About JPRail.com

I believe that a train is the best way to explore in Japan. Because many trains run very punctual and it is so reliable.

This website JPRail.com is unofficial website. JPRail.com does not have any connections with any railway companies in Japan. I started this website in 2009. When I started this website, I focused on how to use Japan Rail Pass. I tried to explain you to use Japan Rail Pass to its maximum! However many travelers want to learn many kinds of the rail pass other than Japan Rail Pass. Now I write the articles about other rail passes too, such as JR East Pass, Hokkaido Rail Pass, Tokyo Wide Pass, Tokyo Metro Pass, Kyoto City Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Suica, ICOCA and many other rail passes and the deals.

If you have any questions about Japan Rail Pass or rail travel in Japan, please do not hesitate to leave your response. If you cannot find any information in regards to the rail travel that you are looking for, please leave your comment on Forum page. I am very happy to give you some advice. But I am not your personal travel agent. Please do not ask me to make your travel plan. Please try to enjoy building your trip plan. The planning is the first step of your travel and it is lots of fun!

Thank you very much for visiting JPRail.com. I hope this website helps you to build your trip plan to Japan!

Administrator and Webmaster, JPRail.com
Takeshi Shimomura (下村猛)

197 thoughts on “About JPRail.com”

  1. Dear Takeshi-san,

    Here below are our itinerary to Japan this July 2019. We were having troubles deciding if we need to get the JR pass and we hope we could use your advice before we embark on our vacation.

    Day 1: Landed in Kansai International Airport
    Day 2: Universal Studio Japan
    Day 3: Exploring the Dotonbori Food District, Cup Noodle Museum, Asahi Beer Factory before traveling to Kyoto
    Day 4: Exploring Arashimaya and Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine
    Day 5: Traveling towards Tokyo
    Day 6: Tokyo Disneyland
    Days 7 – 9: Exploring Shinjuku, Sumida Park, Omotesando Hills
    Day 10: Going to Narita Terminal

    We thought it would be better to get the ICOCA card to travel within Osaka and Kyoto and the SUICA card to travel within Tokyo, and a one-way trip to travel from Kyoto to Toyko. Would that be too much of a hassle and buying a JRpass would be more cost-effective?

    Hope to hear a favourable reply from you.

    Arigato Gozaimasu.

    Best regards,

  2. Dear Takeshi San,
    Though this is the first time I comment, I have been visiting your site for years and am always amazed at the effort you put into answering everyone’s questions. It requires a great deal of patience!
    We travel to Japan every year since 2005 but every time with a private tour. We are going to venture out on our own this May and our itinerary is as follows:

    9/5 Overnight near Kansai Airport
    10/5 Haruka from airport to Shin Osaka, Thunderbird to Kanazawa
    11/5. Nohi bus to Shirakawago to Takayama
    12/5 Hida to Toyama, Shinkansen Tsurugi to Kanazawa
    13/5 Thunderbird to Kyoto
    14/5 Subway/bus in kyoto
    15/5 JR trains and buses to Arashiyama, Nijo castle, Inari taisha
    16/5 Haruka to Shin Osaka, Shinkansen Sakura to Hiroshima,
    Sanyo-line to Miyajimaguchi, JR ferry to Miyajima Island
    PM Back to Hiroshima station, take meipuru pu sightseeing bus,
    Shinkansen Mizuho to Shin Osaka, Haruka back to Kyoto
    17/5 Sanyo-line to Shin Osaka, Shinkansen Kodama (Hello Kitty) to
    Himeji. Bus to Himeji castle take pictures then head back to
    Station. Hamakaze to Kinosaki Onsen
    18/5 Kounotori to Osaka
    19/5 Osaka
    20/5 Osaka
    PM Kansai Airport

    We plan to use Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass from 10-13/5 and JR Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass from 15-19/5. We would like to know if the transportation above are all in the coverage area (except 14/5). What about the buses and subways in Osaka? Are they covered too? Are we too ambitious on 16/5? Do you think we can go to Himeji Castle take pictures and back to the station in less than 80 minutes? We know we can take earlier Shinkansen but we really wish to ride on the cute Hello Shinkansen. Most important thing is, do you think our trip will be too tiring? Would appreciate your advice.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Hana san,

      Your planning is very good and it is very organized. You have chosen the right deals. I don’t have many things to tell you but I have a few things and answer your questions.

