questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

16 days in japan

16 days in Japan

Hi I want to know the difference between individual tickets and 14 days JR pass.
If i am using JR pass - would be great if you could tell me which part of the trip i am required to pay on top or where I should activate the pass from.

3 days in Tokyo (Tokyo metro card)
1 day Hakone, travelling from Tokyo
1 day Matsumoto, travelling from Hakone
1 day Shirakawago (include takayama)
2 days Kyoto via Kanazawa
2 days Kobe - half day Himeji Castle and ropeway to Mt Rokko?
2 days Hiroshima including Miyijama Island day trip
3 days Osaka including day trip to Nara

Is two days in Kobe too long? Should I visit other places instead?

Feedback is appreciated :)


Hi there,

Looks great!

I recommend activating your rail pass on the 2nd/3rd day so you can use the rail pass up to when you depart. It's not clear which airport you will depart from, will you be leaving from Tokyo?

The following parts of your trip will need extra fares:

  • Tokyo > Hakone. You can use the JR Pass up to Odawara, but from there you will need to purchase individual tickets, or travel passes such as the Hakone Free Pass.
  • Matsumoto > Shirakawago & Takayama. This is a hard trip to recommend as Matsuyama is separated from Takayama/Shiakawago by a range to the Japan Alps, so there is not simple train route that connects these two areas. In general, the JR route is to come down to Nagoya/Tajimi area and then go back up the other side of the Alps up to Takayama (sample itinerary, 4hr 20m). If you don't mind spending money on a bus service, there is a route run by the Nohi bus company which costs ¥3,100 and takes 2hr 20m from Matsumoto to Takayama. From Takayama you would also take the Nohi bus to Shirakawago as this is only accessible by non-JR bus.
  • Ropeway to Mt Rokko will be a separate charge as it is non-JR.

2 days for Kobe is possibly something to reconsider unless you are visiting friends - I recommend you stay longer in Kyoto and do day trips to Kobe, Himeji, Nara as needed. Osaka is also a good base, and will have a good range of accommodation.

Hope this helps!


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