Sample itinerary Tokyo to Osaka plus Nikko and Himeji in 7 days by Japan Rail Pass

Torii gates in Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto
Torii gates in Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto

7 days JR Pass price is almost same as round trip fare between Tokyo and Osaka by Shinkansen. That means if you have one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka or reverse, JR Pass is not worthwhile using. However if you add some trips when you stay in Osaka and Tokyo, you may use JR pass 7 days.

In this post, I add Nikko and Himeji at the both end to get the worth of JR pass 7 days. Continue reading

Hamamtsucho station guide. How to trasnsfer JR, Tokyo Monorail and Subway lines

JR Hamamatsucho stations platforms
JR Hamamatsucho stations platforms

Hamamatsucho is one of the stations on Yamanote line in downtown Tokyo. This station is not a mega station, such as Tokyo, Shinjuku. But this station is the hub of local transportation in downtown Tokyo. JR Yamanote line and JR Keihin Tohoku line connects many places in downtown Tokyo. Tokyo Monorail connects Haneda airport and Hamamatsucho.

And there is subway Daimon station. This stations is different name from Hamamatsucho station. But actually these stations are located in same place. You can catch Toei subway Asakusa line and Oedo line at Daimon station.

I believe many of travelers who visit Tokyo may use this station. I would like to tell you about these stations in this post Continue reading

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. (C) Sue Ann Simon / JNTO
Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. (C) Sue Ann Simon / JNTO

There are several deals for sightseeing in Kyoto. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Kyoto and want to visit the places there. I believe you will find most suitable for your trip.

By the way, if you intend to have a day trip to Kyoto from other cities, such as day trip to Kyoto from Osaka, from Kobe, Kansai thru pass and other deals are available. Please find the detailed information about the deal that covers Kyoto and other cities in the link below:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area Continue reading

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO
Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO

There are many deals for sightseeing in Osaka. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Osaka and want to visit the places in Osaka. I believe you will find most suitable for your trip.

By the way, if you intend to have a day trip to Osaka from other cities, such as day trip to Osaka from Kyoto, from Kobe, Kansai thru pass is most recommended. Because Kansai Thru Pass and other deals are available. Please find the detailed information in the link below:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area Continue reading

Platt Kodama, one way deal among Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka by Shinkansen

Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. Kodama is the slowest train on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen line.
Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. Kodama is the slowest train on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen line.

When you move among Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka, you may think to take Shinkansen (a.k.a. bullet train). If you have round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto/Shin-Osaka, JR pass is the best choice. But even 7 days JR pass price is almost equal to round trip fare and seat fee of Shinkansen between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka. JR pass is not the best choice for one way movement.

Platt Kodama is a sort of Shinkansen one way trip discount ticket among Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka. I would like to show you this ticket in this post. Continue reading

Reserved seat VS Non reserved seat. How to get a seat on non reserved car?

Common ordinary car interior (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Common ordinary car interior (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Most of trains in Japan have reserved seat and non reserved seat in ordinary cars. But some of you do not understand the difference between reserved seat and non reserved seat. And you may worry that all seats are full if you use non reserved seat.

In this post, I will explain you difference between reserved seat and non reserved seat. You will find pros and cons of both reserved and non reserved seat. Continue reading

Hiroshima station guide. How to change the trains, Shinkansen and local train to Miyajima. How to catch tram and loop bus Meipuru-pu.

Overview of Hiroshima station south side (C) Taisyo [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.1 jp ], via Wikimedia Commons
Overview of Hiroshima station south side (C) Taisyo [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.1 jp ], via Wikimedia Commons

Hiroshima is one of most popular places to visit in Japan. Many of you use Hiroshima station to visit not only Hiroshima but also Miyajima and Iwakuni.

In this post, I would like to explain about Hiroshima station’s structures with many photos. And I will also explain you to transfer to the local train to Miyajima and Iwakuni, streetcar to downtown and how to catch tourist loop bus. Continue reading

Fuji Hakone one day trip sample itinerary. You can visit both Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone by day trip from Tokyo!

View of Mt Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi
View of Mt Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi

I actually do not recommend to visit Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone in one day. There are many places to see. One way is not obviously enough to visit these places. But some of you have very tight schedule. You cannot choose which one you visit. You may be wondering if you have to visit one of Lake Kawaguchi or Hakone. This sample itinerary may be suitable for you. It is very very tight schedule and you have to give up many places. But you can visit most of highlights at both side of Fuji, Hakone and Lake Kawaguchi. You may be okay to see these places in Hakone and Lake Kawaguchi.

This itinerary has been created by timetable in September, 2016. If you try to do this plan, please check the updated timetable before you go. Continue reading

Nagano station guide. How to catch the bus to the tourist spots. How to change between Hokuriku Shinkansen and other local trains.

