My husband and I will be spending a week in Japan and we’re trying to split the time between Tokyo and Kyoto. I’ve read through almost all of your articles regarding the different rail passes and ways of getting to Kyoto, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we probably wouldn’t benefit from the JR Rail pass since we’re only traveling to Kyoto. We are planning on getting the Suico/Passmo cards though, I read that these cards can be used on the bullet trains as well, do you book these tickets in advance? Are the discount packages (i.e the round trip Kyoto with 1-day pass) separate from these cards? Please help as I am so confused and have yet to book a place to stay while debating the trip to Kyoto. Thank you very much!!
You can (and most people do) buy Shinkansen tickets separately. You usually don’t need to book them far in advance, even on busy days you can book a seat on a train within hour, or just board any unreserved carriage. PASMO/Suica are generally just used for city metro travel.
There’s one Tokyo/kyoto discount ticket available for tourists, see the details about the “special discount ticket” in about the 4th or 5th paragraph this article:
Hope that helps.