questions & answers: general japan travel

whether i should be getting the jr pass

Whether I should be getting the JR pass

We will be touring Japan for 21 days in the near future arriving in Tokyo. We plan to go straight to Kyoto for 8-9 days, also visiting Nara, Osaka nearby. After that will visit Mt Koya for 2 days, then go down south to Wakayama to do the Kumano Kodo walk before returning to Tokyo via Osaka before going home.

We can either (1) use JR pass, or (2) fly to Osaka then catch a train to Kyoto. Also, I am aware of the JR West Kansai Wide Area Pass that we can use. I would appreciate if you can tell us:

  1. Whether JR pass is the best and economical for our trip considering the places we are to visit.
  2. If JR pass is recommended, should we get the 21 day pass, or a mixture of other passes?
  3. Can JR pass be used for subways or bus in Kyoto, or we have to get separate Kyoto sightseeing pass?
  4. Does JR train goes to Mt Koya and Tanabe in Wakayama area?
  5. If Kansai Wide Area Pass is used, can we purchase it while in Japan?

Your advice is appreciated.

Thank you


Hello Doft,

I checked to see if a JR Pass would be helpful for your itinerary and would advise buying normal tickets as you travel. The JR Pass works well if you travel a couple of times between different regions in Japan. However with the luxery of time on your side and staying local in Tokyo and the Kansai Area, I would advise purchasing normal tickets.

You could look at a Kansai Pass for your travel to Wakayama. Osaka and Nara are not too expansive to travel to from Kyoto and generally it is more economic to use normal tickets. This pass can be purchased in Japan.

Here's how to access Koya.

Hope this helps,

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