questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

which pass(es) make the most sense for my itinerary?

Which pass(es) make the most sense for my itinerary?

I am traveling to Japan for a total of 22 days but I'm not sure a 21 day pass makes the most sense for my itinerary as I'm spending a good amount of time in Kyoto and Tokyo (at the beginning and end of my trip). Would it make sense to buy the 4 day Kansai pass at the beginning of my trip and something else for the end? I'm going in late September, and it appears the the JR Central pass will be discontinued (and would have worked better with my itinerary). I am open to any suggestions as I don't need to use the same pass for the entire trip. Please advise.

Day 1: KIX to Nara (bus or train?)

Day 3: Nara to Kyoto with stop in Uji

Day 5: Kyoto – day trip to Suntory Yamazaki Distillery

Day 7: Kyoto to Kanazawa with stop in Hikone (or Lake Biwa)

Day 9 and 11: Kanazawa – day trip to Wajima; day trip to Yamanaka Onsen

Day 12: Kanazawa to Takayama with stop in Shirawago (bus)

Day 14: Takayama to Matsumoto (bus)

Day 15: Matsumoto – possible day trip to Tsumago

Day 16: Matsumoto to Tokyo

Day 20: Tokyo – possible side trip to Kamakura, Nikko or Hakone

Day 22: Tokyo to Narita


Hello there,

For this itinerary it is best to buy tickets as you travel. There's not that much cost of train travel and you'll use the bus from time to time as well, which is not covered by the JR Pass.

You could look at the Hokuriku pass for travel to around Takayama and Kanazawa. JR Central just announced the new verions, that will be available when you travel.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Hi Daniel, Thank you for your response. Would it be cost effective to but the 14-day pass and activate it when we leave Kyoto to head to Kanazawa?

Could you help me understand the transportation from Kanazawa to Takayama and on to Matsumoto? I know we can go by bus? Is that included in the pass (I see to recall that maybe it was a discounted rate). I know we also have the option to go through Toyama too.

Thanks again.


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