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  1. Dear Takeshi-san,

    My family plan to visit Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe in 8 days when we arrive Kansai Airport on 23/8. What is the best way to travel and what pass should I buy. We need to return to Kansai Airport on the lastday.

    Thank you.

    Kim Kwan

    1. Hi Kim san,

      Do you intend to stay in Osaka and make day trips to other cities, like Kobe and Kyoto? If so, please see the link below. You will find the solution.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/how-to-build-the-itinerary-and-choose-the-deals-for-osaka-stay-5-to-7-days.html

      If not, please let me know the detailed itinerary. I need to know the location to stay and which places you will visit. This does not mean cities. I would like to make sure which attraction and sightseeing spots, like Arashiyama in Kyoto, Fuhimi.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    I am visiting Sapporo during the autumn-winter months in Early November this year – thinking to rent a car to drive round in Hokkaido. I was wondering if a 4WD vehicle or snow tyres required? Would there be snow or icy conditions by then?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    Gerad

    1. Hi Gerad,

      I think all cars equip snow tire. But I’m not sure actually.
      Sorry but this site does not talk about rent a car much.

      I have an experience to drive in winter condition in Hokkaido. I don’t recommend you to drive if you don’t have an experience.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi.

        Thanks for the quick reply! I was wondering if early November would be considered as winter period in Hokkaido, with snow and ice?

        Regards
        Gerad

  3. Hi Takeshi san,

    I am travelling with my wife and 2 kids to Japan with the following itinerary:
    Day 1 to 5: Osaka (arrive by air)
    Day 5 to 7: Kyoto
    Day 7 to 12: Tokyo (depart by air)

    I will be grateful if you can advise on the following please:
    a) Is it more convenient to visit Nara Deer Park while we are in Osaka or Kyoto?
    b) which is the fastest and cheapest was to travel to Nara?
    c) is it worthwhile to buy the JR pass for my family? Is the ticket for kids cheaper?
    Thank you for your kind assistance.

    Regards,
    Alvin

    1. Hi Alvin,

      a and b) It depends on which part of Kyoto/Osaka you stay. If you stay near JR Kyoto station or Namba, these places are most convenient to get there. Please find more info at the link below:
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-access-to-nara-by-japan-rail-pass-if-you-dont-use-jr-pass-kintetsu-railway-is-more-convenient.html

      I think you can visit there from Osaka because trip time is not much different between Kyoto and Osaka. And also you have only 2 nights/3 days in Kyoto but you have lots of time in Osaka.

      c) As long as you stick around Kansai area, JR pass does not work. If you have one long day trip from Osaka, like day trip to Hiroshima, it will work. Because even JR Pass 7 days price is almost double of Tokyo-Osaka single fare with Shinkansen charge. Single fare and local deals, like subway pass are better choice than JR Pass at this point.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi

    I will arrive at Haneda airport 9.30pm. This is my second trip. I wonder if it is advisable to stay one night in Tokyo or straight go to Osaka. I intend to get the 7days JR Pass for my 10 days in Japan. My plan is to stay in Osaka for a few nights and go for day trips to Hiroshima, Kyoto, Kobe and move up to takayama, kanazawa, nagano back to tokyo. Between nagano and gala yuzawa which is preferred. How should i maximise my visit in Japan to fully utilise the JR Pass.
    thanks in advance

    1. Hi Nilza,

      You have to stay in Tokyo on arrival day. There is no Shinkansen to get Osaka after you arrive. Overnight train option is not available either.
      So you can use 7 days pass from day 2 to 8 in your 10 days stay. You can take early morning Shikansen on second day and you can finish Kobe in this day. You may drop off your baggage at your hotel before heading to Kobe. And spend 2 full days for Hiroshima and Kyoto. At this point, you still have 4 more days of your 7 days pass. You can complete Kanazawa, Takayama, Nagano and Yuzawa in this 4 days.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you for your suggestion. I read that Hokuriku Shinkansen just opens between Nagano and Kanazawa early this year. This will definitely be of great accessibility to Nagano without going to Tokyo. Where would you recommend for 2/3 nights to be able to cover Kanazawa, Takayama, Nagano and Yuzawa before heading to Tokyo? What tickets should i buy if i intend to move around in Tokyo before departing on 15 Dec? If time permits, i intend to visit Nagoya.

