questions & answers: itinerary check

14-day pass? & best way into tokyo w/o a jr pass

14-day pass? & best way into Tokyo w/o a JR Pass

We are travelling to Japan from 25 July to 9 August and are wondering how to manage our JR Pass. Here is our itinerary:

25 July - Arrive Narita (7:30 pm)
30 July - Tokyo to Kyoto
3 August - Train from Kyoto to Kagoshima
6 August (maybe 5 August) - Train from Kagoshima to Hiroshima 
8 August - Train from Hiroshima to Tokyo
9 August - Tokyo-Narita, 7:15 PM flight)

Here are my questions:

Because we no doubt will be taking day trips while in Tokyo and Kyoto, it seems as we should plan on a 14 -day pass. Does that sound correct?

We will be in Japan 15 days, so a pass will not cover both airport trips. It seems we should wait and activate the pass at Tokyo Station on 27 July to make sure we cover the train trips of 8 August and 9 August. So what kind of fare should we buy at Narita the night we arrive?

Thank you!


HI there!

A 14 day rail pass is ¥45,100. You'll need to spend more than that in JR tickets for a 14 day pass to be worthwhile. Lets take a look at your costs:

  1. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13020, (164mins, 513km)
  2. Kyoto > Kagoshima: ¥22740, (296mins, 953km)
  3. Kagoshima > Hiroshima: ¥17600, (173mins, 572km)
  4. Hiroshima > Tokyo: ¥17850, (292mins, 894km)
  5. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥2740, (58mins, 79km)

TOTAL: ¥73,950 for 5 legs

As you can see you'll make substantial ¥28,850 savings with a 14 day JR Pass so I can certainly recommend it.

As for the dilemma of how to get into and around Tokyo, you have 2 real options as you'll want to also travel around Tokyo on the 26th and 27th:

  1. Narita Express + Suica prepaid travel card (valid for metro and JR lines)
  2. Keisei Express + Metro unlmited 1 or 2 day travel card)

Option 1 gives you ¥1500 worth of JR and Metro travel around Tokyo for free to be used as and when you want.

Option 2 gives you unlimited metro passes over a 1 or 2 day period for free (which are between ¥600-900 normally).

Which one you go for kinda depends on the amount of travel you think you'll do around Tokyo, but I think given you'll be back in Tokyo at the end of your trip (and probably do a little metro travel then too), you'll be best off with option 1. Totally depends on your plans however!

Hope this helps!

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