Japan JR Pass

Travelling to Japan and will be going all over Japan for 20 days. The first 7 days in Tokyo, the rest all around.

Should we get a 14 day JR pass for the trip post Tokyo and onwards, and therefore buy individual tickets tk travel around Tokyo.

Or should we get a 21 day JR Pass?

Originally we were going with the earlier but it seems as though the JR pass can be used pretty thoroughly around Tokyo.

Thanks for your help.


  • +15 votes

    14 day pass and just get a Suica card for going around Tokyo

    • +2 votes

      Definitely this. No point having a JR pass for around Tokyo.


      Agree with this.
      If you get the JR pass for Tokyo, you'll have access to the Yamanote line (green) for free, however it was more convenient travelling the other lines to me rather than limiting myself to one line.

    • +1 vote

      Agree with this, JR pass will get you free access on the Yamanote line and the Yamanote line is like a big circle ish of most of Tokyo. I also recommend getting a Pasmo or Suica card as that allows you to travel on other lines and are cheap as well. Plus with the Pasmo card you can load funds on it and it can be used in stores/supermarkets etc which is very handy.


      Yep my advice too.


    IMHO, JR Pass around Tokyo is not the best way to get around as it doesnt work on the Metro.

    Better off getting a metro card (Suaca or… I cant remmeber the other card name) and load that up with yen. Heaps more convenient to get around Tokyo.

    JR Pass is simple math - work out the long distance trips you're going to take, price them up online, and compare that to the JR Pass.


    it seems as though the JR pass can be used pretty thoroughly around Tokyo

    I mean you can, but it might be cheaper to just use a Suica/Pasmo while you're there.

    How many times are you planning on using the Shinkansen? 14 day JR Pass might be more value for money.

  • +4 votes

    Use www.hyperdia.com to see if it's worth it for your trips.


    Don't want to derail OPs thread but rather than create another Japan travelling advice thread. Heading into Tokyo for 5 days in July, travelling just around Tokyo, Harajuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, DisneySea, Shinjuku, Akihabara. Are there any passes I should be looking at or just buy a train ticket when there/Uber it. Just me and the missus.

    • +1 vote


      tldr; just buy a Suica at the airport (a la Myki/Go card) and you can use that for basically everything in Tokyo and just need to top it up without having to worry if one of those other passes covers your mode of transport. You can also use it to buy food at conbini (convenience stores) and at many restaurants - this will prevent you from ending up with lots of useless coins.

      You can buy those in advance from JTR travel Au for a small $5 markup per card. They come preloaded with 1500 yen worth of credit.

    • +5 votes

      if flying in to Narita and going into tokyo then get the Access Narita bus.

      I wish I had known about this previously!! - Iused to Live in Japan and travel there regularly.

      1000yen (~$12.50 ) -half price for kids to 13years- gets you from Narita to Tokyo station by bus - compared to rail which costs minimum 2500yen.

      buses leave every 20 minutes. from each terminal (starting from terminal 3 first).

      you pay the bus driver directly (no booking required - and, if it is busy, with frequent buses you only have to wait for the next bus i.e. 20minutes)

      here is the website http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/

      the bus runs on the highway express way (i.e. think autobahn) so no traffic lights. except when you get near to the destination.

      you are subject to the traffic conditions in comparison to rail.

      I went from Narita to Tokyo at 9pm and it took 40 minutes. on the return trip (midday) it took 1.5 hours. so if you have a strict deadline then get rail.

      though the cheapest rail takes at least 40 minutes as you stop at many stations.

      Regarding Uber (which I have never used in Japan as rail is so frequent/efficient) have a read of this article TL:DR - not really worth it except for very late night trips.


        That's a good price for the Access Narita bus.

        I use the Limousine Bus because if gets me closer to my preferred hotel. It's not as cheap, but definitely more pleasurable after a long flight than getting the train.


        Hi @altomic - Do you know if we can use Suica card on this Airport bus? If not, then can we pay by Card — thinking od using my 28degress to pay..
        or is it cash only?

