questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass. worth it for my trip?

JR pass. Worth it for my trip?

TOKYO from 04-09 July 6 days
MT FUJI or FIVE LAKES from 10-11 July 2 days
OSAKA and surroundings from 12-16 July 4 days
KYOTO and surroundings from 16-20 July 5 days
Hiroshima from 21-23 July 3 days

Thanks! :)

Paul2015
Paul2015

Hello Paul,

It completely depends on what you plan to do after Hiroshima. Will you fly back from there or return to Tokyo?

A JR Pass can be very helpful if you return to Tokyo after Hiroshima. However it is better to purchase normal tickets if you fly out from Hiroshima.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hey Daniel!

Thanks for your answer :)

I will be flying to Beijing from Hiroshima.

For all the trips around Osaka and Kyoto I guess the JR pass its not worth it and these trips are quite affordable right?

Thanks!

Paul2015
Paul2015

Hi again!

Yes Osaka and Kyoto are pretty close (about 30min of rail travel). Local trains cost 560yen for one way. So it's not a lot, compared to say a Bullet train ride.

All together, for this itinerary it would indeed be better to purchase normal tickets as you travel.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi,
Inter-city travel in the Kansai area is not expensive, however, given your itinerary, some regional passes might make sense. Going to Himeji is costly, but a very worthwhile day trip. If you have a mind to go, then a Kansai Area Pass for a day would save you some good money. Also since you have the chance, going to Koyasan for a day and overnight would be a superb experience. There is a good Koyasan World Heritage Ticket regional pass which can save you money too. In Nara, the Todaiji Great Buddha is an extraordinary place, as well as many other historic temples, shrines and gardens in the area.

And if seeing some "surroundings" might lead you further, a JR Kansai Wide Area Pass might save you a lot, as well as possibly getting a Kansai-Hiroshima Area pass. There is no shortage of good places to see south of Kansai, and most are free from the huge tourist crowds.
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 mountaintop castle. Kurashiki is also a quieter city with its historic canals and museums.

There should be plenty there to show you that you can come back to Japan again and again, and still see some amazing places.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Thank you very much for the information Toraneko. I really appreciate it :)

Should I buy my train tickets in advance or I will always find availability? whats the best website to check train availabilty in Japan?

Thanks!

Paul2015
Paul2015

Hi,
Availability is rarely a problem except during the worst peak seasons. While July is not a low season you should easily find a seat. Since things happen and plans can change, it may be easier to just buy your tickets as you need them, or if you get one of the regional passes, to just ride the trains whenever you want to leave. There is no website to check availability though.

Best of luck

Toraneko
Toraneko

Thanks!

Could you recomment me some things to do in Tokyo and the surroundings. Should I visit Hakone and Yokohama?

Should I stay couple night in Hakone?

Thank you so much for your advice!

Paul2015
Paul2015

Hello,
What to do depends a lot on your interests of course, but Tokyo has something for everyone. In Tokyo a few of the best places to see are the Tsukiji Fish Market, plus the site that every last tourist goes to see, the Sensoji Temple. If you are in Tokyo on a Sunday afternoon, be sure to go visit Harajuku to see the youth with their wild fashions. Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park are next to it and well worth seeing also. And be sure not to miss the Shibuya Hachiko intersection especially on a weekend when it looks like half the city is crossing the street all at once. The Sky Tree, while pricey, offers a stunning view over the whole area when the weather is clear. There are many famous gardens as well, including Shinjuku Gyoen, Rikigien, Hama Rikyu, Koishikawa Korakuen, and Kiyosumi. Look through some comprehensive sites on what to see. The government makes one, plus there is another from JAL, organized by area.

Hakone makes a great day trip and when the weather is good, offers some superb views of Mt. Fuji. Even when not, there are other things to see and do. One of the areas with its ropeway is currently closed due to volcanic activity. But overall it is still worth going. Staying a night there is also nice - the hot springs are popular and you should try it at least once. One night is really enough though.
Going up north on a day trip to Nikko is also very worthwhile.

Yokohama has some great places as well. The Sankeien Garden is one of Japan's best, plus its Chinatown is famous, and waterfront park area. If you can get an early start in the morning, I'd suggest going to see Yokohama a bit in the morning and then continue on to Kamakura and Enoshima. It is also an amazing place with its Great Buddha, numerous temples and shrines, and beach.

Toraneko
Toraneko

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