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;
- Should I buy JR pass?
- 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
*** 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
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
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 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/
See you next blog!