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Should I buy the JR pass?

Here is my itineraries:
12/24 - arrive Narita Airport and plan on taking the limousine bus to the hotel at Shinjuku
12/26 - take the Shinkansen to Arima Onsen and spent two nights. Might go to Osaka and Kobe for day trips.
12/28 - back to Tokyo for 2 nights.

Should I get the JR pass or buy as we go?




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    The most effective solution for you would be something like the JR Flex Rail Ticket - the 7-day pass would not pay off for your plans, and the ticket is much cheaper than the regular fare tickets.
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    I have a similar question, I am in Japan with family for 15 days and want to know if JR 14 day pass is the best option. Our itinerary is:

    We arrive in Kansai, Osaka on 16 jan, then go to Kyoto on 19 Jan, then to Hakuba on 21 Jan, then to Tokyo on 28 Jan, then depart from Narita on 31 Jan. Grateful for your views😊
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    You are simply traveling too little to make any JR Pass pay off for you. The Icoca & Haruka discount ticket could save you a little getting from KIX into Osaka. You can also use the Icoca IC card to get around the area, as well as in Tokyo.
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    Thanks very much Tenjin, very helpful!
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    Hi Tenjin,
    I hv similar itineraries as PALF, which is Osaka-kyoto-tokyo. I hope you can help me in my questions. Thank you in advance and this would be a great help in considering getting whatever necessary passes.
    My question are:
    1. What mode of transport to get from Itami airport to Namba where I would be staying?
    2. How do I go to Kyoto from Osaka?
    3. Is it necessary to get JR pass if I used it on Journey fr Osaka-Kyoto then Kyoto-Tokyo?
    4. To travel around Tokyo, can I use JR pass or should I get Suica pass?
    5. What is the economical way to get around Osaka and Kyoto? What pass should I get?

    Rgds n TX
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    It's basically the same plan, so it's the same answer - the JR Pass would not pay off and you'd lose money on one.
    There are multiple ways to get from ITM to Osaka, basically bus or train. There is a bus for example that goes to Tennoji Stn in about 30 minutes, which is very close to Namba.

    From Osaka to Kyoto is not hard either. You can go by a JR train or Hankyu for example. JR goes to Kyoto Stn, and Hankyu goes more to the 'downtown area' like Kawaramachi. It depends where you want to end up.
    You never need to get the JR pass at all - in fact you'd lose money on it. Just buy a regular ticket for the bullet train. If you want, you can get an Icoca card, which is an IC card loaded with money you use instead of local tickets. You can add more money to it in any station, and it is interchangeable with cards from other regions like Suica, so you don't need to buy any other. If you are not returning to Osaka though the one thing you can't do is refund any balance in Tokyo. But it is good for 10 years and you can use it on a future trip. You can use the Icoca card on the trains and buses in Osaka and Kyoto if you wish. Kyoto has a bus day pass, but using the buses can get a bit complicated, understanding the routes, plus at rush hour they can be jammed with people and very slow moving down clogged city streets. Using other trains or the subway would likely work better for many places.
    I suggest you study some maps like google maps to see where you want to go and the best way to arrange your plans.
    Good luck.
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    Thank you so much, Tenjin.
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    Hi Tenjin, I just come across this Osaka amazing pass of 1 day or 2 days pass. What would you suggest, 2 days Osaka amazing pass or Icoca?
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    The Osaka Amazing Pass only pays off if you want to go to the places it gives free or discounted admissions to.
    If you don't use the benefits listed above and only for transport, you'd lose a lot of money on the pass.
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    Hello Tenjin. I needed some guidance for my travel scheduled as below:
    Apr 2 2020 - land in Haneda airport at 1am. Plan to stay in Tokyo (either Shibuya / Shinjuku / Otemachi)
    Apr 5 2020- leave for Kyoto 2 nights
    Apr 7 2020 - leave for Osaka (possibly a day trip) and head back to tokyo
    Apr 8,9 - Sight seeing in Tokyo
    Apr 10 - day trip to Mt Fuji
    Apr 12 - Narita airport to catch the flight back.

    Would I need to buy the JR pass for 2 weeks. I plan to see as much in tokyo so will keep travelling back to my accomodation to get some rest, head back to seeing Tokyo. Also, does the JR pass work in Kyoto / Osaka as well ?

