Hello fellow travellers!
Hubby and I are travelling to Japan 19 March - 3 April 2016 for 30th birthday and anniversary celebrations with about 12 other friends.
Q1: Should we get a 7 day or a 14 day JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass)? OR, is it cheaper to get regional passes along the way?
Q2: Should we visit Osaka for a day?
Q3: Is there somewhere better we should visit, or something else we should include while we are in Japan?
This is our two week itinerary:
Tokyo (4 nights) > Myoko (3 nights) > Kyoto (3 nights) > Osaka (day trip)? > Miyajima (2 nights) > Hiroshima (day trip) > Hakone ( 2 nights) > Tokyo (1 night).
And, we are planning on seeing the Tsukiji Fish market, a traditional tea ceremony, shrines, temples, castles, hot springs, the Jigokudani Monkey Park, skiing/snowboarding, Hiroshima Genbaku Peace memorial Museum and Peace Park, etc.
Yes! That's a lot and definitely a good itinerary for the Japan Rail Pass, which is always worth if you go to Hiroshima from Osaka or Tokyo, and back.
With that amount of travel involved, definitely get the 2 week pass. You won't regret it. I was there for only 10 days and went from Yokohama to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. My biggest piece of advice to you is to make sure you know what times the JR trains travel. You'll notice the shinkansen (bullet trains) run more often for non-JR pass rails, so keep that in mind when you are traveling longer distances.
I have used a 7 day pass and it is absolutely work it! You can check out Tokyo, Kyoto, and the surrounding areas.
Osaka has good food, but I had my wallet stolen there on my first night in Japan ever :( The rest of the trip was amazing, though.
The tea ceremonies are an amazing experience, its great you are doing that. Which hot springs are you planning on visiting? Note that the rail likely does not travel to those.
Your itinerary sounds great. I'd get 14 day full JR passes. They're relatively inexpensive and they give you the most flexibility should you decide to spontaneously go somewhere else. I'd also go first class which is called Green Sha. It rocks! Very comfy! Have fun.....