questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

tokyo-kyoto-hiroshima in 15 days - what is best pass?

Tokyo-Kyoto-Hiroshima in 15 days - what is best pass?

Hi. My wife and I will be traveling to Japan next week and are wondering which pass (7 or 14) makes sense and when we should activite the pass. Your other replies to posts have been very helpful so I'm hoping you can provide insight here as well. Our itinerary:

16 Dec - fly into Narita, stay in Tokyo
16-20 Dec - work and sightsee in Tokyo
21-24 Dec - Kansai area (Kyoto, Nara, Kobe)
25-27 Dec - Hiroshima area
28-30 Dec - Hakone
30 Dec - depart from Narita airport

What is the most economical approach for travel? Thanks in advance.

Andy

astrostorch
astrostorch

Hi Andy,

I have made a quick overview of your itinerary.
Narita --> Tokyo ¥ 2,740
http://tinyurl.com/c3kftqk Tokyo - Osaka ¥ 14,050
http://tinyurl.com/cs8r5pk Osaka - Hiroshima ¥ 10,150
http://tinyurl.com/brneb43 Hiroshima - Hakone ¥ 17,330(+300 Yen for private railway)
http://tinyurl.com/cul7u5k Hakone - Narita about ¥ 5,000 yen depending on the route.
http://tinyurl.com/c59uxar

This adds up to about 49270 Yen, a 14 Day JR pass costs 45,100 Yen, so you would already save 4170 Yen. Please note that I have left your local travel in Tokyo and the Kansai area out as I don't know your exact plans there but this could add even more to your savings!

You could also decide to take a 7-day pass instead to cover your major travelling (Tokyo - Kansai - Hakone). A 7 day pass costs 28,300 Yen and normal ticket during this period would cost you 41.530 Yen so you would save 13230 Yen and your local travel in the Kansai area would also be covered. In this case however you would have to leave Tokyo one day later or go to Hakone one day earlier as the pass only covers 7 days of use.

Since your total itinerary is more than either pass covers, I would suggest on the first day of your arrival not to use the pass and opt for the Suica & Narita express ticket. http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/suica-nex/ This is a pretty good deal as it will get you to the heart of Tokyo and give you a pass with 1.500Yen credit that you can use to travel around in Tokyo. Also the Suica card is a great souvenir!

Either option would save you money, if you are looking for he most economical approach I think the 7 day pass option would save you slightly more but the 14 day would be a lot more convenient and you would not have to change your itinerary.

I know its a lot of information, so if you need more clarification let me know!
-Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thank you Daniel-san. You have been very helpful. I think I am going to change my itinerary to leave Tokyo on 20 December and go to Hakone on 27 December so that I can do all major traveling inside of seven days. So if I do that, you would advise a 7-day pass and activate on 20 December when I leave Tokyo, correct?

I will look into getting the Suica express ticket as well to get to/from Narita. Thank you again.

-Andy

astrostorch
astrostorch

Hi Andy,

Glad to hear that you found it helpful! Have you decided yet where to accommodate for the one day that you will spend extra in Hakone? From your Itinerary I assumed that you would go to the Kansai Area on the 21st. If you leave on the 20th is would look a bit differently.

You can use your rail pass for 7 days including the first day of use, so if you activate it on the 20th it will be valid until the 26th 23.59 in this case you would have to go to Hakone on the 26th.
You can exchange your pass before the first day of use (for instance if you want to leave Tokyo early), just be sure that in this case you set the first day of use to the 20th.

Just something else that you might find to be useful for your trip from Narita to Tokyo would be the Skyliner + 2-Day Open Ticket . For ¥2,980 you can ride the Skyliner express to Tokyo, plus you get a two day ticket that you can use for unlimited use on the Tokyo Metro. You could opt for this instead of the Suica + N'ex package, personally I think the Suica card is very nice but this option is probably more economic and offers great value!

Hope it helps!
-Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

One thing I would like to add,

If you go to Kansai on the 21st (and go to Hakone on the 27th) and leave in the morning, you will still have a lot of time there.
The train ride is slightly less than two and a half hours, so if you take the train around 9.00 you will be there before 11.30.

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Sorry its getting a bit late,

I should have said it a bit more than two and a half hours, the trip takes 160 Min to Kyoto or 177 Min to Shin-Osaka.

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

You are right about the days. It is going to be difficult for me to fit all of my plans (Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima) into seven days but I guess it is possible. If I keep it at nine days (20-28 Dec), then you suggest I get the 7-day pass and pay for my trip from Hiroshima to Hakone or just get the 14-day pass? Trip would be

20 Tokyo to Kyoto
21-22 Kyoto/Nara
23-24 Osaka/Kobe
25-27 Hiroshima
28-29 Hakone
30 Depart Narita

astrostorch
astrostorch

One week Option:
7 days is indeed a little sort but certainly possible, I've made a little itinerary to show what it could look like,
Day 1 (21st) Travel eurly to Kyoto + Kyoto Sightseeing
Day 2 Kyoto
Day 3 Osaka
Day 4.Daytrip to Nara + Kobe, this is certainly possible in a day if you decide what you would like to see beforehand. Both places are relatively close to Kyoto and Osaka.
Day 5. Travel to Hiroshima + Sightseeing
Day 6 Hiroshima
Day 7 (27th) Travel to Hakone

Two week option:

If you choose to go for 9 days then I would recommend the 2 week pass for sure. This because the Hiroshima - Hakone trip is ¥ 17,330 and your journey back to Narita would also be covered which is about ¥ 5000, total ¥ 22.330, the pass upgrade is ¥ 16800. Taking costs aside you would also travel with a lot more convenience, as you would not have to worry about buying tickets, just go to the ticket office, show your pass, receive your seats and enjoy the train ride!

I know Japan has been rather expensive lately, so watching the budget is very understandable. Still if it was up to me I would go for the two week option as you can travel without worry or compromise.

Again sorry for all the information, I hope it clears things up!
-Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thanks again Daniel-san. I think we will do the traveling in 7 days after all. Leaving Tokyo on 21 December and arriving in Hakone on 27 December. Then we will just pay for the ticket to get back from Hakone to Tokyo for one day of sightseeing in Tokyo before departing from Narita. Seems to be the best and most economical approach. Plus when we arrive in Narita we will take limo bus to our hotel that my company will pay for so we should be in good shape. Thanks again!

-Andy

astrostorch
astrostorch

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