questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

14-day or 21-day pass?

14-day or 21-day pass?


From my last post we have changed our itinerary quite a lot!. We will be spending three weeks in Japan in August and have the following itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Narita airport, transfer to Shinjuku, Tokyo
Day 2: Tokyo Sightseeing
Day 3: Matsumoto
Day 4: Takayama (probably by bus)
Day 5: Travel Takayama to Kyoto
Day 6: Kyoto
Day 7: Kyoto
Day 8: Mount Koya
Day 9: Kyoto
Day 10: Kyoto
Day 11: Nara
Day 12: Hiroshima
Day 13: Miyajima Island
Day 14: Travel Hiroshima to Tokyo
Day 15: Tokyo - sightseeing
Day 16: Tokyo - Kamakura daytrip
Day 17: Tokyo - Nikko daytrip
Day 18: Tokyo - Hakone daytrip
Day 19: Tokyo - Disneyworld
Day 20: Disneyworld to Narita airport

A 21-day pass would cover all, but we know that we will have to pay for buses, subways and some private railways. Would it make better sense to buy a 14-day pass? If yes, when do you suggest we start and stop it?
How worth it is it to buy a green pass rather than an ordinary pass? There will be a 600 euro difference for the four of us (we are 4 adults) so is it worth the extra expense?

We appreciate your help.


In above I asked whether a 14-day or a 21-day pass would be better. Please advise whether we need a JR pass at all or, maybe even a 7-day pass in a certain period. I know I'm asking a lot of you, your help will be greatly appreciated.


Hi there

I see that indeed you have made some changes, the trip is well streamlined now.
Here is a little list of savings you could make with the JR-Pass.

Narita Airport --> Shinjuku ¥ 3,110
Tokyo --> Matsumoto ¥ 6,710
Takayama --> Kyoto ¥ 9,680
Kyoto --> Nara ¥ 690
Nara --> Hiroshima ¥ 11,360
Hiroshima Miyajima (return) 940
Hiroshima --> Tokyo ¥ 18,050
Tokyo Kamakura (return) ¥ 1,780
Tokyo Nikko (return) ¥ 10,860
Tokyo Odawara (return for Hakone) ¥ 7,280
Tokyo --> Maihama (for Disneyland) ¥ 420
Maihama --> Narita Airport ¥ 2,350

For a total of ¥ 73,230 the 21 Day JR-Pass is ¥ 57,700, so you could save at least ¥ 15,530 with the JR-Pass over normal tickets. I think this would be the best option for you, because you will be traveling around during your entire stay in Japan and the extra flexibility is great!

I also looked into the option of a 14-day (use from day 3-16 with a trip to Nikko on the last day) or even a 7 day pass but neither option would cost less money.

I think you will be fine with a normal JR-Pass, if you really want more quiet and comfort you could go for the Green Pass option but normal class is better than most trains I have traveled with in Europe. Here is our article on What to expect from a Green Car Pass

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

So, if we are to travel in August (arrive Japan on the 7th), when should I buy the JR Pass?


Hi again,

You can buy the JR-Pass 90 days before you activate it. For August this would be somewhere in May at the earliest.

I would buy the pass 2-weeks at the latest before you leave, this way you are sure it will arrive without any worries.

Best Wishes,

Expert button 2

Dear Daniel,
Thank you very much for your valuable help.
One last question: can we exchange the voucher at the airport and use it then and there to get to Tokyo? We arrive late in the evening, around 6pm. Would the exchange place still be open?


Hi Godfrey,

Yes that is no problem, you can exchange the Railpass at Narita Airport until 21:45 every day and than ride the Narita Express into the heart of Tokyo.

Have a great time in Japan!

Expert button 2

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