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Sample itinerary Four world heritage sites (Shirakawago, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima), Kanazawa and Kyoto 7 days by Japan Rail Pass

Light-up at Kiyomizu-dera temple

Light-up at Kiyomizu-dera temple

This itinerary includes four world heritage sites, Shirakawa-go, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima. This also includes two popular sites, Takayama and Kanazawa.

We don’t use Japan Rail Pass for the transfer to downtown Tokyo from Narita airport because most of tourists stay in Tokyo for the first several days. You will start to use your pass from Tokyo station. If you want to learn how to use Japan Rail Pass, please refer to How to use Japan Rail Pass to its maximum.

Day 1 Tokyo – Nagoya – Takayama

Decoration for Tanabata in Takayama

Decoration for Tanabata in Takayama

07:33am Depart from Tokyo by Tokaido ShinakansenHikari 503″
09:21am Arrive at Nagoya
09:43am Depart from Nagoya by “Wide View Hida 5
12:13pm Arrive at Takayama
After arriving at Takayama, enjoy sightseeing in very traditional Japanese town.
(Overnight in Takayama)

Day 2 Takayama – Shirakawa-go – Kanazawa

Doburoku Festival in Shirakawa-go

Doburoku Festival in Shirakawa-go

08:50am Depart from Takayama for Shirakawa-go by Nohi Bus.
*<> don’t forget to make a reservation. This bus is not included in Japan Rail Pass. The bus fare 2,400yen.
09:40am Arrive at Shirakawa-go
Enjoy sightseeing UNESCO world heritage site Shirakawa-go.
16:50pm Depart from Shirakawa-go for Kanazawa by Nohi Bus
*<> don’t forget to make a reservation. This bus is not included in Japan Rail Pass. The bus fare 1,800yen.
18:05pm Arrive at Kanazawa
(Overnight in Kanazawa)

Day 3 Kanazawa – Kyoto

Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. This is one of three most famous garden in Japan.

Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. This is one of three most famous garden in Japan.

Enjoy exploring downtown Kanazawa in the morning.
13:55pm Depart from Kanazawa for Kyoto by Limited Express “Thunderbird 26″.
16:09pm Arrive at Kyoto
*You can skip free time in Kanazawa and get more time in Kyoto. We have Limited Express “Thunderbird” 07:02am, 08:05am, 08:15am, 09:03am, 09:53am, 10:52am, 11:18am, 11:56am and 12:53pm.
(Overnight in Kyoto)

Day 4 Kyoto

Full day free in Kyoto

Day 5 Kyoto – Shin-Osaka – Hiroshima – Miyajima-guchi – Miyajima

07:39am Depart from Kyoto by Tokaido Shinkansen “Kodama 91″
07:53pm Arrive at Shin-Osaka and transfer to Hikari Rail Star
08:02am Depart from Shin-Osaka for Hiroshima by “Hikari Rail Star 549″
*Don’t forget to reserve a seat for Hikari Rail Star. It has some non reserved seat. But the reserved seat much more spacious than non reserved seat. Please refer to Passenger’s review of Hikari Rail Star.

Light-up at Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima

Light-up at Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima

09:34am Arrive at Hiroshima
09:49am Depart from Hiroshima for Miyajima-guchi
10:17am Arrive at Miyajima-guchi and transfer to the ferry to Miyajima. The ferry terminal to Miyajima is 5 minutes away from the station. Please refer to “How to get Miyajima“.
The ferry takes you to Miyajiam in 10 minutes. This ferry is operated by Japan Railway. You don’t need to pay.
After arriving at Miyajima, enjoy sightseeing in Miyajima rest of the day.
(Overnight in Miyajima)
*Most of the accommodations in Miyajima are not cheap. If you want to save, you can stay in downtown Hiroshima. It’s only 45 minutes away from Miyajima.

Day 6 Miyajiama – Miyajima-guchi – Hiroshima – Shin-Osaka – Tokyo

A-Bomb dome

A-Bomb dome

You can move anytime in the morning to Hiroshima. You can even skip a free time in Hiroshima, if you want to stay in Miyajima more.
18:15pm Depart from Hiroshima for Shin-Osaka by “Hikari Rail Star 574″
19:44pm Arrive at Shin-Osaka and transfer to another Hikari for Tokyo
20:23pm Depart from Shin-Osaka for Tokyo by Tokaido Shikansen “Hikari 532″
23:10pm Arrive at Tokyo
*If you want to arrive Tokyo earlier, we have lots of Hikari earlier.

