Japan Rail Pass user guide. How to use JR Pass to its maximum.

It's a new look Japan Rail Pass. (C) JR Rail
It’s a new look Japan Rail Pass. (C) JR Rail

JR Group has made an announcement to change the rule of Japan Rail Pass. Any Japanese citizen will not be able to purchase Japan Rail Pass after April 1, 2017. March 31, 2017 is the last day to purchase Japan Rail Pass for Japanese citizen. The exchange order can be exchanged until June 30, 2017.

After this announcement, JR Group have changed the regulation again. After June 1, 2017, JR Pass will be available for Japanese citizen who lives outside Japan for more than 10 years. The details will be available soon.

Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) covers all JR lines throughout Japan. This is only rail pass that covers throughout Japan. If you travel even round trip to Osaka from Tokyo, price of 7 days pass almost equal to normal fare. I think this pass gives the greatest deal to the travellers who wants to travel in Japan.

Japan Rail Pass Official site is very informative. But some points are not clear. And also some of you are overwhelmed to read so many pages.

In this post, I tell you about this pass as simple as possible. I compare normal fare and pass, how to choose the retailer, additional charge and many more.

How to buy

Basically only the authorized agents are allowed to sell Japan Rail Pass. You can find the agent list at this page of Japan Rail Pass official site. These following companies are major distributors.

  • JAL (Japan Airlines / National flagship)
  • ANA (All Nippon Airways / one of two major airlines)
  • JTB (Biggest travel agency in Japan)
  • NTA (Nippon Travel Agency / third biggest and the oldest travel agency in Japan)
  • KNT (Kintetsu International / same group as Kintetsu Railways. Second biggest travel agency)
  • Top Tour (Same group as Tokyu Railway)
  • JALPAK (Same group as Japan Airlines)

JAL and ANA sell the pass to the passenger who take their flight. You cannot purchase only pass from them.

In these days, many companies have a contract with these above distributors And they are selling the pass online as a retailer. If you find the name on the list at the above link, it is an official retailer. If you cannot find it, you should check that company before you buy.

Basically you cannot purchase Japan Rail Pass in Japan. But as I mentioned above, some of the agents sell JR Pass online and they can mail to you by Courier or Express post service even in Japan. So if you have already arrived in Japan as temporary visitor, you may ask the agent in your country and make sure that they can mail it or not.

Types and prices

There are two types, Green and Ordinary, and three duration, 7, 14 and 21 days.

Type 7 days 14 days 21 days
Ordinary 29110 yen 46390 yen 59350 yen
Green 38800 yen 62950 yen 81870 yen

*Child (6yrs to 11yrs) rate is 50% off.

When you purchase it, rates are adjusted by your country’s currency.

Tokaido Shinkansen
If you take Tokaido Shinkansen and Narita Express to Kyoto, Japan Rail Pass should be your choice.

This pass is eligible for the railway, bus and ferry services that are provided by Japan Railways Group with few exceptions. I explained these exceptions later.

In my opinion, Japan Rail Pass offers you the most unbeatable deal. There are many kinds of rail passes in Japan, such as JR East Pass, JR Hokkaido Pass, JR Kyushu Pass and many more. But Japan Rail Pass is only rail pass that covers throughout Japan. And of course it covers both Tokyo and Kyoto. But if you need the detail information about other passes, please access to the category, Other Rail Passes. I wrote about many other rail passes in the posts.

7 days pass price is almost same as round trip of Tokyo – Osaka

If you will have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan Rail Pass 7 days is recommended.
One way base fare and Shinkansen surcharge from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka – 14140 yen

So if you have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka, single fare is slightly cheaper, but you will get some chances to take a train in Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto. And Japan Rail Pass is more flexible and much easier to handle.

If you need some more information about price comparison, please see “Compare to regular fare”. You will see some example.

If you will have only one way trip between Tokyo and Osaka, single fare is your choice. I wrote about using single ticket at the post, For non JR pass travellers. Guide to use JR single ticket, basic rules, validity and stopover.

