questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

travel with 21 day pass including tokyo, osaka, kyoto, and hiroshima

Travel with 21 day pass including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima

I am planning to visit Japan in a couple of weeks time but I am actually in Japan for 23 days. I would like to buy a JR 21 day railpass.
I just wanted to get some advice on when I should activate it and whether it is good value for my trip?
I fly into Narita on 15th June, stay 7 nights in Tokyo then on to Osaka for 6 nights. From both cities, I plan day trips to Fuji, Nara, Himeji, Kobe etc. I then have 4 nights booked in Kyoto, then plan to head down to Hiroshima for 2 nights, before returning to Tokyo.
I thought maybe I should buy a ticket for the first train from Narita to Tokyo separately and then activate the pass for my first trip from Tokyo, and use it for the next 21 days.
Does that sound like the best plan?
Thanks for your help.


Hello there,

The 21 day JR Pass will most likely give you good value, given the amount of travel you wish to do. Especially all the day trips can add up a lot without one. I could tell you for sure if you have the full itinerary.

Activating the JR Pass for your first trip sounds like a the best idea to me as well.

If you want to make an other amazing day trip from Tokyo, visit Nikko. Personally I think it is the best day trip to make from Tokyo and the local temples and mausoleum will leave you impressed (it will also help you make the absolute best of the JR Pass).

Hope this helps,


Your plans look a little unfixed yet, but if you are going Tokyo-Hiroshima-Tokyo within 14 days then a 14 day pass would be more cost effective, and for day 13 or 14 you could still go to Nikko, which is definitely worth seeing. Seven days in Tokyo is quite a chunk of time - but if you wanted to go to some other, more distant day trips like Kamikochi, Kusatsu or Izu, then getting a 21 day pass definitely makes more sense. With 23 days in Japan though at least one of the ways from or to Narita won't be covered by the Pass, so you might look at taking a 1000 yen bus. There are also day passes to go see Hakone for Mt. Fuji, the Fuji 5 Lakes area, as well as Kamakura/Enoshima.

Osaka has some places to see, especially Dotonbori at night, but Kyoto is really more interesting, and there is a lot more than just temples ans shrines. You could do some good hiking to the nearby mountains like Kurama or Mt. Hiei, and 30km north of the city is the delightful Miyama, which has a good taste of old Japan. Amanohashidate is worth visiting as well, and between Kyoto and Nara there are some very good places to visit in Uji.
You might also consider visiting Koyasan, even staying a night to see the more spiritual side of Japan. A bit beyond Hiroshima/Miyajima is Iwakuni with its iconic historical bridge and mountaintop castle, and deeper into Yamaguchi there is the Akiyoshido which is a 300 million year old limestone cave 1km deep with an underground river and giant caverns.
You should be able to see a large variety of interesting places.

Best of luck.


Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $279.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.