questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

should i buy a jr pass (7 or 14 day) or separate tickets?

Should I buy a JR Pass (7 or 14 day) or separate tickets?


I am wondering whether it's worth getting a JR Pass (7 or 14 day) or whether to just buy tickets separately.

Our plans are as follows:

24 Dec: Arrive Narita, stay in Tokyo
25 Dec: Tokyo to Hakone (overnight in Hakone)
26 Dec: Hakone to Takayama (overnight in Takayama)
27 Dec: Takayama overnight
28 Dec: Takayama to Nara (overnight in Nara)
29 Dec: Nara
30 Dec: Nara to Koyasan (overnight in Koyasan)
31 Dec: Koyasan to Kyoto (overnight in Kyoto)
1 Dec - 5 Dec: staying in Kyoto with perhaps 1 day return trip to Osaka
6 Dec: Kyoto to Tokyo
7 Dec: Tokyo
8 Dec: depart Narita

I am thinking of getting a 14 day JR Pass and starting it on 25 December. Is there any problems with this itinerary (i.e. in terms of ease of travel, should I change the order of the towns I am visiting?).

Thank you !


Hi there,

Looking at the rough JR only costs from the 25th, you're looking at:

25 Dec: ¥3,640 (To Odawara - needs travel on non JR line)
26 Dec: ¥12,410 (From Odawara)
28 Dec: ¥10,310
30 Dec: ¥780 (Need travel on non JR line)
31 Dec: ¥2,730 (Need some travel on non JR)
6 Dec: ¥13,220
7 Dec: ¥400
8 Dec: ¥2,770

Total: ¥46,260.

The base price of a 14 day Japan Rail Pass is ¥45,100. So based solely on price, and provided you only do these JR journeys having a 14 day Rail Pass will only be slightly cheaper but will certainly make transport more convenient, and will give you a bit more freedom to change your plans if you wanted.

There are not so many ways to mix up your trip to save more money with just on a 7 day due to the (great sounding) stop in Kyoto. If you wanted to get much more value for money out of your pass you could do lots of interesting day trips from Kyoto - for example, down to Hiroshima, or to the onsen town of Kaga Onsen Kyo. Basically any extra trips you do on a JR line will be effectively free.

On thing that I would recommend is that if you are travelling around New Year that you reserve your tickest as soon as you arrive in Japan (whatever your decision about rail passes and tickets are). New Year in Japan is a serious event, and so you may find it's difficult to travel around the 31st - 2nd without a reservation.

Hope all this helps!


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