Green seat on Super Ozora by 283 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Green seat on Super Ozora by 283 series in Hokkaido (C) Sonic Rail Garden

What is the difference between Green and Ordinary.

Green Class is like business class seat. It was the first class in all Japan Railway’s trains. But since Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa started to run, Gran Class that is upper class than Green Class was introduced. As a result, Green class became the second highest seat in all JR trains.

If you take Gran Class by Japan Rail Pass, both Ordinary pass and Green pass cover only basic fare. You need to pay Limited Express surcharge and Gran Class fee. Please see the post, Japan Rail Pass can be used for Hayabusa to get details.

Advantage of Green Class seat is space and atmosphere. Green class seat it more spacious and quieter than ordinary seat. Shinkansen and most of Limited Express have this class. Even some local trains, such as Rapid trains in greater Tokyo area have Green Class seat too. Please read one of my post, Worthwhile buying Japan Rail Pass Green Pass?. I explained the details about Green class seat in this post. I hope it may help you to decide which pass you purchase.

By the way Green surcharge is calculated based on distance. But the rate differs with types of train and companies. For example, Green class surcharge is 2000 yen for Narita Express from Narita airport to Greater Tokyo area, 5150 yen for Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka. So if you have a round trip from Narita airport to Kyoto, Green pass still give you greater value.

If you really care about the budget, Ordinary class is fine. I am sure you will be satisfied with that. It is way better than economy seat on the flight. My height is 6’1″ (184 cm). But I have never had a problem with the leg space.

How to exchange

Exchange order
Exchange order

You can get “Exchange Order” at the time of purchasing. It is not an actual pass but a voucher. You have to exchange for an actual pass after you arrive in Japan. The validity of exchange order is three month from the date of issue. The pass will never be sold out.

Exchange place
You will find the sign in English very easily.

Exchange Order can be exchanged at the designated station. Narita airport, Kansai airport, Tokyo, Shinagawa, Osaka, Kyoto and more than 40 major stations throughout Japan are on the list. Please find the list of the exchange places in the link below:

JR Pass exchange and sales office list, Japan Rail Pass official site.

When you turn in, go to the exchange place and tell the staff that you will exchange JR pass. You will receive the application form and fill in. After that, you will proceed the window and show your passport and exchange order to get the actual pass.

When you turn in the pass, you can choose the first day of use within one month from this day.

If you exchange a pass on June 1st, you can choose the starting date from June 1st to 30th.

The start and finish dates will be stamped on your pass. Once the dates are stamped, you cannot change it.

Definition of one day

It means 00:00 to 23:59.

If you start to use 7 days pass on April 1st, your pass is expired at 23:59 on April 7th.

There are an exception. If you are on board at 23:59 on the last day, you still can continue to travel by train. Your pass cover until you get off the train. After you get off the train, as long as you don’t exit the station, your pass still cover basic fare.

Day 7 Tokyo 22:53 (Limited Express Tokiwa) 00:24 Mito

Even though your arrival time is 00:24 on 8th day, this trip is covered until you get Mito by JR pass
If you do not exit Mito station, you still can take local train because the base fare is covered by JR pass until you exit the station

Day 7 Tokyo 22:53 (Limited Express Tokiwa) 00:24 Mito
Day 8 Mito 00:33 (local train) 00:39 Katsuta

You can take a local train only. You cannot take any limited express trains after you get off it at Mito.


Japan Rail Pass covers most of the railway service and the ferry service by Japan railways. You can go almost anywhere throughout Japan except Okinawa. (Any JR companies do not offer any train services in Okinawa.) Please see the Japan Railway’s route map and Shinkansen (bullet train) route map in the links below:

Nationwide JR route map, Japan Rail Pass official site
Shinkansen (bullet train) route map, Japan Rail Pass official site

But there are a few exceptions when you use JR pass. I would like to show you which services are NOT covered by Japan Rail Pass.

Tokaido Shinkansen

Nozomi (=のぞみ) / Mizuho (=みずほ) on Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen

I think this is the biggest thing that you need to know.

