14 or 21: Tokyo, Hiroshima & Sendai
We are visiting Japan July 26-August13.
Thus far plans are to arrive Narita July 27th, spend 4 nights in Tokyo, leaving for 1 night Hiroshima on July 31st, followed by 4 nights in Kyoto. After this we will make our way up to Sendai and finally Ishinomaki for August 10 and 11, where our son is teaching with the JET program. We fly out of Sendai on August 13th.
Would we use the JR pass in Tokyo, thereby requiring a 21 day pass or should we use a 14 day pass beginning when we leave Tokyo on July 31st?
Also, my daughter will stay another week in Ishinomaki, and then return to Tokyo, flying out on August 20th. If we buy the 14 day passes, is it worthwhile buying her a 21 day pass just for the return back to Tokyo, or would she also be best buying a 14 day pass, and then a 1 way trip Sendai to Tokyo?
Here are the relative costs of the 14 & 21 day passes:
14 & 21 day rail pass costs
You'll need to spend more than this on JR tickets for them to be worthwhile. Lets first take a look at your costs, then consider your daughters case last.
TOTAL: ¥57090 for 6 legs
As you can see from your costings, you will save money on both types of passes, but stand to make much more of a saving using a 14 day pass (¥11,990) provided you don't intend to do much JR travel while in Tokyo. I think in your case I would recommend using a 14 day rail pass and purchase individual tickets as needed for your trip into and around Tokyo. For Tokyo from Narita I recommend one of two options:
Assuming your daughter is doing an identical trip to yourselves but with an extra week bolted onto the end, lets take a look at her ticket costs:
TOTAL: ¥69420 for 7 legs
The return from Sendai to Tokyo + the trip to Narita will cost ¥14,180 and so will cost more in plain ticket costs than the ¥12,600 upgrade from 14 day to 21 day pass. In total her savings will be ¥11,720 based on the above itinerary and 21 day pass. With a 14 day pass and individual tickets back to Tokyo her savings will be ¥10,140. Based on this I recommend your daughter purchases a 21 day rail pass for maximum savings and flexibility during her final week in Japan.
I hope this helps - please let me know if you'd like me to clarify anything!
Order your Japan Rail Pass Online
Starting from $255.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel