Getting around, Itineraries

Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass)

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.

Buy Japan Rail Pass

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.

DistancePrice $ 
Total:$541or $271 with JR Pass
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

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.

Seat reservations

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.

Shinkansen Bullet Train
Shinkansen Bullet Train

 

 

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50 Comments

  1. jong kil kim says:

    we plan to travel from kushu to hokaido for 21 days around this coming spring, 2019

    1. touristinjapan says:

      That sounds like an amazing trip! You might be able to follow the cherry blossoms up through the country.

  2. Salim says:

    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

    1. touristinjapan says:

      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 🙂

    2. Joey says:

      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)?

    3. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Joey,

      Unless you make some longer side trips, then it is not worth it for your itinerary.

  3. Eduardo Marconi says:

    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?

    1. touristinjapan says:

      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.

    2. Gus says:

      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,

    3. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Gus,

      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.

  4. arnold b go says:

    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      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.

  5. Rahman says:

    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Rahman,

      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.

  6. aziz ismail says:

    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

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Aziz,
      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.

  7. Fina says:

    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Fina,
      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).

  8. Cesar says:

    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!

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Cesar,

      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).

  9. Nurul says:

    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

    1. touristinjapan says:

      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 🙂

  10. Emm says:

    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?

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Emm,

      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.

  11. Laisa Digitaki-Weleilakeba says:

    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Laisa,

      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.

  12. Pete says:

    Hi,
    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Pete,

      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 🙂

  13. Pooja lokwani says:

    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi,

      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

  14. Ian R. says:

    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,

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Ian,

      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.

  15. Juni says:

    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      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.

  16. Sarah says:

    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Sarah,

      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!

  17. Ow CK says:

    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.
    Thanks.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      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.

  18. Tomer Shimon Zak says:

    Hi everyone,
    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):
    Ishigaki 4
    Yakushima 4
    Kagoshima 2
    Fukuoka & Nagasaki 2
    Miyajima+Hiroshima+Onomichi 4
    Omishima 2
    Okunoshima 2
    Imbari 2
    88 Temple pilgrimage (around Takamatsu) 3
    Takamatsu 2
    Shōdoshima 2
    Himeji 2
    Osaka+Koyasan+Nara+Kyoto+Kumano Hungo Taisha 11
    Kanazawa+Shirakawago+takayama 3
    Kamicochi 2
    Yamanouchi 2
    Hatchmantai 2
    Sapporo 2
    Shiretoko 2
    Tokyo 14

    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.
    Any recommendations?

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi,

      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.

  19. Tommy Tan says:

    Hi
    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

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Tommy,

      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

  20. Mamali says:

    hi

    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?,

    Kindly advise
    Thank!
    Regards
    Mama

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Hi Mama,

      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).

  21. 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

    1. touristinjapan says:

      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.

    2. Wen says:

      Thank you so much for your detailed reply!
      Will definitely have a look at Hotel booking through your site !
      Much appreciate your help !!

    3. touristinjapan says:

      I’m happy I could help. Have a great trip 🙂

  22. Phyllis SEE says:

    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.

    1. touristinjapan says:

      Disclaimer: this text contains affiliate links.
      Hi Phyllis,

      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.

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