questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

itinery for 17 day trip

Itinery for 17 day trip


I am planning a 17 day trip to Japan in the summer and wonder if you could give me any advice regarding the cheapest options for my train travel. My itinery is as follows:

Day 1 Narita Airport to Tokyo
Day 2 Stay in Tokyo (will be using metro)
Day 3 Stay in Tokyo (will be using metro)
Day 4 Day trip to Nikko
Day 5 Either stay in Tokyo or make a day trip to Kamakura
Day 6 Tokyo to Kyoto
Day 7 Stay in Kyoto
Day 8 Day trip to Nara
Day 9 Stay in Kyoto
Day 10 Kyoto to Hiroshima
Day 11 Stay in Hiroshima
Day 12 Day trip to Miyaiima Island
Day 13 Stay in Hiroshima (or day trip to Kurokawa)
Day 14 Hiroshima to Tokyo
Day 15 Stay in Tokyo (will be using metro)
Day 16 Stay in Tokyo (will be using metro)
Day 17 Tokyo to Narita airport

Would it be a good idea to get a Japan rail pass (I understand you can get a three week pass?)? Can I use this pass for all my travelling?

Any advice would be much appreciated.



Hi there!

Given that you're in Japan for 17 days, I think your key options are either a 7 day pass (¥28,300), or a 14 day rail pass (¥45,100). A 7 day rail pass will require pretty drastic changes to your itinerary, whereas a 14 day rail pass will allow you to do all of your JR travel from Day 4 onwards. To get an idea of which is better for you, lets first get a breakdown of your costs:

  1. Tokyo > Nikko: ¥5430, (121mins, 150km)
  2. Nikko > Tokyo: ¥5430, (117mins, 150km)
  3. Tokyo > Kamakura: ¥1900, (48mins, 51km)
  4. Kamakura > Tokyo: ¥890, (58mins, 53km)
  5. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13220, (164mins, 513km)
  6. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690, (45mins, 41km)
  7. Nara > Kyoto: ¥690, (44mins, 41km)
  8. Kyoto > Hiroshima: ¥10790, (112mins, 380km)
  9. Hiroshima > Tokyo: ¥18050, (292mins, 894km)
  10. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥2940, (58mins, 79km)

TOTAL: ¥60030 for 10 legs

As you can see, a 14 day pass will give you minimum savings of  ¥14,930 on your JR travel, with the freedom to use the rail pass more as you are in Tokyo (map of JR lines in Tokyo for reference).

I think rather than compressing your travel up into 7 days, the 14 day pass will be a good option as it will allow you to spend time outside Tokyo and stil make great savings on your travel without having you spend 10 days in Tokyo.

As a thought on your time from Day 10-14, a day trip to Kurokawa Onsen from Hiroshima will probably be too much to fit in a day without an overnight stay (and you really won't get the most out of it). You also may struggle to spend 4 nights in Hiroshima. I think you could reduce your stay in Hiroshima by 2 nights and spend them on Kurokawa / Aso, or another location like Naoshima, Koyasan, Fukuoka or Kinosaki Onsen.

For Day 1 - Day 3, you should make sure you take advantage of either the Narita Express and Suica metro card, or the Keisei Skyliner + metro travel card deals that will give you some savings for your initial few days.

I think your itinerary looks great! Have a good trip!

Expert button 2

Thank you. I really appreciate the advice.


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