Tricky schedule - advice needed.
So, my upcoming trip to Japan looks something like this:
6/7 - Arrive in Tokyo
7/7 to 16-7 - Spend time in Tokyo
16/7 - Travel to Kyoto
17/7 to 23/7 - Staying in Kyoto and also visit Nara, Himeji Castle and maybe Osaka.
23/7 to 25/7 - Mt Fuji, staying in a ryokan for 2 nights
25/7 - Going back to Toyko (Narita area) and spend a final night in the area
26/7 - Flight back home
Now the schedule is what it is as we were really uncertain on how to do with the whole travelling bit and we had to take other things into consideration. 7 day pass is obviously too short to cover the timespan from when I leave Tokyo to the time when I go back, but 14 days is obviously too long. Are there any alternative options that won't murder the wallet too much? :-)
Apart from that, I assume that an IC-card is the best way to go for the public transports in the cities?
I appreciate any help that I will receive.
Unfortunately for your plans, a JR Pass would not be cost effective. You can get regular fare tickets to take the train (and use the Nozomi, which is faster), or you can fly cheaply on a low cost carrier like Jet Star or Peach. In the Tokyo area as well as Kansai, you could still get some huge savings with regional passes. You have a tremendous time in Tokyo, and you can easily take some day trips to see Nikko, Kamakura/Enoshima, Kamikochi, Izu, and Karuizawa. Using a (or even 2) JR Kanto Area Passes can save a lot. For Kansai, getting between cities is not that expensive, but to go to HImeji for example you could save some using a JR Kansai Area Pass. Other passes that might help are the Kansai Thru Pass if you travel a lot.
In addition, there are other numerous great places you can visit in the area. Okayama is not far and it is famous for its castle, plus Korakuen, one of Japan's Top 3, and also the Handayama Garden. If you'd like to get off the beaten trail for a while, the half day hike up to Konpirasan in Kotohira is stunning. Going to Takamatsu is also nice - it has one of Japan's finest gardens also, called Ritsurin.
Best of luck.
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