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Japan rail pass vs individual tickets

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  • Japan rail pass vs individual tickets

    Hi all,
    I will be in Japan in November and was wondering if anybody could advise what the cheapest option would be...
    A week rail pass, or just normal tickets
    I would be travelling from Nishinomya to Kitakyushu and back again

    Many thanks in advance

  • #2
    An adult 7 days Standard Class JR Pass costs $233. Price is based on JPY, which is currently JPY29,110. See costs on this page. The pass does not cover Nozomi and Mizuho (top) class service although you can pay extra to upgrade I believe. By class of service I do not mean passenger service (e.g. first vs. second class) but the train service itself (think Eurocity vs. Intercity).

    A one-way journey on JR Central Nozomi Super-Express Shinkansen Standard class with reserved seats from Shin-Kobe to Kokura costs JPY14,990 (~$125). It's slightly but not much cheaper to go with unreserved seat (could mean standing if you take a full train).

    Price for Hikari and Kodama Shinkansen service (more frequent intermediate stops compared to Nozomi) between those two same stations one-way is JPY13,810 (~$115).

    Prices for JR Central can be downloaded from this page.

    So if you are happy to travel on Hikari/Kodama class Shinkansen instead of Nozomi/Mizuho for a return trip within 7 days, then it's about break even. If it were me, I would buy the tickets individually unless there are plans to take several side trips on JR (be aware there are other plenty of other operators for more local/regional services and sometimes JR does not offer the best route). Another thing is that if you are planning to travel with someone, particularly if say someone from a dojo in Nishinomiya will accompany you to Kita-Kyushu, sometimes your host may want to buy the tickets together in order to get the reserved seats next to each other. Getting seats next to each other when everyone buys separately is possible but a bit mendokusai (means going to the ticket office a second time to sort it out... easy enough but still mendokusai for your host).
    Last edited by dillon; 6th July 2015, 10:28 PM.

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    • #3
      Hi dillon
      Thanks for the info.
      I will be travelling on my own and i think doing only the two trips.
      Individual tickets may sound better then if the cost is around the same.

      Many thanks

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      • #4
        One thing to look out for is if you are flying with JAL or ANA, they will often offer to connect you to a domestic regional airport for no extra cost compared to the price for just the international flight. Open jaw are also sometimes offered at the same cost. That way you could fly into Kansai International and out of Fukuoka (or vice-versa) and not have to back track. Thus you would only need a one way train journey. Fukuoka has an international airport but it serves flights to/from nearby Asian countries. Flights to/from Europe, North America, Australia and further off Asian countries go through Kansai, Narita or Haneda. So returning from Fukuoka means going back through one of these three intercontinental hub airports.
        Last edited by dillon; 9th July 2015, 09:39 PM.

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        • #5
          Kitakyushuu off all places eh? Let me know how the kendo from that area goes, have a few kouhai from when I was in Japan that were from that area.

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