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I'm going to Japan in this coming November. I would like to know is it worthy to take JR pass for a 9- 10 days travel in Japan?
Is there any other ways to save costs?

Here is my literary:
Day 1: Osaka Kansai airport
Day 2: Osaka
Day 3: Tokushima Iya Kazurabashi
Day 4: Tokushima Iya Kazurabashi
Day 5: Kyoto
Day 6: Kyoto
Day 7: Kyoto
Day 8: Nara
Day 9: Osaka
Day 10: Osaka Kansai airport

This is my first time to Japan, and i have no ideas where to start.

Thank You.


  • edited May 2018
    Hello Yeesan.

    Well, let's see. With your current itinerary you are largely to remain around Kansai, except for a single side trip to Iya Valley in Shikoku.

    I think it's a good itinerary on its own. However, the first thing to note is you really don't need a general JR Pass just to get around Kansai (Osaka/Kyoto/Nara). Actually, you would ideally be relying on transport options that aren't covered by JR Pass in this area.

    The cost of a round trip from Osaka to the Iya Valley (via Okayama) is 19 thousand yen, and the JR Pass would cover the entire trip, but the cost of a 7-day pass is 29 thousand yen. With your current schedule it would be tricky to make pay off. I'm factoring your trip from the airport and taking Shinkansen to Kyoto.

    But actually, there are many regional passes to use in Japan. There's one I have in mind that would actually save you money compared to JR Pass. It's called the JR Kansai Wide Pass.


    Though there are a few key aspects to note about this pass: 5 day validity, travel unreserved seats only, and the coverage. This pass will cover a trip from Osaka to Utazu in Shikoku. From there on you'd pay the fare to travel locally to Iya Valley (up to 3000 yen each way). Plus 9000 yen for the aforementioned regional rail pass. Still much cheaper than the JR Pass, and you can still have a Shinkansen experience. You can also use the pass from day 1 to cover getting to the city from Kansai aiport, as well as your trip to Kyoto on the final day of validity.

    Is there any other ways to save costs?

    If I were planning to hit a good amount of sightseeing spots around Kyoto, Nara and Osaka, I'd be riding a fair amount of buses and trains for at least a couple of my days. In that case, the ample coverage and flexibility of Kansai Thru Pass would come in handy. You can get this one upon arrival at the Kansai airport. It REALLY depends on your daily pace of travel and how much public transport you use. Maybe you don't need a pass for Kyoto/Nara/Osaka at all. Keep in mind that you don't need to be covered by a rail pass every single day, but this pass offers you flexibility.


    Please note that for the passes I describe, one of them is for the JR network only, and the other is pretty much for every other option in the coverage area (other than JR), including city buses. You would have to further research the passes to have a better idea of what constitues JR network and what doesn't.
  • I hope the info is not too overwhelming for a first time visitor. I try to come up with plans that make economical sense. Be sure to ask if you have further questions.
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