questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

7 day pass vs 14 day pass

7 day pass vs 14 day pass

hello -

i'm trying to figure out it if makes more financial sense to buy a 14 day JR Pass or a 7 day pass. I'll be in Japan for 11 days. my itinerary is as follows

Narita to Tokyo Sept 20
Tokyo Sept 20-25
Tokyo to Kanazawa
Kanazawa Sept 25-27
Kanazawa to Kyoto
Kyoto Sept 27-30
Kyoto to Narita (by way to Tokyo) Sept 30

Is it better to buy a 7 day JR pass and activate it when leaving Tokyo headed for Kanzawa or buy a 14 day pass? I was thinking that it would be cheaper to buy a 7 day pass + a N'EX roundtrip ticket + Suica card for Tokyo travel vs. a 14 day pass. Even with a JR pass i'll still need a Suica card in Tokyo, correct?

Thanks. i hope that wasn't too confusing.



A 14 day pass would not pay off for your itinerary. Getting a 7 day pass and using it to Sept 24-30 would work much better for you. You can use the pass to return to Narita as well, which would easily make the pass cost effective. With that though, you don't need a N'Ex round trip ticket. A more cost effective one way from Narita would be a 1000 yen bus with a 3 day subway pass, or you could use a Keisei/Metro package.
Kyoto is an excellent destination though and the heart of old Japan. Don't miss Nara either, which was also a former castle; it has many good areas and the Todaiji Great Buddha is a must-see place. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. At night the city comes alive and has some great places to see, such as Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg, and Abeno Harukas Bldg are excellent. Himeji Castle, which is Japan's best, would also make a great half day trip and increase your pass savings.

Best of luck.


If you'd still like to use a 14 day pass, there is no shortage of great places you could visit. Okayama is not far and it is famous for its castle, plus Korakuen, one of Japan's Top 3, and also the Handayama Garden. If you'd like to get off the beaten trail for a while, the half day hike up to Konpirasan in Kotohira is stunning. Going to Takamatsu is also nice - it has one of Japan's finest gardens also, called Ritsurin.
Hiroshima also has a number of good places. Miyajima is the most famous, and aside from Hiroshima itself, Onomichi with its temple tour and Kosanji Temple is spectacular. Just beyond Miyajima also lies Iwakuni with its historical bridge and castle on top of the mountain. Taikodani is also a beautiful shrine in Tsuwano, Shimane. Hagi Castle was actually delightful, and the preserved samurai district and Mori related temples a rarity. One of the very best is the Akiyoshi Limestone Cave, a 300 million year old wonder with huge caverns and underground river running through it.

If you can, try to find a little time to see the Japanese themselves. Go visit a Japanese supermarket and see what people typically eat. Look through a park and watch the Japanese kids play. Learn about the history of some of the places you visit before your departure - it will give your trip so much more meaning.

All in all, a lot more to explore and enjoy.


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