Category Archives: Destinations

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

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

Hokkaido train operation status in fall 2016. Guide for substitute train and bus service.

Limited Express Okhotsk is suspended currently.
Limited Express Okhotsk is suspended currently.

Tomamu – Obihiro segment will open on 22nd December.

Hokkaido was hit by very severe typhoon in late August. Many train lines are closed by this storm and many trains are suspended currently. Substitute bus service and tentative train are operated but trip time is much longer than original schedule. And also the accommodation of some trains are totally different from Limited Express train interior. It offers just commute train accommodation. It is obviously inconvenient. If you cannot accept this situation, I recommend you to change your trip plan. It may not be a right time to visit there.

Anyway I will guide the substitute train and bus service in this post. 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

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

Yokohama and Kamakura access guide. Find the right deal and route from your place to stay.

Red Brick Warehouse is very popular shopping site in Yokohama Waterfront Area. (C) Y.Shimizu / JNTO
Red Brick Warehouse is very popular shopping site in Yokohama Waterfront Area. (C) Y.Shimizu / JNTO

Yokohama and Kamakura are very popular places to visit from Tokyo as day trip. Of course you can visit these places from other places, like Osaka and Kyoto. But there are several routes to get Yokohama and Kamakura from Tokyo. If you visit these places from Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya, you will consider to drop by these places on the way to Tokyo. But is this a right way. Should we go to Tokyo first and then go back to Yokohama?

In this post, I show you the major access to Yokohaama and Kamakura from Tokyo. And I show you how to get Yokohama and Kamakura on the way to Tokyo from Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. Continue reading

JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass user guide. Perfect deal for the travelers who visit Tokyo and Sapporo by train.

Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO
Night view form Mt.Hakodate. Hakodate is one of the popular places in Hokkaido. ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO

This brand new pass will be released in April, 2016. This pass covers Narita airport, Greater Tokyo, Gala Yuzawa, Nikko, whole part of Tohoku region, Hakodate, Otaru, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya and Sapporo. You also may use this pass to get Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone even though this pass covers these trips partially. You cannot use this pass to get central, northern and eastern Hokkaido, such as Furano, Asahikawa, Shiretoko, Kushiro. Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) is better choice if you intend to visit these places.

In this post, I would like to show you the detail of this pass. And I show you some sample rate and compare the pass value and single fares. You may find this suits your plan or not. Continue reading

Guide to take trains in Tokyo. How to choose the best deal and the best route by train to get the major spots?

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You may be overwhelmed by train system in Tokyo. It is very complicated because there are many train lines and many different railway companies. There are lots of deals available but you may not be able to find the coverage of the pass.

In this post, I will show you all subway lines and JR lines in downtown core of Tokyo. And I will also tell you about train system surrounding in Tokyo too. Because some of trains that come from outside Tokyo go to downtown Tokyo via subway line. This is actually one of the reason why it is so difficult to understand train system in Tokyo

Let’s see and learn it together! Continue reading

Sample itinerary of day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Nagoya and Osaka / Kyoto

Tateyama Ropeway gives you the amazing experience.  (C) Nagano Prefecture / (C) JNTO
Tateyama Ropeway gives you the amazing experience. (C) Nagano Prefecture / (C) JNTO

I have written about visiting Alpine Route from Tokyo as day trip. And then I have received an inquiry about day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Nagoya. Yes. We can do it. You also can make it from Osaka and Kyoto as well.

I would like to share with you about day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Nagoya and Osaka. Continue reading

Sample itinerary of day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Tokyo

Snow Walls is very very popular on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.  (C) Tateyama Kurobe  Kanto / JTOA
Snow Walls is very very popular on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. (C) Tateyama Kurobe Kanto / JTOA

I have never thought visiting Alpine Route from Tokyo as day trip. But I have received some inquiries and check the timetable. And I found that we can do it.

Actually it is quite easy trip. Please fine the sample itinerary of day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Tokyo. Continue reading

Sample itinerary of day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Tokyo

Higashichayagai area is one of most popular spots in Kanazawa. (C) Kanazawa City / JNTO
Higashichayagai area is one of most popular spots in Kanazawa. (C) Kanazawa City / JNTO

I have just written about day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Osaka and Kyoto on the previous post. Some readers have asked me day trip to Kanazawa from Tokyo. Thanks Hokuriku Shikansen. It reduce drastically the trip time to Kanazawa from Tokyo. Now you can do day trip to Kanazawa from Tokyo easily.