    Look forward to your guidance
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    First, it's better to start a new thread and not piggyback your question on someone else's.
    You would lose a lot of money on a 14-day pass.
    While you could break even on a 7-day JR Pass used Apr 5-11, in your case there is a smarter way. For the Kansai trip, use the JR Flex Rail Ticket.
    You can take the faster Nozomi train with it, and get there 30 minutes sooner - plus they throw in some free goodies. For going to Mt Fuji, you need to decide if you'd rather go to the Hakone area or the Fuji 5 Lakes area. If the former, use a Hakone Free Pass.
    The Hakone Loop Course
    is a common way to see the area and takes a full day.
    If the 5 Lakes, a cheaper way is by bus.
    There are bus passes you can get around to see the sights.
    And a cheap way to Narita is the Access Narita bus, from Tokyo Stn or Ginza.
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    Could you help with this? We will arrive Tokyo Narita on 4/6 and stay at Hilton Tokyo for one night. On 4/7 we will go to Hakone and stay there for two nights. Then we will go to Kyoto on 4/9 and stay for two nights, then come back to Tokyo on 4/11 and stay for two nights. Fly out on 4/13.
    Could you tell me if we need to buy JR pass? We plan to go to Hakone on Romance train.

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    Again, it's better to start a new thread and not piggyback your question on someone else's.
    If you are taking the Romance car, that is on an Odakyu train, not JR. So you'd need to pay for that. To go from Hakone to Kyoto and back to Tokyo would not make a JR Rail pass pay off.
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    TENJIN, thank you for your help!
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    Hi Tenjin, thank you for your reply and advise. Much appreciated and pardon me for the delayed thanks. What would be your advise to view Mt Fuji ? Hakone or 5 lakes ?
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    It's kind of six of one vs. half a dozen for the other. There are some good sights at both places. If you want a better view of Mt Fuji (assuming the weather cooperates) then it's the Fuji 5 Lakes, easily. But if you want to get around the sights better, Hakone is by far better. You can use a Hakone Free Pass and use it for the trains, buses, ropeways, pirate ship etc. Buses at the Fuji 5 Lakes are few and far between, and renting a car can be a good choice to get around and see a lot more places.
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    Thanks Tenjin. Im unable to understand the suggestion about JR Flex pass despite the many times Ive tried to understand it. Pardon me. Is the below understanding right:

    1. Travel inside of Tokyo for 3 days I can manage without JR pass and keep paying for the tickets every time I use the train system within Tokyo. I can leverage a pre loaded IC card for this
    2. For my travel from Tokyo to Kyoto; within Kyoto; Kyoto to Nara, Nara to Osaka, Osaka to Hiroshima, Hiroshima to Miyajima, Miyajima back to Tokyo - I can use the JR Flex pass unlimited number of times ???
    3. So in all I would just need to buy the JR flex pass for JPY 21,000 and that will cover my travel to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima. (or) would I need to buy for Kyoto/Osaka etc separately.
    4. Cant I use this Flex pass for Fuji too if I include it enroute to Kyoto
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    Yes and adding to the above, does the JR flex include Nozumi as well ? Because with the regular JR pass, Nozumi is not included. So does the Flex mean that I can use Nozumi unlimited number of times and on any of the routes?
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    Let me make this simpler; below is my itenary and what would be your best guidance. I hope this is meaningful

    2/4/2020 Land in Haneda at 01:00am
    East Tokyo
    2/4/2020 Thursday Chiyoda City Nine hours Otemachi
    2/4/2020 Chiyoda City Imperial Palace + East Gardens
    2/4/2020 Chiyoda City Nine hours Otemachi
    2/4/2020 Chiyoda City Ryokogu Kokugan
    2/4/2020 Asakusa Tokyo Skytree
    2/4/2020 Asakusa Senso ji temple
    South Tokyo
    3/4/2020 Friday Chiyoda City Nine hours Otemachi
    3/4/2020 Minato City Ginza
    3/4/2020 Minato City Tokyo Tower
    3/4/2020 Minato City Rainbow bridge
    3/4/2020 Minato City Teamlab Borderless
    3/4/2020 Minato City Odaiba beach and statue of liberty
    West Tokyo
    4/4/2020 Saturday Chiyoda City Nine hours Otemachi
    4/4/2020 Shinjuku Shinjuku Gyoyen National Garden
    4/4/2020 Shinjuku Godzilla Head
    4/4/2020 Shinjuku Tokyo Metropolital Govt Building
    4/4/2020 Shinjuku yoyogi Park
    4/4/2020 Shibuya Shibuya Station
    4/4/2020 Shibuya Hachiko statue
    4/4/2020 Shibuya Starbucks
    4/4/2020 Shibuya Shibuya Crossing
    4/4/2020 Shibuya Don Quijote
    4/4/2020 Shibuya Meguro river cherry blossom promenade
    4/4/2020 Meiji shrine
    4/4/2020 Harajuku
    5/4/2020 Kinkakuji Temple
    5/4/2020 Fushimi inara
    5/4/2020 Machiya starbucks
    5/4/2020 Matcha tiramasu
    6/4/2020 Pontocho
    6/4/2020 Nara
    7/4/2020 Miyajima
    8/4/2020 Mt Fuji
    9/4/2020 Hiroshima
    10/4/2020 Tokyo
    11/4/2020 Tokyo
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    OK thanks for adding that info. You did not specify you are going to Hiroshima, and that changes the equation a lot. In that case, since you are doing all that within 7 days, the 7-day JR Pass would give you very good savings and that is what I would choose, used Apr 5-11.
    The JR Flex ticket only covers Tokyo-Kansai, and would be cheaper than the 7-day JR Pass, but since you are also going to Hiroshima, the JR Pass makes more sense in this case.
    You do need to change your schedule though for Apr 8-9. Mt Fuji is near Tokyo, and better on the way back from Kansai and Hiroshima, or done as a side trip from Tokyo. You did not choose which side of the mountain you want to see - the Hakone area or the Fuji 5 Lakes area.