    • +1 vote

      Just get a Suica card (it's called an IC Card - one of 5 is called Suica and used in Tokyo.) which works like an Opal/Myki card.

      It's great you can even use it in 7/11, duty free and some ramen shops so it reduces the coins you have to carry.


      Thanks for the replies guys, I am guessing like the Octopus card in HK you can only top up with debit/cash. You can't top up with a CC like gocard and such?

  • +1 vote

    I resisted the Suica card for a while, preferring to use my JR pass, but there is a lot of convenience in just "cheep cheep" going through on your Suica card, rather than lining up at the manned entrance for someone to check your pass.

    I also got stuck once when I used a combination of the JR pass on JR lines and Suica on metro lines. Somehow it got mixed up that the Suica didn't think I had tapped off and locked itself. I then had to go to a manned booth, pull out Google Translate and try to get it fixed.

    Buying the individual tickets from the machine is also a great way to get rid of all your 10 yen coins. You just pour everything in and if you need change it gives you the biggest coins it can. It's been a couple of years since I've been, but that's the best of my recollection.

  • +2 votes

    Tokyo really shuts down on Sundays and a lot of the streets are deserted. Hire a bike and you can see an absolute ton of the city. You can also consider walking Shinjuku-Shibuya-Harajuku or Ginza-Emperor's palace-Akihabara-Ueno.


      "Tokyo really shuts down on Sundays and a lot of the streets are deserted." A relative of mine who has lived and worked in Tokyo for years says, "That's news to me."


        My second cousin twice removed thinks I am correct. Where are all the cars going, according to him/her? I think you are funny. Many of the 4 lane (each way) major ground level roads are empty. If you want details, Nishigahara to Akihabara. Empty. Shinjuku to Shibuya. Empty. Most of the Yamanote line roads or beneath the elevated highways are a dream on Sundays. Yes it is fun being able to ride on super wide Toyko streets crossing all four lanes with very few or no cars. Tell your relative to try riding a bike. Maybe your relative can explain why often Chuo Dori in Ginza is shut to cars on Sundays, a street that is gridlocked with cars during the week. It's even called "HokĊsha Tengoku" lol. I rode the Gran Turismo R246 circuit because it was empty. When? On Sundays due to low traffic. Three quarters was completely empty. Denki Gai Chuo Dori Akihabara is very busy during the week. Sundays, it's not at all, particularly before midday.

  • +2 votes

    Depending on where you want to go within Tokyo they have 24/48/72 hour subway passes: https://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/travel/index.html

    Note these are based on a time (not day) period so you could get 4 days use out of a 72 hour one depending on when you first activate it.

    As always, do your sums to see if it will save you money or not.


    Make sure you use HyperDia and check prices of trips you have planned to work out if you will get the value out of a JR Pass.
    I was just there and got about $875 worth of travel out of my 14 day pass (which cost $600).

    Also, I had my Suica in my Apple Wallet which meant I could top it up whenever I wanted using my ING card also in my Apple Wallet, and just tap my iPhone to pay for stuff at 7 eleven or to go through gates at train stations. Very handy.


    If travel time isn't critical to you, the buses will be much cheaper. Willer Express run buses and they work out to be less than half the price of the equivalent Shinkansen. Furthermore, there's a good selection of overnight buses from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto (among other cities) so you can even save time by just sleeping on the bus and waking up just in time for a start at your new city. Their website is in English and a breeze to make a booking on.
    I myself have booked the bus between most cities and plan to catch one or two Shinkansens for the experience!

    Within Tokyo, I think the Suica card that others have mentioned is a good choice.


    Any recommendations on sim cards? Will be travelling between osaka,down to hiroshima and back up to tokyo


    Last two time I went to Japan I used a wifi service called ivideo and their rates was great, had wifi the whole time I was in japan. You can book a pickup at the airport if you plan ahead.


      yep thats who I used, no issues at all. I actually extended my service for friends that left for japan just as we came back, and it worked perfectly for them too