Day 7 Tokyo – Narita airport

Take Narita Express to Narita Airport.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Best Western Hotel Takayama Well known brand and good location
ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Hiroshima 5 mins walk from the peace memorials

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20 Comments to “Sample itinerary Four world heritage sites (Shirakawago, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima), Kanazawa and Kyoto 7 days by Japan Rail Pass”

  1. Kare says:

    Dear Takeshi,

    we will be arriving in Haneda airport on 10 October 2015 and leaving Narita 24 October morning would like your kind input into our itinerary, places thinking of

    Tokyo-Kyoto-Miyajma,Takayama and Kurobe Gorge

    and how best can we save on train transportation, will it be cheaper to buy a JR pass Tokyo to Miyajma and Takayama-Hokuriku pass?

    • Hi Kare,

      Takayama Hokuriku Tourist Pass will be sold until June. You cannot use this deal for your trip.

      I think 14 days JR pass is the best choice. In my rough estimation, single fare is cheaper than 14 days pass. But the route has not been fixed yet. You may use JR pass outside the route, like day trip to Nara from Kyoto, visiting Kanazawa on the way to Takayama. If you go for 14 days pass, it’s more flexible and much easier to make your trip.

      If you stay in Tokyo after you arrive in Haneda, you can start to use the pass on next day and it will cover your trip to the end at Narita. Haneda is much closer to Tokyo than Haneda. JR Pass should be used for access to Narita.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. michael harunaga says:

    I have a 7day green jr railpass and would like to know how to get from Kanazawa to takamatsu in shikoku without paying any more extra. We (3adults) plan to leave Kanazawa on the 14th of March 2014 aprox 1000am and arrive shikoku around 300pm. Getting to Kanazawa was not too difficult but it gets complicated and difficult from Kanazawa to Shikoku. Need help!! Thanks in advance.

  3. See says:


    Need your advise on these and is there other pass that I should be looking at..I planning to get a 14 days JR pass. Is this sufficient?

    Day 1: arrive Kansai. Go straight to Kyoto ( should I get a Kansai through pass?)
    Day 2: Kyoto
    Day 3: Kyoto/Nara
    Day 4: Kyoto/Osaka
    Day 5: Kyoto
    Day 6: Kyoto to Hiroshima. Overnight in miyajima
    Day 7: Miyajima to Tokyo. What is the JR line I will be in Tokyo coming from Hiroshima? Try to minimize changing of different JR line due to heavy luggage. Should I purchase other pass in Tokyo? I noticed that JR do not go to Akasuka and Skytree.
    Day 8: Tokyo
    Day 9: Tokyo
    Day 10: Tokyo
    Day 11: Tokyo
    Day 12: Tokyo-Takayama – Shirakowago – Takayama
    Day 13: Takayama – Osaka
    Day 14: Osaka
    Day 15: flying off.

    Thanks..need your feedback about this..

  4. Vivian says:

    Hi Takeshi San,

    Thank you very much for your very informative website. It’s really helpful for clueless traveler liker me. I tried to workout my itinerary following this sample itinerary, however I will be arriving at Kansai Airport instead of Narita Airport. My itinerary as follow:-

    Day1: Arrive early AM at Kansai – Kyoto
    Day2: Kyoto (Arashiyama)
    Day3: Kyoto (Fushimi Inari)
    Day4: Kyoto – Takayama (Limited Express Wide View Hida via Gifu)*JR Pass-7 Days
    Day5: Takayama – Shirakawago – Kanazawa (Niho Bus)
    Day6: Kanazawa – Kyoto (Limited Express Thunderbird)
    Day7: Kyoto – Nara – Osaka (JR Nara Line)
    Day8: Osaka – Hiroshima – Miyajimaguchi-Miyajima-Hiroshima-Osaka (Shinkansen Hikari/ Shinkansen Sakura; Sanyo Line)
    Day9: Osaka – Kansai

    I planned to cover my trip by purchasing the following pass:
    JR Pass 7days; Haruka ICOCA (1way); Kyoto Sightseeing 2 Day Pass; Niho Bus; Kanazawa 1 Day Pass. (Hope I am fully cover with these passes as I am travelling with limited budget…)

    I really need your help to check my itinerary and recommend if there is any other better way to fully utilize the JR Pass? Or should I purchase single fare?

    Thank you so much!


    • JPRail says:

      Hi Vivian,

      Your itinerary is pretty good. You are doing really good job! :)
      Basically ICOCA and JR Pass combination is okay.

      I just want to mention to you about day 2 and 3. If you stay around Kyoto station area, both Arashiyama and Fushimi can be accessed by JR train.

      You may not need to purchase Kyoto City Sightseeing card. Even if you need to take subway, you have ICOCA 1500 yen e-money. It covers subway in Kyoto and Osaka too.
      So you can start to use JR pass 7 days on Day 3. If you are hurry, you can complete both Arashiyama and Fushimi in one day. You can do these on day 3 by JR Pass. And you can visit other places where only subway and bus reach, like Kiyomizudera, Gion.
      Anyway try to put the place where JR Pass cover on day 3.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. suteeta says:

    I also appreciate your website. I found it’s very useful and helpful. So many thanks to you.
    I write to consult for appropriate pass I should purchase for 2 adults (+2year old son) on the following route:
    osaka (kobe, nara)–kyoto (arashiyama)–takayama–shirakawa go–nagoya
    Totally is 10 days trip.

