Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka with the JR Pass

Shinkansen bullet train

Japan is one of the most culturally rich and diverse countries of our century. When going through the streets, hills and castles of Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, you will be taken through time, history and places of breathtaking views and mesmerizing moments.

In this article, you will find how to get from Tokyo to Kyoto, Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto to Osaka (frequent train trips among travelers) with the bullet train and using just your Japan Rail Pass.

Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka by bullet train

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are connected with by the Tokaido Shinkansen line, included with the Japan Rail Pass.

This line is the most heavily travelled high-speed rail route in the world, with has a length of 515 km (320 miles), and offers the fastest and smoothest way for travelling between Tokyo station, and Shin-Osaka or Kyoto stations.

Tokaido Shinkansen line map
Map of the Tokaido Shinkansen line

How to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

Hikari Shinknsen Bullet train
Photo by Dough Bowman @Flickr – Hikari Shinkansen Bullet train

Getting from Tokyo to Kyoto with the Japan Rail Pass is easy. You should take the Shinkansen Hikari train from either Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station in central Tokyo, and arrive at Kyoto Station.

Three trains run on the Tokaido Shinkansen line: Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama. Take note that Nozomi trains are not part of the National JR Group. Therefore, are not included in the Japan Rail Pass.

However, the alternative to the Nozomi trains are Hikari and Kodama. Both are high-speed bullet trains. However, Kodama makes trips between the smaller towns. It runs with an operating speed of 258 km/h (175 mph). Hikari trains run between the major cities of Japan with a speed of 320 km/h (199 mph), making fewer stops.

For some great suggestions and recommendations on which places to visit and what to do in Kyoto, check out our Japan in 14 days (day 4-6) blog post.

Timetables and fares

A standard Tokyo to Kyoto trip with the JR Pass takes close to 1 hour and 40 minutes, taking the Hikari Shinkansen. Unlike Hikari, all Kodama trains need close to 4 hours to reach Kyoto from Tokyo. This is so since they stop at all stations before reaching their final destination.

The standard one-way fare would be 13,080 yen for non-reserved seats and 13,500 yen for reserved on both Hikari and Kodama trains. However, Japan Rail Pass holders can reserve a seat and take any of the two trains for free.

If you are confused by the difference between the different Shinkansen lines or you wish to learn more about how to find your platform or take any train, read our how to use Japanese trains article.

How to travel from Tokyo to Osaka

Osaka Dotonbori
Osaka at night –  Dotonbori area

To get from Tokyo to Osaka, you will need to take very same trains. Either the Hikari bullet train or Kodama from Tokyo or Shinagawa stations in central Tokyo. Both run on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, connecting the two cities.

Timetable and fares

The Shinkansen Hikari train leaves approximately every 30min from Tokyo and arrives at Shin-Osaka station after 2:30min. To get to central Osaka station, change to any of the local JR Tokaido-Sanyo trains. As there are direct JR connections between the two stations, all Japan Rail Pass holders will be able to make those trips free of charge.

For some interesting ideas on what to do in Osaka, read our Japan in 21 days (week 2) article.

Osaka to Kyoto and back

demachi-masugata-mall-kyoto
Photo by Toomore Chiang @Flickr – Demachi Masugata shopping street in Kyoto

Travelling between Kyoto and Osaka  is now easier than ever. Just take the already well-known Hikari train on the Tokaido Shinkansen line. You will get between Kyoto Station and Shin-Osaka Station in less than 30 minutes, traveling at a speed of 320km/h (199 mph).

Furthermore, Japan Rail Pass holders can get to Osaka station from Kansai International Airport by taking the Haruka airport express for free. For general information, the standard price for a one-way ticket is approximately 2330 yen. It takes less than an hour to reach Osaka station from Kansai Airport.

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271 thoughts on “Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka with the JR Pass”

  1. Hello! I’m planning a trip with 5 adults for 7 days this coming April. Which JR Pass would you suggest we could make the most use of with this itinerary?

    1. Arrival in Haneda at midnight
    2. Transfer to Tokyo Station
    3. Self-tour via subway (Shibuya, Akehibara, Asakusa, Odaiba)
    3. Transfer to Kyoto; self-tour via bus and train
    4. Transfer to Osaka; self-tour via bus and subway
    5. USJ
    6. Depart for KIX for 9am flight.

    Thank you so much for your help!

  2. Hi,

    I am planning to have a trip to japan this coming April 29-May 8. My trip covers osaka-kyoto-gamagori-tokyo. I plan to have a kansai pass thru in my stay in osaka, then a 7-day JR pass in kyoto-gamagori-tokyo. Will a 7-day JR Pass cover my whole trip form kyoto-gamagori-tokyo?

    Thanks!
    Ces

    1. Hi Ces!

      Yes you will be able to make the last part of your trip using a Japan Rail Pass.

      To go from Kyoto to Gamagori you will need to first take the Hikari or Kodama train on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen lines from Kyoto Station to Nagoya. Once there you will need to change to another Hikari or Kodama train straight to Toyohashi. Last but not least, from Toyohashi you will need to take the JR Tokaido Rapid/Local train to Gamagori.

      From Gamagori to Tokyo you will first need to take again the JR Tokaido Rapid/Local train to Toyohashi. Once there you will just need to take either a Hikari or Kodama Shinkansen straight to Tokyo Station. This trip will take you approximately 3 hours.

      We hope you enjoy your trip!