        Thanks

        1. Hi Nizla,

          If you want to go to Nagoya, you should drop by on the way to Takayama. The sample itinerary is the following:

          Day 4 Osaka-Nagoya-Takayama
          Day 5 Takayama-Shirakawago (by bus, not covered by JR pass)-Kanazawa
          Day 6 Kanazawa-Nagano-Yuzawa
          Day 7 Yuzawa-Tokyo

          You can go to Tokyo and make a day trip to Yuzawa from Tokyo.

          Subway pass or Tokunai pass is okay for Tokyo.
          http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/compare-many-discount-tickets-and-passes-for-sightseeing-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-right-tickets.html

          There is no deal to get Nagoya, that’s why I recommend you to visit there by JR pass.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Thank you so very much Takeshi san!
    It really helps in our planning!
    Cant wait for our trip, flying off tonight. =)

    regards,
    Aisyah

  6. Hi Takeshi-san,
    We are travelling into Tokyo this wknd, and we will head to Kawaguchi on the 4th day of our trip. After which, we will be travelling from Kawaguchi to Kobe; hence I would like to seek your advice on the best way to get to Shin-Kobe Station from Kawaguchi. We have already purchased our JR lines passes.
    I tried to do some research but cant seem to get a clear direction, hope you can help. Thank you in advanced.
    Regards,
    Aisyah

    1. Hi Aisyah san,

      You can take Keihin Tohoku line train to get Tokyo from Kawaguchi. After arrival in Tokyo, transfer to Shinkansen to Shin-Kobe. Kehin Tohoku line train runs very frequently, like every 5 to 10 minutes. It takes about 25 minutes.and you can find Shinkansen timetable at the link below:
      http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/_pdf/westbound.pdf

      You cannot take Nozomi (shown by “N”) and Mizuho (M). JR pass covers Hikari (H), Sakura (S) and Kodama (K).

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I have my Japan rail pass and all set to try to get reservations during Obon in August, you gave me some great advice. Can you remind me, if all reserved and non-reserved seats are full on the Shinkansen can one still board and stand in the spaced between the cars? We wouldn’t do it for a long trip of course but maybe for 1 or 1.5 hours if desperate.

    Thanks!
    Ed

    1. Hi Takeshi-san,

      I have my Japan rail pass and all set to try to get reservations during Obon in August, you gave me some great advice. Can you remind me, if all reserved and non-reserved seats are full on the Shinkansen can one still board and stand in the spaced between the cars? We wouldn’t do it for a long trip of course but maybe for 1 or 1.5 hours if desperate.

      Thanks!
      Ed

      1. Hi Ed,

        Yes. As long as you are okay to stand, you can take any Hikari or Kodama non reserved car. But even in peak period, you may get a seat somewhere. Especially it’s much easier to get a seat on Kodama than Hikari. If your plan is flexible, like take a train between 8:00 and and 10:00 am departure, I’m very optimistic.

        Good luck!

        Cheers,

        Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. We will be arriving at 10.35 pm in Kansai Airport. What is the best way we can travel out to Umeda Area?

    What is the last train from Airport to Umeda Area?
    What is the last train of subway in Osaka Town?

