questions & answers: general japan travel

would a 21 day jr pass be worth it for my itinerary?

Would a 21 day JR pass be worth it for my itinerary?

I am traveling to Japan this summer, but I am unsure if a 21 day JR pass would be worth purchasing for my itinerary.
I am staying with friends who live in Shinjuku and Tokushima for a portion of the trip. My itinerary is minimally flexible, but I would gladly take as much advice as I can get!
For the days that I am traveling within a certain city, I hear that there are not very many local JR lines, so I anticipate that I would be spending a lot on transportation for each location. Is there a rough estimate on how much people spend on local lines that aren't be covered by JR?

My itinerary--------
Day 1: Arrive in Narita Airport -> Shinjuku/Tokyo
Day 2-6: Tokyo (Day 4 will be traveling from Shinjuku -> Mt. Takao and returning back to Shinjuku after hiking)
Day 7: Day trip from Shinjuku/Tokyo -> Chichibu (will return to Shinjuku the same day)
Day 8: Shinjuku/Tokyo -> Kyoto
Day 9-11: Kyoto
Day 12: Kyoto -> Osaka
Day 13-14: Osaka
Day 15: Day trip from Osaka -> Nara (will return to Osaka the same day)
Day 16: Traveling from Osaka -> Kobe (may possibly return to Osaka the same day)
Day 17: Traveling from either Osaka or Kobe -> Tokushima (visiting/staying with a friend)
Day 18: Tokushima
Day 19: Tokushima -> Shinjuku/Tokyo
Day 20: Tokyo
Day 21: Departure from Shinjuku/Tokyo -> Narita Airport

Thank you so much for your help!


Hello there,

You'd have to do a bit more of Shinkansen travel for a 21 day JR Pass to pay off. However a 14 day JR Pass would work very well from day 8 - 21, this way you can cover all your otherwise expensive long distance travel with the JR Pass and make good savings at the same time.

Tokushima is not very popular among tourists but it is a nice place to visit (actually was there 3 weeks ago). I am sure your friend will take you on sightseeing as well but I'd recommend going up the central ropeway and doing the city cruise.

Hope this helps,

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Thank you Daniel-san!

This is very insightful. I will definitely consider this option! Thank you for the suggestions in Tokushima as well. Since I'm mainly visiting Tokushima for my friend, she has arranged some fun things to do during my visit.

I have one more question if it's not too much of a hassle. What route would you recommend for traveling to Tokushima from either Osaka or Kobe and back? Are there JR lines that cover this route?


Hi again,

With the JR Pass you can take the train from Tokushima - Okayama and from there the Shinkansen to Osaka. An alternative is to take the ferry from Tokushima to Wakayama and a local train from there to Osaka. The latter option is cheaper if you don't have a JR Pass.

Hope this helps,

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