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JR Pass 21-days / 1-day trips from Tokyo and Kyoto / place for relax

Hi,
My question is if it would be worthy for me to buy 21-days JR Pass. We are travelling 3 persons. I plane to stay in Japan 20 days. JR Pass would be used for passage from Narita Airport to Tokyo first. When in Tokyo (4-5 days): 1 day trip to Kamakura and 1 day Trip to Nikko. Next the trip Tokyo-Kyoto. In Kyoto about 7 days. 1-day trip to Nara, 1-day trip to Horyu-ji. Next the trip from Kyoto to Hakone. 3-4 days in Hakone. Next from Hakone to Tokyo for another 3-4 days. The last would be the train from Tokyo to Narita airport. It looks that 21-day pass is the only option for us but is it worthy? One more question, any other interesting 1-day trips from Tokyo and Kyoto? Is there more interesting place than Hakone for the 3-4 days of simply relaxing? One more. I'm considering the green JR pass for more comfortable transfers especially for my 12-years old daughter. We will be in Japan July / August so it will be definitely very hot. Thanks.

Comments

  • Hi,
    The 21 day pass would be a terrible waste of money for you. You would need to expand your itinerary considerably.
    If you went to Kyoto & Nara, plus did a day trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima within that 7 days, you would get some huge savings. You would not be able to go to Hakone while returning back to Tokyo. But after you returned, you could go to Hakone on the Hakone Free Pass from Shinjuku.

    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html
    The Loop Course is a common way to see all the sights and takes a full day.
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5210.html
    or, if you want to see more, there is the Fuji 5 Lakes area on the other side of the mountain. And a pass for both too.
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6900.html
    http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/fujihakone/

    For Nikko, there is the Tobu Nikko Free Pass.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_002.html

    For Kamakura/Enoshima, there is a pass for that also.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_003.html

    If you want more - there is plenty - you can go see the Hitachi Seaside Park, Karuizawa, Kusatsu, Izu, hiking in Takao or Okutama, the Ushiku Great Buddha, and more.
    http://en.hitachikaihin.jp/
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6030.html
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7400.html
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6310.html
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3029.html
    https://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-temples-shrines/ushiku-daibutsu

    The Tokyo Wide Pass can be an excellent money saving way in getting around for 3 days.
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_06.html
    Getting out to the mountains or ocean also might be good to escape the heat - which will be extremely muggy and hot. Bring enough sunblock and deodorant.

    Horyuji is just one temple in Nara - and won't take a full day.
    From Kyoto, Himeji with Japan's finest castle and Kokoen Garden next door would also make a great outing.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3500.html
    Miyama also makes a great change of pace.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3985.html
    And of course I already mentioned Hiroshima.

    I've never heard anyone complain about the ordinary seats on the bullet trains. It's up to you if you want to splurge. You can compare the seats on
    http://bit.ly/2mgKS3U

    You can find regular rail fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
    http://www.hyperdia.com
    Under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.

    You can see previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/thejapanfaq/videos

    There are also loads of other tips on
    http://www.thejapanfaq.com/the-best-japan-travel-tips/

    Best wishes.
  • Hi Tenjin. First of all tank you a lot for your comment, I really appreciate it. I'm still in the stage of planning. I did quick calculation and it might be worthy to get JR pass especially it would be easier for us to travel. I will use it as following 1) Narita Express from airport to Tokyo, 2) 1-Day Trip to Kamakura 3) Tokyo - Kyoto, 4) 1-Day Trip to Nara 5) 1-Day Trip to Hiroshima / Miyajima 6) 1-Day Trip to Himeji 7) Kyoto-Tokyo, 8) 1-Day Trip to Nikko, 9) 1-Day Trip to Hakone, 10) Narita Express from Tokyo to Narita airport. As per above schedule, 21-Day JR pass should pay off or should be close to. One more question. How can I exchange USD/EUR in cash to Yens? Can I do it at the airport or exchange rate is very low there? Do they normally exchange cash in the good hotels in Tokyo or the commission will be very high there? Thank you again.
  • Hi,
    If you add all those places, then a 21 day pass should pay off pretty well. You still couldn't use the pass for Hakone though, so a Hakone Free Pass is still worth it.

    As for exchanging money, a lot depends on where you are from. As a general rule of thumb, the country with the smaller economy has the better exchange rate. If you're a banker in Argentina, you'd love to get more dollars - but if you are in America, you really don't want to deal with a pile of Argentinian pesos.

    You can see current rates right now in Japan at
    http://www.mizuhobank.co.jp/rate/market/cash.html
    The rates are those you'd actually get if you walked in the bank. If you want to can compare those with what your local bank has.

    In actuality though, you really don't need to buy the cash at all. You can easily use your ATM card and go to any Japanese 7-11 or post office (including at the airport; the sevenbank is the 7-11 one) and get yen there. The rates are good and it is very easy (the menus are in English as well). There are tens of thousands of them across the country.

    Airport kiosks and hotels have very bad rates.

    There may be a certain fee for using it (check with your bank first) as well as a foreign exchange fee, but often is only a few dollars unless you are doing business with a ripoff bank.
    If you do plan to use your ATM card in Japan, make sure your bank knows about it first so they don't suspect fraudulent usage and freeze your account.

    You can also see what Japanese money looks like at
    http://www.thejapanfaq.com/japanfaq1c.html
    Note that you can not use 1 or 5 yen coins in vending machines and phones.

    Good luck.
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