A 7 days Japan Rail Pass costs 29110 yen (about 240 euro, depending on the exchange rate). It may seem expensive: is it worthwhile?
It all depends on our travel plans: if we’ll just visit the outskirts of Tokyo, it is a waste of money, even going to Yokohama, Kamakura, Saitama, we’ll never would spend this amount.
But, if we plan to visit also Osaka, we can see on Hyperdia that the pass is cheaper than a return ticket!
Obviously, there are cheaper ways to go to Osaka, for example, a night bus costs about 8000 yen, and even a plane ticket Haneda => Itami costs much less. Or you can try to take the train without reservation saving fifty euro each way.
But the Shinkansen is much more comfortable for many ways: in 3 hours you arrive, without bother to check-in, book months in advance, depart at odd hours, transfer to airports, overweight luggages, etc …
With the JR Pass you can take all trains except the Nozomi (the fastest Shinkansen), berths, and private companies trains (eg: the Seibu-Shinjuku line, Seibu-Ikebukuro, Keio, subway, etc.), so you can save even with a simple, one week trip like this:
- Narita Express from Narita Airport to Tokyo (2630 yen)
- Transfers on the Yamanote line to visit Shinjuku, Shibuya (200 yen for each trip)
- Hikari for Osaka (14140 yen)
- Train for Kyoto (560 yen)
- Return to Tokyo (560+14140)
- Narita Express for the airport (2630 yen)
Total: 35000 yen => a 55 euro savings!
It all depends by what do you want to see during the trip.