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JR Pass

Hi, I have a party of 4 with 2 people travelling for 10 days and the other 2 for 16 days in early February. I am wondering if it is more affordable to travel on a JR pass for each itinerary or single tickets. Itinerary as follows:
All 4 travelling from Narita airport to Nozawa, 3 nights.
Nozawa to Hakuba, 3nights.
Hakuba to Tokyo, 3 nights.
2 people then continuing:
Tokyo to Kyoto, 2 nights.
Kyoto to Osaka, 2 nights.
Osaka to Tokyo 1 night.
We have one night not booked as yet so open to suggestions, also we would like to visit Mount Fuji or Hakone for a day or overnight.


  • edited January 2018
    The people only going to Nozawa and Hakuba would be a long ways from making a 7 day JR Pass pay off. However, they could use the JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass and get some savings.

    That said, getting to both Nozawa and Hakuba require some bus trips as well and those are not covered by any JR pass. For Nozawa, you can take a bullet train to Iiyama, then pay for the bus (40 min., ¥700 one way, departures every 1-2 hours) the rest of the way. For Hakuba, you'd take the bullet train back to Nagano Station, then pay for the bus (60-90 min, ¥1800-2000) the rest of the way. You could avoid the bus entirely if you went back to Matsumoto and got a limited express train, but that is a lot of backtracking and wasted time.

    Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5 PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. At night the city comes alive and has some great places to see, such as Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are wonderful.
    On another evening, you could also go and see Kobe.

    Instead, I suggest you take at least half a day and see Nara - it was also a former capital and has some of Japan's best sights. Missing the Todaiji Great Buddha would be a tragedy. Nara Park has a lot of other great places, such as Kasuga Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, the Isuien and Yoshikien Gardens, and feeding the many deer in the area.

    For your unplanned day, you could go to either Hakone or the Fuji 5 Lakes. Both are similar but there are differences in the sights.
    The Hakone Loop Course
    is a common way to see the area and takes a full day.
    The Fuji Lakes area also has various tourist tickets.

    You can see regular fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
    Under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train if you are using the JR pass.

    Hope that helps.
  • Thank you, can you tell me the best way to travel to Hakone. Could this be done as an overnight stay on the way from Osaka to Tokyo. Or is it easier to access from Tokyo? I don't believe this route is covered by the JR pass.
  • It would be easier to see Hakone leaving Tokyo - if you take the Loop Course, it typically takes up a whole day. The JR Pass can only get you part way there. Go to Odawara by JR, and get the Hakone Free Pass to see Hakone. After seeing the area, return but go to Mishima Stn., then catch the next bullet train to Kansai. Hakone has many nice ryokan or Japanese inns to stay at, and you should experience a hot spring at least once while visiting the country.
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