  3. Hi,
    I will arrive in Osaka on 22nd Feb, and plan to go to Himeji castle, Kyoto return trip, and around Osaka, then go to Tokyo on 26th Feb. In Tokyo, plan to go around Tokyo sightseeing and go back on the 2nd March.

    Is it worth it to get 7 day JR Pass, or just get the city pass (ICOCA) at Osaka and Tokyo?

    I heard that train can be very crowded if it’s not the JR Line. And that with JR Pass it’s first class travel (with a possibility to reserve seat). I’m considering that I will be travelling with my 70yo mom and we’ll be bringing luggages.

    Your help is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Fenni!

      The ICOCA prepaid id card is offered by JR West and services JR trains in the regions of Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, and Okayama. Given that you are planning to use it at Tokyo it might not be useful for your whole trip. The Japan Rail Pass will grant you access to all the mentioned trips:

      Osaka Loop Line while you are staying in the city.
      – When traveling from Osaka to Himeji Castle, you may take the direct access Hikari train from Shin-Osaka Station. From the JR Osaka Umeda Station, you may take the JR Special Rapid Train for a direct trip of just over one hour. When you arrive at Himeji Station, exit via the Central Ticket Gate and take the North Exit. You will be able to see Himeji Castle in the distance. The castle is a 20-minute walk down Otemaedori Street.
      – Travelling between Kyoto and Osaka is now easier than ever. Just take the Hikari train on the Tokaido Shinkansen line. You will get between Kyoto Station and Shin-Osaka Station in less than 30 minutes.
      – To get from Osaka to Tokyo, you will need to take the Hikari bullet train in Shin-Osaka station to Tokyo or Shinagawa stations in central Tokyo.
      – When in Tokyo, the JR Pass affords access to five different Tokyo railway lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.

      Also please note the Japan Rail Pass will cover your transfers to and from main airports – should you be landing in Kansai airport you could take the Haruka Express all straight to Osaka.

      Buying the Green Pass is ideal for the busy months in Japan since it guarantees a spacious and comfortable seat in the air conditioned cars of all the JR lines. The only thing you need to do is book your seat for free. You can do this a day in advance or just before boarding the train.

      We hope you enjoy your trip!

  4. Good day!

    I’m flying to Tokyo from the Philippines and I plan to travel from Tokyo to Osaka, Osaka to Kyoto and back, then Osaka back to Tokyo. All in 5 days. Will a 7-day Japan Rail Pass be worth it? Thank you!

    1. Hi Din!

      The Japan Rail Pass will surely be worth it in your case:

      Narita airport to Tokyo would cost 1,000-3,000 yen each trip (upon arrival + upon departure will double the cost) depending on the station you are heading to.
      – Tokyo to Osaka would be between 13,500-14,000 yen, and you will make this itinerary twice.
      – Roundtrip between Osaka and Kyoto will cost you 1,000 yen.

      As you will see it would already pay off, and should you travel with a Japan Rail Pass you would have unlimited access too to other lines that will be useful in your trip:

      – The JR Pass affords access to five different Tokyo railway lines: Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Rapid Chuo Line, local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.
      – You will also be entitled to make full, unlimited use of the Osaka Loop Line.

      And the easiest – you can easily purchase it online here.

      Very happy travels!

  5. Hi,

    It is my first trip to japan and i am planning to travel during this April for 10 days covering toyko-osaka-kyoto-nara-toyko. I will be arriving at narita airport.

    I am looking at JR pass 7 days. May I know what is the difference between JR railway pass (¥29110)and hokuriku arch pass(¥24000)?

    As there are many types of JR passes. Hence i am confused and hope to hear your feedback

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Rine!

      The difference is the area they cover: the Japan Rail Pass can be used nation-wide while the Hokuriku Arch Pass is a more limited pass. For example, for your trip the Hokuriku Arch Pass does not cover the Narita Express, which is the best option to travel between Narita Airport and central Tokyo. This trip is fully included in the Japan Rail Pass. Should you need to pay for these tickets separately besides the Hokuriku Arch Pass, your trip would be more expensive since the single-trip prices of Narita Express are the following:

      Tokyo Station – 3,020¥ / 4,560¥ Green Class (GR)
      Shinagawa – 3,190¥ / 4,730¥ GR
      Shibuya – 3,190¥ / 4,730¥ GR
      Shinjuku – 3,190¥ / 4,730¥ GR
      Ikebukuro – 3,190¥ / 4,730¥ GR
      Omiya – 3, 840¥ / 5,380¥ GR
      Yokohama – 4,290¥ / 5,830¥ GR
      Ofuna – 4,620¥ / 6,160¥ GR

      In your case, the 7-day Japan Rail Pass would be a better choice.

      Have a nice trip!

  6. Greetings,

    I am planning to go to Japan this summer for 8 days (including day of departure) and might arrive at Kansai International Airport.
    During my stay, I plan on only going around Osaka and Kyoto but might choose to visit Tokyo for 2 days.
    1. Will it be more favorable if I buy the National JR Pass or the JR Kansai Pass, keeping in mind that I might go to Tokyo?
    2. Does the National JR pass covers trips around Osaka using the local line especially when going to Shin-Osaka and Kyoto Station?

    Your kind advice are deeply appreciated as this is my first trip to Japan.
    Thank you

    Regards,
    Jun

    1. Hi Jun!

      If you want to have your round trip to Tokyo covered you should go for the nation-wide Japan Rail Pass. It will also cover all the trips you make in the Osaka Loop Line, which “loops,” or circles, through downtown Osaka; the trips from Shin-Osaka Station to Osaka Station on a Rapid Express JR train; and also trips between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka as you have already discovered in this article you are commenting.

