore. will be about 12 days.
Any recommendation. thanks
Thank you for your question. The Japan Rail Pass is valid on the JR trains which run inside Tokyo. That means the Yamanote Line. Keihin-Tohoku Line, Chuo/Sobu Line and Saikyo Line.
The lines of Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro are not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Great post! Thank you for the information. By the way can I bring my luggage with JR/Shinkansen train? Is there any cabin where I can put my luggage because it’s quite big.
Some Shinkansen trains have baggage racks or storage areas, but not all of them. Generally your baggage is expected to fit in the baggage rack above the seat. If you think your suitcase might be too big for that, then i recommend you simply ask at the JR ticket office prior to departure. They will definitily point you to the right car, or help you book a seat with some extra space (like and end-seat).
Hello! do you know if you are able to take your luggage on the JR train form Tokio to Kyoto? My brother and I are planning to visit Japan for the first time on October!
Yes you are able to bring your luggage on the Shinkansen. However, space for bags might be limited. On the Shinkansen you are allowed 2 bags of 30kg measuring 250cm (w+h+d).
hi, i saw your reply really do a big help for the first timer travelers like me
Me and friends (6 in total) plan to go to Japan for 7 days on July, we would like to have a trip in some cities, how many cities do you think we could go and what is the best deals transportation we should choose? And do you have any recommendation a good city for summer trip in japan? Of course Tokyo is on our list ?
I really need your prompt recommendation, thank you
Hi Nurul, thanks for your question. I think you and your friends will have a really great trip to Japan.
Where to go depends a bit on how you like to travel. If you want to see many cities in 7 days, then you won’t get so much in depth with each. You could consider 3 days in Tokyo, 1 day in Hakone, 2 days in Kyoto and 1 day in either Nara, Osaka or Kobe. If you want to go out of the cities a bit, then maybe consider the Izu peninsula or Mt. Takao.
You could either buy JR passes – depending on your route it might be worth it, or rent a large car. I find that traveling by train is more efficient when having a shorter stay 🙂
Hi.. I plan to visit with my son on November . It will br 10 days trip and we plan to visit osaka and kyoto. Should we get the JR pass?
Any recommendations for kyoto?
Thanks for your question. If you will only stay in Kyoto and Osaka, then the JR pass will not be worth it. You might consider then Kansai Thrupass instead. It’s great for Osaka and Kyoto.
You can find some inspiration for Kyoto here.
Hi, we will be arriving into Narita International and plan to spend a night in Tokyo, then to Hokkaido for 5 days, back to Tokyo for another night before flying out again via Narita International. Should we get the JR pass for our trip? Thank you.
Thanks for your question. If you are taking the train to from Tokyo to Hokkaido and back, then the JR pass will be well worth the price. If not, then it likely won’t be worth it.
We are planning a trip to Japan in September. The rough itinerary is:
Tokyo two days
Hakone two days
Kyoto two days
Hiroshima two days
Kanazawa two days
Takayama one day
Akita two days
Sapporo three days
Fly back from Sapporo to Tokyo and depart…
We would like to do the entire journey apart from the flight from Sapporo back to Tokyo by train, is that possible? Do you think this itinerary is too busy? Any advice welcome.
Great that you want to explore Japan. You have included some nice places in your itinerary.
If it is too busy is maybe a bit subjective, and dependent on how you like to travel. I would probably add one day in Tokyo.
Getting from Takayama to Akita by train is an all-day excursion of 8-9 hours, so I think that is quite ambitious. I would probably skip either Akita and/or Sapporo, and give yourself some more slack. There will be a lot of transport involved in this intinerary 🙂
Hi i wanted to get a train ticket ashikawa station but im working in japan for a 1 year visa am i allowed to get a japan rail pass ?
If you have a non-temporary visa, then you aren’t allowed to have Japan Railpas. That includes working visa and working holiday visa.
Hi, thankyou for so much information. Iam still a little confused. My itinerary is Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo,Sapporo, Hakone, Tokyo. I needed to know if a rail pass is needed for any of the cities, I live in dubai so how soon can I get a rail pass since iam travelling in a weeks time. Thankyou.
If you plan to travel between all these cities by train, then a Japan Rail Pass is worth the price. It gives you unlimited JR train ride for 7, 14 or 21 days. As for shipping, you should probably order immediately. Try contacting the vendor by phone or e-mail.
Within the cities them selves you can get normal tickets from the machines or use an electronic card, like Pasmo or Suica.
With a week to spare I’d recommend you to order quickly. Maybe contact
Hi! Planning a trip in early Oct. It will be my first time in Japan & will be arriving in NRT at night of the 1st day and leaving same airport in the aftenoon on the 9th day.
