I found the whole breakdown of the various trains I took on my 52,000-yen Japan Rail Pass last Fall, prices and all.
They’re in no particular order, but that’s because I’m too lazy to sort them out properly.
- Sendai -> Tokyo 10,390 (Shinkansen)
- Nagano -> Sendai 15,220 (Shinkansen)
- Nagoya -> Nagano 6,390 (Limited Express)
- Osaka -> Nagoya 5,980 (Shinkansen)
- Fukuoka -> Osaka 14,390 (Shinkansen)
- Hiroshima -> Fukuoka 8,500 (Shinkansen)
- Hiroshima < – >Miyajima 1,200 (Rapid)
- Kyoto -> Hiroshima 10,590 (Shinkansen)
- Nara -> Kyoto 690 (Limited Express)
- Kyoto -> Nara 690 (Limited Express)
- Nagoya -> Kyoto 5,240 (Shinkansen)
- Okazaki -> Nagoya 600 (Rapid)
- Nagoya -> Okazaki 600 (Rapid)
- Kyoto -> Nagoya 5,240 (Shinkansen)
- Miyajima Ferry -> 300 (Boat)
- Local Trains -> 2,400 (Locals and such.)
Total: 88,420 yen.
So I won. I got my money’s worth.
You can see that shinkansen trains are pretty darn expensive. There are special fees that come into play just for using one, and those jack up the price considerably. A shinkansen train will get you where you want to go twice as fast as a limited express train will, so that’s the cost of convenience.
You can also see that getting a green car pass for ~72,000 yen would still have paid for itself, although actually the fares would have been much higher, because there’s an extra green car fee you pay for green car tickets.
My advice– if you’re going to a lot of places, get a JR pass, if the math works out. But don’t bother with the green car.
One thing you should do is plan out where you’re going, and use the hyperdia website to see if it’s worth your money to get a JR pass. The nice thing about hyperdia is that it lists the fares for each train as well, so you can figure out how much you’d save by getting/not getting a pass.
Also, prices vary for JR passes based on the duration of the pass. My pass was a 21-day pass. The 7 and 14-day passes are cheaper.