      Have a nice trip!

  7. Hi There,

    I am planning to visit Japan this September. I have a few questions of my own if you don’t mind answering them, please.

    1. Arrive at Kansai International Airport and will stay in Osaka for 6 days. In between those days, I will travel to Kyoto including Sagano Romantic Train, so should I bought Kansai Area Pass (4days) and JR West Pass (2days) to cover both areas?
    2. Day 7, I will use the 7days JR pass to Tokyo as I will leaving the country from Narita Airport. Part of the planned is to visit Mt Fuji & Hakone while I am in Tokyo.

    In your suggestion, will this be the best options for money instead of buying the 14 days JR Pass?

    Thank you.

    Best Regards,

    DotJohn

    1. Hi DotJohn!

      To assess if the 7-day Japan Rail Pass is the most cost effective ticket or if the 14-day will also help you save money for your trip, we recommend you to check at Hyperdia which would be the cost of the individual ticket. When you have this detail you will be able to compare this price to the nation-wide pass price.

      It is generally adviceable to use the Japan Rail Pass when you travel through the whole country but we strongly recommend to check since transportation in Japan is expensive and sometimes the Japan Rail Pass pays off even when not used for the whole trip.

      Happy travels!

  8. Hellooo~

    I will be travelling to Japan from 07 – 21 April (14 days). Mostly staying in Tokyo.
    Only leaving for Kyoto on 15 & 16 Apr and continue to Osaka on 17, 18, 19 Apr
    Then back from Osaka to Tokyo on 20 April.

    May I know if I should purchase the JR Pass for 7 or 14 days for the above itinerary?
    Or would it be more cheaper to purchase one way trip each time I travel from the train station itself?

    Thank you in advance! (:

    Rgds,
    Kelly

    1. Hi Kelly!

      To assess if the 7-day Japan Rail Pass is the most cost effective ticket or if the 14-day will also help you save money for your trip, we recommend you to check at Hyperdia which would be the cost of the individual ticket. When you have this detail you will be able to compare this price to the nation-wide pass price.

      However please keep in mind the Japan Rail Pass affords access to many other transportation (besides what you already read in this article) you could take at no additional cost:
      – Transfer from main airports to city centers (Narita Express and Tokyo Monorail to central Tokyo and Haruka Express to Kyoto and Osaka).
      – Transportation within Tokyo, included lines are the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.
      – Transportation within Osaka in the Osaka Loop Line.
      – Connection to many other areas that can be reached as a day trip from Tokyo, from Kyoto and from Osaka.

      We hope you enjoy your trip!

  9. Hello,

    I’m planning for a 7nights trip to Japan in March 2018. Mostly in Osaka, with dedicated day trips to Kyoto & Nara. I’m also travelling with toddlers so it’s important to have access to the nearest station for every attraction.

    I have the following questions :
    1) Which JR Rail pass would be most suitable ? Is it sufficient to cover the major attractions in Osaka or do I need to buy another pass like the ICOCA / Kansai Pass Thru?

    Looking fwd to your feedback!

    Thx

    1. Hi Sarah!

      The Japan Rail Pass affords full access to the Osaka Loop Line, which “loops,” or circles, through downtown Osaka. When riding the Osaka Loop Line, you will notice connections to other lines not operated by the JR Group. Depending on what you want to see you might need an additional ticket.

      Should you travel with a JR Pass you would have included the day trips to Kyoto (as you have already read in this article) and Nara.

      Very happy travels!

  10. Hi KL
    I am planning to visit Tokyo end of April next year and want to see Kyoto head to Tottori then back to Tokyo to fly to Seoul. I am aware that there are regional jr passes available. I intend to buy the 7 day pass but unsure as to which one is better in terms of saving money! Any advice would be of great help! Thank you

    1. Hi Tayama!

      To assess if the Japan Rail Pass is the most cost effective ticket for your trip we recommend you to check at Hyperdia which would be the cost of the individual ticket. When you have this detail you will be able to compare this price to the nation-wide pass price.

      We hope you have an amazing trip.

  11. Hi there

    Thank you for your website and your clear responses to other viewers on this website. I have a few questions of my own if you don’t mind answering them please.

    1) I’m arriving on Saturday 6/1/18 and leaving on 13/1/18. If I purchase 7 day pass and activate it on 6/1/18, that means it is covered for 7 days until the 12/1/18 and I am not covered for my last day on 13/1/18, is that correct?

    2) Must I order the JR Pass online or can I purchase at the train station?

    3) Does 7 day JR Rail Pass cover trips from Osaka/Kyoto to Hiroshima?

    4) Does the JR Rail Pass cover trips to Karuizawa Station from Tokyo Station?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi KL!

      Thank you very much for your kind words 🙂 Below you will find our answers:

      1) The Japan Rail Pass validity period is calculated in days, not in hours. Therefore, if you have purchased a 7-day pass and your activation date (when you first use the pass) is the 6th of January, the exact expiration time will be midnight on January 12.
      2) It is usually better to purchase it online from an official vendor like this: they are cheaper than purchasing in Japan and offer much flexible payment methods and curencies 😉
      3) Yes it does! To go to Hiroshima from Kyoto you can take the Hikari bullet train from Kyoto Station to the Shin-Osaka Station, then transfer to the Sanyo Shinkansen line for the remainder of the trip. If you want to start in Osaka, from the city center, take the JR Haruka Express to Shin-Osaka Station, then transfer to the Sanyo Shinkansen line (westbound, Hikari trains). Both itineraries are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
      4) Yes it does! Several major Shinkansen lines are served by Tokyo Station and are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass, including the Hokuriku/Nagano Shinkansen to Nagano and Karuizawa.

