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Japan UNESCO Heritage trail

We have 2 travellers going to visit Heritage sites.
Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Koya San, Takagama, Hiroshima, Kanazawa, Shiragawago. Is this doable within 18 days?
What kind of rail pass sh we buy? Is there a difference in buying rail pass ahead or go to station and buy? Any seniors disc for foreigner. we both are above 65 yrs old.


  • Hi,

    Thank you very much for contacting us.

    Yes, 18 days seems reasonable for the places you mentioned.

    Since you will be travelling in-between several regions, the only pass that will cover your entire journey is the National Japan Rail Pass.
    The Japan Rail Pass will also allow you to take the Shinkansen bullet train (except for the Nozomi and Mizuho).

    You can purchase this pass for 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days via our website :

    Hyperdia is very convenient to calculate if a Japan Rail Pass is worth buying in your case and to know which length is most cost-effective for your travel.

    Please visit hyperdia.com:

    - In search conditions, write the departure and arrival location (day and time does not really matter)
    - The search will provide you the fare for this travel (check "total price" under "take time")
    - Do the same for all your trips by train.
    - Just compare with the price of a Japan Rail Pass 7, 14 or 21 days by checking the price here : http://www.japan-rail-pass.com/jr-pass

    You want to be sure you can access to the trains for free with a Japan Rail Pass :
    - In “search details”, unclick “Nozomi, Mizuho, Hayabusa Shinkansen” and “private railway”.
    - The search result will show you all the trains you can access with a Japan Rail Pass.

    Buying it from us is 10-15% cheaper than buying it directly in Japan as you can see here: http://japanrailpass.net/file/trial_basis_en.pdf

    Unfortunately, there are no discounts for seniors for the JR pass.

    If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again.


    Japan Experience
  • Hi,
    Please be aware that for Shirakawago there is no rail access - you will have to pay for a bus to go there. The shortest route is from Kanazawa.
    Also, the JR Pass won't help you to go to Koyasan. For that, there is a different regional pass to help you save money - the Koyasan World Heritage Ticket.
  • Can I drive to Koyasan? Is there parking facility? Charges?
  • I have worked out the following itinerary for self drive.
    3N Tokyo (day trips to Nikko and Hakone); 1N each for the following kawaguchiko, Matsumoto, Tsumago, Takayama, Shirawago, Kanazawa, Hikone, Nara, Koyasan, Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Hiroshima, Miyajima, ending in Fukuoka for a few N (return rental car here also) and fly home from there. Total 25N. Pl advise if any town is not feasible to drive into. I gave Osaka a miss as I don't think its wise to drive there. Really appreciate advise. Any accomodation to recc ?
  • Have not checked. But if possible, may return car to Hiroshima and take train to Fuk
  • There are some isolated areas in the mountains as well as places like Hokkaido, Okinawa, and the Noto Peninsula where driving is by far the best way to get around. But otherwise renting a car for your whole trip is very ill-advised (and that's presuming you're up to driving in Japan in the first place). Fuel is very expensive, parking in cities is very high and hard to find, many places are clogged with cars, and the tollways make it more expensive than taking the train. Drop off charges for a different place you rented it from are also exorbitant. For long distance travel, taking the train makes much more sense - then, if there are some isolated areas you want to visit as a day trip, renting a car might make more sense. Driving in big cities is just crazy.
    You can drive to Koyasan, but again, some of it is accessed by cable car, and you can't see it all by car.
  • my friend just returned from Tokyo' says buy 7d rail pass must use every day consecutively for 7 days. Buy in Japan has more choices and flex. As you know, we will be in Japan for 25 days.
  • Yes, the rail passes use consecutive days. There are some regional area flex passes, but you are not traveling to that area.
    Your plans are too much for 7 days though. You would do well with a 14 day pass, and you would travel enough to make it worth it. Of course you don't have to use the pass every day - but you should travel enough to cover the costs of the pass, and with your plans, you do. Try to do all your long distance travel within the 14 days, such as going to Nikko, Kansai, Takayama, and Hiroshima.

    Please be aware also that for counting your pass days, the day starts and ends at midnight. So if you activated and used your pass from 6 PM on July 1st, your first "day" would be 6 hours long and the pass would expire at midnight on the 7th.

    You can see previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:
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