    We will be buying the Takayama Hakuriko Pass. How do we maximise this pass? We will be going to Kanazawa on 5 Oct and last stop will be at Nagoya on 9 Oct.
    TQ

    1. Hi LAM LAI HOONG,

      Please see the link below about access to Osaka.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-access-to-osaka-kyoto-and-kobe-from-late-arrival-flight-at-kansai-airport-kix.html

      Regarding Takayama Hokuriku Area pass, it depends on your plan. It’s valid 5 days as you know. You can visit Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Takayama, Toyama, Gero. As long as you are in coverage area, you can ride a train as many as you want. You can forward and go back. Make sure where you want to go first.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I’m arriving on 6Thu AUG 2015 (8am) and I want to go to Aomori on the same day using the JR Pass on Hayabusa. (We will be buying the Exchange Order in our country and will exchange for the JR East pass when we arrive in Japan the day itself) Now I’m worry about it. because If unreserved seat. It may be empty. And Hayabusa has only reserved seat. I know I want to pre-book seats, But I must be there one day earlier. In this case, It’s Impossible. I can’t come to earlier. What should i do?

    My schedule

    8.53 NARITA Airport 2 > LTD. EXP NARITA EXPRESS 6 > 9.53 TOKYO
    10:40 TOKYO > SHINKANSEN HAYABUSA 15 > 14.09 SHIN-AOMORI

    Thanks and regards,

    Jo

    1. Hi Jo,
      Unfortunately there is no way to book from outside Japan other than Eki-Net that is Japanese JR East booking site.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/how-to-reserve-seat.html

      If your friend understand Japanese, you can ask your friend to register your account and book it. If you book through this site, you can pick up a ticket on the day of arrival. But you have to ask your friend to use his/her address in Japan. And you have to give your credit card info to him/her to register.
      You cannot ask your friend to pick up a pass. Copy is not acceptable and you must exchange it by yourself.

      And also you can check the availability of the trains online. It’s in Japanese but I explained how to do it. Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/how-to-find-seat-availability-of-trains-jr-cyber-station-guide.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

    2. Hi Jo,

      I wouldn’t worry too much if I were you. There are hourly departures from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori. So even if you can’t get a seat on your preferred departure, you will get a seat on another train.

      Also, a lot can happen until you are on the train:

      – Your flight into Narita might be delayed
      – You might have to queue for a long time at immigrations or customs
      – You might have to queue for a long time at JR pass office.

      So even if it was possible to book your seat in advance, it wouldn’t be much use to you as you cannot know in advance which train you are really going to take.

      Best regards,
      Empel

  10. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I will go to Japan next year fro about 11 days (10 nights). I plan to take the JR Pass. My Itinerary as follows:

    Day 1 : Arriving Narita in the morning – Tokyo — JR Pass activate from day 1
    Day 2 : Tokyo – Osaka – Sigtseeing in Osaka
    Day 3: Osaka – Universal Studio
    Day 4 : Osaka – Kyoto (day trip)
    Day 5 : Osaka – Kobe/Nara (day trip)
    Day 6: Osaka back to Tokyo
    Day 7 : Tokyo to Yokohama – end of JRPass
    Day 8 Tokyo to Mt. Fuji (day trip)
    Day 9 : Tokyo Disneyland
    Day 10 : Tokyo full day

    May I know your comment about the itinerary? Is there any way so I can maximize the JRPass such day trip to Kanazawa?

    Thanks and regards,
    Sena

    1. Hi Sena,

      At this point, I suggest you to switch Mt. Fuji on day 8 and Yokohama on day 7. Yokohama is much closer to Tokyo than Mt. Fuji. JR pass does not cover all part of the trip to Mt. Fuji. But it’s more worth using JR Pass than trip to Yokohama. Single ticket is okay for Yokohama.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/how-to-use-japan-rail-pass-to-go-to-mt-fuji.html

      If you want to do more, you can squeeze Kanazawa on the way to Tokyo on day 6.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/how-to-get-kanazawa.html

      Both limited express Thuderbird (Osaka-Kanazawa) and Hokuriku Shikansen (Kanazawa-Tokyo) are covered by JR pass fully.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hi Takeshi -san.