      It you take Haruka to go back to KIX on 20th, you may use Kansai Hiroshima area pass from 16th to 20th. You may use the pass on 15th to visit some places in Kyoto. But even if you pay a regular fare by cash, it will be less than 1,000 yen in total per person. If you take Haruka, it is much greater value.

      All train trips are covered by these two passes. But Kansai Hiroshima area pass does not cover subway and bus in Osaka. Many places can be accessed by JR trains which are covered by this pass. Please see the link below:

      When you go to Hiroshima and Miyajima, you can make it as day trip. You probably saw the post before. But I put the link just in case:

      It is not impossible to visit Himeji castle in 80 minutes. As long as you are okay with taking a photo in front of the castle, you will make it. But it is still a bit tight. You don’t have a time to enter the castle.

      For me, your trip plan is feasible.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi San,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. I am so so glad to hear that my trip is well planned and organised. You should have seen my face! I am now stronger and confident to travel without worries.

        I will take your advice to start using Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass on 16/5. Yes, we will do Miyajima and Hiroshima as side trips from Kyoto. Actually, I have been copying the sample itinerary from your post. The only thing I may be changing is taking an earlier train back to Kyoto.

        Thank you for taking your time to read and solve my problems.

        May God bless you and your family.

        With appreciation,

          1. Dear Takeshi San,

            I am sorry to bother you again. I would like to know if the Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass covered the route between Kansai Airport and Rinku Town?


              1. Dear Takeshi San,

                Thank you for the quick response again. I have just realised that I used up only 4 days of the pass. So since the pass covered the route between Kansai Airport and Rinku Town, I might as well start using the pass right after arrival (9:45pm) to get to Yotsubano Guesthouse Rinku Outlet Mae. Never mind about starting the pass at late night. Every little helps. I just hope that our flight is on schedule otherwise we will be ending up taking taxi to the guesthouse and the next morning will have to buy single fare to the airport to catch train to Kanazawa.

                Thank you again, Takeshi San. I am off to buy train passes now.

                Best regards

                  1. Dear Takeshi San,

                    We are back from Japan. How time flies!

                    I just wanted to say thank you for posting your knowledge about everything travelling to Japan. We had a really good time in Japan and this was made possible by your help. And I can’t thank you enough for your Station Guide. The train station in Japan is CRAZY but you made it easier.

                    Thank you again.

                    With appreciation,
                    Hana San

  3. JR Shirahama Railway Station,
    Attention: Mr Kouta Kaitani

    Dear Mr Kautani,

    After Typhoon No 24 passed through Shirahama early morning dated 1st October 2018, my wife and I rushed to the JR Shirahama Station to check whether the train would resume to normal service to Urashima around 10:15 am dated 1st October 2018. Mr Kaitani kindly told us that the rail service was temporarily out of service because of landslides.

    So we asked for Mr Kaitani helping us to phone to Urashima hotel to cancel the 2 days booking because we could not speak Japanese. Mr Kaitani was sincerely phoned to the Hotel front desk 0735-52-1011 to confirm the cancellation of booking without additional charge because of typhoon.

    We deeply appreciated Mr Kaitani. We would like to say thank you once again.


    C.S. LAI (Mr)

  4. Hi Takashi San,

    I hope you are doing great!

    It has been a while from my last Osaka/Kyoto travel. I have benefited from your advise greatly during my last trip. If it is possible, I would greatly appreciate your help again to advise me on my upcoming trip.

    This time I am staying 4 days 3 nights in Kyoto (Racine Home) and 4 days 3 nights in Osaka (Hotel Oriental Express Shinsaibashi). It seems to me that this time I do not get much benefit in getting any passes, and hence like to seek your advise whether I missed out anything.

    Day 1 – Friday – Arrival at Kansai Airport in morning, taking JR Haruka using ICOCA card to Kyoto Station, walk to hotel. Take 市営206甲 bus to Kiyomizu-dera, follow by walking to Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaaka Yasaka Chaya Branch. We will then go to Takashimaya by 市営207甲 and walk around Nishiki Market area and walk to Pontocho. We will then take 市営205乙 back to hotel and rest.

    Day 2 – Saturday – From Hotel, we will take from Gojo Station to Shijo Station and then walk to Karasuma Station, take train to Katsura Station and finally to Arashiyama Station. Then take bus 市営93 to Okazaki-Jinja Shrine. Then we will take 市営93 bus to go to Menbakaichidai Fire Ramen. We will then take bus 市営12to Teramachi Shopping Arcade. We will take bus back to hotel after that.

