Several of my friends and I are planning a trip to Japan in 2016 for 14 days. We will arrive at Narita and travel to Kyoto for up to 7 days and return to Tokyo. We will be touring both cities. I was wondering if the 14 day JR Pass is the correct option? From what I understand, the JR pass can be used on most buses and trains in Japan.
over 1 year ago
Going Tokyo-Kyoto-Tokyo would not be enough to cover the costs of a 14 day pass. To be honest, it comes up a little short for a 7 day pass too. But if you expand your itinerary a bit or go to/from Narita on the Pass, you should be able to make up the difference. You first need to decide your itinerary more concretely. If you go to Kyoto (or Nara, Osaka etc) and return within a week, then a 7 day pass is more ideal and easy to get your money's worth. If you are willing to travel more, then a 14 day pass makes more sense - you can make a number of overnight or day trips such as to Hiroshima/Miyajima, Nikko, Himeji, etc which are all well worth seeing.
You can also get some regional passes to nearby places from Tokyo like Hakone and Kamakura.
The JR Pass can be used on JR trains, and local lines of JR buses, but not on non-JR buses, city subways, etc. To most popular tourist destinations though, a JR train will likely get you there.
Seeing Himeji and Kobe are both good ideas. Still, the original info I gave still applies - a 7 day pass would offer you good savings. If you want a 14 day pass, then you'd need to expand your itinerary more to make the pass worth it. If you are willing to do that, there is no shortage of great places to see. Takayama between Tokyo and Kyoto is one popular choice. Going further south is also a good possibility. Hiroshima/Miyajima is the most popular one, but there is also Okayama for the Korakuen and Handayama Gardens, Kotohira in Kagawa for a marvelous half day hike, Kosanji in Onomichi for its wildly ornate temple, Iwakuni for its famous bridge and castle, and if you really want to see something mind-blowing, go visit the Akiyoshido Limestone Cave to see a 300 million year old cave with huge caverns and an underground river flowing through.
North of Tokyo there is also Nikko, which is a very beautiful and popular place to visit.