I plan to spend a day in Disneysea, 2 days in Kyoto and maybe a day in either osaka/nara. Is it better for me to get the JR pass & since my stay is more than 7 days, when should i activate/start the use of pass? Also, is it better for me to spend the rest of the days in Tokyo or can you suggest some day trips to other cities?
Thanks for your questions. Regarding the value of the JR pass, you’d have to activate it on day 3 with the itinerary you describe above.
Let’s break down the cost if you don’t get a JR pass, but travel on normal tickets without seat reservations (cheapest).
Tokyo Shinagawa -> Kyoto Station = ¥13,080
Kyoto -> Osaka = ¥560 (depending on the train you catch can be up to ¥1500)
Osaka -> Kyoto = ¥560 (depending on the train you catch can be up to ¥1500)
Kyoto Station -> Tokyo Shinagawa station = ¥13,080
Tokyo -> Narita airport = ¥1,130 (with slow local train. Up towards ¥5000 yen with fast trains)
total: ¥28,410 (€240 / $us266)
Todays price of 1 week JR pass: €245
So the difference is minimal – and that is assuming you don’t take any other transportation and always take the cheapest option.
I think in your case the 7-day pass will be worth the extra couple of euros/dollars – it gives a lot of flexibility. It also gives you the option to make a nice side trip from Tokyo to Nikko, and covers transport on the JR trains within Tokyo (like the Yamanote circle line).
I hope it was of help.
Hi, i will be going to osaka jan (10days ) . I reach at night. What time train last stop. We also want to go to tokyo . So can advice how many day osaka to stay n tokyo follow by my back fly to osaka. Osaka for usj , skie & shopping buy arai helmet & ape. Which is cheaper & for jr train and plane to tokyo which is easier. We are 10 guest all.
Hi Juni. Thanks for your questions. To check the train schedule, you can head over to hyperdia or check on google maps.
If you want to visit Osaka and Tokyo, then I recommend to split the time 50/50. Going to Tokyo from Osaka will be much faster and easier with the bullet train. The train takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes and takes you from the center of Osaka to the center of Tokyo. If you fly, you will waste a lot of time in the airports. Maybe 5 hours each way total, including waiting time.
The price of flight vs. train highly depends on date, time and luck. The price for the train doesn’t vary, but the price for a plane ticket greatly varies. The shinkansen train from Osaka to Tokyo costs 14650 yen each way. You might benefit from buying a JR Pass, which costs 29110 yen for 7 days (approximately the same as a return ticket). That way you can also explore other areas around Osaka.
If you want to buy individual train ticket, then you can do it at the station or in advance at govoyagin. Govoyagin will send the tickets to your hotel so they are ready when you arrive. They do charge a higher cost for this service, but it can give some peace of mind.
Hi! I’ll arrive on Narita on September 24 at 4pm then will be fly back home from NRT on October 1 at 5pm (8 days). Since the JR Pass only can be activate for 7days, my questions is:
1). When I should start activate the JR Pass?
Itinerary plan: 24-26 Tokyo, 26-27 Hakone, 27-29 Kyoto, 29-1 Tokyo.
2). For the “excess” 1 day, what card should I use? Which is including the narita express.
3). Is that JR Pass can be use to Disney Sea?
Thanks a lot for your help.
It sounds like a solid plan you have. I’m sure you will have a great trip.
1) I recommend that you activate your JR Pass on the second day of your trip (7 days before departure). You will arrive late in the day on the 24th, so you won’t have much benefit from the pass that day anyway. This way you also have freedom to change your plans towards the end of your trip.
2) The excess day I suggest to be the first day. I recommend that you read the guide to get from Narita airport to Tokyo. There are some good tips in there on how to save money. Narita Express is not the only option. The Skyliner is a very good choice too, for a single-ticket purchase. However you can do it even cheaper with the slower, local trains.
3) The JR pass covers the ride all the way to Maihama Station which is located right next to Tokyo Disneyland and Disney sea. The train lines are JR Keiyo and JR Musashino Lines. From there, you need to transfer to the Disney Resort Monorail Line, which is not covered by the JR Pass. It is however only 260 yen.
A little advertising: you can purchase your Disney Sea ticket through this link, and support my website 🙂
Also, here is a link for a suggested 2-day itinerary for the Kyoto part of your trip. Maybe you can get some more inspiration.
I wish you the best trip to wonderful Japan!
We plan a 8D 7 nites tour to Tokyo-Kurabe GOrge-Kanazawa-Shiragawago-Takayama-Nagoya-Tokyo.
Shall I buy the 7D General pass of just a area pass is sufficent?
Are all the above routes (either train or bus) covered by the 7D General Pass/Area Pass?
Looking forward to your reply soon.
Hi Ow CK,
Thanks for your questions. It sounds like a nice, but very packed itinerary you have planned.