Nozomi is the fastest and most frequent train services on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen among Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka. Mizuho is the fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo. Japan Rail Pass is NOT valid for these trains. Even a basic fare to take Nozomi and Mizuho are not covered by Japan Rail Pass at all. If you take Nozomi or Mizuho, JR Pass does not help you anything. You have to pay full fare beside JR pass.

JR pass covers Hikari between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, and Sakura between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo which are the second fastest trains. The difference between Hikari and Nozomi are the following:

Trip time between Tokyo and Shin Osaka — 3 hours by Hikari / 2.5 hours by Nozomi
Frequency — 2 trips of Hikari every hour / 5 to 6 trips of Nozomi every hour
*There are some more trips of both Hikari and Nozomi in peak hours.

Please refer one of my post, Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to get the details abut the difference between Nozomi and Hikari.

Mizuho is the fastest train on Sanyo Shinkansen and Kyushu Shinkansen. Sakura is the second fastest but Sakura runs more than Mizuho. You cannot take Mizuho by JR Pass but this is not an issue.

All Shinkansen trains on Tohoku, Hokkaido, Akita, Yamagata, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinnkansen are covered by JR Pass. Hayabusa and Kagayaki are the fastest trains on these lines and these are covered by JR Pass fully.

Gran Class of Tohoku, Hokuriku and Hokkaido Shinkansen

Gran Class seat on E5 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Gran Class seat on E5 series (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Japan Rail Pass covers Tohoku, Hokkaido and Hokuriku Shinkansen trains fully. Gran class that is the highest class seat is available on these Shinkansen lines. This is higher class than Green class. If you take this Gran class, both Japan Rail Pass Ordinary and even Green cover a base fare only. You need to pay all amount of surcharge beside JR Pass. This extra charge is not the difference between Green class and Gran class. You must pay Gran class full amount.

Delux Green on JR Kyushu trains

Some of limited express trains in Kyushu have Delux Green Class. If you take this class, you have to pay both Limited Express surcharge and Delux Green surcharge. Even Green Pass does not cover both surcharge.

Green Private Compartment

Green compartment on Super View Odoriko (C) Sonic Rail Garden

These following trains have Green compartment.

If you use this type of seat by Japan Rail Pass, your party must be 4 persons because it is based on 4 person. If you use this by 3 persons or less, you have to pay surcharge for insufficiency.

Overnight train / Sleeper car

Any type of Japan Rail Pass cover only a basic fare for the sleeper car. So you have to pay the accommodation fee (berth and compartment) and limited express or express surcharge. But there are two overnight trains, Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto that you can get on by Japan Rail Pass with no extra charge. Because these overnight trains have the specialized accommodation that is called “Nobi Nobi seat”. Please see the posts, Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto to get the detailed information.

Trains run through Non JR lines

Some of limited express trains go through Non JR lines. You need to pay some extra for the section where your train goes on Non JR line. Because Japan Rail Pass cover only JR lines. The following list shows you the train go through Non JR lines. Please refer each trains’ page to get the details about the extra charge.

Bus services

There are 8 bus companies in JR Bus Group. But these bus companies are different from train service companies now. These eight companies operate local bus service and highway bus service. But Japan Rail Pass covers a few local bus services only.

JR’s local bus services are a sort of commute service. I pick up some lines for the tourist.

Japan Rail Pass may cover some more bus services. But even official site does not provide any detailed information. As far as I know, I can confirm that JR Pass covers only these bus services.

Ferry Service

Miyajima ferry service is operated between Miyajimaguchi and Miyajima. Japan Rail Pass is valid for this route. Miyajima is UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most popular destination for foreign travellers. This ferry cruise is very short trip. It takes only 10 minutes. Please refer one of my post, How to get Miyajima to get the details about Miyajima.

JR Kyushu operates the international ferry service between Hakata and Busan (Korea) But this is NOT valid for Japan Rail Pass.

