Some of you are wondering if you should use JR pass or not for one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka via Hakone and Kyoto. Actually JR pass does not meet this trip. The price of 7-day JR pass is 29100 yen. One way base fare from Tokyo to Kyoto or Shin-Osaka plus Shinkansen surcharge is around 14000 yen. As long as you have one way trip from Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka, JR pass is way more expensive than single fare. Even if you use JR pass when you stay in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, it is not realistic to spend another 15000 yen. Base fare in these cities is 200 to 500 yen.
In this post, I show you the sample itinerary and some deals in these cities.
*When you follow this sample itinerary, please check the updated timetable. You can find more information about timetable at the link below:
Guide to plan your trip. How to find Japan Railway’s timetables
Day 1 Narita or Haneda airport to downtown Tokyo
Suggested deals for Narita passengers
There are many deals available. Please refer the following link about Narita deals:
Suggested deals for Haneda passengers
Please refer the following links:
Day 2 Tokyo
Enjoy sightseeing in Tokyo.
You can find the detailed information of train system in downtown Tokyo in the link below. You also can find the information about the deals:
In Tokyo, the single fare is very reasonable because of a short trip. The regular fare may be cheaper if you visit one or two places. You may use IC card, such Suica or Pasmo instead:
Day 3 Tokyo to Hakone
Odakyu railway’s limited express “Romancecar” Hakone 9
Leave your baggage at hotel or locker at the station. Enjoy sightseeing Hakone all day.
Odakyu Railway is most convenient to get Hakone and cheaper than JR trains. You can purchase base fare ticket and Hakone Free Pass Odawara departure at Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center at Shinjuku station.
Base fare ticket (Shinjuku – Odawara) and Hakone Free Pass (Odawara departure 2 days)
You may find more information about Hakone Free Pass and Odakyu Railway in the link below:
Hakone Free Pass official site
Shinjuku departure Hakone Free Pass (5140 yen) is not required for this itinerary. Because it includes round trip to/from Shijuku. But you do not come back to Shinjuku and leave Hakone then go to Kyoto next day. Of course single fare for Shinjuku-Odawara is cheaper than the difference between Shinjuku departure Hakone Free Pass and Odawara departure Hakone Free Pass.
Once you get Hakone, use Hakone Free Pass as much as you can. You can get most of places in Hakone by this pass.
I recommend you to stay in Hakone for at least one night. But if you want to visit Hakone as “luggage free” day trip from Tokyo, Hakone Free Pass Shinjuku departure is the best deal.
I have the post which explains about the access to Hakone and the trip plan in Hakone in the link below:
Day 4 Hakone to Kyoto
Hakone Tozan Railway
Odawara station is the nearest JR station to Hakone. You can catch the the Tokaido Shinkansen to get Kyoto. Please find the details about Odawara station at the following:
There are some Shinkansen train, “Hikari” stop at Odawara and takes you to Kyoto without any transfer. I picked 10:08 departure, Hikari 507. Please see the timetable at the link below and find the train what you want to take:
JR Central official site – The Tokaido and the Sanyo Shinkansen timetable
You may find Hikari which stop at Odawara mostly every two hours. Please try to catch this kind of Hikari. This is the fastest and direct way to get Kyoto from Odawara.
There is no deals to cover the trip from Odawara to Kyoto. The base fare ticket and the Shinkansen seat fee ticket are required to take the Tokaido Shinkansen. You can purchase these tickets in advance if you want. The Shinkansen and limited express surcharge tickets can be purchased at most major JR stations that have reservation window, a.k.a. “Midori no Madoguchi”. The base fare ticket also can be purchased with surcharge ticket at same time. If you do so, you can just transfer from Hakone Tozan Railway train to the Shinkansen at Odawara.
If you follow my suggested itinerary, you have half day for sightseeing in Kyoto. I recommend you to visit south part of Kyoto, like Fushimi Inari. It’s just 5 minutes away from Kyoto station by Nara line local train. If you want, you can visit even Nara.
If you need some more information about Kyoto station, please refer the link below:
Day 5 Kyoto
You can enjoy in Kyoto for all day.
Please refer the links below to find the information of train system in Kyoto and deals in Kyoto.
Day 6 Kyoto to Osaka
I use JR train, Special Rapid which is the fastest way to get Osaka (Umeda). It is a sort of commute train. Only base fare is required to take this train.
There are many other trains running between Kyoto and Osaka. Please see the link below to find the train network in Kansai area:
After arriving in Osaka, you may add the deal as you need.
Day 7 Osaka to Kansai airport
There are some deals available. Please see the link below:
Summary and total costs
If you have one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka, as you read above, the key is how to combine some local deals and the regular fare ticket. In this itinerary, approximate total cost is 23,000 to 26,000 yen. It is cheaper than JR Pass 7-day. And JR Pass does not cover Hakone area, subway and city bus in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. You might feel the total cost is very close to JR Pass 7-day. But actual different is much bigger.
I show you 7 days itinerary but you can extend staying in Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto or Osaka. And also I have another sample itinerary that includes Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka only. Please see the following post to find it.
I hope this post will help you to build your trip plan to Japan!