      We hope you have an awesome trip!

  12. Hello, my family is traveling to Japan with the following route. I need to know if JR Pass could be use in all these routes and train station.
    1. kansai airport – osaka
    2. osaka – nara – osaka
    3. oksaka – kyoto
    4. kyoto – tokyo – haneda airport

    1. Hi Doreen!

      Yes – the Japan Rail Pass will cover all the mentioned routes:

      – To travel from the Kansai Airport to the city of Osaka, board the Limited Express Haruka at the Kansai Airport Station using your Japan Rail Pass. Take the Haruka to Shin-Osaka Station, and once there transfer to a local train to Osaka Station.
      – To go from Osaka to Nara (and back), begin your trip from Osaka to Nara at the JR Osaka Station. Take the Yamatoji Rapid Train to JR Nara Station. These trains run once per hour; the trip lasts around 45 minutes and is covered by the JR Pass.
      – Osaka to Kyoto and Tokyo is fully covered as you have already read in this article 😉

      We hope you have an amazing trip!

  13. Hi
    Traveling to Japan in End Jan 2018.
    Arriving at Narita airport and staying in nearby Tokyo Station for 4 nights. (Day trip to Hakone or Kamakura)
    Then traveling to Kyoto for 3 nights and hoping to do a day trip to Narra.
    Then we heading to Osaka for 3 nights before heading home via Kansai International Airport.
    7 day JR rail pass be worth the money?
    Thanks for you help!
    Eric

    1. Hi Eric!

      To assess if the Japan Rail Pass is the most cost effective ticket for your trip we recommend you to check at Hyperdia which would be the cost of the individual ticket. When you have this detail you will be able to compare this price to the nation-wide pass price.

      Please keep in mind that the Japan Rail Pass will fully cover your described trip as well as many other day trips from main cities (besides transportation connecting Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, which you have already learned in this article):

      – Transportation between Narita Airport to central Tokyo through the Narita Express.
      – When in Tokyo, the JR Pass affords access to five different Tokyo railway lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.
      – To get from Tokyo to Hakone you will just need to take the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo Station and get off at Odawara station. Then take the Hakone Tozan train for Hakone-Yumoto and get off at Hakone-Itabashi. This is your final destination.
      – Should you prefer to visit Kamakura, you can take the JR Yokosuka Line, which is a direct connection from Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station.
      – In order to get from Kyoto to Nara, begin at Kyoto Station. Take the Miyakoji Rapid Train, on the JR Nara line to JR Nara Station.
      – Finally to get from Osaka to Kansai Airport you can make full use of the Haruka Express.

      Happy travels!

  14. Hi I was wondering, if I am travelling from Tokyo to Kyoto to Osaka and then back to Tokyo, is it worth it to buy the green pass? As I see that the Hikari trains don’t actually have the green pass compartments. thanks!

  15. Hello, my family is travelling to Japan with the following route. I need to know if JR Pass could be use in all these routes:
    Tokyo to Aomori
    Aomori to Saitama
    Saitama to Gunma
    Gunma to Tokyo
    Tokyo to Kyoto
    Kyoto to Osaka
    Osaka to Kansai Airport
    It will be a tight seven day trip, but i think its doable with the bullet trains, but would need your expert advice.
    Thank you very much

    1. Hi Chona Trinidad!

      The Japan Rail Pass can be used in your itinerary routes as follows:

      – To go from Tokyo to Aomori, you can take a Hayabusa train on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen to Shin-Aomori and transfer to a local or limited express train for Aomori Station. The entire trip is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
      – To travel to Saitama you can take the JR Saikyo line or the Shonan-Shinjuku line to the JR Omiya Station.
      – Moving between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka is easy and you have already read how in this article you are commenting 🙂
      – To go from Osaka to Kansai Airport you will be entitled to make full use of the Haruka Express.

      We hope you enjoy your trip!

  16. Hi
    Family of 4 traveling to Japan in March 2018
    Arriving at Narita airport and staying in Asakusa for 5 nights and wanting to do basic sightseeing in the area
    Then traveling to Osaka for 2 nights and hoping to do a day trip to Hiroshima and maybe Kyoto/Narra
    Then we head back to Tokyo to stay 2 nights before heading home via Narita airport.
    My understanding is that the first leg of the trip Narita to Asakusa is best with a Skyaccess train?
    My question is would a 7 day JR rail pass be worth the money?
    Thanks for you help!
    Larissa

    1. Hi Larissa!

      To assess if the Japan Rail Pass is the most cost effective ticket for your trip we recommend you to check at Hyperdia which would be the cost of the individual ticket. When you have this detail you will be able to compare this price to the nation-wide pass price.

      Please keep in mind that the Japan Rail Pass will fully cover your described trip as well as many other day trips from main cities:

      – Transportation between Narita Airport to central Tokyo through the Narita Express.
      – When in Tokyo, the JR Pass affords access to five different Tokyo railway lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.
      – Transportation between Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, as you have already learnt in this article you are commenting.
      – When in Osaka, you will be entitled to make full use of the Osaka Loop Line.
      – Transportation between Osaka and Hiroshima by taking the JR Haruka Express to Shin-Osaka Station, then transfering to the Sanyo Shinkansen line (westbound, Hikari trains).
      – Transportation between Osaka and Nara by starting your trip from Osaka to Nara at the JR Osaka Station and takinge the Yamatoji Rapid Train to JR Nara Station.

