questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

will 14 day pass work for me?

Will 14 Day Pass Work For Me?

I've looked on hyperdia and have written down the different prices and times of the Shinkansen vs ordinary trains. I think I did it correctly.

Ex. March 31 Tokyo to Nagoya on Shinkansen 10,380 140 minutes
On ordinary trains 6,090 386 minutes

Before I purchase this pass I wanted to make sure it takes me to all (if not most) of my destinations. Here is my itinerary.

March 21-30 Tokyo (Nikko and Kamakura)
March 31 Nagoya (Activate JR Pass)
April 1-2 Hiroshima (Miyajima)
April 3-6 Kyoto (Nara)
April 7-10 Osaka (Mt Koya)
April 11 Yoshino - Kanazawa
April 12 Kanazawa
April 13 Shirakawa-go - Takayama
April 14 Takayama
April 15-16 Tokyo
April 17 Narita to fly home

The day trips are next to the destinations. I was weighing between budgeting with the Willer Express (highway bus) and the JR Pass (better travel time). Thank you for your help!!

McDowell518
McDowell518

Hi there!

Yes, the JR Pass will take you to all of your destinations except for the journey up to Mt Koya from Osaka which is a non-JR train. For reference, I calculate your costs from the 1st-14th as:

  1. Nagoya > Hiroshima: ¥13,430 (168mins, 528km)
  2. Hiroshima > Miyajimaguchi: ¥400 (26mins, 21km)
  3. Miyajimaguchi > Kyoto: ¥11,110 (165mins, 402km)
  4. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690 (45mins, 41km)
  5. Nara > Osaka: ¥780 (51mins, 48km)
  6. Osaka > Yoshino(nara): ¥1,720 (101mins, 72km, incl. non-JR)
  7. Yoshino(nara) > Kanazawa: ¥9,190 (254mins, 308km, incl. non-JR)
  8. Kanazawa > Takayama: ¥4,180 (161mins, 148km)
  9. Takayama > Tokyo: ¥14,300 (273mins, 532km)

JR ticket cost: ¥44,890 for 7 legs

As you can see the rail option just about breaks even with the cost of the 14 day JR Pass (¥45,100). If you thought you'd like to do a little more exploring while you are in Japan I think I can recommend the 14 day pass as it will give you more flexibility. (Note that you'll need to travel to Tokyo on the 14th night to really make the most of your rail pass.)

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

I could just leap through my phone and hug you!!!! Thank you so much for your information!! And a few more side trips maybe? Any recommendations?

McDowell518
McDowell518

:D not a problem!

For side trips, I think I recommend:

  • Kurashiki
  • Koyasan
  • Naoshima
  • Kinosaki Onsen

Certainly you should try and get one night at an onsen and Kinosaki is excellent!

Hope this helps

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mari
Expert_button_2

Mt Koya is Koyasan right? I'm definitely heading there. And someone else recommended Kinosaki, but I have 2 small tattoos :-( so just open baths for me! But I'm excited to try them!

McDowell518
McDowell518

yes- Koyasan is Mt Koya - sorry I forgot that you're planning on going there! One last thing I recommend is to stay a night on Miyajima rather than in Hiroshima. The Island completely changes after the last ferry leaves for the mainland and is a fantastic location to spend the night.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Hmm. I'll have to price the hotels in Miyajima. I'm budgeting like crazy so hostels and couch surfing for me lol.

McDowell518
McDowell518

I had another question please. Would it be better to get the 21 day pass for when I'm in Tokyo and take trips to Nikko and Kamakura? And do JR trains run in all the major cities? Like, would I have to buy a rail or subway pass specifically for Kyoto trains? Or Osaka trains around town? Or does my JR pass cover local transportation too?

McDowell518
McDowell518

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