Other train services

Japan Rail Pass does not cover any NON JR train services, such as the subways (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Yokohama, Sendai, Fukuoka), other train services by private companies, city bus services, local bus services and ferry services. The following list shows you major train services that Japan Rail Pass does not cover.

  • Sapporo Subway
  • Sendai Subway
  • Tokyo Subway
  • Yokohama Subway
  • Keihin Kyuko Railway (a.k.a. Keikyu, Shinagawa-Haneda-Yokohama)
  • Keisei Railway (Narita airport-Chiba-Ueno)
  • Tobu Railway (Asakusa-Nikko/Knugawa Onsen)
  • Odakyu Railway (Shinjuku-Hakone/Enoshima)
  • Izu Kyuko Railway (Ito-Shimoda)
  • Fuji Kyuko Railway (Otsuki-Kawaguchiko)
  • Nagoya Railway (a.k.a. Meitetsu, Chubu airport-Nagoya-Gifu)
  • Nagoya Subway
  • Kyoto Subway
  • Osaka Subway
  • Nankai Railway (Namba-Kansai airport/Koyasan/Wakayama)
  • Kintetsu Railway (Namba-Nara/Kyoto/Ise/Nagoya)
  • Hankyu Railway (Kobe-Umeda-Kawaramachi,Kyoto)
  • Keihan Railway (Yodoyabashi-Sanjo,Kyoto)
  • Hanshin Railway, Sanyo Railway (Umeda/Namba-Kobe-Himeji)
  • Fukuoka Subway
  • Nishitetsu Railway (Tenjin-Dazaifu)

Tokyo Monorail between Hamamatsucho (Tokyo) and Haneda airport is not JR train but this is owned by JR East and it is covered by Japan Rail Pass.

The following trains and segments are non JR lines. But those are covered by JR Pass.

  • Local and rapid trains on Aoimori Railway between Hachinohe and Aomori. But you cannot make a stopover except Hachinohe, Noheji and Aomori
  • Local and rapid trains on Ainokaze Toyama Railway between Toyama and Takaoka. But you cannot make a stopover except Toyama and Takaoka (after March 14, 2015)
  • Any trains on IR Ishikawa Railway between Kanazawa and Tsubata. But you cannot make a stopover except Kanazawa and Tsubata. There are direct trains from Kanazawa or Osaka to Wakura Onsen. These trains are go through this segment and then go on JR Nanao line. If you take these trains, extra charge is not required on top of JR Pass.

How to use JR pass in major cities and tourist spots

You can get most places in Japan by JR pass. JR pass covers most of JR trains which include Shinkansen, limited express trains, and other rapid commute trains and local trains in the cities.

But as I explained above, JR pass does not cover Non JR trains, subways and city bus. I also would like to explain the coverage by major places and you can find the detailed coverage of JR pass.


Subway, tram (street car) and city bus are not covered.
Subway and tram route map

You can walk to get Odori Park or Clock tower from Sapporo station if you want. But subway is better way.


Tram and city bus are not covered. You need to pay extra to get some tourist spots, such as Hakodate mountain.


You can take Tohoku Shinkansen to get Utsunomiya and take Nikko line local train to Nikko. All trips to Nikko is covered. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa.

But JR pass does not cover any local transportation, such as a local bus in Nikko area.


You can take any local trains in Tokyo to access to many places. But some of places cannot be accessed by JR pass, such as Asakusa, Tsukiji market, Tokyo Skytree. Please see the link below to find the detailed information:

Guide to take trains in Tokyo. How to choose the best deal and the best route by train to get the major spots?

You also can access to/from both Narita airport and Haneda airport. JR pass covers Narita Express and Airport Rapid train to/from Narita. Tokyo Monorail is covered by JR pass to/from Haneda airport.

Lake Kawaguchi

You can use JR pass to get Otsuki but you have to pay extra for taking Fuji Kyuko railway from Otsuki to Kawaguchiko station. Please see the link below to find more information:

Japan Railways is the best way to access Mt. Fuji? How much can we use Japan Rail Pass to go to Mt. Fuji?