    Day 3 – Sunday – We will take from Kyoto Station to Fushimi Inari Station by JR, then take from Fushimi Inari Station to Kintetsu-Nara station by JR. Evening will take from Kintetsu-Nara station to Shijo Station. Then go to Nishiki Market to walk around and then take bus back to hotel.

    Day 4 – Monday – From Kyoto Station take JR to Shin-Osaka Station, then take to Shinsaibashi Station. After walking around Namba, will take from Namba Station back to Shinsaibashi Station.

    Day 5 – Tuesday – From Shinsaibashi Station, take to Umeda Station, walk to Osaka Station, take JR to Koba Sannomiya Station. After day trip in Kobe, take from Kobe Station via JR to Osaka Station. Then walk to Umeda Station and take to Shinsaibashi Station.

    Day 6 – Wednesday – From Shinsaibashi Station, take to Taisho Station, then take JR to Nishikujo Station and then Universal-City Station. Spend the day in USJ, then take reverse route when returning.

    Day 7 – Thursday – Take from Sakaisuji Hommachi Station, to Tanimachiyonchome Station, walk to Osaka Castle. Then from Osaka Castle, take from Morinomiya Station to Sakaisuji Hommachi Station, then take to Nippombashi Station to go to Dontobori. Finally Dontobori, take from Namba Station to Shinsaibashi Station.

    This is my full itinerary travelling plan. I see that only day 2 I will get the Kyoto 1 day Kyoto Subway and Bus Pass, but guess it would not save much. Rest of the time will just be using ICOCA? Or is there anything that I missed, by using the passes could help me save much more? Greatly appreciate if you could advise me on this. Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Louis san,

      You may use ICOCA and Haruka, but you can add some more passes to save your cost.
      First of all, get Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA. You can add it. Those are basically same but you can get a discount at many attractions.

      As you think, you can use Kyoto city bus pass on day 2. You can use Kansai one pass to take trains and subways.

      You actually can use Kansai thru pass for day 3, 4 and 5.

      You cannot take JR trains, so you have to use Kansai one pass from Kyoto to Inari and back to Kyoto from Inari. But you can take Kintetsu railway to get Nara. For Kyoto to Osaka, you can take Kintetsu railway from Kyoto to Osaka-Namba via Yamato-Saidaiji. Kansai thru pass covers subway in Osaka. So take subway to get Shinsaibashi. If you still have more time, you can explore Osaka by subway using this pass.

      For trip to Kobe, you can take subway to Namba and then take Hanshin railway to get Kobe-Sannomiya by Kansai thru pass.

      And also Kansai thru pass offers unlimited ride. It gives you more flexibility.

      For other trip in Osaka, you can use Kansai one pass. It does not give you any unlimited travel but it covers all trains, JR, subway and other railway companies.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takashi san,

        Many thanks again for the prompt response and your help. I will look into your recommendations and adjust my plan.

        Just like to check with you for Kansai one pass, it is basically the same as ICOCA? Can it be used to purchase the Haruka discounter ticket?

        I saw that there is a 3600 yen ICOCA and Haruka offer that after the trip to Kyoto station, I could keep the ICOCA card of 1500 yen value with 500 yen deposit. Could I get that using Kansai One pass? Will there be any price differences?

        Louis Ng

          1. Hi Takeshi San,

            I hope the Typhoon did not affect you. Praying hard your family and yourself are safe from the threat.

            I hope it is not too much to ask for help on the route at this moment. My flight to Kansai Airport has been cancelled due to the damage of the Typhoon. We have to rebook our flight, and we are going to land at Chubu airport now. I am a little lost on how I should make my way to Osaka now, due to the change of flights, I have to visit Osaka first now, staying in same hotel oriental express shinsaibashi, and few days later go to a hotel in Kyoto. Could you suggest what route should I take? And any pass that is good?

            Louis Ng

            1. Hi Louis san,

              Sorry for the trouble by typhoon.

              If you need one way transfer from Nagoya to Osaka, just pay as you go. You can take Metetsu railway to get Nagoya and take Shinkansen from Nagoya to Shin-Osaka, and then take subway from Shin-Osaka to Shisaibashi.

