After buying plane tickets, the JR Rail Pass is the next thing travellers search for in preparation for their trip to Japan. But do you really need to get one and how much will you save?
If you already have a basic idea of the major centers you will travel to while in Japan, it’s pretty easy to calculate.
The JR Rail Pass - An Introduction
The JR Rail Pass, also known as the Japan Rail Pass, lets you travel on basically any JR line train for a certain period of time.
When you are buying the rail pass, it comes with a few different options:
• It is available in two types; the Ordinary Pass is for regular reserved or unreserved seating, and the Green pass is for business-class style seating and service in the Green Car.
• You can choose from three time periods; 7 days, 14 days, or 21 days. The pass is valid for that period of time from the day that it is first used.
• There is a children's ticket available for children aged 6 to 11 years old.
JR Rail Pass prices -
A 7-day Ordinary Pass will cost 29,110 yen for adults
and 14,550 yen for children.
A 7-day Green Car Pass will cost 38,880 yen for adults
and 19,440 yen for children.
A 14-day Ordinary Pass will cost 46,390 yen for adults
and 23,190 yen for children.
A 14-day Green Car Pass will cost 62,950 yen for adults
and 31,470 yen for children.
A 21-day Ordinary Pass will cost 59,350 yen for adults
and 29,670 yen for children.
A 21-day Green Car Pass will cost 81,870 yen for adults
and 40,930 yen for children.
Shinkansen ticket prices
The way shinkansen tickets are priced can be a little confusing, as the price is often shown (on Japanese websites as well as on the ticket itself) as being broken up into two separate components.
The first is the base price to travel from station A to station B on any train, and the second is the price to travel on the shinkansen specifically. For example, to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto the base price is 8,210 yen.
As you may know if you have read our ultimate guide to riding the shinkansen, there are three different types of seats you can book: a non-reserved Seat will be the cheapest at 4,870 yen, a reserved seat will guarantee you a place to sit for 5,900 yen, and a Green Car seat will have you relaxing in comfort at 10,480 yen.
Combine these two prices and you have the total cost of the shinkansen ticket; 13,080 yen for a non-reserved seat, 14,110 yen for a reserved seat, and 18,690 yen for a Green Car seat.
Train ticket prices (one-way) for popular routes -
JR train from Tokyo to Kyoto (Japan Travel by NAVITIME)
From Tokyo -
Tokyo to Kyoto: 13,080 yen
Tokyo to Osaka: 13,620 yen
Tokyo to Nara: 13,620 yen
Tokyo to Hakone: 3,530 yen
Tokyo to Sapporo: 15,430 yen
Tokyo to Hiroshima: 18,040 yen
Tokyo to Nagoya: 10,360 yen
Tokyo to Kobe: 14,160 yen
Tokyo to Takayama: 13,930 yen
Tokyo to Kanazawa: 14,320 yen
Tokyo to Nikko: 5,060 yen
Tokyo to Yokohama: 470 yen
Osaka to Nara: 800 yen
Osaka to Kyoto: 560 yen
Osaka to Kobe: 410 yen
Osaka to Hiroshima: 9,710 yen
Osaka to Hakata (Fukuoka): 14,480 yen
Osaka to Nagasaki: 17,270 yen
Osaka to Mt. Koya: 1,950 yen
Osaka to Naoshima: 6,440 yen
Osaka to Tottori: 6,810 yen
Osaka to Matsue: 9,820 yen
Osaka to Tokushima: 8,950 yen
Osaka to Kagoshima: 21,380 yen
Osaka to Beppu: 16,140 yen
How to calculate how much you will save
Most route finder sites and apps aren’t able to accurately represent the amount you would save by using a JR Rail Pass because they often choose routes or trains that can be faster or cheaper but not valid; usually because they are run by other train companies. This can create a situation where a train trip that you thought would be covered by the JR Rail Pass becomes an extra expense once you are here.
By using the Japan Travel by NAVITIME Train & Route Finder, and selecting ‘Japan Rail Pass’ in the ‘Several Pass / Tickets selected’ menu, you can search exclusively for routes that are free to use for JR Rail Pass holders.
By adding up the trips to the destinations you will travel to while in Japan, you can see how much you will save by picking up a rail pass. You can also get the same search results in the Japan Travel by NAVITIME app for iOS and Android .
If you’re not planning on getting a JR Rail Pass — maybe because you will stay in Tokyo or Osaka while you are here — the Japan Travel by NAVITIME Train & Route Finder can also be helpful, as you can also get routes based on the Tokyo Metro ‘Tokyo Subway Ticket’ and Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau’s ‘Osaka Amazing Pass’.
***All prices in this article are correct as of July 2019***
Japan Travel by NAVITIME Train & Route Finder
Japan Travel by NAVITIME Train & Route Finder
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