questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

jr pass + kansai thru pass? 11 day itinerary

JR Pass + Kansai Thru Pass? 11 day Itinerary

Hello, I will be spending 11 days in Japan from Dec 25 - Jan 3. Here is is my planned itinerary:

Dec 25: Arrival to Tokyo, take shinkansen to Osaka
Dec 26-27: osaka to Kyoto and return
Dec 28: Osaka - Nara - Kobe - Osaka
dec 29 : Osaka - Miyajima/Hiroshima - Osaka
Dec 30: Osaka - Takayama (via Nagoya) will stay overnight
Dec 31 - Takayama - Shirakawago - Tokyo
Jan 1-3: Tokyo

Osaka will be my based area, so I'll be going back to Osaka every night. I have done my calculations via Hyperdia and JR calculator and it says that I will get my moneys worth.

I have no specific Itinerary per cities yet but I will definitely visit temples, castle, those touristy places and will do some food tripping. My main questions are the following:

  1. Can I use my 7 day JR Rail pass as a JR West Kansai Rail pass? I'm getting confused as other blogs states that I should get 3-4 day JR West Kansai Rail pass

  2. Do i also need to get the Kansai Thru Pass based on my itinerary? or my JR Pass is enough?

  3. Since I will be activating my JR pass on the first day and it will expire once I get to Tokyo, how will I go around? Is there another pass or subway card that I should purchase to go around?

  4. My itinerary is not yet final, I am still trying to figure out if arriving in Osaka and departing to Tokyo is a better schedule, if so will be JR pass still be worth it?

  5. Oh and I hope someone can give me some insight but if given a choice, where would you like to spend your new year? In Osaka or Tokyo?
    I just read that the Kansai region is almost full of people during the new year because locals would go home, the truth is i would like to avoid that crowd but at the same time, Tokyo is much expensive on the new year.

I know I posted a lot of question but any kind of help and replies will be very much appreciated.



Hi there,

1.) Yes, the JR Pass is valid nationwide and includes the whole JR West area too.

2.) A 7 day JR Pass will be more than enough for your trip.

3.) You can simply use a Suica card to get around.

4.) Yes, a JR Pass would be good for both options.

5.) Both Osaka and Kyoto will be very busy at night, some area's in Tokyo (such as around Tokyo tower) will be super busy too. Don't expect a ton of fireworks, except for official firework shows. I found that using an AirBnb can will be easier to find a place than using a hotel.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Thank you so much for this information Daniel-san.
By the way, if my other plan would push through where I will arrive in Osaka and depart in Tokyo, when is the best time to activate my card? Should I activate it the first day so I can use the JR pass from the Kansai Airport or should activate it on the later dates?



Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $255.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.