Hi, I am planning 5 days short visit toJapan on April 20. Arriving narita by 8 am on day one. My return flight on 24 the April 11.30am from narita. We are 2 . Please suggest a good itinerary. Thanks
Unfortunately I cannot make an itinerary as I mentioned above the comment section. Please make sure which place you want to go and try to make a rough plan. If you can show me it, I can give you an advice.
Takeshi / JPRail.com
Thanks for your quick reply. I am reaching Tokyo on may 16 morning with daughter. I am staying 6 nights in Japan. Want to explore Tokyo, Kyoto, osaka & mount Fuji. Please provide me a good & budget itinerary. Thannks
Unfortunately I cannot make an itinerary personally as I mentioned below. But JR pass is the best choice for the round trip to Osaka and Kyoto from Tokyo. Basically you can follow my sample itinerary above and add the return trip to Tokyo. The trip is covered by JR pass other than Hakone:
Takeshi / JPRail.com
I am planning a 10 days trip to Japan in March.
My itinerary will be :-
Day 1 – Narita Airport to Tokyo (staying in Shinjuku for the 4 days in Tokyo)
Day 2 – Disney land
Day 3 – Tokyo
Day 4 – Tokyo
Day 5 – Tokyo to Hakone (and I will be staying 1 night in Hakone)
Day 6 – Hakone to Kyoto (and I will be staying 1 night in Kyoto) (would also like to visit Nara)
Day 7 – Kyoto to Osaka
Day 8 – Osaka
Day 9 – Osaka
Day 10 – Osaka
Day 11 – Osaka to Kansai Airport
Please advise me what train passes I should get to cover my trip. I will be visiting many areas in Tokyo (4 days) and Osaka (5 days).
Your help is greatly appreciated.
Basically you can follow my trip plan in the post above.
In Tokyo, Tokyo Subway ticket is the best option:
In Kyoto and Osaka, please see the links below to find the deals:
If you go to Nara, just buy a regular ticket.
If you have one or two long distance trip(s) when you are in Osaka and Tokyo, you may consider using JR Pass 7-day in the middle of your trip plan.
If you want to use JR Pass, you must have a long distance day trip, such as the trips in the links below:
Even if you use JR Pass inside the city of Tokyo and Osaka, it’s not enough to get the worth.
If you are not interseted in this type of long day trip, just follow my sample plan in the post above.
Takeshi / JPRail.com
we are doing this trip in March! Tokyo to Hokone to Kyoto back to Tokyo airport. Let us know how it goes and if worth the one night stay in Hokone!
If you complete your trip in 7 days, you should use JR pass 7-day.
You can follow the sample itinerary basically and go back to Tokyo by the Shinkansen. And you should take the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Odawara and then use Hakone Free Pass from Odawara. Please see the link below:
1 night stay in Hakone is highly recommended.
Takeshi / JPRail.com
Hi. I have gone to so many of links you have listed that my head is spinning!!
Tokyo – 2 days
Hakone – 1 night
Kyoto 2 days
Osaka 1 days
Back to Tokyo for late afrernoon flight
Because we have round trip back to Tokyo, is it best to get JR Pass ($269) , and Hakone Free Pass ($46).. or do we not need Hakone pass since JR Pass will give us train to Hakone? And then we would just use bus or other Hakone transport while there?
JR Pass and Hakone Free Pass are your choice. JR pass does not cover Hakone. Please see the link below:
You may also need to add the fare or other pass in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Because JR pass covers JR local trains in these cities. But you may need to take subway and city bus. These are not covered by JR Pass. Please find more info about these cities in the links below:
Takeshi / JPRail.com
Thank you for your quick response! What a help you are to so many people! So from what I understand, the JR Rail Pass will take us to each city that we would like to visit, but within the city if we do not use the train, we will still need to purchase subway or bus passes. We will not be in Hakone long (late afternoon, spend the night, then leave in the morning). So instead of buying the Hakone Free Pass at $49, would it be better just to purchase train ticket from where JRPass leaves us, and then subway tickets to get around Hakone for half a day?
I’ve calculated cost with romancecar, and trip from Toyko to Hakone, Hakone to Osaka, Osaka to Kyoto, and Kyoto back to Tokyo for our flight would be over $260, so to make it easier it would be better just to get JRPass, correct? Again, this will just be for 5 days.
**Another questions- being that we don’t speak Japanese, are there signs in English at the Stations? And can we wait to buy JRPass when we are in Japan?
Hakone Free Pass is required anyway. You can get the worth of it if you visit several places in Hakone. There is no other deals. Subway does not run in Hakone. Hakone is in the mountain. JR pass covers until you get Odawara. After Odawara, you have to use Hakone Free Pass.
You may need to add the fare to take subway and/or city bus in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Because some places in these cities cannot be accessed by JR trains. I put the link about these cities in the previous reply. There are lots of info and you may be overwhelmed. But please read it and find how much you can use JR pass in these cities.
JR Pass is the best choice for your trip anyway. You can buy in after you arrive in Japann but the price is higher. You should buy it before you leave your country.
Regarding signage, please see the link below:
Takeshi / JPRail.com