questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

5 weeks in japan

5 weeks in japan

what is a good solution for us - we (3p) are travelling for 5 weeks in Japan;
1. buy 2 JR passes (21 days + 7 days) or
2. buy a JP passe for 28 days - is that possible
3. buy just 1 pass 21 days and buy seperate tickets for the other days

5 weeks travelling – between 14/07/2014 – 15/08/2014 -- 32 N

Tokyo – 4N (14,15,16,17,18)
Nakasendo trail – Kiso Valley – 3N (18,19,20,21)
• Narai 1n (3u stappen nr Yabuhari) • Tsumago 1n (2,5 u stappen nr Magoma) • Magome 1n Nara 2N (21,22,23)
Koyasan 2N (23,24,25)
Kyoto 4N (25,26,27,28,29)
West Honshu 6N (29,30,31,1,2,3,4)
• Okayama/Kurashiki 2n • Naoshima eiland 1n • Kinosaki Onsen 2n Alpenroute 8N (4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12)
• Kanazawa • Shirakawa • Takayama • Kamikochi – Matsumoto ? Tokyo 2N (13,14,15)

thank you for answering my question!


Hello there,

That's one great trip and looks a lot of fun! I've been looking at it for some time now, however it is pretty hard to plan in a JR Pass effectively. Going for a 21 day JR seems to be the most effective way of traveling around and I would recommend to start using it once you start traveling outside Tokyo (on the 19th), because travel locally in Tokyo is not very expencive and the JR Pass is best used for nation wide travel. This is unless you plan to make day trips from Tokyo as well. As of the 7th you could either buy a 7 day JR Pass or buy normal tickets. It would probably be the latter but this depends on how much travel you will still be doing at this point. To help you decide I've listed a couple of ticket prices below.

Takayama - Matsumoto ¥ 10,110
Matsumoto - Tokyo ¥ 6,900

Price of a 7 day JR Pass ¥ 29,110

Travel to Shirakawago is done by bus (and not included in the JR Pass) So I listed the more expensive travel from there. As you can see you would have to do about 10,000yen worth of travel for a 7 day JR Pass to pay of. Note that travel to Kamikochi is also done by bus, which is not included in the JR Pass.

Does that help?

Expert button 2

Hello again,

Thanks a lot for your fast answer! (my reply is late because I travelled for 2 weeks since).

I understand that in the Japan Alps (Kanazawa, Shirakawa, Takayama) we have to travel with the bus. So it is perhaps more usefull to start using our 21d JR pass earlyer in Tokyo (from the 15th of july) till our big trip from Kinosaki Onsen to Kanazawa on the 4th of august? So we can plan a daytrip to Nikko from Tokyo for example.

Is there another formule to combine metro for some days and daytrips from Tokyo (to Fuji or Nikko for example) ?

Thanks in advance for your answer!


Hi Sabine,

Activating your 21 day JR Pass would also work, the nice thing here is that you would have a little extra flexibility near the end of your trip.

There are also day passes around Tokyo Tokunai Ticket or the one day metro pass (750yen) both allow you to travel around the city for an entire day.

Enjoy Japan!

Expert button 2

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