Hi! I will be coming to Matsumoto directly from Narita Airport and should be arriving at 2pm on 5th Nov. I’m staying at Tatsuno town for 3 nights leaving the city for Karuizawa on the 8th. i was wondering if the below itinerary is doable and if i really need the JR Nationwide 14 days Pass. 5th Nov: Familiarize myself with Tatsuno town. 6th Nov: Kamikochi 7th Nov: Tsumago Magome Matsumoto Castle Nawate Nakamachi 8th to 10th Nov: Karuizawa 10th to 12th Nov: Kyoto 12th to 15th Nov: Osaka & Nara 15th to 19th Nov: Tokyo Thank you so much for reading this! Cheers Mai
Based on your shinkansen train travel alone, you will be spending at least 40,000 yen. If you add in the local train travel, I am sure you will get your money’s worth for the 14-day Japan Rail Pass. However, be aware that the Japan Rail Pass doesn’t work on all railways; some are privately owned, like the train line between Matsumoto and Kamikochi.
Your itinerary looks doable to me. Though, your plan for Nov. 7 may be a little tight. Travel between Matsumoto and Tsumago will take between 90 to 120 minutes, so you’ll spend about four hours on the train that day. Trains are also scarce in Kiso, so please plan accordingly.
Also, if you can move around your hotel bookings, I would recommend visiting Karuizawa before Matsumoto. You’ll save time by not backtracking to Karuizawa, and travel to Kyoto from Matsumoto is faster than from Karuizawa.
I hope that helps!