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JR Pass 14 days or Regional Passes? Which makes more sense?

Clare Duncan
Clare Duncan
4 months ago
1 response


I'm travelling to Japan end of March-April and have been struggling to weigh up whether we should get the JR Rail Pass or not since it has gone up in price. My itinerary looks like the below:

Tokyo - 5 nights (arrive at Narita)
Round trip to Lake Kawaguchiko - 2 nights (I know this isn't covered by JR Pass)
Tokyo - Kanazawa (3 nights)
Kanazawa - Kyoto (5 nights)
Kyoto - Hiroshima (3 nights) with trip to Miyajima island
Hiroshima - Osaka (3 nights) with trip to Nara.
Osaka - Kansai Airport

Total trip is 23 days, but I was thinking of getting the 14-day JR pass and activating after the trip to Lake Kawaguchiko, when we go from Tokyo to Kanazawa?

Alternatively, I wondered if it might make more sense cost wise to buy 2 regional passes:
Osaka-Tokyo Horuriku Pass (to use when departing Tokyo to Kanazawa - arrival in Kyoto) over 7 days, and:
Kansai Hiroshima Pass - for Kyoto - hiroshima - Osaka ( in 5 days)

I think we might save some money by doing the regional passes, but wanted to ask for advice? I also wanted to know if there are additional benefits for the JR Pass like easy seat reservations, booking process etc. We're also visiting in a busy period so whether that should impact our decision.

Any advice helpful so we can make the best decision.

Best wishes,

18836 posts
4 months ago

Hi Clare,

Sorry for the delay in response on this way.

I checked your itinerary and in terms of routes and travel, the 14-day Japan Rail Pass would be the best option. When it comes to savings, it is likely similar in price to normal tickets (depending on your local travel and side trips). One alternative with a regional pass would be to buy normal tickets up to Kansai and then use a Kansai - Hiroshima Area Pass for your trip to Hiroshima.

The Osaka-Tokyo Horuriku Pass only makes sense for a return trip Tokyo - Kyoto/Osaka, but you only go one way.

Kind regards,

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