I would like to show you the sample itinerary of day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago in this post. Continue reading

Sample itinerary of day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Osaka or Kyoto

Kanazawa castle is one of the best places to see cherry blossom. (C) JNTO
Kanazawa castle is one of the best places to see cherry blossom. (C) JNTO

I prefer to stay in many cities and feel different atmosphere. But I know that some of you do not agree. Because you will travel with huge luggage and it may be issue for you.

Thus day trip is a prefect solution. When you stay in Kansai area, there are many places to see, such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji, Mt. Koya and many more places. But can you believe that you can visit Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Osaka or Kyoto in one day?

I would like to show you the sample itinerary of this day trip in this post. Continue reading

Guide to take trains in Kobe. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

Night view of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park
Night view of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park

You may be overwhelmed by train services in Kobe. Actually it is much easier to handle than Osaka and Kyoto. Most of places to see are located in downtown Kobe. Many of them can be accessed on foot from major stations directly. However understanding train system is a key to save your time. Kobe can be combined with Himeji easily. You may spend half day in Kobe and enjoy in Osaka rest of the day.

For travelling in Kansai area, there are many types of deals, such as ICOCA, Kansai Thru Pass, JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass and many more. Each pass has different conditions. You have to understand which train system is covered by your pass. And also Kobe is very closed to Osaka. You may not have many chances to take a train and that means single fare may be the best option for you.

In this post, I will show you the route map and explain all train systems in Kobe. Continue reading

Himeji station guide. How to get Himeji castle from the station

Himeji station terminal building at north side.
Himeji station terminal building at north side.

Himeji station is the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle. It is very popular day trip destination from Kobe and Osaka. You can get Himeji by JR trains, Shinkansen and Sanyo / Hanshin Railway.

How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka

I would like to explain about these station’s structures and show you some images of Himeji station. And I also show you how to get Himeji castle from the station too. Continue reading

Trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium by Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

Whale shark tank is the biggest reason to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.
Whale shark tank is the biggest reason to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

The last time I went to Osaka Kaiyukan is 20 years ago. At that time, Kaiyuka had just opened and very busy. In my memory, there was only huge tank and I did not have a good memory. In this past March, I visited there and the first time in last 20 years. My daughter wanted to go and my family members wanted to go there with us too. I recognized Kaiyukan Aquarium was not bad at this time.

Anyway I used Osaka Kaiyu Ticket at this time and I would like to share my experience in Kaniyukan Aquarium with you. Continue reading

Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

Tanabata festival decoration in Takayama ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO
Tanabata festival decoration in Takayama ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO

Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass was released in 2014 and it has been one of the most popular deals so far. But it is supposed to be discontinued at the end of June 2015 because this deal is Shinkansen 50th years anniversary product. I have received many comments that said this deal would be continued to sell or not after July 1, 2015.

Now JR Central and JR West have made a decision to continue this product. I think they noticed this is very popular and lots of demand. The price is higher but coverage is bigger. In my opinion, it is good change even though price is higher.

In this post, I would like to share the information about this deal, Takayama – Hokuriku Area Pass with you. I will tell you the difference from Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass (available until end of June) and compare the price of pass and single fare too. Continue reading

Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 3. Visiting Tokyo DisneySea with small child.

Volcano is the icon of Tokyo DisneySea.
Volcano is the icon of Tokyo DisneySea.

This post is continued from the previous post, Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 2. Visiting Tokyo Disneyland with small child.

I spent 2 days for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. In this post, I would like to tell you about my second day at Tokyo DisneySea. I have already explained about ticket and planning at the previous post. I will talk about my experience in Tokyo DisneySea only. Continue reading

Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 2. Visiting Tokyo Disneyland with small child.

Cinderella's castle is the icon of Disneyland.
Cinderella’s castle is the icon of Disneyland.

This post is continued from the previous post, Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 1. Preparation and access from Narita.

