Good morning. I am travelling to Japan arrive 16th Dec at 5.30pm. We check into Ks House Hakuba on the 17th however not until 3pm. So I am thinking taking my kids to Snow Monkey park. We have to be at Nagano station to meet tour guide by 8am. Then on 22nd Dec we plan on going to Hakone. Is it worth me getting a JR pass. Can we do it cheaper by normal rail, trying to save money that is all.
Without giving more info on your whole itinerary, it's impossible to say if a JR Pass would pay off.
If only going regionally, the JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass would likely be more suitable.
I assume you will be flying in and out of Tokyo.
If you're only making round trips to Nagano and Hakone, you won't actually be spending more than the cost of the normal JR Pass. Furthermore, the pass wouldn't be able to cover any fares for your side trip to the snow monkeys. The pass also wouldn't cover the full trip to get to Hakone, nor any of the transport within the area.
Instead of a JR Pass, I would recommend you score a Hakone Free Pass which entitles you to a round trip from Shinjuku, Tokyo, as well as the Hakone sightseeing course.
Don't hesitate to write if you have further questions.