Have a question ?
Use our forum

Which rail pass to purchase?

I will be in Japan from Nov. 27th to Dec. 21st. I arrive in Narita and would like to spend two days in Narita after the long flight and before we meet our tour at Narita Airport on Nov. 29th. At that time, we are with our tour group to Okinawa until Dec. 10th when we end the tour in Fukuoka. I will have transportation with my tour group so will not need a rail pass at that time. When I leave Fukuoka, I would like to go to Hiroshima for two days. Then to Kyoto on Dec. 13th to the 15th to see a bit of Kyoto and Osaka. On Dec. 16th I would like to go to Kanasawa until the 18th. Then to Nagano for a day and on to Tokyo on Dec.19th until the 21st when I leave Tokyo from Narita and home.
Is this too busy of a schedule? What rail pass would be most beneficial? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and taken into consideration. I thank you beforehand on your help and I look forward to your discussion.


  • Hi,
    The full JR passes would not pay off for you here. Your travel is longer than 7 days, but you don't travel enough to make a 14 day pass pay off.
    You could however use 2 regional passes, and save a little money off of them.
    To get from Fukuoka to Kansai, there is the JR Setouchi Area Pass.

    To get from Kyoto via the Hokuriku Region to Tokyo, there is the Hokuriku Arch Pass.

    Regarding your itinerary, I don't think you are overloading things, but it depends on what you want. You could of course stay in Kyoto for months and not see everything. You might consider taking a day or half day off of Kanazawa for Kyoto - and be sure to see the sights of Nara as well - it was also a former capital and has some of Japan's best sights. Nara is often neglected by some tourists, which is a shame. Missing the Todaiji Great Buddha would be a tragedy. Nara Park has a lot of other great places, such as Kasuga Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, and feeding the many deer in the area.
    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.

    You should not skip the sights of Fukuoka either. It has some excellent places, completely unknown to the tourist guidebook "experts" and many travelers just pass through only thinking that it's a city with good food. Don't miss the Nanzoin Temple which is one of Japan's finest yet almost totally unknown to the outside world and completely *FREE*! Plus Tochoji has Japan's largest wooden Great Buddha, and many of the best sights are not far from a subway station. A subway day pass is a great way to get around.
    See this site as one of the most comprehensive guides:

    You can check regular fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.

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

    Hope that helps.

Sign In or Register to comment.