– The JR Pass covers the stretch from Tokyo to Kurobe-Unazukionsen Station (Shinkansen station). From there, you need to take a local, private train from the nearby Shin-Kurobe station to Unazukionsen (not to be confused with the previous two station names). At Unazukionsen you can take the sightseeing train, which is also not covered by the JR Pass. It is highly recommended to preorder tickets for the sightseeing train. You can do it through this link, if you want to support my website.
– Next connection from Kurobe-Unazukionsen Station (Shinkansen station) to Kanazawa is covered by the JR Pass.
– There is no train from Kanazawa to Shiragawago. You have to take a bus (1.5 hours / 2000 yen), which is not covered by the JR Pass.
– There is no train between Shiragawa-go and Takayama, so you must take the bus (1 hour 20 minutes / 2600yen). The bus is not covered by the JR Pass.
– From Takayama to Nagoya you can take the JR Hida train line (2 hours 30 minutes), which is covered by the JR Pass.
– The train from Nagoya to Tokyo is also covered by the JR Pass.
Aproximate pricing for the stretches which are covered by JR:
Tokyo – Kurobe-Unazukionsen: 12’000 yen
Kurobe-Unazukionsen – Kanazawa: 4’220 yen
Takayama – Nagoya: 6’230 yen
Nagoya – Tokyo: 11’290 yen
Total: 33’740 yen
7D JR Pass: 29’110 yen
So I would say that the JR Pass is probably worth it for your trip.
A friend of mine and I are planning an 82 day trip to Japan next march-May.
In our trip, we visit multiple sites around the country in the following format Place(Nm of Days) -> Place (Nm of days):
Fukuoka & Nagasaki 2
88 Temple pilgrimage (around Takamatsu) 3
Osaka+Koyasan+Nara+Kyoto+Kumano Hungo Taisha 11
We also have 6 days to spare in between locations.
We were trying to understand what pass is the right fit for us but got a little lost.
Thanks for your message.
It sounds like a nice and long trip which will bring you through a lot of Japanese culture.
The JR Pass only exists in 7, 14 and 21 day versions. However, there are no rules which permit you from buying multiple passes to make a longer journey.
The passes have very little value when you are staying inside major cities, so for your 14 days in Tokyo you don’t need it. You also won’t need it for your first 8 days, as you are on small islands with no trains. You may also consider lining things up so you don’t have an active pass when you spend your 11 days in the Kyoto region.
Considering the above suggestions you might be able to arrange your schedule so you start out with a 21 day pass (¥59’350) which you activate when you leave Kagoshima. Then a 14 day pass (¥46’390) which you activate when you leave Kyoto.
It requires some calculations to see if the price is really worth it compared to buying single tickets instead. The total for such two passes would amount to ¥105’740. Google maps and Hyperdia can help you calculate the cost for each stretch.
If you have more questions, then don’t hesitate to ask. Otherwise I wish you a wonderful trip.
Kindly advise whether getting a 7 days JR pass is worth it for my trip.(9 days)
Narita airport to Shibuya
Shibuya to Matsumoto return
Shibuya to Mt Fuji return
Shibuya to Narita Airport
Thanks for your question. I think in your case the JR Pass is not worth it. It might be relevant if you decide to add an extra side trip, but if your schedule is fixed as above, then no.
I wish you a great trip
I will be visiting japan in 2020 29th jan(narita airport) to 2nd feb(narita airport) . My first trip to japan and most likely will be in tokyo for the entire trip, 4 of us.. Would like to go disneyland, factory outlet, night market, streetfood and shopping and strawberry farm..
Any suggestion on the jr pass? And area to stay. Do you think i can stay at tokyo and visit yokohama for day trip and return to tokyo?,
You’ll have a great time in Tokyo I’m sure.
The JR pass is likely not worth it for you, if you stay in Tokyo for the entire trip.
You can easily take a day trip to Yokohama from Tokyo.
As for where to stay, it depends a lot on your budget. Staying near Shinjuku or Ueno are good choices, but maybe not the cheapest areas. Find hotels In Tokyo on booking.com (affiliate).
Heya, awesome post with great details. I’m wondering if you could have a look at my rough itinerary and advise whether a JR pass would be worth it ?
Planning to fly into Tokyo next year, Unsure of which airport to fly into yet, any suggestions?
We will be doing a 6 day hike near Iiyama which is 1 hr 45min on the Shinkansen from Tokyo. We will then go back to Tokyo after the hike to explore Tokyo and surrounding, likely 2-3 days in Hakone, and maybe Mt Takao as well. Still in early planning stage.
Total of approximately 4 weeks. Would you recommend to get. JR pass or it’s not really worth it for our trip ?
