questions & answers: general japan travel

best rail passes for our itinerary?

Best rail passes for our itinerary?

Hi,

I am so glad I've found this forum as I was getting stressed out trying to figure out our itinerary. I have a couple of questions for you, thank you in advance for your answer!

We are travelling to Japan between the 28th of April (Narita) until May 14 (Narita). We booked our flight already but no accomodation. This is our first time and the reason we booked the flight so last minute because it was an amazing deal!!

We would like to visit:
Tokyo
Spend two days in Tokyo Disneyland (I wonder if we have to sleep there or can we stay in Tokyo and take the train daily?)
Spend 1 or 2 days in a ryokan in Hakone and Mt. Fuji
Kyoto
Nara
Hiroshima
Miyajima

1) How many days should we stay in Tokyo? I guess it also depends if you suggest we stay onsite in Disneyland?
2)How many days in Kyoto? I guess we can visit Hiroshima and Nara while we overnight in Kyoto?
3)Looking at this itinerary what would be the best type of rail and/or subway passes we should purchase?

Thank you so much for helping me out!

mattc
mattc

Hi there!

If you have 16 nights in Japan, you can make a great trip I think.

I think the basis of an itinerary would look like:

  • 7 nights in Tokyo - overcome jetlag, soak in the metropolis, making sure to spend a friday and saturday there. You can take the train daily to Disneyland (maihama station) and don't need to stay in the Park. Day trip to Nikko.
  • 1 night in Hakone.
  • 5 nights in Osaka or Kyoto depending on budget. Day trips to Nara, Himeji, Kurashiki, Osaka/Kyoto and surrounding area.
  • 1 night in Kinosaki Onsen or Mt Koya
  • 1 night on Miyajima, visiting Hiroshima during the day
  • 1 night in Tokyo before catching your flight the following day.

Note that Osaka will be cheaper to stay in than Kyoto and is only 30mins away by train. Although a 14 day JR Pass will cover most of your travel and give you great savings, you should be prepared to pay for some metro travel (I recommend looking into the 1 and 2 day unlimited metro cards that tourists can buy at Narita), and also for travel from Odawara to Hakone (I recommend the Hakone Free Pass), and up to Mt Koya if you go there.

Here is a map of the potential JR stations, and some JR ticket costs for comparison:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥3,140 (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Nikko: ¥5,230 (121mins, 150km)
  3. Nikko > Tokyo: ¥5,230 (121mins, 150km)
  4. Tokyo > Maihama: ¥210 (15mins, 12km)
  5. Maihama > Tokyo: ¥210 (15mins, 12km)
  6. Tokyo > Maihama: ¥210 (15mins, 12km)
  7. Maihama > Tokyo: ¥210 (15mins, 12km)
  8. Tokyo > Odawara: ¥3,440 (35mins, 83km)
  9. Odawara > Osaka: ¥12,270 (159mins, 472km)
  10. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540 (28mins, 42km)
  11. Kyoto > Osaka: ¥540 (28mins, 42km)
  12. Osaka > Nara: ¥780 (51mins, 48km)
  13. Nara > Osaka: ¥780 (51mins, 48km)
  14. Osaka > Himeji: ¥3,640 (47mins, 95km)
  15. Himeji > Osaka: ¥3,640 (47mins, 95km)
  16. Osaka > Kinosakionsen: ¥5,250 (161mins, 183km)
  17. Kinosakionsen > Osaka: ¥5,250 (161mins, 183km)
  18. Osaka > Hiroshima: ¥10,220 (109mins, 345km)
  19. Hiroshima > Miyajimaguchi: ¥400 (26mins, 21km)
  20. Miyajimaguchi > Tokyo: ¥18,050 (331mins, 916km)
  21. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥3,140 (58mins, 79km)

JR ticket cost: ¥82,380 for 21 legs

Hope this helps!

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mari
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