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Japan Rail Pass - worth it? 2007/12/31 16:08
Hi all,

I am planning to visit Japan in the future and I have been looking over travel options to determine the best way to get around, and the Japan Rail Pass caught my eye, mainly for the convenience and cost savings, however after looking more into it, the cost savings of the Rail Pass are somewhat unclear, in that it really depends on the travel youre doing.
I was looking at the numerous posts in the forum and this place looks quite helpful, so I thought Id ask the question here.

Basically, Im planning to stay for 3 weeks, and I figured the 21 day pass would best suit my needs, I plan to arrive in Tokyo first and spend around 5 days touring the city, getting around using trains of course as well as see various neighbouring places in Kanto like Yokohama, Nikko etc. After around 5 days, I plan to then travel to Osaka and perhaps check out Mt Fuji on the way, maybe even stop in the Chubu area first and then move on to Osaka.

Once in Osaka I plan to spend another 5 days in the area, again taking the opportunity to see other areas close by like Kyoto. Towards the end of the 3 week period, I plan to then head down to Hiroshima and I havent decided exactly what else, but somewhere in the southern regions before heading back home.

Would the Japan Rail Pass for 21 days be worth my while? Ive heard that in certain places like Kyoto the pass doesnt get you around as much as it would in say Tokyo, if I purchase the pass I would prefer to use it for all my travelling needs. So what I am asking, is given my rough travel plans that I have highlighted above, would the 21 day Rail Pass be my best option for both the convenience and cost factors?

I greatly appreciate any assistance anyone can provide, thank you very much.
by Mat  

... 2008/1/1 08:49
If you head back home via Tokyo, then a 21-day rail pass will likely pay off if you travel as far as Kyushu. If you travel only as far as Hiroshima, regular tickets might come cheaper.
by Uji rate this post as useful

.. 2008/1/1 09:29
I probably will head back home via Tokyo, in which case towards the end of the trip I'd have to take the train back of course.

So from the sounds of it, the more long trips you do, the more worth it the Rail Pass is, that sound about right?
by Mat rate this post as useful

... 2008/1/1 12:12
So from the sounds of it, the more long trips you do, the more worth it the Rail Pass is, that sound about right?

That's exactly right.
by Uji rate this post as useful

thanks 2008/1/1 17:54
Thank you, for your help :)

What I will do is, once I decide exactly where I want to go and how far the travelling will be, I'll then determine whether I'll purchase the Rail Pass or not.

Thanks again :)
by Mat rate this post as useful

You can get your money's worth... 2008/1/1 20:23
If you can cover all the spots you have mentioned on a twenty-one-day rail pass by JR Line trains, it will pay. Show you a possible breakdown, assuming you will be based in Shinjuku in Tokyo, Umeda in Osaka during your stay in Japan.

Narita Express, round trip between Narita Airport and Shinjuku: 6,220
Tokyo 23 Ward one day pass, 3 days' worth: 2,190
Shinjuku to Yokohama, return: 1,080
Shinjuku to Nikko on the bullet train inbetween, return: 9,640
Shinjuku to Lake Yamanaka, bus, one way: 2,000 (this isn't covered by the pass, so should be excluded)
Lake Yamanaka to Mishima, bus, one way: 2,300 (this isn't covered by the pass, so should be excluded)
Mishima to Nagoya, one way: 8,270
Nagoya to Takayama, one way: 6,070
Takayama to Osaka via Nagoya, one way: 10,610
Osaka to Kyoto, return: 1,080
Osaka to Himeji, return: 2,900
Osaka to Hiroshima, one way: 10,150
Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi, return: 800
Hiroshima to Shinjuku, one way: 18,250

The amount is 77,260 yen, as opposed to 57,700 yen of 21-day JR pass. What is more, you'll be liberated from purchases of individual tickets on each trip, by which you can save on a lot of time and hassles. You could optimise the value much more if you make side trips on a whim, e.g. Hiroshima to Fukuoka, or Nagasaki.

For train connection and price search, use these sites.

The bottom line is that go for the pass.

Happy New Year!

by optimistk rate this post as useful

14 day pass 2008/1/2 01:27
or what you can do...if you can do all your traveling outside of tokyo in 14 days...is buy the cheaper 14 day one, and redeem it when you leave tokyo, do all the traveling with the pass then, and use it to come back to tokyo. you would have to pay for the days around tokyo without the pass..but it COULD end up cheaper
by chris rate this post as useful

thank you 2008/1/5 08:19
Thanks for that breakdown optimistk very helpful and puts things into perspective. From that example you gave I think not only will the cost savings from the Pass be a good thing, but I would also prefer to avoid having to buy tickets for all those trips and potentially getting confused as to what I needed to buy. I like the fact that the pass means I can basically just jump on the train without worries.
That example you gave will come very handy when I'm closer to planning the details of my trip, so once again thank you for providing it :)

Chris, your idea is another option, that could save money, I guess it would depend on how many little travels in Tokyo I did.
by Mat rate this post as useful

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