I'm new here to the forum. I'm planning a trip to Japan in October.
I've been reading as much as I can on this topic and watching a bunch of videos on YouTube and I know this is a common question here but I'm struggling to find a clear answer. I've used a few Rail Pass calculators and they all seem to say it's not worth it. However, I was speaking to my Japanese teacher who is from Tokyo and he highly recommended it to me as he said that traveling gets expensive even just around Tokyo.
I know you can't use the JR Pass for all trains/subways but apparently, anything on the JR line is good. I asked him if the JR line goes pretty much everywhere around the city and he said it does so that's when I started to consider the JR Pass.
We'll be staying for 14 days and these are the plans more or less:
Narita Airport → Shinjuku station
Shinjuku station → Kyoto (7 days after arrival) *roundtrip
Shinjuku station → Kamakura *roundtrip
Shinjuku station → Narita (to go home)
Plus, of course, various what I'm assuming will be subway trips around Tokyo.
Would the JR Pass be worth it?
Am I able to use the JR Pass to get around Tokyo?
Thank you for any advice on this.
In short, the calculators are correct, and your teacher, not surprisingly, is wrong.
A Tokyo-Kansai round trip within 7 days still leaves you a little short of making a 7 day pass pay off. If you added in one trip from or to Narita, you would barely break even.
The cost of an ordinary 7 day pass is ¥29,110 yen. A Tokyo-Kyoto round trip (adult, unreserved seat) is ¥26,160.
You are somewhat vague on your trip details, such as how long you will be in Kyoto. There is a better deal than the 7 day JR Pass however, assuming you are only going to Kansai and back. The japanican ticket is far cheaper, and you can take the Nozomi train with it, getting you there 30 minutes faster.
It only covers up to that point though, so if you wanted to go beyond to Hiroshima for example, the 7 day JR Pass would be the way to go. It also doesn't cover the fares between the Kansai cities, if you plan to see Nara, Kobe, Osaka, but in the end it still works out cheaper for you. You could always use a Hankyu Tourist Pass to help out if you want.
For Kamamura (and don't skip Enoshima), there is a great Odakyu pass for that too.
For the ride to/from Narita, the cheapest way is the 1000 yen bus.
Or to splurge a bit and be more convenient to Shinkuku, there is a Narita Express round trip ticket if you don't stay over 14 days.
Travel in the Tokyo area (Kanto) can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. For most people, 3-4 days in Tokyo are enough - some day trips would be an excellent idea, and the Tokyo Wide Pass is a great way to save money.
Some excellent day trips you can take include Nikko, Hakone, the Fuji 5 Lakes area, Karuizawa, Kusatsu, Izu, Kawagoe, Takao, Okutama, the Hitachi Seaside Park, the Ushiku Great Buddha, etc.
For the Fuji area there are good Odakyu passes.
Within Tokyo, a 2-3 subway day pass is a great money saver.
If you have a JR Pass, you can use it on the Yamanote Line in Tokyo, which goes to several popular tourist places. But fares within Tokyo are not expensive, and your savings would still be minimal.
You can find regular rail fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
Under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box if on a JR Pass since you can't ride that train using the pass.
You can see previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:
There are also loads of other tips on
Btw I wasn't trying to be vague, I just forgot to mention I'll only be staying in Kyoto for one night.
But I seriously can't thank you enough for all your suggestions. I had never heard of some of these passes. This will make my trip so much better. I am going through all the links you provided. Thank you again.