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I will be traveling to Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto-Osaka-Kyoto-Tokyo in June 2017 with 2 Adults & 2 Kids (10 & 7). I’m trying to determine if the 7 or 14 Day JR pass is sufficient for our travels for the dates below. What are the best cards/passes to get when traveling with this itinerary? My main concern is convenience vs. saving a few dollars (unless it’s hundreds of dollars). Also, when Sightseeing to the popular tourist spots is it better to take the train, subway, or bus? Thanks.

Day 1 – Tokyo – Arrival around 2:30 pm – Limo bus from NRT to Shiba
Day 2 – Tokyo – Disney – Sightseeing
Day 3 – Tokyo – PuroLand – Sightseeing
Day 4 - Tokyo – Sightseeing
Day 5 – Hakone – Hakone Two-Day Freepass
Day 6 – Kyoto – Sightseeing
Day 7 – Kyoto – Sightseeing
Day 8 – Kyoto – Osaka Sightseeing (Day Trip)
Day 9 – Kyoto – Sightseeing
Day 10 – Tokyo – Sightseeing
Day 11 – Tokyo – Depart around 4:00 pm – Limo bus from Shiba to NRT


  • To tell the truth, you'd lose almost $200 per adult for using a 14 day pass with your plans. With a 7 day pass you actually still fall a bit short but if you use a 7 day pass for Days 5-11 you would begin to see some savings if you used the bullet train to Odawara for Hakone and the Narita Express to go back to Narita.
    For Day 10 you could still use the JR pass on the Yamanote Line, which goes to several popular tourist spots. If you need to get subway tickets though they are not expensive.

    I'd also recommend you take half a day from Kyoto and see Nara - particularly the Nara Park area - it has some of the best of Japan.
    Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5PM, 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, you could add more value still by taking a day and seeing Himeji, with Japan's grandest castle.
    The garden next to it and Mt Shosha are also worthwhile.
    Another option would be to get an early morning start and go see Hiroshima & Miyajima. If you did that, you would make a 14 day pass pay off, but of course you'd get greater value if you did it all within a week.

    Since you're with your kids, you all might like the Toei Eigamura in Kyoto and Iwatayama Monkey Park.

    Be aware also that June is the rainy season - you might get hit with several days of heavy rain, and you will certainly have to deal with some extremely muggy and stifling humidity. Have a back up plan to visit some museums or aquariums just in case, and don't forget to pack your deodorant.
    If you find the Kyoto humidity too much, you can always escape to the local mountains of Kurama and Kibune.

    The limousine bus by the way is the most expensive ways to get to/from Narita. That said, if you are staying at one of the big tourist hotels it goes to, or if you have a lot of luggage, it can be a big help.
    If you're interested, the cheapest way is the 1000 yen bus to Tokyo Stn or Ginza.
    There is also the Keisei to Ueno.
    You can see regular fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
    Under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.

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

  • WOW….Thank you for saving me $400! I really appreciate your detailed response & suggestions.

    There has been a change of plan. It looks like Day 5 – Hakone is out. We will be going straight from Tokyo to Kyoto instead. So get the 7 Day JR Pass and activate it on Day 5 to ride the Bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto? We have never been on a Bullet train and are really looking forward to ride in one.

    We will take your suggestion to visit Nara & Himeji as day trips. Does the Bullet train go to those cities and does the JR Pass cover this?

    Regarding local transportation in Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka/Nara. Would it just be easier to get an IC card to get around rather than fooling with the ticket machines? We have two kids in tow so the quicker we can get on the train/bus the better.

    Thank you for the YouTube link, it was very helpful.

    I'm trying to figure out how to use the HyperDia site. Guess it would help if I find out what station is near the attraction I want to visit first.

    So many questions…Good thing I have a few more months to get it right.
  • edited February 2017
    hi can you give some comments on my itineraries
    * if i want to slot in a trip to Kyoto day trip/1 night is it rush and do i need to buy JR Pass for the sack of going to Kyoto

    Day 1 - Western Tokyo (Tokyo 3 days pass)
    Day 2 - Northen Tokyo
    Day 3 - Central Tokyo

    Day 4 - Lake Kawakuchigo ( Tokyo wide pass)
    Day 5 - Yokohama
    Day 6 - Gala Yuzawa/ Tsunan Snow festival

    Day 7 - Southern Tokyo (Tokyo 3 days pass)
    Day 8 - Kawagoe / Chiba
    Day 9 - Tokyo (free flow)

  • Lukester,
    You can still take JR trains to go to Nara & Himeji; the latter you can use the bullet train. Within Tokyo and Osaka there are the Yamanote Line and loop line, respectively, and you can go to several popular tourist places on them. From Kyoto Stn. you can take the Nara Line to Nara obviously but also to see the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Daigoji and Uji if you like. Also from Kyoto Stn. you can go to Arashiyama. For other transport, yes you can use an IC card - there's no savings in it but it is convenient.

    The Fushimi Inari Shrine is open 24/7, so it's easy to go early in the morning or evening and fit in a busy schedule - not to mention avoid the crowds. Likewise for the Honganji Temples which open around dawn and have some of the most impressive wooden buildings you'll ever see.

    For using Hyperdia, just go to Youtube and do a search on "Using Hyperdia.com"
  • Johnwong,
    It would be such a waste to go to Kyoto for just a day and overnight. It is worth a few days at least. A 7 day rail pass would not pay off for it - almost, but not quite. You might look at the japanican ticket which is way cheaper.

    For your days 1-3, a 3 day subway pass would work well,
    and Days 4-6 the Tokyo Wide Pass works well too, but for the rest I don't know what 3 day pass you're referring to. You can't take the subway to Kawagoe or Chiba, and Kyoto/Nara are more interesting, anyway.
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