Thank you so much
Hi Wen! I’m glad to hear you found the post helpful.
The trip from Tokyo to Iiyama is about 8’800yen each way, so a total of approximately 18’600yen for that side trip.
Inside Tokyo the JR pass isn’t great value. Each day spent in Tokyo with an active JR pass is expensive.
A trip from Tokyo to Hakone is approximately 4’300 yen each way, totaling 8’600.
Tokyo to Takao is 1’000 yen or less each way.
I would say that the JR pass isn’t worth it with your current itinerary. However, if you have a full 4 weeks then you will have time for a lot of other side trips, which might be worth it. There is however local verisons of the JR Pass. For instance, the “5-day JR East Pass Nagano and Niigata area” which costs around 17’000 yen. This pass covers the stretch from Tokyo to Iiyama. So if your trip to Iiyama fits within 5 days, it could be worth it.
If you enjoy the content of the website, then maybe you would consider booking your JR Pass, hotels or tours and tickets through our affiliate links. That way we make a small profit, at no extra cost for you.
Thank you so much for your detailed reply!
Will definitely have a look at Hotel booking through your site !
Much appreciate your help !!
I’m happy I could help. Have a great trip 🙂
There are 4 of us travelling to osaka by plane, staying near Namba station for 3 nights. Plan to travel from osaka to tokyo by shinkansen, what kind of pass should we get and is it worthwhile buying a 7 days JR pass? As we will be in Tokyo for another 3-4 nights before taking plane to Furano.
Disclaimer: this text contains affiliate links.
Thanks for your question. It sounds like a great trip you are making. Osaka and Tokyo are both really cool destinations.
As for the JR Pass, a standard 7-day JR Pass is approximately ¥29’650.
A one-way ticket with the Shinkansen Hikari from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo Station is around ¥13’870. So if that is the only major train ride you will make, then the 7-day pass is probably not worth it for you.
Instead, I could recommend you to buy some local passes for the Kansai Area and the Tokyo area. Then buy a single, normal ticket for the shinkansen between Osaka and Kyoto.
The JR-West Kansai Area Pass is a really good deal. It gives you unlimited rides for 1,2,3 or 4 days in the entire Kansai region. That includes Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Himeji to mention the most popular destinations. It starts at just ¥2’300 for 1 day, and get’s cheaper per day if you buy the 3 or 4 day passes.
For Tokyo there are some 24-Hour, 48-Hour, 72-Hour passes especially for visitors. They give access to unlimited rides on the Tokyo Metro or Toei Subway (not JR trains).
I’m sure you will have an amazing trip in Japan!
If you enjoy the content of the website, then maybe you would consider booking your JR Pass, hotels or tours and tickets through our affiliate links. That way we make a small profit, at no extra cost for you.
I found this information very useful but I want to ask that I’m going with a family of 3 me, my mom and my sister for 6 days. Would we have to buy 3 tickets? Also how do we know how much would it cost for a certain journey e.g. Shinjuku-Chiba. Is it possible to check the price of individual journeys on a website using JR pass. E.g. check how much it would cost from going shinjuku-Chiba
It’s a good question. There is a website, hyperdia.com which can help you calculate the cost of individual tickets.
So if you know your itinerary, then you can calculate the cost. Google Maps also tells you the train prices in Japan, if you search for directions.
I hope you’ll have a great trip!
Useful info and great tips.
my hubby and I are planning a trip to japan this february.
We are arriving at Fukuoka from India on Jan 30th for 3nights – Hiroshima 2nights, we will be visiting miyajima island for a day from here – Kyoto 3 nights – Tokyo 3 nights.
Will the JR pass cover this distance from Fukuoka to Tokyo??
How many days pass should i take for this trip??
Hi Ruhi, thanks for your message.
It sounds like a great itinerary you have there.
The JR pass will cover the long stretches of your journey, from Fukuoka over Hiroshima and Kyoto to Tokyo.
You don’t really need the pass inside Fukuoka and Tokyo, so if you activate the pass on the day you leave Fukuoka, then a 7 day pass should be sufficient.
If you need inspiration for Fukuoka or Kyoto then I recommend that you check out the itineraries for those two cities:
Fukuoka 3 day itinerary
Kyoto 3-day itinerary
I hope you’ll have a great stay in Japan!
I need some advise. My daughter and myself are arriving Tokyo Haneda airport on 28th Feb and will depart from Haneda airport on 9th March – 11 days. I am going to stay in Tokyo city from 28Feb – 2 March (3 nights) then visit Mt Fuji at Fujikawaguchiko on 2th March- 4 March and not sure what will be the next destination from 5-7 March. Any suggestion from you? I need to be in Nagoya on 8th – 10th March. And then travel back to Tokyo Haneda for my flight on 9th March. Can you advise if is worth to get a JR rail pass?