      We hope you enjoy your trip!

  17. hi, i have purchased jr pass 7 days,
    but i dont know how to go tokyo from osaka, which station i should go? how to check the train time pleasE?

    1. Hi Chrissie!

      The details on how to move between Tokyo and Osaka can be read in this article you are commenting 🙂
      To check the train schedules we strongly recommend you to check Hyperdia – the number 1 Japanese online transportation planning tool.

      Also since you are travelling to Japan we recommend you to do so with wifi connection from your own since public one is not reliable. We think best options would be to rent either a Pocket WiFi device or a SIM Card for the duration of your stay.

      We hope you have an amazing trip!

  18. Hi,

    We are travelling to japan in dec-2017.
    Our itenary is
    Day 1 – Arrive in Haneda airport(3 pm – local time) and go to kyoto
    Day 2 – Sight seeing in Kyoto
    Day 3 – Sight seeing in Kyoto for 1/2 day and travel to Hakone
    Day 4 – Sight seeing – Mt Fuji
    Day 5 – Activities in Mt. Fuji + Hakone Sight seeing & travel to Tokyo
    Day 6 – Tokyo Sight seeing
    Day 7 – Tokyo Sigh seeing
    Day 8 – Fly back home
    We are planning to buy JR pass – 7 days. Will that be sufficient to travel to these places or should we top up the JR 7-day pass.
    Any other suggestion to change our itenary..

    Thanks

    1. Hi Poorni!

      The Japan Rail Pass validity period is calculated in days, not in hours. Therefore, if you have purchased a 7-day pass and your activation date (when you first use the pass) is the 1st of December, the exact expiration time will be midnight on December 7. In that case a 7-day pass would not fully cover your stay and you would need to pay the last day ticket separately.

      We hope you have an amazing stay!

  19. Hello!
    I will be staying in Tokyo for 4 nights and have a day trip planned for Osaka. What is my best option to get to Osaka, plus utilization of the light rail in Tokyo? Also do I need to buy tickets in advance?

    1. Hi Cliff!

      In this article you can already read how to get from Tokyo to Osaka using your Japan Rail Pass. When in Tokyo, the JR Pass affords access to five different Tokyo railway lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.

      We hope you have an awesome trip!

  20. Hi,
    My plan itinerary is Osaka-Kyoto-Nara-Osaka and then will travel to Takayama for 2 nights. Then from Takayama to Tokyo (Ueno) for 2 nights and then to Haneda airport.
    Can you advise from Osaka-Takayama-Tokyo what train should I take?
    Will my 7 days JP Pass cover all the places? My travel period is from 5 – 12 Jan.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Jasmine!

      Yes – you can use your Japan Rail Pass for your itinerary:

      – You can go to and from Haneda Airport travelling in the Haruka Express at no additional cost.
      – From this article you already know that Hikari Shinkansen will easily take you between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
      – To get from Kyoto to Nara, begin at Kyoto Station. Take the Miyakoji Rapid Train, on the JR Nara line to JR Nara Station. The rapid trains run twice per hour, and the 45-minute trip is covered by your JR Pass.
      – From Nara you can easily travel to Osaka taking the Yamatoji Rapid Train from JR Nara Station to JR Osaka Station.
      Takayama is easy to access using your Japan Rail Pass. If traveling from Tokyo, first take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya. From either Nagoya or Toyama, take the JR Hida Limited Express to Takayama. When traveling from/to Kyoto or Osaka, from Shin-Osaka Station or Kyoto Station, take the Hikari or Kodama trains on the Tokaido Line to Nagoya, then take the Hida Limited Express from Nagoya to Takayama.

      We hope you enjoy your stay in Japan!

  21. Hi thank you for the reply.
    I will take note on the Nozomi part but is it correct that I need to purchase it at any JR ticket office? and which line should i take after i purchase the Nozomi ticket?

  22. Hi,

    I have a last minute plan which I will extend my stay from Tokyo to Osaka (11/12 – 15/12) , I will check in on 11/12 midnight (Osaka) and plan to take the bullet train (Nozomi…?). And from Osaka, to have a day trip to Kyoto. Please suggest which type of JPR i should purchase and any recommendation to make my travel smooth? Thank you in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Nur!

      As stated in this article, the Japan Rail Pass will cover your trips between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in the Hikari and Kodama trains. Please note Nozomi is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. You will not have access to the ‘Nozomi’ and ‘Mizuho’ Shinkansen that are the fastest trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo lines. However, you have access to the ‘Hikari’ or ‘Sakura’ Shinkansen that cover the same routes. The Hikari and Sakura bullet trains reach the same top speed as the Nozomi and Mizuho trains and use the same type of actual train, but have more stops along each route. For example, from Tokyo to Kyoto, the Hikari takes 15mins more than the equivalent Nozomi.

      We hope you have an amazing trip!

  23. Thank you! so, I may also use it to go from tokyo to osaka and back with the JR rail pass? Or would I have to stop at kyoto and spend day there before going to osaka?

  24. Hi! Planning on arriving Dec. 22 and staying in Tokyo til Dec. 26. Day trip to Gala Yuzawa for snow activity on 25.
    Then to Osaka Dec 26-30 and back to Tokyo for 2 nights, departure on Jan.1 out of narita.

