First Class JR Pass - is it worth it?

hi there,

i will buy a JR pass for my 16 day visit in japan, i plan going from tokyo to kyoto, osaka and some other smaller towns in the mid-japan area. is it worth it to buy a 1st class 14-day ticket? whats the difference to the economy class?

thanks in advance :slight_smile:

isa (austria)

It depends on how much time you plan to spend in Tokyo and how many side trips you plan to take. In general, a round trip on the Tokaido Shinkansen roughly covers the price if a one-week JR Pass, so that’s a good place to start as a baseline.

For example, if you plan to spend a week in Tokyo and then a week in Osaka/Kyoto, my recommendation would be to buy a one-week pass that you only use for the second half of your trip. Unless you’re going to fly into Tokyo and out of Osaka, in which case you’re probably better off just buying the one-way train ticket.

The only difference is a bit more comfort and complimentary drinks and snacks. Typically (with some exceptions) the seating in regular carriages on the Shinkansen is 5 wide in a 3+2 configuration, while the Green car seating configuration is 2+2. I think the Gran Class which is only on the Tohoku Shinkansen is 1+2, but I’m not even sure if the Green Class JR pass covers Gran Class. In standard class there are carts that come through selling food and drinks but the Green car also has something like an airline drinks service with complimentary tea, coffee and juice, along with snacks. There’s also a dedicated attendant. Not a big difference in comfort to be honest - especially if you can get the window seat in standard class on the side that only has 2 seats. These are always the first to go. The other (rare) advantage with standard class is that if you’re on an empty late night train, you might be able to lie down.

Most people find that economy class is more than comfortable enough. :slight_smile:

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