West Japan (Kyoto, Hiroshima and Kyushu) 7 days sample itinerary by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

This itinerary includes Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima and North part of Kyushu (Hakata, Nagasaki, Aso and Beppu). This starts from Tokyo and your Japan Rail pass will be started to use from Tokyo station. You may start this itinerary from Shinagawa station, if you arrive at Haneda airport early morning. And of course, you can start this itinerary from Osaka or Kansai airport too. Osaka and Kansai airport are much closer to Kyoto than Tokyo. If you start this itinerary from Osaka, the itinerary is more smooth and easier.

Day 1

06:26am Depart from Tokyo station by Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 501.
09:16am Arrive at Kyoto station. After arrival, enjoy exploring in Kyoto.
*Hikari departs at Tokyo station every 30 minutes. If you want to depart a bit later, you can take later Hikari. If you arrive at Narita or Haneda early morning, you can transfer to Kyoto on the arrival day. If you need to check the timetable of Shinkansen, please check JR Central timetable.
Overnight in Kyoto

Day 2

Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.
Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.

Half day free in Kyoto and transfer to Osaka by Shin-Kaisoku (新快速=Special Rapid service). After arrive at Osaka, enjoy sightseeing and shopping in downtown Osaka

Overnight in Osaka

*If you are not interested in Osaka or prefer to stay in Kyoto, you can extend to stay in Kyoto instead of Osaka. Kyoto is only 30 minutes away from Osaka by Local train Shin-Kaisoku (新快速=Special Rapid service), 10 minutes away from Shin-Osaka by Shinkansen.

Day 3

Food stalls in Hakata © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
Food stalls in Hakata © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO

Catch the local train to Shin-Osaka. It takes only 5 minutes from Osaka.
07:20am Depart from Shin-Osaka station by Sanyo Shinkansen Hikari 545.
09:16am Arrive at Hakata station. After arrival, enjoy exploring in Hakata.

I recommend to go to Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine when you stay in Hakata. And also Hakata give you casual supper experience at Yatai (屋台=Food stalls). You can enjoy many kinds of Japanese comfort food there.

Overnight in Hakata (Fukuoka)

Day 4

07:54am Depart from Hakata station by Limited express Kamome 7.
09:50am Arrive at Nagasaki station. After arrival, enjoy exploring in Nagasaki.
Overnight in Nagasaki

Day 5

06:00am Depart from Nagasaki station by Limited express Kamome 2.
07:31am Arrive at Shin-Tosu station. After arrival, transfer to Kyushu Shinkansen.
07:50am Depart from Shin-Tosu station by Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubame 331.
08:26am Arrive at Kumamoto station. After arrival, transfer to Limited express Kyushu Odan Tokkyu (=Trans-Kyushu Limited express).
08:35am Depart from Kumamoto station by Limited express Kyushu Odan Tokkyu 2.

Kusasenri at Mt.Aso ©JNTO
Kusasenri at Mt.Aso ©JNTO

09:44am Arrive at Aso station. After arrival, take a local bus to one of very popular active volcano, Mt. Aso.
*The bus to Mt. Aso depart once every one to two hours. The fare is 730 yen for one way to Aso Nishi station. Aso Nishi station is the depart point to take Gondola. The gondola fare is another 1,000 yen for round trip.
16:28pm Depart from Aso station by Limited express Kyushu Odan Tokkyu 6.
17:39pm Arrive at Beppu station. Stay at most famous hot springs resort in Kyushu.
Overnight in Beppu

Day 6

Enjoy half day sightseeing in Beppu
12:53pm Depart from Beppu station by Limited express Sonic 32.
14:03pm Arrive at Kokura station. After arrival, transfer to Sanyo Shinkansen.
14:22pm Depart from Kokura station by Sanyo Shinkansen Sakura 566.
15:09pm Arrive at Hiroshima. After arrive at Hiroshima, enjoy sightseeing in downtown Hiroshima.
Overnight in Hiroshima

Day 7

Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajiam

Enjoy full day sightseeing in Miyajima. Please refer the post, How to get Miyajima, about access from Hiroshima.
After sightseeing, take Sanyo Shinkansen to Okayama.
21:15pm Depart from Hiroshima station by Sanyo Shinkansen Sakura 580.
21:57pm Arrive at Okayama station
22:33pm Take Sunrise Seto/Izumo at Okayama station. Overnight in the train.
*As far as you don’t get off overnight train, Japan Rail Pass 7 days cover your basic fare and express surcharge. If you don’t exit the station, Japan Rail Pass still cover basic fare.

Day 8

07:08am Arrive at Tokyo station.
If you don’t exit the station, you can continue your trip. Japan Rail Pass cover the basic fare. But it does not cover surcharge. So if you go to Narita airport, you can take Rapid Airport Narita with no extra charge.

27 thoughts on “West Japan (Kyoto, Hiroshima and Kyushu) 7 days sample itinerary by Japan Rail Pass 7 days”

  1. Just as an added note, the crater around Mt. Aso has been off limits for months (1 km radius). You can’t get near it. This happens sometimes, but lately this area has been closed for months due to higher poisonous gas emissions from the volcano. You should always check to see if the area is open before going there, and have a back-up plan.

