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We will be traveling in October, some by rail and some by foot. Our large distances will be:
Oct 10: Tokyo to Nagome
Oct 12: Narai to Kyoto
Oct 16: Kyoto to Koyasan
Oct 17: Koyasan to Nara
Oct 19: Nara to Narita International Airport

Two questions:
1) Is it worth getting the JR National pass for this itinerary?
2) If we select the Green Pass, can we travel without a reservation in regular seating? Or can we only board the train with a reservation?

Thank you!



  • Hi,
    You'd need a 14 day pass for the length of your trip, but you'd still fall well short of making it pay off. For your first destination, I believe you mean "Magome". You might want to go to Narai first to avoid backtracking.

    You also can't take JR all the way to Koyasan, but you can use a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket.

    For Koyasan, you'll have enough time to see the big sights, but skip everything else if you have to and do not miss the Okunoin cemetery.

    Also if you want to see the cemetery at night (a very different and unique experience), be sure to stay at a place with NO curfew. Some temple stays have them and they can completely ruin your plans.
    Getting from Koyasan to Nara is doable, but will take close to 3½ hours and will get tiring. If you are short of time, most of the best is in the Nara Park area. Todaiji is a must. Feeding the deer is also big there, but once you buy some crackers for them, you are fair game and some of them can get very pushy. I just went there a few weeks ago actually, and half of Beijing was also there. Just a tidal wave of Chinese tourists in Kyoto and Nara now.

    If you're spending 3-4 days in Kyoto, you could if you like go see Osaka in the evening - that's when the city really comes alive.

    Nara to Narita is no picnic either - it will take you 5-5½ hours, plus you want to be there a couple hours before your flight.
    If you're not getting the JR Pass, you might consider going from Nara to KIX (80 min) and catching a cheap flight to Narita - if their schedule works for you.

    You can check on train info on Hyperdia - you can see regular fares, routes, and schedules.
    Under "More Options", with a full JR pass, be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.

    Also, you can look at some previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:

    There are also loads of other tips on

    Best regards.
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