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Best Rail pass for 13 days in Japan
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Flying into Tokyo. Tokyo for 4 nights. Kyoto for 4 nights. Osaka for 4 nights. What is the best rail pass to purchase while there?
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The "best" pass is the one that saves you the most money, while not wasting time. It depends on where you go, and for how long. If you don't travel enough, you can lose money on a rail pass. Are you returning to Tokyo after seeing Osaka? If not, unless you are taking some long distance side trips, no JR Pass would pay off for you.
But if you want to take a day trip or overnight to Hiroshima & Miyajima for example, that, plus the trip from Tokyo to Kyoto would make a 7 day pass pay off. The 14-day pass would not be practical unless you seriously did several long distance side trips.
BTW aside from Kyoto, it would be a tragedy if you skipped Nara - it was also a former capital and has some of Japan's best sights. And if you are already seeing Tokyo, you can mostly skip Osaka during the day. Evenings in Osaka are great, but there are other and better places to see, like Himeji, Hikone, Kanazawa, etc. Kobe is a nice city as well.
Some regional passes might help you out, depending on where you decide to go.
If using the subway in Tokyo a lot, you can save money on a 3 day subway pass.
You can check on train info on Hyperdia - you can see regular fares, routes, and schedules.
Under "More Options", if you get a full JR pass, be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.
Also, you can look at some previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:
There are also loads of other tips on
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