I would like to share my experience of visiting Disneyland. But also I would like to tell you about planning. I think this is very important to visit Tokyo Disneyland. First of all, I would like to tell you what I did before visiting. And then I will tell you about visiting there. Continue reading

Trip to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in 2015 spring, Part 1. Preparation and access from Narita.

Cinderella castle is the icon of Tokyo Disneyland.
Cinderella castle is the icon of Tokyo Disneyland.

I visited Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea with my daughter who just became 6 years old when she was there. It was the first time to visit there in last 20 years for me. I did not remember about the last trip 20 years ago. And also it was the first time to visit there with small child. So I was almost the first timer almost, maybe same as you.

I usually talk about train trips and other transportation in this website. But I have learned many things about Tokyo Disney Resort (Disneyland and DisneySea) as “the first timer”. Even though I am not the expert of Tokyo Disneyland, I believe the things that I have learned will help you to prepare and build the plan to visit the wonderland, Tokyo Disney Resort.

I would like to share my experience and tips about visiting Tokyo Disney Resort in three parts. In this first post, I would like to show you access from Narita airport and preparation before I was there. Continue reading

Namba stations guide. How to change the trains among Nankai, Kintetsu, Hanshin, subway and JR.

Nankai Namba station building (C) By Own work (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Nankai Namba station building (C) By Own work (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Namba is one of two downtown cores with Umeda in Osaka. This is popular spot to shop and sightseeing. And also some of you may transfer trains at Namba. But there are many railways and stations in Namba. You may be overwhelmed to understand the location and station structure.

In this post, I would like to show you the locations of each Namba stations. And you will learn how to change the trains in Namba. Continue reading

How to choose the deals for access to/from Kansai Airport

Kansai Airport arrival  level at ground floor
Kansai Airport arrival level at ground floor

If you arrive in Kansai airport, most of you go to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe or maybe Nara, Wakayama. There are many deals that you can choose. You maybe confused and overwhelmed to pick up. In this post, I would like to show you all available deals and help you to find the best deal for you.

If you have plan to stay in Osaka for entire stay and make day trips to other places from Osaka, the following post may help you to build your itinerary.

How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.
Continue reading

Fuji Hakone access guide by train and bus from both Tokyo and Osaka / Kyoto / Nagoya.

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

Mt. Fuji is obviously one of most popular spots in Japan. There are many place to visit around Mt. Fuji. And there are many ways to get there. And also there are several deals to explore Mt. Fuji. In this post, I show you the location to visit surrounding Mt. Fuji and how to visit access these places from major cities. And also I show you how to use the deals to visit Mt. Fuji area. Continue reading

Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.

E7 series is one of the newest Shinkansen fleets for Hokuriku Shinkansen (C) Rsa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
E7 series is one of the newest Shinkansen fleets for Hokuriku Shinkansen (C) Rsa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

This Shinkansen lines is currently called “Nagano Shinkansen”. On March 14. 2015, this Shinkansen lines will be extended to Kanazawa and will be called official name “Hokuriku Shinkansen”. This Shinkansen will offer us much faster transport mode than current train services. So this Shinknansen line is covered by Japan Rail Pass fully and JR East Pass covers between Tokyo and Joetsu-Myoko station.

It does not open yet. But some of you have already started to make an itinerary for next spring. I would like to show you the information about this Shinkansen service with you. Continue reading

Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel both Kansai and Hiroshima.

The landmarks . Tsutenkaku tower (Osaka/left) and Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima/right)  ©JNTO (Osaka/left) / ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau (Hiroshima/right)
The landmarks . Tsutenkaku tower (Osaka/left) and Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima/right) ©JNTO (Osaka/left) / ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau (Hiroshima/right)

Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass is one of JR West’s new products that was introduced in March, 2015. This is the first ever deal that covers Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe) and Hiroshima area. At this point, we have to choose the deal from very limited selections, Kansai Wide Area Pass or Sanyo Area Pass. We have to pay extra if we use Kansai Wide Area Pass. Sanyo Area Pass is too much and it does not include outside Kansai area, like Kii peninsula and Kinosaki Onsen. This pass will be the One for the traveller who travel both Kansai and Hiroshima. It is cheaper than Sanyo Area Pass. And it is wider coverage area than Kansai Wide Area Pass.

I believe this pass will be very popular. I am very excited to show you this pass in this post. Continue reading