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I wonder if one of the experts can help please. We arrive January 11 at Narita at 5 Pm and are booked at the Royal Park hotel until Sunday January 14 and flying out from Narita on January 24. We plan to buy a 14 day JR Pass Green for our travels in Japan.

Would it be better to activate the JR Pass on the 11th and use it to get to the hotel - if that is possible? If that is not possible, what would be the most convenient mode of transport to the hotel?

For 4 days in Tokyo, would the 72 hour card be the best or a Suica/Pasmo card or just pay as you? We don't have any particular places we want to visit while in Tokyo as yet.


  • Hi,
    There are a lot of questions here. Where are you going in Japan? The JR Pass is for long distance travel, usually by bullet train. You could take a number of long day trips and eventually break even, but if you are only staying in one area, a regional pass or two would likely save you a lot more money. You need to give your whole itinerary to know for sure. You should make sure you will not lose money on a 14 day pass.

    If you have a JR Pass, you could start using it from Narita Airport and take the Narita Express to Tokyo Station. But there is the 1000 yen bus too that goes to Tokyo Stn and costs just 1/3 the cost. From there you can take the subway to Suitengu-mae Stn.
    Alternatively, you could just catch a taxi at Tokyo Stn since you will arrive quite tired and and dragging baggage through the stations can be a real pain. The other choice would be the orange limousine bus from Narita - it goes from Narita Airport to the Tokyo City Air Terminal which is right next to the Royal Park Hotel. This is the most convenient, but it is also the most expensive at about 3100 yen per person.
    Your hotel is also very close to the Kiyosumi Garden, which is one of the best in the city and you shouldn't miss it.

    If you have a JR Pass, you can use it on the Yamanote Line which rings the central part of the city and goes to a number of popular tourist areas. You can save some good money with the 48 or 72 hour subway pass if you are going around the city. The 24 hour pass is almost impossible to make worth it though. A lot depends on where you plan to go. The Suica or Pasmo card saves you next to nothing, but it is convenient in that you don't need a bag of change for the subways.
  • Hi Tenjin,
    Thank you so much for all the information you have provided here. Your efforts here are just terrific. Here's the plan for 2 weeks.

    Jan 11-14 Tokyo. Trains to Lake Kawaguchi on 14th
    Jan 14 - 15 Lake Kawaguchi
    Jan 16 Train from Lake Kawaguchi to Kyoto
    Jan 16 - 18 Kyoto.
    Jan 18 - Train from Kyoto to Arima
    Jan 19 - Arima
    Jan 20 - Train from Arima to Miyajima
    Jan 21 - Miyajima
    Jan 22 - Train from Miyajima to Kurashiki
    Jan 23 - Train from Kurashiki to Tokyo
    Jan 24 - Tokyo. Depart Narita in the evening.

    Tenjin, I've had a look at Hyperdia and I think we come out better off with the 14 day JR Pass than if we just bought tickets over the counter or with a regional pass. But, you're the expert here and I'd certainly be glad to have your opinion on the plan.

    Once again, thank you very much for your thoughts here.

  • Hi,
    Thanks for clarifying your plans. With the trip all the way down to Miyajima, you do in fact make a 14 day pass pay off.
    For the Fuji 5 Lakes area though the pass will only take you as far as Otsuki - you need to pay the rest of the way. There are various tourist discounted tickets though - have a look at:

    I would also suggest that you make at least half a day open to visit Nara - it was also a former capital and has some of Japan's best sights. Nara is often neglected by some tourists, which is a shame. 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.

    You could also tighten up your plans somewhat. It does not take a whole day for "train from X to Y". For Jan 20th if you're interested for example, you could go visit Himeji for a day, with Japan's finest castle and Kokoen Garden next door, then continue your way on to Miyajima. You could see nearly all the sights of Miyajima in a day.
    For Miyajima, please note that there are 2 ferry companies there - make sure you go to the JR one if you want to use your pass.

    Aside from the Itsukushima Shrine with the giant "floating" torii gate, 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.

    Since you are staying overnight, be sure to take some time and stroll around Miyajima in the evening or early morning - once all the day trippers leave, the whole area becomes very quiet and tranquil. Also be sure to go to Itsukushima Shrine both at high and low tides. The shrine is worth visiting at high tide, and at low tide you can walk out on the beach right up to the giant torii gate.

    Just beyond Miyajima is Iwakuni, which is another picturesque place with its iconic bridge and mountaintop castle, if you like.

    Kurashiki probably won't take you more than a few hours. You could add more there, like seeing Okayama, Hiroshima City, or in Kagawa on Shikoku there is Takamatsu, the nice half day hike at Kotohira, and also the beautiful Unpenji Temple.

    Please be aware that while you can take the bullet train the whole way from Shin-Kurashiki to Tokyo, you will need to change trains at least once and it will all take you 4½-5 hours.

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

    Hope that helps.
  • Tenjin, thank you so much for all the information you have provided. This is just great. It's more than I ever expected. It is very kind of you to provide such extensive and detailed information. I'll follow up on the links you've provided and I think it's fair to say that our holiday is all the more enhanced because of your efforts. Thank you.
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