questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass 7 days,14 days or 21 days?

JR Pass 7 days,14 days or 21 days?

Hello there,

I currently have a 20 days travelling plan to Japan from 30 Jan to 18 Feb. I will reach Osaka on the 30 Jan, planing to stay in Kyoto for the first 3days from the 30 Jan til 2 Feb. I will have to go back to Osaka from Kyoto by train on the 2 feb, because i will then fly to Sapporo on the 3 feb from Osaka.

On the 3 to 8 or 9 feb I will be in Sapporo and other cities of Hokkaido for snow festival and snow skiing etc. Then i will head back from the 8 or 9 Feb (not sure if i should fly down to Tokyo OR use the JR Railway pass) to the main island (east side of Japan) which around the area of Sendai or Tokyo the surrounding cities.

From the 8 or 9 Feb til 18 I plan to travel from east side of Japan to west side of Japan by train. At the end I will be back to Osaka on 17 Feb and leaving from Osaka on the 18 feb.

So my itinerary would look like this:

Touch down in Osaka on 30 Jan. Taking train down to Kyoto from Osaka once I land.
30 Jan to 2 Feb Kyoto (3 days)
2 Feb to 3 Feb Osaka (1day)
3 Feb to 8 or 9 Hokkaido (Sapporo, Hakodate etc) (6 or 7 days)
9 Feb to 16 Feb (8days) in Sendai, Tokyo, Yudanaka Yamanouchi, Nagoya etc
17 Feb to 18 (2days) Osaka

I was planning to buy the 4 consecutive days Kensai West Railway Pass for the first 4days (Is it worth it?)
Then I will just buy 14 day JR Railway pass (3 Feb to 18 Feb which is16 days in total so there is 2 day with out JR pass) for Hokkaido and the rest of the trip in Japan.
Can i use JR Railway Pass in Hokkaido?Or should I buy the Hokkaido pass for the 5 or 6 days when I am there?
Or should I just buy a 21 days pass and just make life easier?
Is there any extra fee If I am to take the train from Hokkaido to Sendai when I use the JR Railway Pass? If so how much?
I am really confused and not sure which is the best.....

Please help me out!
Thank you!!!


Hi there!

Ok, huuuuge question! Lets see if I can give you some help :)

Travel within Kansai

Here's the cost for the first part of your trip:

  1. Kansai airport > Kyoto: ¥3690, (75mins, 99km)
  2. Kyoto > Osaka: ¥540, (28mins, 42km)
  3. Osaka > Kansai airport: ¥3340, (57mins, 64km)

JR ticket cost: ¥7570 for 3 legs

The Kansai Area Pass is ¥6000 for 4 days so you would make some savings on your planned travel with one. I think in your case you should use the ¥4000 ICOCA and Haruka combination, which will give you a return trip to Kansai Airport from Osaka or Kyoto, and also give you ¥1500 of prepaid travel which you can use on JR trains (such as the ¥540 from Kyoto to Osaka), or on subways and bus services in both Kyoto and Osaka which you will certainly have to pay for outside of the Kansai Area Pass.

Travel in Hokkaido and back down to Kansai

You can use the Japan Rail Pass on all JR trains within Hokkaido so it has effectively the same coverage as the Hokkaido pass. If you do plan on using a 14 day pass for the last section of your trip, and are considering purchasing a Hokkaido pass to cover your JR travel while you are in Hokkaido, I would recommend you purchase a 21 day Japan Rail Pass to give you full coverage as 21 days is only ¥12,600 more than the 14 day pass whereas Hokkaido passes start from ¥15,000 for 3 days and so will cost more. Of course, it will also make life easier, so there's a double bonus!

Hope this helps, it sounds like an awesome trip! :)

Expert button 2

HI Mari,
Thank you for your advises! I do hope my planning for trip will work out as well!
I do have another question, do you know if I can Take train from Sapporo to Sendai by using JR Pass? If so, is there any extra that i need to pay?
Thank you!!!


Yes, you can take the train from Sapporo to Sendai without extra charges - here is a sample itinerary for you.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

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