You can get Odawara by Shinkansen but after arrival Odawara, JR pass does not help you. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access Hakone from Tokyo. Compare Japan Railway and Odakyu lines


Subway and other Non JR trains, such as Meitetsu railway is not covered. You need to pay for access to/from Chubu airport (Centrair).

Chubu (Nagoya) airport transportation guide. Find info about airport station and access to Nagoya
Transportation Bureau, City of Nagoya

Snow Monkey Park in Nagano

You can get Nagano by JR pass but you have to pay for bus and/or train to get Snow Monkey Park. Please see the link below to find more information:

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 9, Visit Snow Monkey Park in Nagano


You can get Kanazawa, Takayama, Toyama and Takaoka by JR pass. But you have to take a bus from one of these stations and need to pay for the bus. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access to Shirakawago from Takayama, Kanazawa, Takaoka and Toyama.

Tamatema Kurobe Alpine Route

You can access to Nagano, Shinano-Omachi or Toyama by JR Pass. After arrival in these cities, you need to pay for local transportation. Please see the link below to find more information:

Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, one of most spectacular sightseeing route in Northern Japan Alps

If intend to go through whole part of Alpine Route, you can use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket. Please see the following link:

Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket (one way)


You can get Arashiyama, Nijo, Fushimi Inari and Uji by JR pass. But you need to take subway, city bus and/or other Non JR railways. Please see the link below to find more information:

Guide to take trains in Kyoto. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?


You can take any local trains, such as Osaka Kanjo line (Osaka loop line). You can access to Universal City (USJ) too. But JR-Namba station is not very convenient and some places in the city cannot be accessed by JR pass, such as Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. Please see the link below to find more information:

Guide to take trains in Osaka. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

You also can take Limited Express Haruka and Kansai Airport Rapid Train by JR pass to/from Kansai airport. Nankai railway is not covered.


Actually many places can be accessed by JR station. You can get Kobe by JR pass easily. You may not add any additional deals. Please see the link below to find more information:

Guide to take trains in Kobe. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?


You can get Nara by JR trains from either Kyoto and Osaka. Most of tourist spots in Nara can be accessed by walk from JR Nara station. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient.

Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

You should take Nankai railway from Namba or Shin-Imamiya. Nankai railway is not JR and you need to pay extra. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access World Heritage Mt. Koya. Japan Rail Pass can be used to get Mt. Koya?


You can access to Hiroshima by Shinkansen and it’s covered by JR pass. And also JR pass covers Hiroshima sightseeing loop bus “Meipuru-pu” fully. This bus covers most of tourist spots in Hiroshima. Please see the following link to find the detailed information:

Hiroshima sightseeing loop bus Meipuru-pu official site


You can take JR local train to Miyajimaguchi and then take ferry to Miyajima. Both train and ferry are covered by JR pass. Please see the link below to find more information:

How to access to Miyajima from Hiroshima by local train. No extra charge for Japan Rail Pass user.

Fukuoka / Hakata

JR Pass does not cover Fukuoka city subway and Nishitetsu railway. Only subway connects Fukuoka airport and Hakata. But you cannot use JR pass to get airport because subway is not covered. Some places around Fukuoka is covered by Nishitetsu railway, such as Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine. But Nishitetsu railway is not covered by JR pass either.

Who is eligible?

If you are an foreign tourist, you have to be “Temporary Visitor”. This entry status will be stamped at immigration on your passport. Other status cannot be acceptable. Be careful. You have to show your passport at the station when you pass your exchange order to get actual pass.
If you are already in Japan as other status, you have to change your status first. Otherwise you cannot buy Japan Rail Pass. Please see “How to buy and exchange”.

If you are Japanese citizen who have permanently status in foreign country, or who married to a non-Japanese, you are qualified.
JR Group has made an announcement to change the rule of Japan Rail Pass. Any Japanese citizen will not be able to purchase Japan Rail Pass after April 1, 2017. March 31, 2017 is the last day to purchase for Japanese citizen. The exchange order can be exchanged until June 30, 2017.