    I ‘ve followed your link and try to figure it out on my own for several days, and come up with a decision to get kansai thru pass+one day pass in osaka/kyoto during 7 days stay in kansai areas. the last three days I plan to stay in takayama and travelling around. but from kansai to chubu area and ending up at international airport in nagoya, I couldn’t come up with proper pass than single tickets.

    Could you please suggest.
    Lots of thanks

  6. Jacqui L says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I’ve been trying to work on my itinerary for ages but I am still confused whether or not to get the 7 day JR pass (to be used from Day 5 of my current itinerary). I am leaving in a few weeks. Using Hyperdia, I think if anything, it should be about the same if not cheaper purchasing single tickets. I’d appreciate your opinion and even suggestions if you think my itinerary should be re-arranged.

    Day 1: arrive Kansai pm – overnight Osaka (booked)
    Day 2: Osaka/Kyoto/Arashiyama – overnight Kyoto (booked)
    Day 3: Kyoto/Nara – overnight Kyoto (booked)
    Day 4: Kyoto – overnight Kyoto
    Day 5: Shirakawa-go – overnight Takayama
    Day 6: Takayama/Osaka – overnight Osaka
    Day 7: Koyasan – overnight Koyasan
    Day 8: Osaka/Kyoto – overnight Osaka/Kyoto
    Day 9: Myajima – overnight Miyajima (booked)
    Day 10: Osaka/Kyoto – overnight Osaka/Kyoto
    Day 11: Leave from Kansai early pm

    I would think the Kansai Thru Pass and Koyasan World Heritage Ticket should be purchased before I use the 7 day JR pass, if I were to get.

    Thanks in advance!

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Jacqui,

      I checked your itinerary. Japan Rail Pass 7 days will be cheaper than total single fares. JR Pass is the right choice.
      I don’t know which part of Osaka you will stay. But if you take Haruka from KIX, ICOCA and Haruka may be your choice.

      You can use ICOCA e-money for using not only JR trains but also Osaka subway, Kyoto subway, private railways, like Hankyu, Nanakai.
      Koyasan World Heritage ticket is the best choice to visit Koyasan. But you can use ICOCA to get Nara, sightseeing in Kyoto or Osaka-Kyoto transfer.

      You have already booked hotel for first 3 days. If you can cancel or rebook, you can switch Koyasan and Nara. Because Koysan is not covered by JR Pass, but Nara can be covered by JR Pass. It doesn’t make sense to visit Koyasan in JR Pass 7 days.

      At last, Even though it is very hard to squeeze in your itinerary, Kanazawa is worth visiting on the way to Shirakawago.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Lakshmi says:

    We plan to do the above itinerary without overnight at Kanazawa starting in Kyoto and ending in Tokyo via Hakone sightseeing (no stay ) if possible with 7 day JR pass.Can you help plan the itinerary for us.Thanks in advance.

  8. Dennis says:

    You should also consider to use Kintetsu or Hanshin (for example). JR is not the only only.

    I am just planning my trip thru Kansai and I found the “Kansai Thru Pass”. This is a 2day or 3day pass for an area that covers Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Wakayama, Koyasan, Himeji, Nara and … the Kansai airport. The only disadvantage: You cannot use the ticket for JR.

    There are also diffrent Japan Rail Passes available. In the end, it is a lot of work to match your travel plan with the different train tickets.

    And JR has something called “JR Seishun 18 Kippu”. The ticket is not available the whole year. But if it is available it quite a deal: 5days for 11500yen. The five days do not need to be consecutive days. Disadvantage: No Express, Ltd.Express or Shinkasen.

    Here is a side with a list of the major train passes: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html


  9. Benjamin Chew says:


    after reading every comment and some of your articles, I’m still not sure if I should get a JR pass.

    My plan is to go from Osaka -> Kanazawa -> Shirakawago -> Takayama -> Kyoto -> Osaka. My whole trip is 15 days.

    These places are overlapping JR West and JR Central. Should I just get a JR pass instead? I’m still not sure which is cheaper… Any ideas?

    Thank you!

  10. A. Ong says:

    Hello. First of all thank you so much for your help.

    As with many travelers I am confused if i should get a Japan Rail Pass or not.

    This is our planned itinerary.

    Day 1 Arrive Narita then go straight to Kyoto

    Days 2, 3, 4 explore Kyoto (i will still have to research if it’s possible to go to Nara)

    Day 5 Go Back to Tokyo

    Days 6 – 9 in Tokyo

    Day 10 Depart Tokyo

    Thank you very much!

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