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Is a 14 day JR Pass the right choice?

So me and my girlfriend are planning our first trip to Japan and we are very excited. We are visiting Japan from the 24 april till 12 may. There is a lot to see in Japan and we want to travel relax and take our time. Therefor we are staying at the cities for more than a couple of days. And planning to maybe use the local JR-busses in the cities to take us to places.

This is the plan:

1: Arriving at Osaka (staying there for a day)
2: travel to Hiroshima (staying there for a day)
3: From Hiroshima to Osaka (Staying there for 3 days)
4: From Hiroshima to Nara (staying there for a day)
5: From Nara to Kyoto (Staying for 3 days)
6: From Kyoto to Fuji (Staying for 3 days)
7: From Fuji to Tokyo (Staying for 4 days)
8: From Tokyo to Narita (staying there for a day)
9: From Narita to Narita Airport (Flying back home)

So we are thinking about purchasing the 14 day JR-railpass (National). Can we use the the JR-railpass in al of the cities and are there JR busses and subways we can take once we are there? The reason for a 14 day pass is because we are planning to stay for 4 days in Tokyo and we want to buy a local Tokyo ticket. Because we want to see the Tokio area.

After our 4 day trip in Tokio we are going to Narita en have a relaxin day before our flight back to Holland from Narita Airport.

I checked the the website hyperdia.com to see if it is cheaper, and it was! However that was only the tickets to the cities and not all the other tickets we have to buy once we are there and want to visit something.

So is it smarter to buy the 14 day JR-pass that includes the bus/ferry/metro (with the JR logo)? Or a money saver to buy regular tickets once we are in Japan?

Can someone please help us, thank you very much!


  • edited March 2018
    A 14 day JR Pass would be a terrible waste of money for you. You simply are not traveling enough to make a pass pay off. With your plans, you could barely make a 7 day pass pay off, and you would need to rearrange your plans so the Hiroshima trip and going to Tokyo are within 7 days.

    A simple and fast way you can do some quick calculations is on:
    Hyperdia is more precise, but how you find yourself breaking even escapes me.

    If you are landing at KIX, one cheaper way to get into the city is the Icoca & Haruka discount ticket.
    The IC card is convenient but offers almost no savings. You do get a good discount for the Haruka Ltd Express train though. The card can be used for buses, subways etc in any major city you are going to, and can be refilled if needed. It beats carrying a heavy bag of coins.

    All of the places you are going to are covered by JR trains except for the Fuji area. You did not specify which part of the area you plan to go to - most go to either the Hakone area, or the Fuji 5 Lakes area. You could see either in a full day but not both. There are other regional passes that can save you money for there.
    The Loop Course for Hakone is a common way to see all the sights of Hakone and takes a full day.
    The Fuji Hakone pass is a good pass to see both places, and you can get one after you get off the bullet train at Odawara Stn.

    Regarding the grand, majestic photos you see of Mt Fuji in the background - you should know that the weather is notoriously uncooperative. Your best chances of seeing the mountain clearly are in the early morning and evening.

    There are not a lot of places where you can take JR buses to get around. And the pass cannot be used on any subways and nearly all non-JR lines. There are other passes however - both Kyoto and Nara have a 500 yen bus day pass. In Tokyo, the 48 or 72 hour subway pass can be a good money saver too.

    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.

    Instead, I suggest you take at least half a day and see Himeji - it has Japan's finest castle and the Kokoen Garden next door is very good as well.

    You can see both Hiroshima and Miyajima as a day trip with an early morning start. You could cover the Peace Park/Museum, castle, Shukkeien Garden, Mitakidera Temple, and Okonomiyaki-mura, and then go down to Miyajimaguchi Stn to take the JR ferry to the island. Aside from the Itsukushima Shrine with the giant "floating" torii, the Daishoin Temple is also a must-see place. There are several other pagodas and temples, and climbing Mt. Misen offers a fantastic view over the island and whole area.

    If you can see Itsukushima Shrine at both high and low tides, you're in for a bonus. The shrine looks better at high tide, and at low tide you can walk out on to the beach right up to the giant torii gate.
    If you have time, just beyond Miyajima is Iwakuni, which is another picturesque place with its iconic bridge and mountaintop castle.

    In Hiroshima City, you can use the JR Pass for the Loop Bus to get around the city - it is about the only place in Japan where you can do this.

    The cheapest way to Narita after seeing Tokyo is the 1000 yen bus.

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

    There are also loads of other tips on

    Best wishes.
  • Hi Tenjin,

    Thank you very much for your help and tips! We are looking in to it and probably make some adjustments!

    Best wishes.
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