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JR pass or not?- advice needed please

hi- we have 19 days in Japan very soon. very excited but need help re whether we purchase a JR pass before we leave. Itinerary is as follows:
1. Narita- Tokyo; 2.Tokyo to Maebashi return; 3. Tokyo to Kashimajingu return; 4. Tokyo to Odawa (mt Fuji area) return; 5. Tokyo to Kyoto; 6. Kyoto to Nakatsugawa return; 7. Kyoto to Osaka; 8.Osaka to Tokyo/Narita. Travel is spread from day 1 to last day.

Is it best to buy the 21 day pass? I looked at Hyperdia and added costs and it seems we might save about $200 by using the JR pass. But I am not sure I am adding up all the seat costs correctly? we have a 10 year travelling with us also? I cant see from Hyperdia any costs for children to see if child pass is worth getting? thanks


  • Hi,
    You would lose a terrible amount of money on a 21 day pass - you simply are not traveling enough to make it worthwhile. I am not sure how you are calculating your fares from Hyperdia, but rail passes only make sense with lots of long distance travel, especially by bullet train.
    You'd have to show me a fare breakdown, but you could do better with your time - see below.

    Actually you could save a lot of time as well if you rearranged some of your plans. For Kashima Jingu for example it is about 2½ hours one way and on the other side of Narita from Tokyo. If you have your heart on seeing it, it would be far better to go there from Narita and then afterwards go to Tokyo. For me, 5 hours sitting on trains to go somewhere is seriously pushing it - but it is up to you.
    Similar story for going to Nakatsugawa - I presume you are going to the Kiso Valley (Magome, Tsumago). That also would be 2½ hours one way (train + bus) and if you really want to go there, it would be better to do it in between going from Tokyo to Kansai.
    For kids, rail passes and regular fare tickets work the same - they are half the adult cost.
  • thanks for your reply and thoughts. Fares from hyperdia are being calculated as follows as an example- from Narita airport to Tokyo
    Total:¥ 3,020 (TicketFare:¥ 1,320  Seat Fee:¥ 1,700) -So I based cost of this fare to be ¥3,020. is that right? Or for Osaka to Narita- Total: ¥ 17,280(TicketFare:¥ 9,610  Seat Fee:¥ 7,670) - total cost ¥ 17,280? I understand with JRP we can reserve seats at no extra costs? If we were not to use JRP - would the fare cost only be ¥ 1,320 for Narita to Tokyo and then we pay extra Seat Fee:¥ 1,700 if we want to reserve seats together? But it see some routes also have a seat fee for non reserved- assume we have to pay this too? We will be 3 or 4 of us travelling together with young kids, would we need to reserve seats on most trains to be able to get a seat near eachother? We are travelling in September/October. thanks
  • Hi,
    Yes, you need the total fare - base fare plus seat fee. My question is how you believe you are making a 21 day pass pay off. Perhaps if you are doing it the way you describe, with all the backtracking, maybe. But if you do it in a more time efficient method, I doubt it would.
    You didn't give the ages of your kids, but if they are 5 years or younger, they don't need any rail pass or rail tickets.
    Also yes, you can make seat reservations with a JR Pass for free.
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