questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

14 or 21 days jr rail pass

14 or 21 days JR Rail Pass

Hi :-)

I will go to Japan in spring 2016 with my brother. Here our plan:

  1. Tokyo
  2. Tokyo
  3. Tokyo
  4. Tokyo
  5. Tokyo
  6. Kyoto / Osaka (it isn't decided yet if we will stay in Kyoto or Osaka)
  7. Kyoto / Osaka
  8. Kyoto / Osaka
  9. Kyoto / Osaka
  10. Kyoto / Osaka
  11. Kyoto / Osaka
  12. Kyoto / Osaka
  13. Hiroshima
  14. Hiroshima - Himeji - Nagoya
  15. Nagoya
  16. Takayama
  17. Takayama
  18. Takayama / to Matsumoto or Kanazawa (isn't decided yet)
  19. Matsumoto or Kanazawa / in the evening to Tokyo
  20. Tokyo
  21. Tokyo
    (22. Tokyo - probably we could spend a day more in Tokyo)

From Tokyo we will do sidetrips to Hakone, Nikko, Kamakura and Yokohama. From Kyoto or Osaka we plan to do sidetrips to Nara and Kobe and in Hiroshima we will go to Miyajima.

At first I thougt that I could use a 14 JR Rail Pass from day 6 to 19. Or would it be better to use a 21 days rail pass (probably because if we want do another sidetrip to a destination or so).

What do you think? And is this plan good?

I read a lot in Japan-Guide, but I'm not sure if we should choose Matsumoto or Kanazawa. Honestly I really want to see the Matsumoto castle, but I also saw that Kanazawa is a good place.

Thank you very much for your help in advance :-)


A 3 week pass easily pays off. If you stay the extra day though, you won't be able to use the pass to either go to or from Narita. But there is a cheap 1000 yen bus you can take:

Forced with a choice, I'd choose Kanazawa over Matsumoto - but frankly, you have a lot of time in Tokyo even with the side trips, and there is nothing stopping you from enhancing your pass value further by taking the bullet train to Matsumoto as a day trip. I'd say 3 days within Tokyo is quite enough, and a day trip to Sendai in Miyagi is only 95 minutes and well worth a visit - or even to Yamadera would be good.

Just make sure you bring enough memory cards!


Thank you a lot for your help :-) If I have further questions, I will write again.


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