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JR Pass - worth it for trip Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo


I am planning my first trip to Japan in mid-Nov (19.11-04.12). I fly to Tokyo Narita and return from Tokyo Narita. 15 days.

The preliminary plan looks like this:

Tokio-Osaka (sleep)
Osaka- Koyosan (sleep)
Koyosan- Kyoto (sleep)
Kyoto - 5 full days, with day trip to NARA
Kyoto-Kanazawa (sleep)
Kanazawa-Shirakawago-Takayama (sleep)
Takayama- Matsumoto- Nagano (sleep) or straight from Takayama to Tokyo (not sure which is better option)
Tokio - 5 full days

My question is the JR Pass worth it? If yes, when to activate it?

Or better to rechange the plan, as it looks like a big part of my route won't be covered by the JR pass?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!



  • Using the Narita Express once and JR trains for all the possible routes, you still fall a little short from making a 14 day pass pay off. You'd need to activate it at Narita Airport upon your arrival.

    If you take one good day trip from Tokyo after your long distance travel (3 or 4 days in Tokyo are quite enough), then you'd at least break even and begin to get some good savings. Nikko is one good destination, or you could try Kusatsu, Izu, Hakone or other such places.
    You should know however, that the JR Pass won't take you everywhere you are planning to go. For Koyasan, you'll need something else. The Koyasan World Heritage Ticket can save you some money though.
    For a temple to stay at, try:

    To go from Kanazawa to Shirakawago and then Takayama, you'll need to pay for the buses going there.
    Plus if you choose to go to Hakone, an Odakyu Pass can help.

    And if you're in Japan 16 days, obviously you can't use the 14 day pass to go back to Narita. But the 1000 yen bus is a cheap way there.
  • Thank you for the info, Tenjin!

    We have changed our plan a little, so maybe that will make more sense for the 7 days Pass or we should better stick to the local trains?

    Tokio-Osaka (sleep)
    Osaka- Koyosan (sleep)
    Koyosan- Kyoto (sleep)
    Kyoto - 5 full days, with day trip to NARA
    Kyoto-Kanazawa (sleep, 2x)
    Kanazawa to Tokyo

    Thank you!
  • According to the above, you are spending 10 days traveling. How is a 7 day pass supposed to help you?
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