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JR Pass - 7 or 14 days? Or should we just pay as we go?

edited December 2017 in About Itineraries

Here's our itinerary:

Dec 22: Haneda -> Kyoto
Dec 23: [Kyoto]
Dec 24: [Kyoto]
Dec 25: [Kyoto]
Dec 26: Kyoto - Koyasan
Dec 27: Koyasa - Osaka
Dec 28: [Osaka]
Dec 29: Osaka - FujiKawaguchiko
Dec 30: FujiKawaguchiko -> Tokyo
Dec 31: [Tokyo]
Jan 1: [Tokyo]
Jan 2: [Tokyo]
Jan 3: Narita -> Home

The 14 day pass covers all our days, but we do have plenty of days without day trips (in Kyoto specially) where we won't have use for it. My other thought was to use the 7 day pass activating it Dec 26 onwards.

When I priced it on Hyperdia, I'm finding it to be cheaper if we pay as we go.

If we do end up buying the JR Pass (either 7 or 14 day), are any day trips worthwhile to add to make it worthwhile? For example, how about Hiroshima/Miyajima on Dec 28? It feels like that might be tiring given all the travelling around then, but without it the JR Pass doesn't seem to add up.

I also considering getting a Kansai Thru Pass for our time in Kyoto/Osaka/Koyasan (and maybe add Nara to the mix), and then get a 'Suica' card when we land in Haneda for all other non-Shinkansen travel.


  • Hi,
    A 14 day pass simply won't pay off for you. It would if you did the day trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima. Although from Kyoto it is 2 hours one way, so you'd need an early morning start and return after sundown.
    You would get better savings in your other suggestion, using a 7 day pass from Dec 28-Jan 3.
    The pass would not help you in going to Koyasan anyway. For there, use a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket.
    Koyasan is best with an overnight stay.

    It would also be over 5 hours from Kansai to Otsuki - from there you'll need to pay for the Fujikyu train the rest of the way to the Fuji 5 Lakes.
    You could however use the JR Pass from Tokyo to Narita on your final day. The Narita Express is normally 3000 yen one way.

    The Kansai Thru Pass is usually not worth it for most people, unless you do something like a day trip to Himeji and the Kokoen Garden (which are both well worth it). Nara was also a former capital and has some of Japan's best sights. 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.

    For the end/start of the year, you should check every single place you plan to go first - many stores etc will be closed from around Dec 28-Jan 3rd or 4th. Many restaurants will also be closed, but convenience stores will not. You may have to eat some meals from there. It is a chance though to experience New Year's in Japan.

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

    Hope that helps.

  • Thank you Tenjin, as usual - your replies are very helpful. As you suggested, the Koyasan Heritage tickets seems to fit our journey better. Yes - we're staying in Koyasan overnight at a temple and looking forward to it!
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