Exterior of Nagano station from Zenkoji-guchi side
Exterior of Nagano station from Zenkoji-guchi side

Nagano is known as Winter Olympic Game host city. That means this place has very good snow. Nagano has many ski slopes, such as Shiga-Kogen, Hakuba, Nozawa-Onsen. Nagano station is the gateway to Shiga-Kogen. In these days, the express bus runs between Nagano and Ogizawa where is the base of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. And please do not forget that Nagano is the gateway to world famous “Snow Monkey” place, “Jigokudani”, a.k.a. “Snow Monkey Park”.

In this post, I would like to explain about Nagano station’s structures with many photos of this station. And I also show you the bus stops around Nagano station and Nagano Dentetsu Nagano station. Continue reading

Schedule of 2016 fall seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Fall foliage light up at Ninose station of Eizan Railway in Kyoto (C) Nkensei GFDL  or CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Fall foliage light up at Ninose station of Eizan Railway in Kyoto (C) Nkensei GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Autumn is the best season to travel in Japan. The climate is very mild and the scenery of fall foliage is breathtaking. JR will operate many seasonal trains for autumn high volume demand.

It is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the trains that run in the popular spots only. Continue reading

Matsumoto station guide. How to catch the bus to Takayama, Hotaka and Kamikochi. How to take a train to Nagano, Hakuba, Shinano-Omachi.

Matsumoto station from Oshiro-guchi (east side)
Matsumoto station from Oshiro-guchi (east side)

Matsumoto is the second biggest city in Nagano prefecture. But the station is not a huge terminal station, like Tokyo. But Matsumoto is the junction of many destinations by trains and buses. If you travel this area, you may have to change the trains and the buses at Matsumoto.

In this post, I would like to explain about Matsumoto station and Matsumoto bus terminal with many photos of this station. Continue reading

Crazy? But not impossible. Sample plan of day trip to Hakodate from Tokyo

Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO
Night view form Mount Hakodate (C) Hokkaido Tourism Organization / JNTO

Hokkaido is very popular spot among foreign travelers. Hokkaido has nice yummy food, very attractive sightseeing spots and very different culture from mainland Japan. But some of you have short stay in Japan. You may not have enough time to visit Hokkaido. If you want to visit Hokkaido, I usually recommend you to spend 3 days minimum. However if you are okay to visit just the edge of Hokkaido, that is Hakodate, and okay with the short stay, you can visit Hakodate as day trip from Tokyo.

In this post, I will show you how to manage the day trip to Hakodate from Tokyo. Continue reading

Kanazawa station guide. How to catch the bus to the tourist spots. How to change between Hokuriku Shinkansen and other trains.

Tsuzumi Gate at Kanazawa station Kenrokuenguchi (east side). This gate is now one of the icons of Kanazawa.
Tsuzumi Gate at Kanazawa station Kenrokuenguchi (east side). This gate is now one of the icons of Kanazawa.

Kanazawa is most popular place in Hokuriku region. There are many tourist spots in this city, such as Kenrokuen garden, Kanazawa castle. Especially since Hokuriku Shinkansen opened in 2015, Kanazawa is much more accessible from Tokyo and it has been getting more popular. Kanazawa is also known as the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawago.

In this post, I would like to explain about Kanazawa station’s structures with many photos of this station. And I also show you how to take the bus to the tourist spots in town and to Shirakawago. Continue reading

Let’s take the train! Easily accessible places to see fall foliage!

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Fall season is round the corner. There are huge number of the spots to see fall foliage in Japan. But many of them are not accessible for overseas tourist. In this post, I would like to show you easy access spot to see fall foliage in Japan by regions. You can get the places to see fall foliage by train only. All places are located within walking distance from the station. You do not need to take a local bus. You do not need to drive! The route is very simple and you can enjoy gorgeous view by easy access! Continue reading

Nagoya station guide. How to transfer among Shinkansen, Kintetsu, Meitetsu, subway and JR local trains.

Nagoya station from Taiko-Dori side.
Nagoya station from Taiko-Dori side.

Nagoya is one of major cities in Japan and also this station is the gateway to many places, such as Takayama, Nagano, Matsumoto, Ise. Even if you will not intend to drop by Nagoya, you may need to change the trains in Nagoya. If you arrive in Chubu airport, you have to change the trains in Nagoya station.

In this post, I would like to tell you about Kyoto station. Nagoya station is a huge station and there are many trains arriving and departing. I will show you the structure of Nagoya station and how to transfer among many trains in this station. Continue reading

Chubu (Nagoya) airport transportation guide. Find info about airport station and access to Nagoya

Chubu airport (C) Y Shimizu / JNTO
Chubu airport (C) Y Shimizu / JNTO

Chubu Airport is the gateway to Nagoya. The official name of this airport is Central Japan International Airport. But this airport is also known as “Centrair” (central + air). And also it is called Nagoya airport sometimes. In this post, I call “Chubu airport”.