Thanks for your question. It sounds like a great trip you are making.
Your itinerary is tricky with a JR Pass. First of all I would like to suggest that you spend the 5-7th March in Kyoto if you haven’t been there already. It’s really beautiful with all the ancient temples and shrines. You can find some itineraries here: 1-day itinerary, 2-day itinerary, 3-day itinerary.
As I can see, your itinerary looks like this:
2 Leave Tokyo
4 Leave Fujikawa
7 Leave for Nagoya
9/10 Nagoya -> Tokyo (unclear)
You don’t really need the JR pass when you are inside Tokyo.
Getting from Tokyo to Fujikawaguchiko is not so expensive (~3500yen), and only half of the stretch is covered by the JR Pass, so you may not need it on March 2nd either.
If you should decide to include Kyoto in your itinerary, then your day’s with JR Pass would be 4th through 9/10th.
Is the JR Pass worth it for you?
Fujikawaguchiko -> Otsuki Station 1’170 yen (not covered)
Otsuki Station -> Kyoto Station 14,420 yen (covered)
Kyoto Station -> Nagoya Station 5’170 yen (covered)
Nagoya -> Tokyo 10’560 yen (covered)
total: 30’150 + 1’170.
The 7-day JR Pass is around 29’650 yen, so it might just be worth it for you to get the JR Pass. It also gives you some freedom to change your plans. However, if you decide to go somewhere else than Kyoto, then it might not be worth it.
In any case, it would be smart of you to have your JR Pass issued whilst in Tokyo as small stations cant issue them. You can just write on the form which day will be the first day of use, and you will then have 7 days from that date.
I hope this helps you a bit. Once you decide for the empty days it will be more clear 🙂
Hi. Need help. I bought JR passes for me and my family to visit my daughter who is studying in Japan. Will be travelling fairly extensively to Ibaraki, Nagano, Osaka, Fujinomiya before ending the trip into Tokyo. I presume my daughter will need to buy individual ticket for those trips on all the routes. Questions:
1) what’s the best option for her to join us in terms of rail tickets?
2) I presume she will not be in the same rail car as ours. How different is the rail car? I was told it will be a different line querying too, is that correct?
3) Or can I still buy the seats in the JR pass car for her since we want to stay close all the time?
4) I take it, it’s best to buy those tickets a day earlier at the ticketing office? Is it available online too?
By the way, it’s my first time to Japan. Looking forward to your favorable reply.
It sounds like a great trip you have planned. I’m sure you and your family will love Japan!
If your daughter has residency in Japan (she has a visa other than the 90day visa waiver), then she is not eligible for the JR Pass, just like you say. In that case she has to buy individual tickets.
1) Assuming she has a residency card and a visa, then more or less the only option is to buy individual tickets. This can be done online, or at the station at the ticket office or in a machine. All the machines have English options, but if in doubt just use the ticket counter. They are very helpful.
2) There are three types of rail cars on the shinkansen (bullet train). 1. Reserved standard seats. 2. Unreserved standard seats and 3. Green Car (1st class). I assume you have a JR Pass for the standard car, like most other people do. In that case you can choosen between all the standard cars. To get a reserved seat, you must go to the ticket counter and reserve a seat. It’s free with the JR pass. Alternatively you can just get on the “unreserved seat” cars. I’ve never had issues getting a seat on those. When your daughter buys her ticket she can specify if it should be a reserved seat or an unreserved seat (there is a small price difference). If you all do unreserved seats, then there is no problem going in the same car. If you all want reserved seats, then I recommend that, when you buy the ticket with your daughter, that you tell them at the counter that you also want XX reserved seats for your JR Passes in the same car. They will help you with that.
3) There is not a specific JR Pass car. As written above, there are reserved seat and unreserved seat cars.
4) You always have better chances of sitting together if you buy the tickets the day before 🙂
I wish you a great trip, and hope you will enjoy your stay in Japan!
I will be visiting Japan in March. My itinerary consist of arriving at Narita airport. I plan to take a bullet train to Tokyo from there and spend 2 days. After that, I plan to travel by train to Osaka & Kyoto. Will the JR rail pass be sufficient for my entire trip? If so, I will most definitely make a purchase. Thank you.
Thanks for your question.
It depends on how long you stay inOsaka and Kyoto before returning to Tokyo. Or maybe you fly back from Osaka directly?
If your trip is a week or less, then it will be worthwhile with the 7-day pass. If you stay longer, it is probably too expensive, unless you plan on adding more destinations.
If you aren’t returning to Tokyo, then it won’t be worth it.
Thank you for the reply. My trip is only for 5 days. The first 2 in Tokyo then the last 3 in Osaka/Kyoto and returning back home on the 6th day. I will be returning home through the Kansai airport.
