questions & answers: itinerary check

21 day vs 14 day railpass??

21 day vs 14 day Railpass??


I am looking for some advice about whether it is worth buying a 21 day rail pass vs a 14 day rail pass.
We will be arriving into Tokyo and staying there for 5 nights during this time we will probably be spending our days in Tokyo. We will then head to Naoshima Island for 2 nights, then up to Osaka for 4 nights, Kyoto for 4 nights (with a day trip to Nara somewhere in there) and then back to Tokyo for 6 nights, where we plan to do at least one day trip to Hakone.

I would love to know what people think about buying a pass for the whole time or getting a 14 day pass and validating it when we go to Naoshima Island on day 6. Does the rail pass do much for Tokyo area? What are the options and costs of paying to get to and from the airport into Tokyo vs. paying extra for the rail pass and using that to get into the city?

Any advice or thoughts would be really appreciated!

Thanks so much,



Hi Martha,

The price for the upgrade from a 14 day JR Pass to a 21 day JR Pass is relatively minor, 12,600 for an extra 7 days of unlimited travel. Still you would at least have to travel for this amount to make it worth it. I don't think that you would make up the amount if you just staying in Tokyo, however it would quickly pay of if you made a day trip or two from Tokyo, to Nikko or Kamakura for instance.

A one way trip from Tokyo - Narita Airport is 3,140 yen with the Narita Express (or about 1/4 of the price for the 21 day JR Pass upgrade). I know some people just buy the 21 day pass for the added flexibility of taking any train at any time without the need for a strict plan.

I hope this gives you an idea about the possibilities.

Expert button 2

Hi Martha,
Yes, what Daniel suggestions were great, if you just want the easy way. If you willing to take the challenge to properly plan your trip, you can save up the Yen$12,600/- as I think 14 days will be good.
If you are coming from Narita Airport, you don`t really need to JR pass if you are not in a hurry/rush:-

By JR Narita Express
Direct, 60 minutes, 1500-3140 yen, 1-2 connections per hour
The most comfortable way of travel between Narita Airport and Tokyo Station is the JR Narita Express (NEX). The one way journey takes roughly one hour, costs around 3000 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass. There are departures every 30 to 60 minutes.
With the Suica & NEX package, available for 3500 yen to foreign tourists only, you can travel by Narita Express from the airport to Tokyo and receive a Suica prepaid card worth 2000 yen (500 yen refundable deposit plus 1500 yen worth in train fares). A round trip version is available for 5500 yen.

By JR Sobu Line
Direct, 90 minutes, 1280 yen, 1 connection per hour
The JR Sobu Line (Rapid Service) is the slower but cheaper JR alternative to the Narita Express. The one way trip takes roughly 90 minutes, costs 1280 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass. There is about one departure per hour.

My suggestions, would be go to combine your stay in Tokyo first, where you can adjust to the cultures and places after your long travel from you country. You should leave one or 2 days to stay in Tokyo before leaving to repack your luggages/bags (with gifts)

You can visit Hakone without the JR Pass, as you can get the Hakone free Pass:-

The Hakone Free Pass by Odakyu Railways is a special pass for exploring Hakone, and includes:
Please check the website:

Then, you can start to use your JR Pass to the places that are far -down south, and then travel your way up North again with the JR Pass.

JR Pass also cover the JR Bus express to Okayama, or Shikoku (night bus too: can save up on accomodation)

Naoshima (near the Naoshima (直島)[1] is an island located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan.) To go to Naoshima, you can go to Okayama by JR Pass-the Sanyo Shinkasen to Uno, as describe below:-

By Boat
Naoshima can be reached by boat from Uno (Honshu) and from Takamatsu (Shikoku). Naoshima has three ports, Miyanoura, Honmura and Seto port. Most services go to Miyanoura.

Miyanoura port — Regular ferry services runs about 13 times a day from Uno (20 minutes, ¥280) and about 5 times from Takamatsu (one hour, ¥510). Passenger boat run twice daily from Uno (15 minutes, ¥280) and High-speed boat once daily from Takamatsu (30 minutes, ¥1200). Passenger boat is for passengers only.
Honmura port. Passenger boat also run from Uno to Honmura five times a day (20 minutes, ¥280).
Seto port. Ferry boat runs from Uno six times a day (15 minutes, ¥220). There are some services for only vehicles.

From Okayama, a stop on the San'yo shinkansen, there are infrequent local trains directly to Uno (65 minutes). Otherwise, take the Marine Liner rapid train and transfer at Chayamachi (茶屋町) for the train to Uno (40 minutes with a good connection). The train cost is ¥570.

After your trip from Okayama, you can go to Hiroshima, Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, then travel all the way north to Tokyo. With the JR Pass valid for the last 2 days in Tokyo, you can then plan to go to Nikko, check:-

The last day to Airport can be a bit tiring, and usually you want to get there early to shop around the Narita airport, and get ready to go home, guess the JR Pass is still important with the Narita Express. If not you could get a direct express bus from Shinjuku or pick up from certain hotels in Tokyo which cost you about Yen$3000/- or less.

All the best, do have a pleasant and safe journey....


Wow thank you both for your great replies... absolutely more in depth than I was expecting.. thank you so much,
We have already booked and pre paid (airbnb) our accommodation, we are travelling with our 3 year old daughter and don't want to be moving too much with her as it will be very tiring for her, hence the longer stays and the split in Tokyo (already have Ghibli tickets for the both times in Tokyo!). Our thoughts were that we would relax and explore Tokyo in our own time/pace for the first 5 days and then go to Naoshima for our 2 nights there... we have our accomodation in Osaka and Kyoto also booked but our days are unplanned.. and then back to Tokyo after that -where we plan to do a day trip to Hakone to the outdoor art museum. To be honest we dont expect to do crazy amounts of day trips as it is just too hard with a toddler so could you please tell me what is the difference between the suica and nex cards? I think we will go with the 14 day JR pass after all your helpful advice!!



Hi Martha,
About Suica and nex is as follows:-


No worries about Suica or Nex card:
Nex is just the short form of the "Narita Express" if not mistaken
Read more about the suica card:


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