Need help - don't know which JR Pass to purchase
I will be traveling from NYC to Japan for just about 2 weeks (16 days) in June, and can use some recommendations regarding getting a JR Pass. I was thinking about getting a 7 day pass but not sure if I will actually even need a pass at all. Can you help me figure out the best pass - if I actually need one? Also, when should I activate the pass? Bellow I've outlined our current itinerary for you to review.
Thanks in advance!
DAY 1 | (Saturday): Arrive Tokyo (Arrive 4pm)
DAY 2 | (Sunday): Explore Tokyo
DAY 3 | (Monday): Ginza
DAY 4 | (Tuesday): Leave Tokyo to Mt Koya
DAY 5 | (Wednesday): Leave Mt Koya, go to Nara, then onward to Kyoto - Stay night in Kyoto
DAY 6 | (Thursday): Kyoto explore the following:
DAY 7 | (Friday): Kyoto day trip to Arashiyama and monkey park
DAY 8 | (Saturday): Free Day in Kyoto - Stay night in Kyoto
DAY 9 | (Sunday): Free Day in Kyoto - Stay night in Kyoto
DAY 10 | (Monday): Leave Kyoto to Himeji Castle then onward to Osaka
DAY 11 | (Tuesday): Osaka Itami (Dpt 10:20am) to Yakushima (Arv 11:50am)
DAY 12 | (Wednesday): Yakushima - Stay night in Yahkushima
DAY 13 | (Thursday): Yakushima - Stay night in Yahkushima
DAY 14 | (Friday): Yakushima (Depart 1:00pm) to Tokyo Haneda (Arrive 4:15pm)
DAY 15 | (Saturday): Explore Asukusa Area of Tokyo - Stay night in Tokyo
DAY 16 | (Sunday): Last Day in Tokyo - Leave Tokyo (Depart 5pm)
That's a very nice and detailed itinerary. In terms of a JR Pass, by flying to Yakushima and later to Tokyo, most of your travel distance is covered by air and a JR Pass would thus not help you make savings.
The Itinerary looks very good and I don't really have much to add to it. However you could optimize a little. Going from Tokyo - Koya to Kyoto to Osaka means backtracking a little. Better route would be Tokyo - Kyoto - Koya and then flyout of Osaka. All these places are however within Kansai, so it's not a big problem.
Hope this helps,
Be aware though that June is in the rainy season, and you may have many days with a lot of rain - Yakushima also has a lot of rain. Which also means it will be very humid and muggy. Don't forget the sunblock and deodorant, which are both very pricey in Japan. But altogether you have a great itinerary and you will see a lot of different aspects of Japan.
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