    Does JR rail pass cover my trip to Gala Yuzawa, Disneysea and Universal studios? Thank you!

    1. Hello Joey,

      The Japan Rail Pass covers all your trips:
      Gala Yuzawa has its own bullet train station. The Joetsu shinkansen, included in the JR Pass, takes you straight from Tokyo to this location on the Niigata prefecture, in just two hours.
      For Tokyo Disneyland use your JR Pass to travel from Tokyo Station to Maihama Station, on the JR Keiyo line. Travel time is 20 minutes and the park is a mere five-minute walk from the station.
      And last but not least, for the Universal Studios Japan (Osaka) take the Osaka loop line, from Osaka Station to Universal City Station. From Nishikujo Station, you can also take the JR Sakurajima line (also called Yumesaki line). The park is a five-minute walk from the station.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      Regards

  25. Hi

    I am traveling to Tokyo in dec with my kids 3 and 9 years.

    I wan check if I wan to travel to Osaka from Tokyo Narita Airport, which station will easier for me to transfer, Tokyo Station to Shinagawa Station?
    As I will having a few baggages too.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Shellen!

      You might prefer to transfer at Shinagawa Station, specially if you come from the Narita Express: platforms are close and station is smaller, which makes it easier to navigate. Tokyo Station is easy too since you can just follow English signs but you do need to go up elevators/escalators.

      Have an awesome trip!

  26. Hi

    I m traveling to Tokyo in dec with family n with two kids age 3 and 9.
    Is it worth to get 7 days JR pass to travel from Narita Airport to Osaka then back to Tokyo?
    I will staying at Osaka for 2 nights.
    And with 2 kids And few luggages , which should I change at Tokyo Station or Shinagawa station Is better?

    1. Hi Shellen!

      To assess if the Japan Rail Pass is the most cost effective ticket for your trip we recommend you to check at Hyperdia which would be the cost of the individual ticket. When you have this detail you will be able to compare this price to the nation-wide pass price.

      Please keep in mind that the Japan Rail Pass will fully cover your described trip as well as many other day trips from main cities:
      – When you land at Narita Airport you will be entitled to travel on the Narita Express to central Toyko. From Tokyo you will be able to easily reach Osaka, as described in this article, as well as travelling back to Tokyo.
      – In Osaka you will be entitled to make full use of the Osaka Loop Line.

      We hope you have an awesome time!

    1. Hi Melyabani!

      As you can read in this article, to get from Tokyo to Osaka you will need to take either the Hikari bullet train or Kodama from Tokyo or Shinagawa stations in central Tokyo.

      Have a nice trip!

  27. Hi, Our itinerary is covering Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo. We will be spending 2 nights in Osaka, 5 nights in Kyoto and we plan to take a 1way bullet train going to Tokyo for 5days. May I know what do you suggest of the kind of pass we need to take?

    Thank you so much.

    Kae

    1. Hi Kae!

      The Japan Rail Pass will fully cover the mentioned itinerary, as well as many day trips from Tokyo, from Kyoto and from Osaka.
      Besides transportation between Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, which you can already read in this article, the mentioned trips would be covered in the following way:

      – It will cover your transfers from main airports to city centers (either Narita Express to central Tokyo or Haruka Express from Kansai Airport to Kyoto and Osaka).
      – When in Osaka, you will be entitled to fully use the Osaka Loop Line.
      – When in Tokyo, the JR Pass affords access to five different Tokyo railway lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.

      We hope you have an awesome trip!

  28. Hi, my family and I will be travelling to japan on January 2018. Just want to check what type of pass should we get for a cost effective way of travelling around japan.

    Details of trip:

    Arrive at Narita Airport, follow by going to Tokyo and stay for 4 nights with 1 day of Mount Fuji visiting.

    Then will be doing a One-Way trip to Kyoto and spend 2 nights in Kyoto.

    Last day will be departing Kyoto to Osaka Kansai Airport to fly back to Singapore.

    Please advise is it better to purchase a JR pass or any other pass that is more suitable for this travel pattern. Will greatly appreciate any help given. Thanks.

    1. Hi Jarrel!

      The Japan Rail Pass will fully cover your trip:

      – When landing at Narita Airport, you will be able to easily reach central Tokyo through the Narita Express.
      – When in Tokyo, the JR Pass will afford access to five different Tokyo railway lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.
      – Day trip to Mount Fuji will be easily doable through the Gotemba trail (please check carefuly since last part of the trip is not included in the Japan Rail Pass).
      – Getting from Tokyo to Kyoto with the Japan Rail Pass is easy, as described in this article.
      – The Limited Express Haruka is the only direct train service from Kansai Airport to Kyoto station – and it is free with the Japan Rail Pass!

      We hope you enjoy your stay in Japan!

  29. Hi,

    Would like to ask for suggestions and itinerary,
    If my family and I would like to travel from Tokyo 3nights > Osaka 2nights > Kyoto 1night > Tokyo 2nights.
    JR Pass 7days is sufficient? We have total of 5 adults and 2 children (5 and 9 yrs).

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Vivian!

      The Japan Rail Pass would cover your whole trip, however to assess if it is more adequate to get a 7-day pass or a 14-day one we recommend you to check which are the individual prices of each trip in Hyperdia and compare it to the nation wide pass price. It will also be of great help if you want to check for which days of your trip (beggining or end) would be more adequate a 7-day one!