This airport is located approximately 30 minutes away from Nagoya station by Meitetsu railway limited express train. Actually it is not very hard to get downtown Nagoya from this airport. But some of you may be nervous. You may be the first time traveler. You want to know exact location of station, bus stop, ticket office, etc.

In this post, I would like to tell you about overview of Chubu airport arrival level, Chubu airport station and bus stops.

I will also show you many photos. I believe this post will help you to understand what you need to do right after arrival at Chubu airport.

Continue reading

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 11, Visit Kurashiki and go back to Osaka by 500 TYPE EVA Shinkansen

Kurashiki Bikan area
Kurashiki Bikan area

This post is continued from the previous post, Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 10, Trip from Nagano to Tokyo and taking Sunrise Seto.

On the last day of my trip, I disembarked from Sunrise Seto at Okayama. After that, I visited Kurashiki and went back to Shin-Osaka by specialized Shinkansen train, “500 TYPE EVA”. Continue reading

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 10, Trip from Nagano to Tokyo and taking Sunrise Seto

Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto are only scheduled overnight trains in Japan.
Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto are only scheduled overnight trains in Japan.

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 8, winter light up event in Kanazawa.

I would like to tell you about the second half of 6th day of my trip in this post. I went to Tokyo from Nagano via Matsumoto. And I got on the overnight train, Sunrise Seto from Tokyo. Continue reading

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 9, Visit Snow Monkey Park in Nagano

Monkeys enjoy  natural hot springs at Snow Monkey Park.
Monkeys enjoy natural hot springs at Snow Monkey Park.

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 8, winter light up event in Kanazawa.

On 6th day, I dropped by Nagano on the way to Tokyo to see snow monkey. I have been to Nagano many times. But actually it was the first time to visit snow monkey park. I would like to show how I accessed there. Continue reading

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 8, Winter light up event in Kanazawa

One of the gates of Kanazawa castle
One of the gates of Kanazawa castle

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 7, visit Takayama and Kanazawa.

On the last part of 5th day, I visited several places in Kanazawa. Actually I did not plan to stay in Kanazawa when I built a plan. But I found Kanazawa held winter light up event. I changed the plan. I would like to show you this event in this post. Continue reading

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 7, visit Takayama and Kanazawa

Preserved path in Takayama. It is very popular tourist district in Takayama.
Preserved path in Takayama. It is very popular tourist district in Takayama.

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 6, Takaoka to Shirakawago via Himi line, Johana line and Shirakawago.

My trip report is still on 5th day. After visiting Shirakawago, I went to Takayama and then travel to Kanazawa. Continue reading

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 6, Takaoka to Shirakawago via Himi line, Johana line and Shirakawago

Snowman in Shirakawago welcomes you in winter time.
Snowman in Shirakawago welcomes you in winter time.

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 5, Matsumoto to Takaoka via Toyama.

On 5th day, I started the round trip to Himi in early morning. And then I went down to Takayama via Johana line and Shirakawago. Continue reading

Schedule of 2016 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

The newest Shinkansen train, Genbi Shinkansen runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata.
The newest Shinkansen train, Genbi Shinkansen runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Niigata.

In Japan, the peak period during summer time is mid August that is called “Obon”. Most of Japanese go back to hometown and spend the time with family. All transportation will be busy from major cities at the beginning and back to major cities at the end. I wrote the busy dates and some tips to avoid this situation at the link below:

2016 busiest period to travel by train. Tips to book your seat in even busy period.

And also, the public school is closed from July 20 to August 31 for summer break. This period is busier than usual too.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during summer season. Especially JR Group add lots of extra trains. It is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 5, Matsumoto to Takaoka via Toyama

Old style name plate of Matsumoto station
Old style name plate of Matsumoto station

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 4, Nagoya to Matsumoto via Magome.

The second half of 4th day of my trip, I took whole part of Oito line from Matsumoto to Itoigawa. And then I took Hokuriku Shinkansen to Shin-Takaoka with dinner stop at Toyama. Continue reading

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 4, Nagoya to Matsumoto via Magome

It was a beautiful day when I left Nagoya station.
It was a beautiful day when I left Nagoya station.

This post is continued from Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 3, Kakunodate to Nagoya via Sendai and Yamadera.

On 4th day of my trip, my trip was getting crazier and crazier. I visited the places as many as I could. Please do not copy my trip plan but I am sure I can share tons of information from my trip. I made a trip from Nagoya to Takaoka in Toyama prefecture. I dropped by Magome, Matsumoto, Shinano-Omachi, Itoigawa and Toyama on the way to Takaoka. I will show you the first half of 4th day of my trip. Continue reading

Japan Rail Pass and rail travel in Japan complete guide. Let's use the Japan Rail Pass to its maximum!!!