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Help on Itinerary - Is JR Pass Worth It?


I've been put in charge of planning my family's itinerary to Japan and I have no clue what I'm doing. Any help/advice would be appreciated. But mostly, I'm looking to see if the 7-day JR Pass is worth it four 8 day trip. And if so, what is the best strategy to use it. Here is the itinerary I have so far:

Arrive at Narita Airport
Take Nartia Skyaccess train from to Takanawadai Station to get to our hotel

Explore Tokyo
(Go to Shibuya via Yamanote Line)

Day trip to Kyoto and back to Tokyo at night
(Take Shinkansen to Kyoto)

Explore Tokyo
(Go to Imperial Palace via Keihintohoku Line; take Yurikamome Line and Tokaido Line back in evening)

Day trip to Nara and back to Tokyo at night
(Take Shinkansen to Kyoto and JR Nara Line to Nara)

Day trip to Kawaguchoko Lake
(Guided tour)

Explore Tokyo
(Go to Asakusa via Keikyu Line)

Back to Narita Airport for flight home

Please let me know your thoughts on the itinerary and when to activate the 7-day JR Pass to make the most of it.

Thank you so much!!


  • With all due respect, your plans of 2 day trips to Kansai are completely idiotic. With just 6 full days, I'd suggest not going to Kansai at all and leaving it for a future trip. But that aside, if you used a rail pass, it take 2½-3 hours one way - that means 5-6 hours of your day is wasted just sitting on trains. To Nara it would be even worse - about 7½ hours of your day just sitting on trains.
    You can see the best of Nara in a day, but just one day in Kyoto is seriously shortchanging yourself. If you are still intent on going, at the very least stay an overnight in Kyoto and see Nara the following day. You can spend 1½ days in Kyoto, and see most of the best of Nara in Nara Park in half a day.

    If you forgo Kansai, there are many good day trips you can take close to Tokyo, such as Nikko and Kamakura/Enoshima. In that case, you don't need any JR Pass, and there are some good regional passes like the Nikko Pass and Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass.
    For going to the Fuji 5 Lakes, there is a cheap bus you can take.

    If you want a cheap way to/from Narita without any pass, there is the 1000 yen bus.

    You can check on train info on Hyperdia - you can see regular fares, routes, and schedules.

    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

    Best regards.
  • thank you! very helpful
  • I updated my itinerary based on your feedback to stay the night in kyoto and go to nara on the way back to tokyo. now that we're doing that, would you say the JR pass is worth it? and how do you recommend using it so that i get the most out of the 7-day pass for the 8 days we are there?
  • Well, it depends on a few details. Using the N'Ex once with the Tokyo-Kansai round trip will make a 7-day pass break even. If you take a JR train up to Otsuki for the Fuji 5 Lakes area, that would add to your savings (though you'd still need to pay the Fujiden train the rest of the way to Lake Kawaguchi (1140 yen yen or 1740 yen for ltd express).
    One alternative is the japanican ticket.
    Unlike the JR Pass, you can ride the Nozomi trains with it, getting you there 30 minutes sooner. Plus a free day of local transport.
    It only covers the bullet trains, but even paying for regular tickets for everything else, it likely comes out cheaper. It's a question of money vs. convenience for you.
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