      The Japan Rail Pass would cover your full trip as follows:

      – Transport between Narita Airport and Tokyo city center would be fully cover since you would be entitled to take the Narita Express unlimitedly.
      – Transportation in Tokyo’s JR lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.
      – Tokyo to Osaka by taking either the Hikari bullet train or Kodama from Tokyo or Shinagawa stations in central Tokyo.
      – Transportation in the Osaka Loop Line.
      – Osaka to Kyoto taking the Hikari train on the Tokaido Shinkansen line.
      – Kyoto to Tokyo in the Shinkansen Hikari from Kyoto Station to either Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station in central Tokyo.

      Happy travels!

  30. Hello, i will be traveling in Japan from 30th of December to 14th of January (flying in and flying out of Haneda Airport). We are planning to stay in Tokyo for 1st 2 nights and then travel to Osaka and stay there 4 full days (probably do two side trips),then move to Kyoto( 3 full days) and Takayama (2 full days) and back to Tokyo.
    My questions are:
    Should we activate our 14 day pass by taking train from airport on the 30th, or should we do it on 31st when we take train to Kamakura for NYE clebration?
    From which station train to Osaka from Tokyo leaves?
    What is the best way to get to Takayama?
    How can be sure routes we take on JR trains are covered by JR pass.
    Can you get discount for hotels/attractionswith JR pass?
    Thank you in advance .

    1. Hi Bernadetta!

      – The activation date of your Japan Rail Pass will fully depend on your itinerary. Please note that you will be asked to select the activation date of your pass. This can be up to 30 days following the exchange date.
      – Regarding the station where to take the train from Tokyo to Osaka, all the details are specified in this article you are reading 😉
      Takayama is easy to access using your Japan Rail Pass. If traveling from Tokyo to Takayama, first take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya. From there, take the JR Hida Limited Express to Takayama. If traveling from Kyoto or Osaka to Takayama, from Shin-Osaka Station or Kyoto Station, take the Hikari or Kodama trains on the Tokaido Line to Nagoya, then take the Hida Limited Express from Nagoya to Takayama.
      – To be sure that you take transportation included in the Japan Rail Pass please verify them at Hyperdia using the right filters, as explain here.
      – Holders of the Japan Rail Pass can take advantage of discounted prices with the JR Hotel Group.

      We hope you have a nice stay in Japan!

  31. Hi there

    I am spending 10 days in Japan, going from Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-Tokyo.
    Will i need a national rail pass or can I get one that only includes these areas?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura!

      The Japan Rail Pass will fully cover the mentioned itineraries as well as others that will for sure be useful: airport transfers (for example, you are entitled to travel on the Narita Express from Narita Airport to central Tokyo) and transportation inside the city (for example, the Yamanote line in Tokyo or the Osaka Loop line are fully included).

      The pass costs about the same as rail fare between Osaka and Tokyo (round ticket) so it should pay off for your concrete trip.

      We hope you have an awesome trip!

  32. hai,

    can i know for itenery below :

    Kasai – Osaka
    Osaka – Kobe – Osaka
    Osaka – Nara – Osaka
    Osaka – Kyoto
    Kyoto – Tokyo

    Please advise which one is affordable price.

    1. Hi Safiza!

      The Japan Rail Pass will fully cover the mentioned itinerary:

      – To travel from the Kansai Airport to the city of Osaka, board the Limited Express Haruka at the Kansai Airport Station using your Japan Rail Pass. Take the Haruka to Shin-Osaka Station, a journey of about one hour. At Shin-Osaka, transfer to a local train to Osaka Station.
      – You have two options when traveling from Osaka to Kobe using the JR Pass. You may take the Sanyo Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Kobe Station. This trip lasts approximately 15 minutes. Alternatively, you may take a JR Special Rapid Train from Osaka Station to the Kobe Sannomiya Station, with a trip duration of around 20 minutes.
      – To go to Nara from Osaka begin your trip at the JR Osaka Station. Take the Yamatoji Rapid Train to JR Nara Station. These trains run once per hour; the trip lasts around 45 minutes and is covered by the JR Pass.
      – As you have already read in this article, travelling between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka is as easy as pie – and fully included in the Japan Rail Pass!

      We hope you have an amazing trip!

    1. Hi Titien!

      Yes – travelling to Sapporo by train is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass!

      From Tokyo Station, take the JR Tohoku / Hokkaido Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate Station. This is the halfway mark of the nearly eight-hour journey. From Shin-Hakodate Station, you will take the Hokuto limited express or Super Hokuto trains to Sapporo Station.

      Since it is a long trip, you may want to consider a stopover in nearby Hokuto, as there are a number of temples, shrines, and other places of interest in the area, including a mountainous campground.

      We hope you have an amazing trip!

  33. Hello 🙂 Would like some advice. Me and my family of 5 will be travelling to Japan for 8 days. Our itinerary will start from OSAKA -> KYOTO->Mt FUJI-> TOKYO. All of it only covers one way trip. Will the JR 7 days pass be worthy? I’ve read online that some have mentioned that JR pass will only pay off if is a round trip. It will be more worthy to get separate tickets if is one way. Thank you.

