Is Japan Rail Pass Reasonable ?? ~CASE ① 7 DAYS PASS~

If you travel from city to city in Japan, train is one of the best transportations. 

 

Especially JR, the former national railway company, spreads all over Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu, about 3,000km. And so generously, they offer a railway pass called “Japan Rail Pass” for foreign tourists (you must be basically a tourist, not a resident, though), and with the pass, you can ride on almost all the JR trains during a certain period, including bullet trains called shinkansen (there are some restrictions but still it’s practical). 

 

 

 

Generally the advantage of a railway pass is these 2 points below.

  1. It’s (almost) all you can ride system and it can cost less than you pay for every train you take, especially if you ride more than several times. 
  2. You won’t be in a trouble to buy a ticket every time you take a train, and it saves your time as well.

So how is the Japan Rail Pass case??

How far should we travel by the pass to get a deal ??

 

Basic types are these 3 : 

 

① 7 DAYS PASS (29,110 yen)

②14 DAYS PASS (46,390 yen)

③21 DAYS PASS (59,350 yen)

 

This time let’s check the ① 7 DAYS PASS, which has a lot of potential for 1~2-week travelers. 

 

(And this time I won’t talk about flight and buses which can be more reasonable. Consider that this link is for people who are planning to travel by train basically).

 

These are the basic courses which you can travel reasonably with the pass.

 

Reasonable case  A : Tokyo – Osaka/Kyoto (and further) – Tokyo

Reasonable case  B : Osaka/Kyoto – Tokyo – Osaka/Kyoto 

Reasonable case  C :  Tokyo – Kanazawa (AND or OR) Takayama – Tokyo 

 

So let’s see the facts with train fares.

 

Reasonable case  A : Tokyo – Osaka/Kyoto (and further) – Tokyo

 

See the train fares below :

Tokyo- Kyoto 13,080 yen (Return : 26,160 yen)

Tokyo- Osaka 13,620 yen (Return : 27,240 yen)

Osaka – Kyoto 560 yen (Return 1,120 yen)

Tokyo – Narita 3,020 yen (Return : 6,040 yen)

Potential daily cost for short distance trip : 300 yen (2,100 yen for 7 days)

 

The pass is enough worth being used if you travel between just Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka, considering you use the pass for some short distance trip everyday, and it helps to save your time to buy tickets every time.

So I would say this pass is practical for this type of basic itinerary. The pass helps a lot when visiting Hakone and Nikko from Tokyo (maybe not all the way though). And if you’re an active and rapid traveler who goes further like Hiroshima or Kanazawa or any more cities, you must get this pass !

 

And take these notes below.

***It must be a RETURN TRIP. For example : Narita Airport – Tokyo – Osaka – Kansai Airport route doesn’t need Japan Rail Pass.

***For Haneda airport, there is no JR line but monorail which the JR pass is available for. 

***In every big city, there are many other private railways going and they don’t accept Japan Rail Pass. And sometimes if you take JR only you’ll have to do some round way. So I recommend you get SUICA/ICOCA at the same time.

( See “ICOCA – The Best IC Card in Japan (Potentially)” )***

 

 

Reasonable case  B : Osaka/Kyoto – Tokyo – Osaka/Kyoto 

 

The train fares are like these below : 

Kansai Airport – Osaka 1,170 yen (Return : 2,340 yen)

Osaka – Tokyo  13,620 yen (Return : 27,240 yen)

Kansai Airport – Kyoto 2,850 yen (Return : 5,700 yen)

Kyoto – Tokyo  13,080 yen (Return : 26,160 yen)

Osaka – Kyoto 560 yen (Return 1,120 yen)

Potential daily cost for short distance trip : 300 yen (2,100 yen for 7 days)

 

The airport is pretty far away from the center like Narita (and Kyoto has no airport !), and it has JR access so Japan Rail Pass works well. And a day trip between Osaka and Kyoto, Nara and Kobe/Himeji  is very easy and even Hiroshima is possible. And just check the note below, some of which are the same advice as the case A though.

***It must be a RETURN TRIP. For example : Kansai Airport – Osaka/Kyoto – Tokyo – Narita Airport route doesn’t need Japan Rail Pass.

***In every big city, there are many other private railways going and they don’t accept Japan Rail Pass. And sometimes if you take JR only you’ll have to do some round way. So I recommend you get SUICA/ICOCA at the same time.

( See “ICOCA – The Best IC Card in Japan (Potentially)” ) ***

***If you don’t go to Tokyo but some other famous destinations such as Hiroshima and Kanazawa, you should check some different type of Japan Rail Pass. ***

 

 

Reasonable case  C :  Tokyo – Kanazawa (AND or OR) Takayama – Tokyo 

 

See the train fares : 

Tokyo – Kanazawa 13,600 yen (Return :27,200 yen)

Kanazawa – Takayama 4,430 yen 

Tokyo – Takayama 13,930 yen (Return : 27,960 yen)

Potential daily cost for short distance trip : 300 yen (2,100 yen for 7 days)

 

Often travelers visit both cities together and as it costs as much as Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto, so this case is also good to have Japan Rail Pass.

 

Seeing these 3 cases above, 

  1. For a return trip between Tokyo and Osaka, JR 7 days pass is enough reasonable.   
  2. From Tokyo to Kanazawa and Takayama, the 7 days pass helps a lot, but from Osaka/ Kyoto to other cities, you can consider different JR passes.
  3. Get SUICA/ICOCA as well to make your trip more flexible. 

 

Of course there are various destinations in Japan other than the cities above, and the pass has a lot of potential to help you to visit fascinating places you’ve never been to ! 

 

Related link : OSAKA 1 DAY METRO PASS & OSAKA AMAZING PASS – Who Gets a Great Deal ??

ICOCA – The Best IC Card in Japan (Potentially)

How to get to Namba from Kansai Airport ~What’s the best transportation~??

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tokie

A tourist guide, showing everywhere in Japan. Guide hundreds of people from all over the world every year. Born in Osaka, lived in Australia and Sweden. Traveled in more than 50 countries.

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