How to refund

You can refund within one year from issue date before you turn in for the actual pass. Simply bring or send your exchange order to the agent where you purchased it. They will subtract a handling fee and refund to you. The handling fee is usually 10% of the amount. Contact to your agent and make sure it before you refund.
You can NEVER refund after turned in the actual pass.

Lost or Stolen

Once you lost it, it’s over. Either an exchage order or an actual pass cannot be reissued. Be carefule to use!

1,377 thoughts on “Japan Rail Pass user guide. How to use JR Pass to its maximum.”

  1. Dear Takeshi-San

    Please kindly advise whether JR pass is a good option for our itinerary below:
    Day 1 – Tokyo to Kanazawa
    Day 2 – Kanazawa to Takayama
    Day 3 – Day trip from Takayama to Shirakawago
    Day 4 – Takayama to Tokyo
    Day 5 – Day trip from Tokyo to Kawazu

    Thank you very much!

    Best regards
    Lee JE

  2. Dear Takeshi San,
    My friend and I plan to visit a few cities in our Japan trip. We’ll be arriving in Nagoya and then travel down to Kansai and then head to Tokyo as our last stop from 20 Nov to 2 Dec.

    Here’s the draft:
    20 Nov – Arrive in Nagoya for 3 days
    23 Nov – Depart from Korankei. Is there a quicker way to travel to Kansai? Not sure what sequence we should go travel – Nara, Osaka or Kyoto first?
    We only intend to do half day in Nara to visit the Nara park; 2-3 days in Osaka and 4 days in Kyoto and last 2 days in Tokyo.
    from the above, does this make sense? Should we get the JR pass though we only have 1 way from Kansai to Tokyo?
    Need some advise from you on the logistics and thanks in advance!


    1. Hi Sharon san,

      You can go to either Kyoto or Osaka. When you get there from Korankei, you have to go back to Nagoya anyway. Please see the link below to find the info about moving between Nagoya and Osaka/Kyoto.

      JR pass does not work. You cannot get the worth of it as you think. You may use other deals when you are in Kyoto and Osaka.

      Regular fare ticket is okay for trip to Nara.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Dear Takeshi San,

    How do I use JR Pass after exchange in each gate station? for example, if I want go to Wakayama, how do I present the JR pass in gate station, do I need go to ticketing office to present the JR pass?


  4. Hi Takeshi San,

    I am planning to do the Kumano Kodo late October and after Kumano Kodo I will be visiting Nara, Arashiyama and Osaka before flying back from Osaka Kansai Airport.
    Is getting the 5 days consecutive JR Kansai Wide Area Pass the right choice?

    Below is my itinerates/schedule

    Day 1 to Day 8 will spent time at Kumano Kodo

    Day 8 – Afternoon train from Kii-Katsuura to Nara and stay a night at Nara near Nara station

    Day 9 – After visiting Nara Park
    Next train to Inari Station – visit Fushimi Inari Shrine
    Next train to Arashiyama – visiting Bamboo Grove and surrounding
    Stay a night in Arashiyama

    Day 10 – Afternoon train to Osaka Namba – Planning to stay near Dotonbori for 2 nights

    Day 11 – Visiting Osaka place of attraction

    Day 12 – Could be 4:30am or 5am train from Dotonbori area to Osaka Kansai Airport

    Day 1 – I will have to buy individual train tickets from Osaka Kansai Airport to Kii-Tanabe.

    I am more than happy to walk a couple of minutes to the train station and my other destination/place to attraction.

    Will the 5 days consecutive JR Kansai Wide Area Pass works with this schedule?

    Thank you for your time and looking forward to hear from you.

    Kind Regards,

    1. Hi Cliff san,

      You may use Kansai wide area pass for day 8 to 12. This pass covers JR trains only. When you go to Namba from Kyoto, take Limited Express train Haruka to get Tennoji and then go to JR-Namba.

      JR-Namba is not very accessible than other Namba station, such as subway Namba station. You may add some fare to take subway for Tennoji to Namba if you like.