    1. Hi Zyu!

      The most economical pass will always depend on your itinerary and that is why we always recommend you to check which is the cost of the individual trips at Hyperdia and compare it to the price of the nation-wide pass. Please note the Japan Rail Pass would cover your whole trip:

      – When landing at Kansai Airport, full transfer to Osaka in the Haruka Express.
      – Trip from Osaka to Kyoto as you have already learned in this article 🙂
      – Kyoto to Mount Fuji: just take the Tokaido Shinkansen (Kodama and some Hikari trains) from Kyoto Station or Shin-Osaka station (covered by the Japan Rail Pass) and get off at Odawara station. Then take the Hakone Tozan train for Hakone-Yumoto Station (not covered by JR) and get off at Hakone-Itabashi Station.
      – To get from Mount Fuji to Tokyo take the JR Gotemba Line at Gotemba Station and travel until Kozu (Kanagawa). Once there take the JR Tokaido Line to Tokyo Station.
      – Airport transfers from central Tokyo, either if you are departing from Narita Airport (through Narita Express) or from Haneda Airport (through Tokyo Monorail).

      Please also keep in mind the Japan Rail Pass will provide additional comfort by not needing to queue each time you aim to purchase a single ticket.

      We hope you have an amazing trip!

  34. Hi there Team!

    From reading the articles online here and also a LOT of peoples comments I thought I would ask mine to get some clarification…and some advice too!

    I plan on being in Japan beginning of May 2018. Most of the places I will be visiting will be in the “Tokyo” region. I do plan on visiting Kyoto and Nara when I get the chance. I’m hoping to stay for about 2 weeks (to get the best first experience I can!). Would it be worthwhile to get the JR pass for these 2 weeks since as it’s said, can use all the trains?
    A few of my itinerary/plans is/are as follows:
    Tokyo – Ghibli museum (as it closes may 15), sensoji temple, akihabara, shibuya crossing & around tokyo
    Kyoto – kinkakuji, fushimi inari shrine, gion district, kiyomizu-dera temple
    Nara – todaiji temple

    I will be staying in the Funabori area as the pricing to stay away from the major cities is less expensive. I know as well that the subway systems are quite convenient as well so I’m wondering if that would be better suited for what I have planned? I’ll be travelling by myself so I’m a little nervous and want to make sure I have all the correct information before buying the ticket here 🙂

    Any information will be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks so much!
    CM

    1. Hi Cailin!

      The most economical pass will always depend on your itinerary and that is why we always recommend you to check which is the cost of the individual trips at Hyperdia and compare it to the price of the nation-wide pass. Please keep in mind the Japan Rail Pass would cover:

      – Airport transfers to central Tokyo, either if you are landing at Narita Airport (through Narita Express) or at Haneda Airport (through Tokyo Monorail).
      – Transportation between Tokyo and Kyoto by taking the Shinkansen Hikari train from either Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station in central Tokyo, and arrive at Kyoto Station.
      – Transportation to Nara from either Tokyo or Kyoto.
      – Some lines within Tokyo.

      Very happy travels!

  35. Hi,

    We are planning to travel to Japan in January 2018 for 4 days. If we will buy the 7 day JR pass for $251/person, will that cover our day trip to Kyoto and Osaka? and also to go around Tokyo? Please advise.

    Thank you,

    Hanna

    1. Hi Hanna!

      As you can read in this article you are commenting, the Japan Rail Pass fully covers the trips Tokyo-Kyoto, Tokyo-Osaka and Kyoto-Osaka.

      Regarding transportation within Tokyo, the Japan Rail Pass affords access to five different city railway lines and also the Tokaido Shinkansen makes stops at Shinagawa, Ueno, and Tokyo Stations. City lines included in the pass are:

      – The Yamanote Line, Tokyo’s most prominent rail line.
      – The Keihin-Tohoku Line.
      – The Rapid Chuo Line.
      – The local Chuo-Sobu line.
      – Other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.

      Happy travels!

  36. Hi,
    For my holiday next month, I plan to having trip Tokyo – Osaka, Osaka – Kyoto, Kyoto – Tokyo (within 3 days). What kind of JR Pass is suitable for me? Please advise which one is affordable price. I will go with my wife and 5 year old child.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Vaji!

      The Japan Rail Pass would for sure cover all trips you are looking forward to do. However we recommend you to check the individual cost of the trips at Hyperdia to assess if it is the most cost saving option for you. Remember the Japan Rail Pass allows you to travel through the whole country so should you want to make any day trip from there check the cost of it too!

      Very happy travels!

  37. Hi Lovely Staff from Jrail Pass,

    I am planning a 10 days trip for a one-way (Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka) trip. JR will be my main transport .

    Tokyo: Reaching Narita Airport in morning of 30th March 2018
    Kyoto: Reaching Kyoto in afternoon of 3rd April 2018 (by shinkansen)
    Osaka: Reaching Osaka in the afternoon of 6th April 2018 (by shinkansen)
    Kansai Airport: Reaching Kansai Airport in the morning of 8th April 2018

    What is the best JR pass for me?

    Appreciate your advise.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi SOH JIA SHENG!

      The Japan Rail Pass will cover the full itinerary you mention, as well as many day trips from all these cities. We really encourage you to surf our blog to get the best recommendations on what to see while in Japan!

      – To get from Narita Airport to central Tokyo you can take the Narita Express, included in the Japan Rail Pass.
      – From this article you have already learned how to move between Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in the bullet trains using your Japan Rail Pass.
      – While in Tokyo, the JR Pass affords access to five different railway lines: the Yamanote Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.
      – Something similar happens in Osaka, where you are entitled access to the Osaka Loop Line.
      – From Osaka you can easily reach Kansai Airport through the Haruka Express.

      Very happy travels!

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