    For some of your destinations, you could add or enhance some of your plans. For Sensoji, if you are going in the day time, it is possible to also see the "secret" Denboin Garden - it's only open a couple months in the year, and your timing is perfect. Most people don't even know it's there so it is largely uncrowded.
    Same thing for Meiji Shrine - don't skip the Meiji Gyoen garden in the middle of it - most do, and it is very nice and uncrowded to walk through.

    For the TeamLab Borderless museum, I highly suggest you buy your tickets online, and go during a non-peak time - weekends can get very bad. One of the better times is when they first open in the morning. They actually might let you in 30 minutes early and then you have the whole run of the place before the mobs of people pour in. Try to see the Lantern Room and "Floating Nest" ASAP - later there can be a 45 minutes line up of people to get in. Your plans for Apr 4 look pretty busy - it may be doable but you'll need a brisk pace and not linger too much. Since you're will be in Shibuya you might also see the new Shibuya Sky (maybe instead of Tokyo Tower). It's 2000 yen but gives quite an amazing rooftop view.
    Your day in Kyoto is a bit problematic. You only give one day there which is really shortchanging the place, plus Kinkakuji and Fushimi Inari are on opposite sides of the city and transit will take time. Both get jammed with people every day, so I suggest you get to Kinkakuji before it opens at 9 AM to avoid some of the crowds. Fushimi Inari likewise gets tons of people, and better either in the early morning before 7 AM or the evening. There are many other good places you can still see in the day. It will be cherry blossom season as you know, and there are some good places to see them, but nearly all will have more people than petals.
    Pontocho makes sense in the evening, if you want to try and spot a maiko or geisha. If you have the energy after a day of sightseeing in Kyoto, you can also go see Osaka in the evening. Dotonbori is a lot of fun to see at night, and there are some great places for city views also.

    You can see most of the best in Nara at Nara Park in half a day, so if you want, you could add another half day to your Kyoto plans. Both Kyoto and Nara these days are flooded with Chinese tourists, but they are still worth seeing.

    You could if you want also stop by Himeji on the way to Hiroshima - the castle is the best in Japan and the nearby Kokoen Garden is one of the best in the region. You can get a combo ticket at the ticket office and save a little money that way. You could walk from Himeji Stn to the castle, but there is also a 100 yen shuttle bus you can take.
    For Hiroshima City, sadly many just see the Peace Park and leave the city - don't cheat yourself like they do. The Shukkeien Garden and Mitakidera Temple there are magnificent. You can also eat at Okonomi-Mura for something really special. For Miyajima the giant torii gate is still under renovation and covered up, but there is still lots to see. The shrine you'll be done with in 20 minutes, but the Daishoin Temple is in many ways even better, and you can climb up Mt Misen for a great view if the weather is good (there is a ropeway that goes up partway if you want). If you still have some time, you could maybe go see Iwakuni a bit south of Miyajima. It has the nicest bridge in Japan and is a little known cherry blossom jewel.