Im travelling to Japan on Mar 17-30 arriving at the Narita Terminal 2 Mar 17, to see my nephew who is studying in Japan, our plans are kinda as follows, a couple days in Yokohama area then 2-3 days in Hiroshima area then 3-4 days in Kyoto area and finally 3-4 days in Tokyo area, wondering if this is a doable plan and if a 14 day JP Rail pass is worth it to buy. Thank you for your response.
Thanks for your question. It sounds like a really nice trip you are planning!
There are three options, as I see it:
(A) a 14-day and you are free to plan as you like
(B) 7-day pass, and you manage to squeeze Hiroshima and Kyoto into a 7-day period, including getting to Hiroshima from Yokohama, and getting from Kyoto to Tokyo.
(C) Buy individual tickets
Option A is slightly more expensive than option C, but gives you a lot of freedom.
If you go with B, then you can save a lot of money, but may limit your time in Hiroshima and Kyoto.
Approximate cost breakdown without a JR Pass:
Narita-Yokohama: ~¥1,800-4,370 (depending on which trains – read more). Some of the Narita Express trains go all the way to Yokohama.
total: ¥44,940 best case.
Approximate JR Pass prices as of 17/01/2020:
7 days: ¥29,650
14 days: ¥47,250
– The JR Pass is rarely worthwhile within the large cities, so sometimes you can plan it so you only use it for long stretch travel.
– The prices above are approximate and based on unreserved-seat, normal-car tickets.
hi, any recommendations which pass should we get if we’re travelling to Tokyo & Osaka?
It depends how long you are staying.
The prices are approximately:
7 days: ¥29,650
14 days: ¥47,250
Hi. We are planning to travel to Japan on November 25-Dec3. Is it a good time for autumn foliage? Here is our itinerary.
Day1 arrival in osaka
Day3 kyoto-nara tour
Day4 osaka tour
Day5 osaka-tokyo by bullet train, shibuya
Day6 disney sea
Day7 mt. Fuji
Day8 tokyo tour
Day9 flight home
Is it worth it to get a JR pass? If not, what can u suggest that we use?
Great itinerary you have made. I hope you will have fun visiting Japan! If you are lucky, you can catch the fall foliage. The timing changes a bit from year to year. Generally last half of November will be a good bet.
I think in your case the JR Pass is not worth the price, because you will only be taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) one time. The Ticket from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo is only around 14,000 yen, as compared to the 29’000 yen of the JR Pass.
The best thing you can do is to buy a single ticket at the station. You can also book it in advance from our partners at klook.
If you haven’t booked all your tickets and experiences yet, then maybe you will consider looking at our partner links? When using these links you support maintenance of this website at no additional cost.
Nara Day tour from Osaka
Osaka Amazing Pass (good for tourists)
Tokyo Disney Sea Tickets
Fuji day tour from Tokyo
Tokyo Private Guided Tour (6 hours)
I wish you a wonderful trip to Japan!
Hi. We are going to Osaka from Feb 17-20 and planned to go to Kyoto on our first day, Universal studios on the second, and explore what Osaka has to offer on the remaining days. And how do we get from Osaka to UKB airport. May we ask what pass should we get? Also, we will go to Tokyo from Feb 25-March 1. Can we use these passes to and from the airport as well? Your recommendations will be highly appreciated.
The itinerary of your trip is not entirely clear to me. There is a gap between 20th and 25th. Are you flying from Osaka to Tokyo?
If yes, then I don’t think the JR pass is worth it for you, compared to just being single tickets.
Hi, I am visiting Osaka > Hakuba (Nagano) > Takayama > Osaka. May I know which JR pass should I get?
My travel date is 16 – 24 Feb, 2020.
Thank you for your question. It sounds like an interesting itinerary you have!
In my opinion, the best you can do is to get a 7-day JR Pass, and activate it on either the 17th or the 18th, depending on the details of your schedule. The biggest cost by far will be the trip from Osaka to Hakuba and back, so make sure that part of the trip fits inside the 7-day window of the pass. It’s not worth it with the 14-day pass in your case. Also note that Shin-Osaka to Hakuba takes around 5 hours and 4 different trains.
I wish you a great trip and hope you’ll have a lot of good experiences in Japan.
We are so excited to visit Japan this April ( 8-24, 2020 ). We will arrive Narita on April 8, and need transfer to hotel (Dai Ichi) in Tokyo where we will meet our tour group for the period April 9 -20, ending in Kyoto. We plan to stay in Kyoto on the 20th, and go to Fuji (specifically Fujikawaguchiko-machi) for 3 days from the 21st – 23rd of April. Then on the 24th, we would return to Narita for a late afternoon flight home. Should we buy 2 short-term JR Passes, or 1 for the first day and a half before the rest of the tour group arrives and something else that gets us from Kyoto to Fuji, and then back to Narita? I’m not very sure of where the rail lines are, or who operates them. Can you help?