        Thank you for the fast response. Great advice from you. I really want to Kanazawa, so I change my itinerary a bit. I try to calculate all the fares for 1 person as below:

        Day 1 : Narita – Tokyo (JR Pass) – 0 Yen – mostly using Yamanote Line
        Day 2 : Tokyo – Osaka – 600 Yen in case need fares to explore Osaka other than JRPass
        Day 3: Osaka – USJ – 0 Yen
        Day 4 : Osaka – Kyoto (day trip) – 1200 Yen, JR Pass not much useful for Kyoto
        Day 5 : Osaka – Kobe/Nara (day trip) – 1200 Yen, JRPass not too much useful in Kobe/Nara
        Day 6: Osaka – Kanazawa, 600 Yen in case need explore inside Kanazawa using Bus
        Day 7: Osaka – Tokyo – Yokohama – 600 Yen
        Day 8: Tokyo to Mt. Fuji (day trip) – interested in Hakone Free Pass / JR Fuji Pass : 6000Yen
        Day 9 : Tokyo Disneyland : 1000 Yen
        Day 10 : Tokyo full day: 1000 Yen
        Back to Narita : 2800 Yen assuming I take the expensive one using Skyliner

        Total Fares(Including JRPass): 29500+600+1200+1200+600+6000+1000+1000+2800 = 48900Yen

        Is my calculation for the fares is make sense? If I am not taking Kanazawa, I think not using JRPass is slightly better. What do you think? Because I read that JRPass is really useful to go between city but not too useful to enjoy inside the city since the city subways mostly better.

        Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

        1. Hi Sena,

          Even if you don’t go to Kanazawa, JR pass is still better choice. JR pass is not very convenient for sightseeing in Kyoto.
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kyoto-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

          However you can get Kyoto by JR pass from Osaka. Nara and Kobe are covered much more than Kyoto by JR pass.
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-access-to-nara-by-japan-rail-pass-if-you-dont-use-jr-pass-kintetsu-railway-is-more-convenient.html
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-access-to-himeji-and-kobe-from-osaka.html
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kobe-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

          And you may use NEX Tokyo round trip ticket for arrival day and departure day.
          http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

          If you are okay with this round trip deal, you can start to use JR pass on day 2 and it will cover trip to Fuji partially on day 8. You may add Tokunai ticket if you take Yamanote line lots on day 1.
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-metropolitan-district-pass-tokyo-tokunai-pass-good-choice-for-sightseeing-in-tokyo.html

          But if you use Hakone free pass from Shinjuku, keep this itinerary and start using JR pass on day 1. It depends what you do on day 8, Hakone or Fuji (lake Kawaguchi).

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

        2. Hi Sena,

          in addition to the tips by Takeshi, here’s another suggestion for your trip:

          You said you’ll arrive at Narita in the morning. So why bother with staying at a hotel in Tokyo only to move on to Osaka the next day. You can easily move to Osaka the same day you arrive in Narita.

          Also, you don’t need to go back to Osaka from Kanazawa as there is a new Shinkansen service from Kanazawa to Tokyo. Or, if you still want to go back to Osaka, you don’t need to go via Tokyo to go to Yokohama. All trains from Osaka to Tokyo stop in Yokohama, too.

          Thus you can maximise the use of your JR pass by activating on day 1 and using it like this:

          Day 1: Narita – Osaka
          Day 2: Osaka – USJ – Osaka
          Day 3: Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka
          Day 4: Osaka – Kobe/Nara – Osaka
          Day 5: Osaka – Kanazawa- Tokyo
          Day 6: Tokyo – Mt Fuji – Tokyo
          Day 7: Tokyo – Yokohama – Tokyo
          (JR Pass ends)
          Day 8: Tokyo Disneyland
          Day 9 and 10: Two full days in Tokyo
          Back to Narita

          With this schedule, you need to book into Tokyo hotel only once, not twice.

          Best regards,
          Empel

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