    BTW landing at Haneda at 1 AM is a bit of a problem. The trains and buses in Japan stop around midnight. There is a night bus there
    and maybe the last one leaves around 2 AM - hopefully you can make it, and then get a taxi from Shimbashi Stn. Or even better, there is also one of the orange limousine buses as well
    to Tokyo Stn (1,900yen) and you can get a 5 minute taxi from Tokyo Stn to your hotel or walk it in 20 minutes.
    Getting a taxi from Haneda into Tokyo would be very expensive indeed. Honestly, I would consider getting a cheap hotel like First Cabin in Terminal 1 inside the airport, or a Toyoko Inn near Haneda, but it is up to you.
    Good luck.
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    Hi Tenjin,
    could you help me to decide to buy a JR Pass or not.
    We will spending 2 weeks in Japan, 5 nights in Kyoto, 1 night Takayama, and 5 night in Tokio, last night in Osaka. We want to visit from Osaka Nara, Himeji, Kobe and perhaps Hiroshima-Miyajima. After Takayama Tokio and from Tokio Nikko and Fuji. Than travel from Tokio to Osaka to departure. I searched via Google and thought it would paid of for us a JR Pass, what are You thinking?
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    Next time, it's better to start a new thread and not piggyback your question on someone else's.
    It looks to me like a 14-day pass would pay off, but if you can go to Takayama and Tokyo and back to Osaka within 7 days, it would be better to get a 7-day JR Pass and if you go to Hiroshima, get the Kansai-Hiroshima Pass.

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    Thank you for your answer und advice.
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    Need your help - JR Pass? Itinerary below: (a) Arr Kansai Airport 3/31/20 (b) Stay in Namba, Osaka (4 days) (c) Day trip to Kyoto and Nara (d) Osaka to Takayama Apr 4 (e) Apr 5 Takayama to Shirawaka-go, then proceed to Kanazawa (f) Kanazawa to Tokyo Apr 6 (g) Stay in Shinjuku, Tokyo (5 day) (h) Day trip to Mt Fuji/Hakone (i) leave @Narita on Apr 10. Plan to get 7 day JR Pass. Opting out on the first 3 days and using alternate transportations while in Osaka. Any advice?
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    The short answer is you simply don't travel enough to break even on a 7-day JR Pass - particularly since you are not traveling round trip, but open jaw. There are also some problems with your plans - Shirakawago has no rail access - you'd need to buy the bus tickets to go there from Takayama (50 minutes, 2600 yen) and from Shirakawago to Kanazawa (75 minutes, costs 2000 yen). The bus is not covered by the JR pass.
    As for going to Hakone, if you are touring the sights, then the Hakone Free Pass is one way to save some money.

    As for getting into Osaka from KIX, if you plan to go to the northern part of the city, then the Icoca & Haruka discount ticket is one way to save a little. The Icoca is a prepaid IC card you can use to get around Kansai as well as Tokyo. But if you are going to the southern part of Osaka, then one of the Nankai passes would work better for you.

    And next time, **please** start a new thread with your new question, and not piggyback on someone else's.

    Best regards.
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    Could you please help with the best JR Pass to get for the following 14-day itinerary in January 2023? There will be 11 adults and 1 child.

    Day 1 (5th Jan) – Narita International Airport to Shinjuku
    Day 4 (8th Jan) – Shinjuku to Iiyama (transfer to bus to Nozawa Onsen)
    Day 11 (15th Jan) – Nozawa Onsen to Snow Monkey Park and then to Nagano (either with JR Pass or chartered micro bus for 12 persons)
    Day 12 (16th Jan) – Nagano to Matsumoto and back to Nagano
    Day 13 (17th Jan) – Nagano to Narita Airport

    I had previously organised this with the JR East Pass (Niigata) with 5 flexible days within 14 days. Can you confirm that now it is 5 consecutive days?

    If it is 5 consecutive days (which won’t work for us), what would be the best option for our itinerary?

    Thank you.

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    Sorry - posted wrongly under 'Comment'. Please delete.
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    After years of travel all over the world, this stands out as one of the absolute worst services I have ever experienced. I tried to buy a bullet train 7 day pass while already in Japan. I am writing today as the pass is already two days later than the planned delivery date (which was already 5 days after my order - insane in a modern country like Japan that this even needs to be physically delivered). Fedex tracking tells me that this pass has stopped in Southern California and Alaska, leading me to believe that it is having a grander adventure than I am. Because it is so late being delivered, I have had to buy multiple other single-leg passes, negating any potential costs savings and now forcing me to alter my itinerary in order to go pick up the physical pass since I have since left that location. To add insult to injury, their refund process is ridiculous so even though I would prefer to just not use the pass and recoup some of my losses, this will require further effort and inconvenience on my part. Absolutely pathetic.
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