questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass for 7 days

JR pass for 7 days


I wish to know whether JR pass is worth buying for my tentative plan as shown below for my trip in July:-

15-18 July : Osaka and Kyoto
18-21 July : Takayama
21-24 July : Hakone
24-25 July : Tokyo

I am planning to purchase Takayama 5 day pass, JR Rail Pass 7 days and Hakone 2 days pass for my trip above. For my trip above, I can travel via bullet train except to Hakone (JR pass will not be applicable). Please confirm.

Please advise whether I shall purchase JR Rail pass or otherwise.

Thanks & Regards,


If you are not returning back to Osaka to leave Japan, then unfortunately for such a one way itinerary a pass would not pay off. You can look into some regional passes however. A Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass for example might help. You are correct that you'd need a separate pass to see Hakone, like a Hakone Free Pass.

Best of luck.


Please also be aware that for Hakone, the ropeway and Owakudani area is closed due to volcanic activity. Substitute buses are running to bypass the area, but if it being closed would ruin your trip there, you also might consider going to the Fuji 5 Lakes area on a Fuji Hakone Pass.
Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. At night the city comes alive and has some great places to see, such as Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg, and Abeno Harukas Bldg are wonderful.
Nara is often neglected by some tourists, which is a shame. 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 and Yoshikien Gardens. They are gorgeous and not crowded at all.
In Kyoto you could spend weeks there and not see everything. The three best sights though are the Kinkakuji Temple, Kiyomizudera Temple, and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Fushimi is the most time consuming; you could spend a couple of hours to over half a day if you want to romp over all the trails.
Himeji Castle is also worth seeing.
In addition, there are other numerous great places you can visit in the area. Okayama is not far and it is famous for its castle, plus Korakuen, one of Japan's Top 3, and also the Handayama Garden. If you'd like to get off the beaten trail for a while, the half day hike up to Konpirasan in Kotohira is stunning. Going to Takamatsu is also nice - it has one of Japan's finest gardens also, called Ritsurin.
Hiroshima also has a number of good places. Miyajima is the most famous, and aside from Hiroshima itself, Onomichi with its temple tour and Kosanji Temple is spectacular. Just beyond Miyajima also lies Iwakuni with its historical bridge and castle on top of the mountain.

All in all, a lot more to explore and enjoy.


Hi Toraneko,

Thanks for your reply.

For your info, we are departing from Tokyo and will not be returning to Osaka to catch our flight. If view of your above comments, can you provide a better suggestion for our itinerary? Is our trip to Takayama too long or I can actually consider other areas/tourist attractions along our way to Tokyo. Trip from Takayama to Fuji 5 Lake is very long. Please also advise whether the whole area of Hakone will be closed or certain tourist attraction only. If I would like to purchase JR pass... what is your recommendation for our revised itinerary? Thanks in advance.


Hakone is certainly not all closed down. Only the ropeway and the area of Owakudani. There are plenty of other places you can see there.
If you want to get a JR Pass, then it only makes sense if your cost for travels at normal fare exceed the cost of the pass. The easiest way would be to increase your itinerary. Going to Himeji for a day trip is one option, together with seeing Nikko which is north of Tokyo - it is an impressive place. I would say though that seeing Takayama in your itinerary is too long. I would recommend 3 days each in Kyoto (with ½ side trips to both Nara and Himeji), 3 days in Tokyo (with side trips) and 2 days each for Takayama/Shirakawago and Hakone or the Fuji 5 Lakes Area.
For the Mt Fuji area, look into a regional pass. And if leaving out of Narita, look into a 1000 yen bus.

Good luck!


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