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17 day itinerary and rail costs

almost 4 years ago
4 responses

Hi, I’m just finalising an itinerary for our first trip to japan later in the year. I’d really love some feedback on:
a) the itinerary itself (does it sound achievable without rushing too much, are we doing things roughly in the right order in terms of connections between matsumoto/kiso valley/takayama/kanazawa) and
b) is there any benefit for us in getting a Japan Rail Pass? By my calculations (using Hyperdia) we are actually better off financially without one (either a 7 day or a 14 day), presumably because we are mostly doing short hops and not likely to be using bullet trains other than the Kyoto-Tokyo trip. I’m wondering if I’ve missed anything though.
Day 1 Arrive Tokyo
2 Tokyo
3 Tokyo
4 to Matsumoto
5 Matsumoto – day trip to Kamikochi
6 to Nakatsuwaga (for Magome)
7 from Nagiso (Tsumago) to Takayama
8 Takayama
9 Takayama
10 to Kanazawa by bus via Shirakawa-go
11 Kanazawa
12 to Kyoto
13 Kyoto
14 Kyoto
15 Kyoto (day trip to Nara)
16 Kyoto
17 to Tokyo
18 Fly out from Tokyo in the evening.

Thank you!

12232 posts
almost 4 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there!

From reading your itinerary I think that your assessment is correct, nevertheless it's always good to check your itinerary and see if a JR Pass can help. Below I listed the routes and ticket prices which are covered by the JR Pass. I left Kamikochi and travel via Shirakawago out since they are done by bus and would not be covered in any event.

Tokyo - Matsumoto ¥ 6,510
Matsumoto - Nakatsugawa ¥ 3,980
Nagiso - Takayama ¥ 5,660
Kanazawa - Kyoto ¥ 6,510
Kyoto - Nara (return) ¥ 1,380
Kyoto - Tokyo ¥ 13,020

For a total of ¥ 37,060, the 14 day JR Pass is ¥ 45,100 so it is indeed better to buy tickets as you travel. You may want to pick up a Suica + N'EX package though if you arrive at Narita Airport or Suica and Monorail package if you arrive at Haneda Airport. They both provide you with a discounted ticket into Tokyo and the Suica card makes life a lot easier when traveling around the Metropolis.

As for your itinerary, I think the route looks good! Sometimes you will do a good about of travel on a single day Nagiso - Takayama is about 4 hours and requires at leave 2 transfers but even that should not feel that long as the scenery is very...ehm... scenic :)

Have a great trip!

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