              If you visit same places as your original plan, such as Nara, Kobe, you can use Kansai thru pass for these places and Osaka to Kyoto. Basically you can use same deals as I mentioned before.


              Takeshi / JPRail.com

            2. Hi Louis san,

              I just add some more info.

              When you take Shinkansen from Nagoya to Shin-Osaka, you can purchase a ticket at Nagoya station, JR ticket window. It’s not in Meitetsu Nagoya station. Please proceed to JR Nagoya station and you will find some ticket windows. It costs around 5000 to 6000 yen and trip time is less than one hour to get Shin-Osaka from Nagoya.


              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi san,

    I plan to bring my parents (3 of us) to Kansai from 4-18 Nov 18. My plan is below:

    4-11 Nov: Stay in hotel at Tsuruhashi Station, Osaka

    4 & 5 Nov
    City tour in Osaka City such as Osaka Museum of History , Osaka Castle, Tsutenkaku, Shitennoji Temple, etc.

    6 Nov – Join a day trip to Amanohashidate. Gather at Namba Station.

    7 & 8 Nov – Plan to travel out of Osaka such as Himeji, Lake Biwa or Wakayama.

    9 Nov – Travel to Kurama & Kobe for Cup Noodle Museum and Arima Onsen. Might visit The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum as well.

    10 Nov – Travel to Nara for Tōshōdai-ji

    11 & 12 Nov – Check out from hotel at Tsuruhashi Station and travel to Onsen Hotel in Ohara, Kyoto.

    12 – 17 Nov: Stay in Hotel at Gion-Shijo Station, Kyoto

    12 – 14 Nov
    Travel around Kyoto by bus/ subway/ bicycle

    15 Nov – Travel to Uji

    16 Nov – Take The Sagano Scenic Railway and travel around Arashimaya

    17 Nov – Might go Kyoto Railway Museum. Check out from Hotel in Kyoto. Travel to Izumisano Station and stay for a night.

    18 Nov – Flight back to Singapore in the morning.

    My concern is which pass to buy in order to fulfill my tide budget. I am thinking whether to buy:
    1) Osaka Amazing Pass for 2 days
    2) JR Kansai Pass for Kansai region around Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe for four days
    3) Icoca & Haruka pass

    Can this fulfill my itenerary and also my tide budget? Else, is there an alternative?

    Thanks a lot.

    Best Regards,
    Alice Hooi

  6. Hi Takeshi, first of all congratulations for your website, it’s very useful for someone who’s traveling to Japan for the first time like me 🙂

    I’d like a bit of help with my train options. Here’s my itinerary:

    Day 1: arrival to Haneda Airport – Kamakura – Tokyo
    Day 2-4: Tokyo
    Day 5: Tokyo – Nagano
    Day 6: Nagano – Matsumoto – Nagiso
    Day 7: Nakatsugawa – Kyoto
    Day 8-10 Kyoto (including one-day trip to Nara)
    Day 11: Kyoto – Osaka – Kansai Airport

    The idea was getting the 7 days JR pass for days 5 to 11, but I have been checking the fares in hyperdia and it might be cheaper not getting the pass. Do you think the pass worth it? In case it isn’t, do you know any other pass we could make good use of?

    Thanks you for your time


    1. Hi Manuel,

      JR pass is too much as you think. Regular ticket is cheaper. You can purchase Tokyo to Kyoto one way ticket with stopover at Nagano, Matsumoto and Nagiso. Please see the link below:

      When you buy a ticket, don’t forget to mention that you will make stopovers at Nagano, Matsumoto and Nagiso. Otherwise the ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto direct route will be issued and you cannot take Nagano route.

      In Kyoto, you can use local deal.

      If you make a trip to Nara on day 10, you can use Kansai area pass 2 days.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks a lot for all the information, but I’m not entirely clear about the single ticket rules:
        So, I can include all my travels between Tokyo and Kyoto in one single ticket, and (according to hyperdia the distance vía Nagano is over 600kms) it will be valid for 5 days. Do I have to make it clear from the beginning which train I will use in each part of the route, and when? As far as I know there are different trains (with different fares) covering the same travels, can I take any of them whenever I want to?

        Thanks again for your time 🙂

        1. Hi Manuel,

          You can use one base fare ticket. But you must have other ticket to take express trains. You will take Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano. From Nagano to Matsumoto, you can take a local train if you want. If you take a local train, you don’t need any other ticket. Base fare ticket covers the trip. But Shinkansen is only choice for Tokyo to Nagano if you use this rule because there is no other JR lines to get Nagano from Tokyo directly.

          For other segments, it’s same as Nagano to Matsumoto. You can take either limited express train or local train. If you take limited express, you must have seat fare ticket. You have to pay this for each segment. When you check the fare at hyperdia, you can find “Seat Fee” too. That is the fare that you need to pay for each segment.


          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Dear Takeshi,
    This is a follow up to my previous email. We will be in Japan for a total of 10 days.
    3 days in Osaka
    2 days in Hakone
    4 days in Taito-ku, Tokyo
    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Joy

      Kansai airport (Nankai railway) Tengachaya (subway) Nagahoribashi
      Nagahoribashi (subway) Shinsaibashi (subway) Shin-Osaka (Shinkansen) Odawara (Odakyu railway) Hakone-Yumoto (Hakone Tozan railway) Gora
      Gora (Hakone Tozan railway) Hakone-Yumoto (Odakyu railway) Shinjuku (JR) Asakusabashi

      These above routes are recommended. There is no deals to cover for these routes. You may use some local deals in each spots.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Dear Takeshi,
    Can you help us with a train route recommendation for the following itinerary:
    June 2018 travel
    Arriving at Kansai Airport, Osaka 2:30 pm on a Sunday.
    Travel to: 大阪府大阪市中央区島ノ内1-21-29 ルミエール長堀橋1002号室
    Travel to Hakone, Laforet Club Hakone
    1320 Gōra
    Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken 250-0408
    Travel to Taito-ku in Tokyo
    1 Chome-15 Yanagibashi Yanagibashi コンフォルト浅草橋302, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0052, Japan
    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    Aloha from Hawaii!

  9. Consider this: JPRail.com is the unofficial website for the Japan Rail Pass, other rail passes, and rail travel in Japan in general. It explains how to use your Japan Rail Pass and helps you use the Japan Rail Pass to its maximum! Come to this site to learn about the wide variety of local, regional, and national rail passes, and get tips for enjoying rail travel in Japan.

  10. Hi Takeshi,
    Following are JR plan for our trip this coming April. Please advise us which trains we need to reserve seats in advance since Spring Sakura will be crowded with tourists.

    We will exchange our 7-Day JR Voucher for the real JR Pass upon arrive at Narita Airport on April 03, 2018. We plan to activate the pass starting Thursday April 05 and would like to reserve the following trains immediately at Narita Airport JR office:

    (ST = Station)
    1. Shinkansen Hikari from Tokyo ST to Utsunomiya ST on Monday April 05-06 (round trip).
    Depart April 05: Yamabiko 125 at 7:32 or next available train.
    Transfer to JR Nikko Line at Utsunomiya ST to Nikko ST.
    Return April 06: Take JR train from Nikko ST to Utsunomiya ST.
    Then transfer to Yamabiko 50 at 16:34 or next available train to Tokyo ST.

    2. Shinkansen Kagazaki from Tokyo ST to Kanazawa ST on April 07 (round trip).
    depart: Kagayaki 503 at 7:20 or next available train.
    return: Kagayaki 512 at 16:47 or next available train.

    3. Shinkansen Hikari from Tokyo ST to Kyoto ST on Monday April 09 (one-way).
    depart: Hikari 467 at 10:03.

    4. Shinkansen Hikari from Kyoto ST to Nagoya ST on Wednesday April 11 (round trip)
    depart: Hikari 512 at 8:32 or next available train.
    return: Hikari 517 at 16:19 or next available train.

    5. Shinkansen Kodama from Shin-Osaka ST to Mishima ST on Wed April 18 on our way to Fujisan (one-way).
    depart: Kodama 642 at 8:53 or next available train.

    Can we buy the Fujikyu bus ticket from Mishima ST to Kawaguchiko ST in advance at Osaka or Kyoto? If YES then where do we buy the Fujikyu bus ticket?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    1. Hi James,

      I recommend you to book all trains except Nikko line. Nikko line train is a sort of commute train and booking is not accepted.
      You may book a seat for Yamabiko and Kagayaki online if you want.

      In regards to reservation for Fujikyu bus, please see the link below:


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
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  • Please do not ask me to reply to your inquiry by email. In this website, I would like to share all information with any readers. I do not communicate with you directly.

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