questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

7 day pass adviseable considering our itinerary?

7 day pass adviseable considering our itinerary?


We are a group of 7 people traveling to Japan from Canada --- 4 adults and 3 children (ages 5, 8, 10). As I am planning our trip, which is next month, I'm running into a bit of a train pass dilemma.

We are planning to arrive in Narita airport on August 10. Travel to Hakone on the 15th for one night then travel to Kyoto on the 16th, there for 6 nights then back to Narita Airport from Kyoto to depart Japan on Aug 22. While in Kyoto, we plan to take day trips to Nara, Osaka and Hiroshima.

My plan initially was to purchase the 7 day pass and not begin using until Aug 16 on our trip from Hakone to Kyoto., it would also cover all our day trips while there and then use it again for our final trip from Kyoto back to Narita on the NEX express.

However, if I were to plan it out this way, we would not be covered on arrival, for our first trip in to Tokyo from the airport and as we'll not be covered for the trip from Tokyo to Odawara (we would have to purchase the more expensive Hakone Free Pass).

Is this our best option?

In addition, how easy would it be to validate/activate the JR Pass from Hakone (Odawara)?

Thank you in advance!! Looking forward to your advice!



Hi Perina,

I do think that sticking to the 7 day JR Pass is the better option. At least in terms of budget, tickets for Narita Airport - Tokyo and Tokyo - Hakone alone would not be enough to pay for the upgrade to 14 day JR Pass.

On arrival you could purchase a 1,500yen Narita Express ticket which is the best way to travel into Tokyo.

In addition you could consider the Hakone Pass if you plan to explore the Hakone region a good bit. It is very easy to activate your JR Pass at Odawara station and probably much faster than Narita Airport too.

Hope this helps!


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