      When you go to KIX from Namba, it is same thing. You can take either JR train from JR Namba or subway from Namba to Tennoji. If you take JR trains, you have to walk to JR-Namba but you can change trains inside JR Tennoji station. If you take subway, you have to exit and enter station.

      You don’t care to walk. JR-Namba station may not be an issue for you.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Thank you for your post. Just a few questions i would like to ask. I will be going to Japan from 11 Oct 2018 – 23 Oct 2018. I will be visiting 2 cities; Tokyo and Osaka. I will be spending 8 days in Tokyo and 6 days in Osaka. Will the JR Rail Pass be helpful if I want to visit the attraction in Tokyo and Osaka? Which mode of transportation will be better to use for both cities; bus or rail?

    Kindly assist.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Hafiz san,

      First of all, if you will make a round trip between Osaka and Tokyo, JR pass 7 days is recommended anyway. Because round trip fare with Shinkansen seat fee is almost same as 7 days pass price. But if you have one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka only, JR pass is not recommended. You can use JR pass in Osaka and Tokyo, but it is not a perfect choice. Please see the link below to find the coverage of JR pass in Tokyo and Osaka.

      If you have one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka, please see the link below:

      I’m not very familiar with bus. You can find some info in the link below:


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi-san

        Thank you for your prompt reply. Do i still need the JR Rail Pass if i’m planning to do alot of traveling within Tokyo and Osaka?

        Kindly assist.

        Thank you.

        1. Hi Hafiz san,

          I don’t think so. If you go somewhere outside Tokyo and/or Osaka, JR pass may work. Local train rides in Tokyo and Osaka does not help to get the worth of it. Because one ride is around 200 yen to 300 yen. You must have some long trips, such as day trip to Hiroshima from Osaka if you want to use JR pass.


          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. hello takeshi san!

    What pass should i buy if I intend to stay in hiroshima for 4 nights then another 3 nights in fukuoka? I will arrive and depart at fukuoka airport.

    Also, Ive tried Osaka amazing pass before and it was truly amazing. Do Hiroshima and Fukuoka have the same pass?

    Thank you.

  7. Dear Takeshi-san,

    Could you help me to plan my route for end May to early June next year? We arrive Tokyo end of May and we would like to cover Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and Shirakawago and Lake Kawaguchiko and then back to Tokyo for some sightseeing. If we are not going to Kyoto and Osaka, is it still best to purchase the 7 day JR rail pass? If so, is it more worthwhile to still head to Kyoto before going back to Tokyo? Day 1 we arrive Tokyo 7am. Day 10 we leave Tokyo in the morning. We have previously visited Osaka, and also around Tokyo, Yokohama and Hakone. Thank you.

    1. Hi Carmen san,

      I recommend you to use JR East Pass Nagano Niigata for your trip if you don’t visit Kyoto.

      You have to go to Toyama to start (or finish Alpine route). Toyama is outside of the coverage area of this pass. You have to add the fare and Shinkansen seat fee ticket for Joetsu-Myoko to Toyama which is around 5,000 yen on top of the pass. But this combination is most affordable choice. You also have to add the bus fare to Shirakawago from Toyama and Tateyama Kurobe option ticket. But these are not covered by JR pass and other rail passes anyway:

      If you want to visit Kyoto, you nee JR pass instead of JR East Pass. Kyoto is not covered by JR East Pass. You have lots of time and you can include Kyoto in your trip easiy.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you so much Takeshi san. Can I ask a few qs … this is if we get the 7 Day JR pass …
        Day 1 Narita to Tokyo to Takaoka, Gokayama, overnight Takaoka
        Day 2 Shirakawago, overnight Takayama
        Day 3 To Kyoto
        Day 4, 5, 6 Kyoto, Osaka etc, back to Tokyo on Day 6
        Day 7 Day trip to Tateyama

        Is it better to overnight at Takaoka on the first night vs overnight at Kanazawa? Becoz I would like to do Gokayama on the first day? And if have time to go to Kanazawa.
        Is it possible to do a day trip from Tokyo on Day 7 to Tateyama, I thought better to arrange separately on the last day where we can leave Tokyo early vs Day 1 may be already quite late in the morning after getting our passes, sending luggages etc at Narita. Thank you!

