questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

tokyo, kami kochi, osaka and kyoto

Tokyo, kami kochi, Osaka and kyoto

Hi, I would like to visit the Japan march next year. My planning as following
Day 1 narita airport 740am and proceed to Osaka
Day 2 Osaka
Day 3 to 6 kyoto
Day 7 to 8 kamikochi
Day 9 to 12 Tokyo and Nikko or maybe shimoda
Day 13 return to singapore

Could you please advise should I buy Jr 7days pass, 14 days or jr east pass ? Thank you very much.

bibingoi
bibingoi

Hi,
For your time schedule, none of the passes would work. But with a few small additions, a 7 day pass would pay off for days 1-7 if you added at least half a day for a trip to HImeji, which has Japan's finest castle, or some other fairly distant alternative. Osaka has some sights of course but is better at night for great places like Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg, and Abeno Harukas Bldg. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. Also take at least half a day and go see Nara - the Todaiji Great Buddha is a muse-see place and there are other great places in Nara Park there as well, including Kasuga Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, Yoshikien and Isuien Garden.

That would get you into Kamikochi, and from there you can use a 3 day Kanto Area Pass to get back to Tokyo, see Nikko, as well as Shimoda. You can buy it at Narita Airport and designate your first day as Day 8. To be honest though you can't actually take JR into Kamikochi - you can only go so far as Matsumoto - from there you must pay for a non-JR Matsumoto Electric Railway up to Shin-Shimashima Station (30 minutes), and then pay for a bus to Kamikochi (one hour). The JR Pass doesn't cover that.

For getting back to Narita, look into a 1000 yen bus.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Hi, but from Narita to Osaka, it is quite an expensive train transportation fee, isn't it ? I had been visited nara on 2014. So I don't think I will visit there. I will consider visit himeji since i am at Osaka . Thank you for you advise and hope to hear from you soon.

bibingoi
bibingoi

Hi,
Yes, in answer to your query, trains in Japan can be quite expensive. That is why if you travel a fair amount in Japan, the JR Pass can save you a lot of money compared with paying the regular fare. What I wrote is that if you are willing to extend your itinerary just a bit, say, to go see Himeji Castle (and Kokoen Garden next to it which is excellent) then a 7 day JR Pass would be cheaper than paying regular fare on the trains. You could then use a 3 day JR Kanto Area Pass to see a lot of what you want to see near Tokyo. The 14 day pass simply is not economical with your plans without extensive itinerary extensions -- you could make it pay off with the other additions you suggested all together, like Shimoda, Nikko, etc., but you can still pay less using the 7 day pass + Kanto Area Pass. The JR East Pass is for northern Japan and simply a waste of money.
If you would like to check regular rail fares and schedules, you can see them on Hyperdia. Just plug in your starting point and end point, plus date/time that you like. But be sure under "More Options" to deselect "Nozomi..." since you can't ride that on the Pass.

Best of Luck.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Also, as an addendum - the Kanto Area Pass doesn't cover all the way to Matsumoto, so you'd need to take a train to Komoro. But even with that, it still comes up as cheaper than the 14 day pass. You could also see Karuizawa, which is an excellent place to visit as well.

Toraneko
Toraneko

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