  2. Dear Takeshi,

    My Fiance & I are going to Japan on 29/10/2014 – 06/11/2014

    Our itinerary is as below:

    Day 1 (29/10/14) – Arrival at Kansai KIX Airport at 8:30AM
    Will purchase 2 days Osaka Amazing Pass from the airport

    Day 2 (30/10/14) – Osaka

    [Start to use our 7 Days JR Pass]
    Day 3 (31/10/14) – Heading to Kyoto and spent a night there
    We have no option to stay for another night a Kyoto eventhought we wanted to because all budget and midrange accommodation is fully booked at Kyoto central
    We want to visit Suntory Yamazaki distillery either on my way to Kyoto or on the way out of Kyoto, wandering if it’s convenient if we are using JR Pass

    Day 4 (01/11/14) – Heading to Hiroshima & Miyajima
    We could not book any hotel on this night as well, it’s all fully booked! 🙁 So we will be aiming for the Sunrise Seto/Izumo overnight train instead (a bit risky here in case we did not manage to reserve any Nobi Nobi seat…)
    So we will follow the plan you’ve wrote at the post aboveand keep our finger cross 🙂
    21:15pm Depart from Hiroshima station by Sanyo Shinkansen Sakura 580.
    21:57pm Arrive at Okayama station
    22:33pm Take Sunrise Seto/Izumo at Okayama station. Overnight in the train.

    Day 5 (02/11/14) – Arrive at Tokyo Station
    I’m thinking should we heading to Hakone / Mt Fuji and spent a night there, is this arrangment convinient?

    Day 6 (03/11/14) – Tokyo

    Day 7 (04/11/14) – Tokyo

    Day 8 (05/11/14) – Tokyo

    Day 9 (06/11/14) – Tokyo (Leaving from Narita airport at 10:30AM)
    Will the JR pass cover the trip from Tokyo to Narita Airport?

    Would appreciate your advice on the usage of the 7 days JR Pass for our itinerary
    As this is my 1st trip to Japan and this is a very impromptu trip, therefore all the travel arrangement is in a hurry and not sure if I plan the right thing

    Thank you in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Ling,

      I don’t see any issues on your itinerary. As you expected, Sunrise may be sold out. You can find the space for Sunrise Izumo (Izumo only, not Seto) at the link below:
      http://www.web-sanin.co.jp/sight/time/vacant/jr.htm

      Check the table at “東京” “サンライズ出雲” “ノビノビ座席”. And I think you can find the date at the top of the table. If you see the number, it means the number of available compartment(s). If you see “O”, it means wide open. If you see “X”, it’s sold out.

      If it’s sold out when you depart, give up this and find another option. It’s same story as Mt. Fuji. I don’t recommend to arrange on the spot. If you can now, I recommend you to do it now. Especially if you want to stay in Hakone, there are lots of hot springs resort. I think you need an extra time to research because of wide selections. You can find the updated available space tomorrow.

      You can take Narita Express by JR Pass on the day of departure.

      Cheers,

      Takehsi / JP Rail

      1. Dear Takeshi,

        Thanks for the prompt feedback 🙂

        Thanks for the useful link to check the seat vacancy status, however it does not shows the dates from Nov 1 onwards, I’m suppose to check again tomorrow and it will start to append the next date there? Or it has to be search with different date criteria?

        Thanks again!

  3. Hi! I am so happy to have come across your website! It’s so helpful for tourists!

    My boyfriend and I are visitng Japan together for the first time and we’ll be staying from November 2-15 🙂

    We wanted to buy the 7-day pass for the JP rail pass and we plan on staying in tokyo for the first few days and the last few days of our trip to save money and not buy the 14 day pass (since our port is at Narita)

    What would you recommend we do to be able to visit the ff places:

    Kyoto (4 days), Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakone

    We don’t want to be too tired travelling from one place to another so we can actually stay overnight in all places I think? 🙂

    Please help us in pointing out the route we should take and the stations! and if you want to add more to our itinerary, feel free to suggest places too!

    More power to you and thank you very much!

    -Patricia

    1. Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for your commend about my website.

      I recommend you to use 7 days pass and the following route:
      Day 1 Tokyo – Kyoto
      Day 2,3 Kyoto
      Day 4 Kyoto – Hiroshima
      Day 5 Hiroshima – Osaka
      Day 6 Osaka – Odawara (Hakone)
      Day 7 Odawara – Tokyo

      You will take Shinkansen for most of this above trip. You can find Shinkansen timetable at the following links:
      http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/_pdf/westbound.pdf
      http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/_pdf/eastbound.pdf

      As you see the timetable, Tokyo – Kyoto is around 2.5 hours. Kyoto – Hiroshima is around 2 hours. If you go back to Tokyo from Hiroshima directly, it will be long trip. That’s why I squeeze Osaka between Hiroshima and Tokyo.

      I put Hakone at last. But you can drop by on the way to Kyoto. If you keep Hakone at last, day 7 transfer is quite short. Of course you can use JR Pass. But if you want to stay another place one more day, you can add some fare for Hakone-Shinjuku by Odakyu line.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-get-hakone-from-tokyo-compare-japan-railway-and-odakyu-lines.html

      You can stay one more night at Kyoto, Osaka or Hiroshima. You can visit another place, like Nara. Even though it’s not located on Tokyo-Kyoto route, you can drop by Takayama.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-access-to-takayama-by-trains-and-buses.html
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5900.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

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