        1. Hi Carmen san,

          What time is your arrival at Narira on the first day? Visiting Gokayama on first day seems to be tight.
          You also mentioned “sending luggage at Narita”. Are you going to send your luggage somewhere from Narita?
          I want to make sure these things before we talk about your trip plan.


          Takeshi / JPRail.com

        2. Hi Takeshi san thank you for your reply. We arrive Day 1 Narita 7.05am. Could you advise on Day 1 and 2 with regards to visiting Gokayama and Shirakawago most importantly, and if time permits a bit of sightseeing at Kanazawa and Takayama too. And where best to overnight, would Takaoka be good? Sorry I mean I didnt want to send my luggage from Narita to hotel on Day 1 therefore I arrange Tateyama on Day 7 of the JR pass, or should we do it after Shirakawago, eg on Day 3? Thank you.

          1. Hi Carmen san,

            You can keep your itinerary. But day 1 schedule is tight. You will arrive in Narita. After arrival, you will spend about 2 hours for immigration, custom, baggage pick up, exchange JR pass, book a seat. And then you will take Narita Express to Tokyo and change to Hokuriku Shinkansen to Shin-Takaoka.

            In current timetable, your first day train connection is the following:
            Narita 09:15 (Narita Express) 10:17 Tokyo 10:32 (Hokuriku Shinkansen) 13:25 Shin-Takaoka

            And then you have to take a bus at Shin-Takaoka. The bus departs at 13:35. It may be hard to see but you can find the timetable of the bus in the link below:

            So you don’t have a time to drop off your baggage at Takaoka. You have to move to Gokayama right after. Because if you miss this bus, next bus is the last bus to Gokayama. You cannot go back to Takaoka.

            In my opinion, I do not recommend you to do this itinerary. Because you cannot drop off your baggage at Takaoka. And if your flight is late, you cannot get Gokayama on the first day.

            I recommend the following schedule:
            Day 1 Narita to Takayama (overnight Takayama)
            Day 2 Takayama – Shirakawago/Gokayama – Kanazawa, overnight Kanazawa (overnight Kanazawa)
            *There is a luggage storage at Shirakawago information center. If you don’t want to move with luggage, you can store your luggage there and make round trip to Gokayama from Shirakawago.
            Day 3 Kanazawa – Toyama – Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route – Nagano – Kanazawa (overnight Kanazawa)
            *Kanazawa is closer to Alpine Route than Tokyo. It is easier and you can make luggage free Alpine route trip.
            Day 4 Kanazawa sightseeing and go to Kyoto
            Day 5, 6 Kyoto, Osaka etc
            Day 7 Back to Tokyo


            Takeshi / JPRail.com

          2. Hi Takeshi san, thank you so much for your prompt reply. Your suggestion is definitely good Looking forward to our trip next year.

  8. Dear Takeshi-San,

    We are family of 3, and will be going on holiday around osaka – Tokyo for 10 days on early Jan 2019.

    Would you please kindly advise the best route to use either Jr Pass or any pass to be the most cost efficient and also time effective?

    This is our itinerary.
    Day 1 – arrive osaka (night)
    Day 2 – 5 – explore osaka.
    Day 6 – go to kyoto
    Day 7 – kyoto
    Day 8 – travel to Tokyo using shinkansen
    Day 9 – gala yuzawa
    Day 10 – 11 – Tokyo and around.
    Day 12 – back from Narita Airport.

    Can you kindly advise the best time to activate Jr pass or we just buy other pass???

    Thx a lot.
    Best Regards,

    1. Hi Henry san,

      You may use JR pass 7 days for day 6 to 12. But you may need to add other pass, such as city bus pass in Kyoto even if you have JR pass from day 6. Please see the chapter “How to use JR pass in major cities and tourist spots” in the post above.

      For day 1 to 6, please see the links below to find the deal:


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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