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National Japan Rail Pass or Regional? 2018/2/8 15:27
Hello,

I want to buy a Japan Rail Pass. I will be traveling in March/April for two weeks.
My itinerary is as such:

-Tokyo
Day trip to Kamakura
-Kyoto
From Kyoto to Nara day trip.
-Osaka
Day trip to Hiroshima and Mijayima.
Day trip to Yoshino
Day trip to Kobe
-Back to Tokyo.

Now, I realized there are regional passes. I did a little research and the Kansai Area Pass covers Osaka and Kyoto - but it doesn't say if it included from/to Tokyo.

Questions:

1) Also, does it include the areas I mention above? Or is there a second regional pass I should consider?
2) JRPass can be used in some public transport? Like buses? Subway?

Thanks

by Paulina (guest)  

Re: National Japan Rail Pass or Regional? 2018/2/8 18:39
"IF" you can do the kyoto nara and hiroshima stuff in 7 days. then a 7 day national pass makes sense.
by hakata14 rate this post as useful

Re: National Japan Rail Pass or Regional? 2018/2/8 22:24
Hi!

A JR Pass is never valid on the subway. JR stands for Japan Railways, and Japan Railways doesn't operate the subways. A few very specific private train lines are covered, but even most private railways are not covered like Nankai, Hankyu, and Keihan. The same is true for buses, a few very specific buses are covered by the JR pass, but in general most are not covered. You can see a list of what specifically is covered here on this site. :
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html

Good luck!

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: National Japan Rail Pass or Regional? 2018/2/9 01:30
if you can fit your whole trip in 14 calendar days, then I think the 14 day rail pass will pay off. Just your round trips from Tokyo to Kyoto and Kyoto to Hiroshima add up to 50000 yen, which is greater than the cost of the 14 day pass. Add in all the short trips in Osaka/Kyoto area and to Kamakura and back and you are coming out way ahead. If you are flying into Narita, then using the JR pass for the N'EX into Tokyo will add even more value.

Depending on your schedule, if you planned to make your Kyoto to Hiroshima trip and then go back into Tokyo within 7 days, it could be cheaper to get a 7 day pass for that and then just pay for your first Tokyo to Kyoto trip out of pocket. But you'd want to do the math including airport transfer costs and short trips in Tokyo and Osaka. My guess is the 14 day would still be a better buy, and definitely more convenient.

As mentioned above, you will still pay out of pocket for local subway/bus but those are pretty reasonable in cost. Each city has its own system, so there is no national pass to cover those, but you can get a prepaid IC transit card that makes it easier to pay. And those should work in all the areas you plan to visit.
by Me2 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: National Japan Rail Pass or Regional? 2018/2/9 10:56
You would make a 14 day pass pay off with the trip to Kansai and to Hiroshima, then back to Tokyo. But as said, if you could do it in 7 days, you'd get much better value.
For Kamakura, you could use an Odakyu Enoshima-Kamakura Free Pass.
http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/enoshima_kamakura/

If you plan to go to Yoshino Stn to see the cherry blossoms, you will need to take a Kintetsu Train at least part of the way - and the JR pass doesn't cover that.
For Miyajima, don't just go see the Itsukushima Shrine and leave - the Daishoin Temple is equally if not even more interesting. And if the weather is good, climbing to the top of Mt Misen is a real gem.
https://goo.gl/fAz4ax
For the shrine, you might get lucky and be able to see both low and high tides. For the latter, the shrine looks much better. But for the former, you can go out on to the beach up to the big torii gate.
http://www.tides4fishing.com/jp/hiroshima/itsukushima

You'll find the deer all over as well, so don't pass up some good pictures.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: National Japan Rail Pass or Regional? 2018/2/16 10:09
Thank you everyone! Then, National Pass it is.
by Paulina (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: your itinerary and transportation 2018/2/17 00:23
It sounds too tight to make a one-day trip to both Hiroshima City and Miyajima Island from Osaka City; I recommend you expect at least 2 days.

When you plan to visit Nara City, Yoshino, Kobe City, Hiroshima City and Miyajima Island within 5 days, you can make a combination of
JR regular tickets to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto and back
(27200 to 27600 yen, for Shinkansen Hikari train rides)
and a JR-West Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass
(13500 yen when booked through the official website).
http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/kansai_hiroshima/
The total amount is 40700 to 41100 yen, much less than the price 46390 yen of a 14-day (Ordinary-Class) Japan Rail Pass.

A possible merit is
that you can take Shinkansen Nozomi trains between Tokyo | Shinagawa and Kyoto on the Tokaido Shinkansen when you pay 310 yen more per way
and also take Nozomi and Mizuho trains with a JR-West Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass between Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima on the Sanyo Shinkansen.

A possible demerit is that a JR-West rail pass is not valid on the Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo -- Nagoya -- Kyoto -- Shin-Osaka),
which is operated not by JR-West but by JR-Central.

To travel between Tokyo and western Japan,
alternatively you can take domestic flights at ANA | JAL discount prices
from Tokyo Haneda [HND] to Osaka Itami [ITM]
and from Hiroshima [HIJ] to Tokyo Haneda [HND].
The total amount of the discount air fares is about 18000 yen to 21000 yen,
and you may pay around 2000 yen for your airport accesses.
https://www.ana.co.jp/en/us/promotions/share/experience_jp/
https://www.world.jal.co.jp/world/en/japan_explorer_pass/lp/
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Calculation of JR cost 2018/2/17 01:17
Just your round trips from Tokyo to Kyoto and Kyoto to Hiroshima add up to 50000 yen

That is not correct, at least regarding this journey.

Actually you can have these JR train rides at 41780 yen or less,
unless you skip a part of the route or turn back.

The distance of the JR route between Tokyo and Hiroshima
is long enough for a 10 percent discount to apply to the round-trip basic fares;
the pair of the round-trip basic fare tickets is good for 12 consecutive days.

One-way basic fare before the discount
: 11660 yen.
One-way basic fare after the 10 percent round-trip discount
: 10490 yen.
Round-trip basic fares after the 10 percent discount
: 20980 yen.

Shinkansen Hikari surcharge for a ride with your seat reserved
from Tokyo to Kyoto or from Kyoto to Tokyo
: 5190 to 5590 yen per way.
Shinkansen Hikari surcharge for a ride with your seat reserved
from Kyoto to Hiroshima or from Hiroshima to Kyoto
: 4410 to 4810 yen per way.

20980 yen + (2 x 5590) yen + (2 x 4810) yen = 41780 yen.

When you make a round trip from Kyoto a little further to Miyajima,
the JR railway cost for the whole route from Tokyo is at the same price,
and the total amount of the round-trip JR West Miyajima Ferry fares is 360 yen.
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: National Japan Rail Pass or Regional? 2018/2/17 10:10
As others have commented, the national pass is a good option for you, either the 14 or 7 day versions.

Regional passes do not go across regions, which is one of the reasons they are not good for travelling routes like Tokyo/Kyoto. I did have a reason to carefully check pricing for Tokyo-Kanazawa-Takayama-Kyoto-Hiroshima-Osaka recently and if a regional Kansai pass might pay off in that particular case (not returning to Tokyo) and the 14-day national pass was a better option because it included a few minor journeys. For my staff returning to Tokyo the discounts on those long-distance trips does make a difference (52,740yen vs 70,320yen).

Just an aside on JR passes on "subways", I do know one JR line (not in Tokyo) where it does work as they have five out of of 31 stations underground (in the city) and the subway portion is about 3km of the total 50km line length.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

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