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KIJ25 Jul 14th, 2017 01:38 AM

Japan rail pass: 7 or 14 days? Itinerary set
Hi everyone,

Accommodation is all booked - we just can't decide if we need a 7 day or 14 day JR pass for the following itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Tokyo Narita airport - Tokyo
Day 2: Tokyo area
Day 3: Tokyo - day trip to Kamakura
Day 4: Tokyo - day trip to Nikko
Day 5: Tokyo - Takayama
Day 6: Takayama - Kyoto
Day 7: Kyoto area
Day 8: Kyoto area
Day 9: Kyoto - day trip to Arashiyama
Day 10: Kyoto - day trip to Nara
Day 11: Kyoto - Hiroshima
Day 12: Hiroshima - Miyajima
Day 13: Miyajima - Hiroshima to get the train to Himeji Castle - go back to Tokyo
Day 14: Tokyo area
Day 15: Tokyo - Fly out of Tokyo Narita airport

Also, which day is best to activate the pass?

Many thanks in advance!

thursdaysd Jul 14th, 2017 03:36 AM

Welcome to Fodors.

Go to and price all you rail trips, making sure to include the seat fee. You can then decide which pass you need.

Can you cancel any of your accommodation? That is very little time for Takayama - hardly worth the detour.

What do you mean by "Tokyo area"? I would spend the night of day 14 in Narita town, but I wouldn't bother to get there on day 13.

mrwunrfl Jul 14th, 2017 05:51 AM

Here's a ballpark computation using hyperdia, excluding Nozomi and Airplane.

Tokyo to Miyajima via Takayama: ¥32,100
Miyajima to Narita Airport: ¥21,090

So, just with that you have more than the ¥46,390 cost of a 14-day JR Pass.

mrwunrfl Jul 14th, 2017 06:32 AM

You could activate that 14-day pass on days 1, 2, or 3. It is still worthwhile even if you don't use it on days 1 or 15 for Narita Airport (e.g. if you chose to take an airport limo bus on one or both of those days).

I would probably not do the JR Pass exchange on Day 1.

Where are you staying in Tokyo on the first two nights?

It would be a good idea to add a night in Takayama. You could move one of those Tokyo day trips to Day 14 and go to Takayama a day earlier.

Adastra2200 Jul 14th, 2017 05:09 PM

A 14 day pass is the only one that makes sense for your plans.

You can use it Days 1-14 or 2-15 - either way, you can't use it round trip Tokyo-Narita. For everything else, it really doesn't matter, but there are often many people trying to validate their passes from Narita Airport, so to save a little time it might be better to use your pass Days 2-15.

So as for getting from Narita, you have a few choices.
1) The cheapest way is the 1000 yen bus.
2) Pay our of pocket for the Narita Express.
3) Take the Keisei (with the metro package is a good deal)
4) Pay for the orange limousine bus - most expensive, but convenient if staying at a hotel it stops at.

For the other options, a 2-3 day Tokyo subway day pass is a great deal.

Be aware that Tokyo to Takayama is about 4½ hours. In Hiroshima you also use your pass for the Loop Bus. For Himeji, the castle is the crown jewel, but don't miss the Kokoen Garden next to it.
After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5 PM, 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.

For Days 11-12, you could also fit in Iwakuni, which has one of the most beautiful traditional bridges in Japan along with its mountaintop castle.

And Hikone is a very beautiful original castle too. Himeji gets far more attention, but Hikone is nice as well.

KIJ25 Jul 18th, 2017 04:32 AM

Thank you everyone for your helpful replies! We'll go with the 14 day pass and activate it on Day 2.

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