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Old 02-27-2014, 05:34 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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The problem with the passes is that they're for set time periods. So for instance, if I wanted to spend a week in Kyoto-Osaka, and then go to Tokyo, the rail pass would not be valid when I wanted to go to Sapporo.

So do the rail passes cover metropolitan travel? I thought they were only for the bullet train. Is it worth it for just travelling around Tokyo? I mean how much is the subway in Tokyo in general?

$672 for a two week pass seems an awful lot of money, especially considering I mainly just want to do one trip on the bullet train. Still not convinced it's the best route to take.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
The problem with the passes is that they're for set time periods. So for instance, if I wanted to spend a week in Kyoto-Osaka, and then go to Tokyo, the rail pass would not be valid when I wanted to go to Sapporo.

So do the rail passes cover metropolitan travel? I thought they were only for the bullet train. Is it worth it for just travelling around Tokyo? I mean how much is the subway in Tokyo in general?

$672 for a two week pass seems an awful lot of money, especially considering I mainly just want to do one trip on the bullet train. Still not convinced it's the best route to take.
Well, it depends on what you want to do. But being you have Tokyo, Osaka, AND Sapporo...that's a lot of airfare right there, then tons of $$ to get from the airport to your destination (usually around $30 regardless of the city)...and you'll want to get around your destination.

As I was living in Japan, I could never use a Japan Rail Pass. Probably want to check out the details, but I always had the impression that they covered everything on the JR Trains which go throughout pretty much every city in Japan. I think there are several different plans, actually.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:45 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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Yes, JR rail passes cover metropolitan travel too. Most JR lines in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, etc are all free. A few will require an extra fee but I think those are all historical or special lines.

I remember taking a rickety old wooden rail car line through Kyoto LOL! It was free on my JR pass. I was like "wtf is this?" Well, apparently it was the first light rail line in Kyoto and they preserved the construction.

Also, one thing you can try to do is figure out the cost of rail it will cost you ahead of time. Most lines in Japan have english websites to figure out the cost of the ticket. So if the cost of the 7 days of rail costs less than paying the JR pass, then don't buy it. Just make sure you factor in the cost of the connecting Shinkansen =P ... that alone will usually tip you over from marginal or maybe saving money by not buying the JR pass to saying it saves you money.

Just to give an idea, in Tokyo my wife and I must've used the JR pass enough to spend $30 per person a day in rail travel ALONE, and that is being optimistic. That means over 7 days we spent $210 per person in rail alone. OK, not enough on its own for a JR pass. BUT, the last day, seventh day, we went to Kyoto. That would have cost a cool $175 per person but our JR passes paid for it all.

Thus, while we all highly recommend the JR pass, if you do plan on spending long periods of time in a local area with limited travel and only want to connect via Shinkansen, then sure, it may work out to not buy it. But don't take our words for it all ... do the maths and homework on your own using the JR websites to look for fares ahead of time and plan out your trip - where you want to visit, picking the lines you will go between. It can be done. It's hard work But it is worth it.

Hyperdia | Timetable and Route Search in Japan.

Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:07 AM
 
Location: classified
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Just to clarify things I assume the JR Pass covers everything including the individual subway and bus systems in Japan?
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Well at this stage I don't know how much I'll pay for the subway. Subway isn't the same as JR Rail is it? About how much would a typical tourist pay for subway fares in Tokyo?
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:12 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Well, it depends on what you want to do. But being you have Tokyo, Osaka, AND Sapporo...that's a lot of airfare right there, then tons of $$ to get from the airport to your destination (usually around $30 regardless of the city)...and you'll want to get around your destination.

As I was living in Japan, I could never use a Japan Rail Pass. Probably want to check out the details, but I always had the impression that they covered everything on the JR Trains which go throughout pretty much every city in Japan. I think there are several different plans, actually.
I like to leave a bit of room for flexibility, but I would love to go to Hokkaido. If not I suppose I can always go another time and might not end up getting the pass. It might depend on that. Also going from Tokyo-Sapporo and back...
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:27 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
Well at this stage I don't know how much I'll pay for the subway. Subway isn't the same as JR Rail is it? About how much would a typical tourist pay for subway fares in Tokyo?
Usually the same thing. Japan has other rail lines, but JR is the most extensive.

You can spend a lot of money just on the rails within the same city. It adds up real quickly. I can imagine you without the pass, and spending the day trying to use the subway getting around to see Tokyo, and easily having spent $30-40 just on the metro alone.
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:24 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Usually the same thing. Japan has other rail lines, but JR is the most extensive.

You can spend a lot of money just on the rails within the same city. It adds up real quickly. I can imagine you without the pass, and spending the day trying to use the subway getting around to see Tokyo, and easily having spent $30-40 just on the metro alone.
Why so expensive? Isn't there a day pass? Or do you have to buy a ticket for each separate journey? Even in the London Underground there were $7 day tickets that lasted 24 hours.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:14 PM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
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Google "JR east fares" and you'll see the fares.

There are day passes but they're not very economical.

Check out the link I posted in my prior response to Hyperdia to get fare and route information.

Subway lines and some light rail lines are private, NOT JR lines. But some underground trains are JR. You just have to pay attention to the subway terminals you enter and make sure you carry a map that lists where the JR stations are versus the other stations.

And no, the bus system is totally separate from JR. There's only a few non-rail JR link buses and a few gondolas and special things.

And why so expensive? All the conductors get paid a living wage (quite well actually, with good benefits, and good reason why it's the best train system int eh world!). And everything is pretty clean, at least the city stations. Some of the suburb stations are starting to show their age, but there aren't garbage strewn about or unsavory types hanging around, besides densha enthusiasts (ugh).
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,276,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eskercurve View Post
Google "JR east fares" and you'll see the fares.

There are day passes but they're not very economical.

Check out the link I posted in my prior response to Hyperdia to get fare and route information.

Subway lines and some light rail lines are private, NOT JR lines. But some underground trains are JR. You just have to pay attention to the subway terminals you enter and make sure you carry a map that lists where the JR stations are versus the other stations.

And no, the bus system is totally separate from JR. There's only a few non-rail JR link buses and a few gondolas and special things.

And why so expensive? All the conductors get paid a living wage (quite well actually, with good benefits, and good reason why it's the best train system int eh world!). And everything is pretty clean, at least the city stations. Some of the suburb stations are starting to show their age, but there aren't garbage strewn about or unsavory types hanging around, besides densha enthusiasts (ugh).
Well I mean even compared to Australia or Europe $30-40 a day just sounds really exorbitant for metro travel...
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