FAQ about JR PASS [2]

We’ve received several inquiry regarding JR pass thru H.I.S Live Chat System. everyday. In this blog, we will answer 2 most important questions;

  1. Should I buy JR pass?
  2. Which pass should I buy?

If you are thinking about buying JR pass, you might find this blog very useful. Read on for more information.

If you haven’t read part 1, please check it out —> FAQ about JR pass

Japan rail pass

*** Should I buy JR pass? ***

First, please let me explain that, there are many train operators in Japan and JR is just one of them. JR group is the one with the largest network and the most coverage. If you buy JR pass, you can enjoy unlimited ride on any JR trains in the limited time. Nationwide pass is available for 7 /14/21 days.

Please remember that, having JR pass doesn’t mean that you can ride on any train in Japan.

Subway, metro and some other intercity lines such as Kintetsu, Keihan, Keio, Odakyu and etc are not included in this pass.

©Hokkaido Railway Company

JR pass nationwide is valid on the new Hokkaido Shinkansen

jr pass.jpg

So, before you decide to buy JR pass, this is what you should do

Think about where you want to go, what kind of transportation you will use. After that, use Hyperdia to calculate the single trip fare combined all routes in your itinerary. Finally, compare the price of single ticket with the price of JR pass.

JR pass nationwide


Price in local currency is based on exchange rate. Please contact HIS offices in your country for inquiry.

Point to consider : If you plan to take Shinkansen bullet train twice e.g. round trip from Tokyo to Osaka, then purchasing JR pass is likely to be a cheaper option comparing to buying single ticket. But if you only plan to use once e.g. port of arrival is Tokyo and departure is Osaka, buying ticket will be cheaper.

***Which pass should I buy? ***

There are 2 types of JR pass;

  • All Japan (JR pass nationwide)
  • Area passes (JR West JR Kyushu JR Hokkaido JR Shikoku JR Central JR East )

Nationwide JR pass allows you the ride on any JR trains. However, you can’t take Nozomi or Mizuho which are the fastest type of Shinkansen (make less stops thus take less time to get to destination). With Area passes, you can ride on the Nozomi or Mizuho as long as some conventional line in the area you selected. That’s the big advantage of area pass in my opinion.

After you plan your trip, think about the area you want to visit. It might be difficult to picture so I will show you some example;

10 days trip 

Tokyo – Osaka – Kyoto -Hiroshima -Tokyo 

Break down

First 3 days in Tokyo  —> Take Shinkansen to Osaka — > one day in Osaka —> 2 days in Kyoto —> move to Hiroshima —-> 2 days in Hiroshima — > Returning to Tokyo —> departure from Narita airport

Suggested pass : JR pass nationwide 7 days + the use of 72 hours subway pass in Tokyo

There is no need to buy 14 days JR pass in this case, you can use 7 days pass and activate it on the day of traveling by Shinkansen to Osaka. While in Tokyo, the use of Tokyo subway pass is very economical and allow you to go most areas in Tokyo (+ occasional use of IC card like Suica or Pasmo)

5 days trip 

Tokyo – Mt. Fuji – Nikko – Karuizawa Ski resort – Tokyo 

Suggested pass : Tokyo wide pass 

Tokyo wide pass will cover Mt.Fuji (Kawaguchiko lake), Nikko and Karuizawa. This pass is valid for 3 days (10,000yen).

JR West http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/

JR Kyushu http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/railpass/railpass.jsp

JR Hokkaido http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/index.html

JR Shikoku http://www.jr-shikoku.co.jp/global/en/

JR Central  http://english.jr-central.co.jp/index.html

JR East   http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/

Hyperdia http://www.hyperdia.com/

See you next blog!



4 thoughts on “FAQ about JR PASS [2]

  1. Hi! I chanced upon your blog and would like to ask if it would be more cost efficient for us to get a tokyo wide pass. Here’s my IT:
    Day 1: Arrival at narita, proceed to Yuzawa, Niigata
    Day 2: Whole day Yuzawa but travel back to Tokyo in the evening
    Day 3: Mt Fuji, Lake Kawaguchiko day trip
    Day 4: Ikebukuro, Shinjuko, Shibuya, Harajuko
    Day 5: Disney Sea
    Day 6: Ueno, Asakusa, Ginza
    Day 7: travel back home
    We are 4 adults + 2 kids (ages 8 & 9). Your advise would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.


    1. According to your plan, I agree that you should use Tokyo Wide Pass for the first 3 days (Nigata, Kawakuji-Go) as this pass covers all area you plan to visit. It will help you save a lot of transportation cost.

      For traveling in Tokyo (Day4-6) I recommend you to use Tokyo Metro Subway Pass. You can visit most of main attractions in Tokyo by using this pass. There are 24hr, 48hrs, 72hrs (Unlimited Ride) which you can choose the one that is suit for your plan.

      Here is the link (https://tictokyo.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/tokyo-subway-pass/)

      I suggest you to should plan to travel in Tokyo 2 days consecutively by using 48hr subway pass so that you don’t have to buy 72hrs one. Disney Sea cannot be accessed by subway, so you should go there before or after you use 48 hrs subway pass.


  2. Hi,
    My itinerary as follows, and would you recommend JR 7 days pass or the Kansai Area pass? Your advise is greatly appreciated!

    Day 1– Arrive Osaka @ Kansai Airport
    Day 3 – Osaka/Kyoto
    Day 7 – Kyoto/Tokyo
    Day 9 – Depart Tokyo @ Narita Airport

    Thank you!


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