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17 days itinerary and JR pass purchasing

Hi Tenjin,
On 26/03/19, my husband and I are planning to visit Japan for 17 days. I have the draft itinerary and I need your opinion please. We wanted to buy JR pass for 7 days.

26.03.19 arrive at 8:30 am at Osaka Kansai Airport. JR pass activation and take Haruka train to Shin-Osaka and overnight in this area.

27.03.19 take Shinkansen train from Osaka to Okayama and Kurashiki. Overnight in Osaka.
28.03.19 trip to Koya-san (How do you recommend to do it?) Overnight in Osaka. To leave luggage in hotel in Osaka.
29.03.19 take Shinkansen train from Osaka to Himeji, Hiroshima and Miyajima. Overnight in Miyajima.
30.03.19 take Shinkansen train from Miyajima to Nara. Come back to our hotel in Osaka for night.
31.03.19 take Shinkansen train from Osaka to Kyoto. 3 days in Kyoto.
03.04.19 take rental car in Kyoto and drive to Takayama. Overnight in Takayama.
04.04.19 morning visit Shirakawa go.
Option 1. Afternoon come to Ashi Lake for 2 nights.
Option 2. One-day trip to Shinhotaka ropeway
Option 3. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (if open)
Option 4. Nagano and snow monkey
06.04.19 drop of a car in Odawara and take train to Tokyo
07.04.19 Tokyo
08.04.19 Tokyo
09.04.19 take train from Tokyo to Nikko
10.04.19 TDS
11.04.19 Tokyo
12.04.19 fly back home from Tokyo

May I know if 7-day jr pass is suitable for me?
Which day should I activate it (Osaka Kansai Airport or Shin-Osaka)?
Should I get Ithe 5 day takayama-Hokuriku pass?
What about Icoca card? Do I need it?

Your response will be kindly appreciated.


  • Hello, Diana. The 7-day JR Pass is an option and will definitely offer you some decent savings.

    However, you might want to know there exists a regional JR pass that would be an even better deal to match up with your itinerary.

    It's the JR Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass.


    The main thing to note for this pass is that it covers 5 days of travel instead of 7.

    It is also half the price of a 7-day JR Pass.

    It works because it entirely covers your Shinkasen trips involving Okayama, Himeji and Hiroshima. Unlike the normal JR Pass, you are allowed to take the fastest category Nozomi and Mizuho services for all segments. The tradeoff is that the pass restricts you to unreserved seating, though this is unlikely to be an issue on any Sanyo segments.

    Regardless of which pass you decide to go with, activate it on your arrival day. In the case of JR Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, it will lapse on the 30th, before your Kyoto trip. For this reason please note that Osaka and Kyoto are very close and you can easily get to Kyoto by local train. In the case of the 7-day JR Pass, please note that once you are in the city of Kyoto, you should not have too much use for JR lines.

    About your trip to Koyasan: Regardless of your choice of JR Pass, JR does not take you all the way to Koyasan. The furthest you can go on JR is Hashimoto Station, but this may be tricky, as it requires transfer to the Wakayama Line and will take over two hours each way. My suggestion is to not use your JR Pass and instead go to Shin Imamiya Station in Osaka and board the Nankai Express services to Koya for 870 yen each way.

    Further details here https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4904.html

    With regard to Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. It doesn't seem to fit that well with your current plans. You would have to adjust your itinerary to take better advantage of the pass.

    Also good to note that you cannot cross the Alpine route by private vehicle. So you would have to simply head back at some point instead of crossing the entirety of the alpine route.

    Getting ICOCA card is up to you. It might come in handy to easily pay for any bus fares getting around in Kyoto.

    I hope this helps.
  • Hello,
    I have one more question. What pass or card you recommend us for following itinerary.
    06/04 from Odawara to Tokyo.
    07/04 from Tokyo to Nikko and back to Tokyo.
    08-11/04 trip in Tokyo.
    12/04 from Tokyo to Narita Airport
    Thank you in advance
  • Hi,
    I suggest you get a Tokyo Wide Pass for Odawara & Nikko.
    Please note however that while you can take the bullet train most of the way to Nikko, you cannot take the bullet train to Odawara on this 3-day pass.
    If you are using the subway a lot in Tokyo, then a 2 or 3-day subway pass can save you some money.
    To get to Narita cheaply, one of the best ways is by the 1000 yen bus.
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