I understand why you are excited. Going to Japan is a big deal, and it will not disappoint you!
So, for your first day and a half, you won’t need a JR Pass, as you only need to transfer to Tokyo. Inside Tokyo you don’t really need the JR Pass.
To transfer from Narita to Tokyo, the most convenient way is to take either the Skyliner or the Narita Express.
You can get tickets for the Skyliner here, and for Narita Express here (affiliate links).
For your time with your group, I assume all transportation is taken care of, so you just have to think about the days from the 20th to the 24th.
Getting from Kyoto to Fujikawaguchiko takes about 4 hours. The fastest way is probably to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Mishima Station and from there, take a bus to Fujikawaguchiko. It will cost around 11,000 yen per person. Further, from Fujikawaguchiko to Narita Airport will require a combination of trains and possibly busses, and takes around 3-4 hours. All in all the price is not likely to be higher than a 7-day JR Pass, so I’d say the JR Pass is probably not worth it in this case.
If you are looking for a Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) with a private onsen (hot spring) in Kawaguchiko, then I have a list you can read here.
I also have some itinerary suggestions for Kyoto, if you want to do some exploration on your own:
– Kyoto 3-day itinerary
– Kyoto 2-day itinerary
– Kyoto 1-day itinerary (central)
– Kyoto 1-day itinerary (classic)
I hope you will have an amazing trip in Japan!
Very complete info. Thank you!
Hi, this Spring 2020 will be my first time to visit Japan. I am actually torn if I should buy the whole JR Pass or just selected areas. I have a rough itinerary planned for the trip.
April 19 – arrival at Narita. Take train to Tokyo (Sumida City) for check in
April 20 – Mt. Fuji Tour
April 21 – TeamLab Borderless + Odaiba Tour
April 22 – Asakusa Shrine + Sensoji Temple + One Piece Museum; train to Kyoto for check in
April 23 – Kyoto City Tour + Nara Park
April 24 – Train to Osaka for check in
April 25 – USJ
April 26 – Osaka Walking Tour – departure from KIX to Manila
It sounds like a great itinerary.
I can see why you are torn between the full pass and some of the local ones.
The 7-day full pass costs 29650 yen. (buy here)
The most expensive part of your trip will be the train from Tokyo to Kyoto, which is just around 14000 yen (reserved seat). I doubt that you will exceed 29650 with the itinerary you have preseneted here, so the JR Pass might not be worth it, compared to buying individual tickets. You can buy them at the station, or in advance (for instance from our affiliate partner govoyagin).
There are a few passes specific to the Kansai area (around Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) which you might find interesting:
– 5-day Kansai Wide Area Pass
– Kansai Thru Pass
If you are looking for a Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) with a private onsen (hot spring) near Mt. Fuji, then I have a list you can read here.
I also have some itinerary suggestions for Kyoto, if you want to do some exploration on your own:
– Kyoto 3-day itinerary
– Kyoto 2-day itinerary
– Kyoto 1-day itinerary (central)
– Kyoto 1-day itinerary (classic)
I hope you will have an fantastic trip!
Hi, total of 4 to 5 of us planing to visit Japan for mount Fuji, mount Hoku and mount Tate hike. We also wanted to experience camping around Japan. We are planing to rent a RV (camper van) is that possible? Will it be too expensive compare to normal rent car with hotel around? Planing to be there for 2 to 3 weeks. Wanted to explore outskirts of Japan. What is your best advise with a good budget for this trip? Hope to hear from you. Thank you.
Hi Marble Tan,
Thanks for your question. Renting an RV (often called camp-car in japan) is possible. However doing so is much less common than in some western countries. Therefore the facilities are not optimal for it, and the size of the vehicles is considerably smaller than for example in Europe and North America.
People will often be parking for the night in public parking lots in the country side. While RV camp grounds do exist, they aren’t very common. You should ask the company you rent from where you are allowed to park overnight.
Af looking at the prices at some of the major rental companies in Japan, it seems that the pricing is in the range of 30’000 yen per day, so in the range of 400’000 yen for 2 weeks or 630’000 yen for 3 weeks. For comparison a JR pass costs (14 days) 47’250 yen per person or (21 days) 60’450 yen. Assuming the pricing for the RV is at 30’000 per day, then the JR pass will be considerably cheaper.
