questions & answers: itinerary check

is it worth getting the jr railpass

Is it worth getting the JR railpass

I have read in the guidebook that for some rail services such as certain bullet trains and limited express trains you have to pay a supplement but I can't information on this. So I am not sure if it makes sense to buy the rail pass for our itinerary.
Day1 Hakata (Fukuoka) --> Kyoto
Day3 Kyoto --> Himeji return
Day 4 Kyoto-->Nara return
Day7 Kyoto-->Nagano
Day8 Nagano-->Kamikochi return
Day9 Nagano-->Tokyo
Day11 Tokyo--> Kawaguchi (fuji)
Day12 Kawaguch -->Tokyo
Day14 Tokyo -->Hakone return
Day16 Tokyo --> Tokyo Narita airport

susantandy
susantandy

Hello there,

A 14 day JR Pass could help you make good savings, given that you use it from Day 1 - Day 14.

Hakata - Kyoto ¥ 15,440
Kyoto - Himeji (return) ¥ 10,140
Kyoto - Nara (return) ¥ 1,420
Kyoto - Nagano ¥ 13,450
Nagano - Tokyo ¥ 8,000
Tokyo - Hakone, Shinkansen to Odawara station (return) ¥ 7,080

For a total of ¥ 55530 or at least ¥ 9,140 in savings, as the 14 day JR Pass ¥ 46,390. I've not included Kamikochi/Kawaguchiko as transport other than JR is required in order to access both areas, however also there, savings are to be had with the JR Pass.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

The rail pass would give you a lot of savings in your planned itinerary. However, some of your legs are quite long and there are some non-JR trips you will need. Some regional passes can help in areas that the JR Pass can't save you money.
For Fukuoka, look into a Fukuoka Tourist City Pass. There are many open parks, shopping, seaside historical areas, and urban neon. See this site as a good guide.
Don't miss the Nanzoin Temple which is one of Japan's finest yet almost totally unknown to the outside world and completely free!
You can also see a lot of previews on the best there is to see here.
Including Himeji is a great choice - the castle is Japan's best. Don't miss the Kokoen Garden next to it, and if you have time there is also Mt. Shosha with its Engyoji Temple - part of the movie The Last Samurai was filmed there.

Nara is another excellent choice. Missing the Todaiji Great Buddha would be a tragedy. Nara Park has a lot of other great places, such as Kasuga Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, and feeding the many deer in the area. A few other great places missed out even by those who go to Nara though are the Isuien Isuien and Yoshikien Gardens. They are gorgeous and not busy at all.

But your next leg is more daunting. Going from Kyoto to Nagano would be with the best connection through Kanazawa take around 3¾ hours (Kanazawa is also well worth seeing). And to go to Kamimochi means going to Matsumoto, then paying for a Matsumoto Electric Railway ticket to Shin-Shimashima Station (taking 30 minutes) and then catching an hour long bus ride to Kamikochi. There are also some infrequent direct buses from Matsumoto, but at any rate it is going to cost close to ¥2500 one way.

For going to the Fuji 5 Lakes area, you can save some money with a 3 day Fuji Hakone Pass to see both the lakes and Hakone. You might want to stay at an onsen (hot spring) in Hakone and avoid going all the way back to Tokyo. Going to a hot spring at least once during your visit is well worth it. Lastly, since you can't use your pass to go to Narita Airport, look into a 1000 yen bus to Narita.

Best of luck.

Toraneko
Toraneko

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