We are hoping to go to Japan in Nov for our honeymoon, we would be doing Osaka for 3 days with a day trip to Koyasan, then from osaka to takayama for two days, then on to tokyo for 11 days before returning to osaka. I originally was looking at the world heritage pass up until going to takayama, then getting a pass to tokyo and taking the bullet from japan back to Osaka.. would it be better to just get the JR pass? i feel i made things more difficult lol but this is all so new to me and i get lost online looking up everything
The trip Osaka – Takayama – Tokyo – Osaka will cost in the area of 40’000 yen per person excluding possible busses. As the Japan Rail Pass is valid for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days you’d have to get a 14 day pass, and activate it on the morning you leave Osaka for Takayama. The 14 day pass costs around 50’000 yen, so it’s not given that you would save money. You would however be able to use the JR pass for all the JR lines inside Tokyo, which is quite convenient. The JR Pass also gives you great freedom to change your mind about where you want to go and what you want to see. You can buy the Japan Rail Pass here.
I have a conference at Matsue, from 29th Aug to Sep 3rd. So, I will be flying from India on 27th and will likely reach Matsue on28th. On evening of Sep 3rd, I will be visiting Hiroshima and on 4th evening, I will be leaving for Tokyo. I am going to stay there for 3 days in which, I am going to span, Tokyo disneyland, Mt. Fuji and other nearby destinations. Then, on 8th morning, I am going to visit Kyoto. Next evening, I am going to visit Osaka and will stay there till 10th morning. Then, on 10th evening I will head to Izumo from where I will board my flight the next day. Now, I want to know if it is worth to buy JR pass for this itinerary?
It sounds like an exciting trip you have planned, with some great destinations. There is a lot of transportation time I see.
Price-wise the 7-day JR-pass is worthwhile for this itinerary. The pass is however valid from the day it is activated and 7 consecutive days thereafter. From what I can see you actually have 8 travel days, so you will have a day which is not covered by the pass, either the 3rd or the 10th.
I don’t think it is worth getting the 14 day pass to cover this extra day. It will likely be cheaper to purchase an individual ticket for the first or last day.
Note, that especially in connection with Tokyo Disney and Mt Fuji, not all train lines are covered. The JR Pass only covers JR trains.
Can we purchase JR pass in Japan?
Hi! I’m in the midst of planning a 9 days trip to Japan. Plan to head straight from Narita to either Kyoto or Osaka and head to Tokyo on Day 4 or 5. Maybe even take the overnight train to Tokyo on the night of day 3 or 4 as I have a rather unhealthy obsession with trains. Will spend the remaining days exploring Tokyo with side trip to Hakone and if time permits, another area. My question is, if I purchase the 7 day JR pass, to go to Narita on day 9, I would have to purchase an individual ticket? And to travel within Tokyo on day 8, Suica is sufficient or would it be more cost effective to purchase the Tokyo subway 24 hour ticket?
Also another question, would it make more sense to stay in Osaka with day trips to Nara, Kyoto or would it be worthwhile to stay a night or 2 in Kyoto as well? Thank you in advance!
Sounds like a great trip you are planning. With the itinerary you describe, the JR Pass would have expired when you reach day 8 and 9. Getting around Tokyo is not that expensive, and I think you’ll be fine with a Suica as it lets you use all modes of transportation across operators, as opposed to the subway 24h ticket. To go to Narita you’d need a separate ticket. There are several options to get to Narita Airport from Tokyo; Narita Express, Skyliner and Regular trains. You can save a few thousand yen if you take the (slower) regular train instead of the fast airport trains (Narita Express and Skyliner).
As for your second question, it’s really up to how much you mind moving around. Staying in one place is of course always easier when you travel with luggage. On the other hand Kyoto is a very nice city.
I hope you’ll have an amazing trip!
Hello. I am planning to visit Japan in October for first-time. Our rough itinerary is as follows: Arrive Tokyo (not sure Haneda or NRT yet). Stay in Tokyo 4 nights. Day trips to Nikko and Kamakura. Then to Kyoto for 5 nights. Day trips to Nara, Hiroshima/Miyajima and Osaka. Then to Hakone for 2 nights. Staying in Ryokan with private onsen. Back to Tokyo either for same day flight or possibly stay 1 night in Tokyo (depending on flight time). Does this sound Ok ? Best to get 14 day JR Pass ? Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
Your itinerary sounds perfect and well planned. Covering both Hiroshima and Miyajima in one day may be a bit of a stretch, but it depends on how much time you want to spend on the museums in Hiroshimam, and if you want to hike in Miyajima. Regarding the Japan Rail Pass, you’d need the 14 day pass to cover this itinerary. It looks like you’ll probably save a bit compared to buying individual tickets.
If you are looking for Ryokans with private onsens and views of mount fuji, then check out this list: 16 Mt Fuji Ryokans with Private Outdoor Onsen
I hope you’ll have an amazing trip.