Sample itinerary Tokyo, Alpine Route, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka 9 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

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

Northern central part of Japan offers many “Must-See” places, such as Shirakawago, Takayama, Tateyama Kurobe alpine route. How do you combine these places, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

In this post, I will show you the sample itinerary which includes these places from Tokyo to Tokyo in 10 days by 7 days JR Pass.

Day 1 Narita airport to Tokyo or Haneda airport to Tokyo

Limousine Bus at Narita Airport South Wing (C) Rsa
Limousine Bus at Narita Airport South Wing (C) Rsa

Do NOT start using JR pass until you leave Tokyo for Nagano on day 3. There are many deals available for both airport arriving passengers. Many deals includes airport access fare and subway unlimited ride pass. But most of deals are available for only arriving passengers only. Therefore you may use these deals before you start to use JR pass and you can use JR pass until you get the airport. Please see the links below to get the detailed information about the deals of airport access and Tokyo subway pass:

Haneda airport access guide and the list of deals
The list of deals for Tokyo to/from Narita airport

In this sample itinerary, I use Limousine bus one way and 24 hours subway pass deal from Narita airport at 3,400 yen.

Staying in Tokyo

Day 2 Sightseeing in Tokyo

Cinderella castle is the icon of Tokyo Disneyland.

Tokyo subway covers most part of Tokyo. You can access to most of places in Tokyo by subway.

If you do not want to choose Narita or Haneda airport access + subway pass combo deal, you may buy subway pass separately. Otherwise you can add JR local deal, “Tokyo Tokunai Pass”. But both pass covers downtown Tokyo which is basically inside Tokyo 23 wards. Some places in Tokyo is not in this area, such as Ghibli Museum, Showa Kinen Park. Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea is not in this area either. Actually this place is not in Tokyo by Chiba. Please see the link below to learn more about train network in Tokyo:

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

You can extend your stay in Tokyo as many as you can

You can start using JR pass after you stay in Tokyo. So you can add the day of subway pass to extend your stay in Tokyo. Especially if you want to visit Tokyo Disneyland or/and DisneySea, you spend one full day easily. You need to stay in Tokyo more than 3 nights.

You can visit outside Tokyo if you add other deals. I have several posts to show you how to visit surrounding area of Tokyo, such as Mt. Fuji (Lake Kawaguchi), Hakone, Nikko, Yokohama and Kamakura.

If you intend to have a day trip to Yokohama and/or Kamakura from Tokyo, please see the link below:

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

If you have a plan to visit Hakone or/and Lake Kawaguchi in Mt. Fuji area, you can find more information in the links below:

Fuji Hakone access guide by train and bus from both Tokyo and Osaka / Kyoto / Nagoya.
Fuji Hakone one day trip sample itinerary. You can visit both Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone by day trip from Tokyo!

If you want to visit Nikko, please see the link below:

How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa.

Staying in Tokyo

Day 3 Tokyo to Kanazawa via Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Day 1 by JR pass 7 days)

Kurobe dam is one of the highlight on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. (C) Nagano Prefecture/JNTO

On this day, you start using 7 days JR pass. But you need to add Tateyama Kurobe option ticket at 9,000 yen for Nagano to Toyama via Alpine route. The trips of Tokyo to Nagano and Toyama to Kanazawa by Hokuriku Shinkansen are covered by JR Pass.

Sample itinerary
Tokyo 06:26 (Hokuriku Shinkansen Hakutaka 551) 08:06 Nagano
Nagano 08:15 (Alpico express bus) 10:00 Ogizawa
Ogizawa 10:30 (Trolley bus) 10:46 Kurobe Dam
*Walking on Kurobe Dam to Kurobeko for 20 minutes
Kurobeko 11:10 (Cablecar) 11:15 Kurobedaira
Kurobedaira 11:30 (Ropeway) 11:37 Daikabo
Daikanbo 11:45 (Trolley bus) 11:55 Murodo
*Mikurigaike one hour walk and lunch time at Murodo
Murodo 14:20 (Bus) 14:35 Midagahara
*Short walk to Midagahara loop trail or Tateyama caldera view point (one hour)
Midagahara 15:55 (Bus) 16:30 Bijodaira
Bijodaira 16:40 (Cablecar) 16:47 Tateyama
Tateyama 17:24 (Toyama Chiho Railway local train) 18:28 Dentetsu Toyama
Toyama 18:35 (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 511) 18:54 Kanazawa

This above sample schedule is based on 2017 summer season timetable. Please check most updated timetable in the link below:

Hokuriku Shinkansen timetable (JR East official site)
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route timetable (Official site)

You may find the timetable in Hyperdia too. Please see the link below to learn how to use this site:

Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine

I include two short hikes in the sample at Murodo and Midagahra. There are many more trails available. But these are pretty easy and suitable for all ages. Please see the link below to find more information about trails:

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Highlights

In this sample, luggage may be issue. Luggage delivery service is available from Nagano to Toyama. But you need to change trains and bus at Nagano and Toyama in minimum connection time. I recommend you to ship your luggage from Tokyo to your hotel in Kanazawa directly. Your hotel in Tokyo may be able to handle it. Even if your hotel do not handle it, you can find luggage delivery service at Tokyo station and Shinjuku station. Please see the link below:

Staying in Kanazawa

Day 4 Trip to Takayama via Shirakawago (Day 2 by JR pass 7 days)

Very popular scene of Shirakawago from Tenshukaku view point

Enjoy sightseeing in Kanazawa until lunch time. After lunch in Kanazawa, leave for Takayama with sightseeing in Shirakawago on the way. The bus in Kanazawa city and to Shirakawago/Takayama are not covered by JR pass. You may add Hokutetsu bus one day pass for sightseeing in Kanazawa. It is sold at 500 yen. The one ride fare is 200 yen in Kanazawa city. You can get the worth by only three rides.

Sample itinerary
Kanazawa station 08:30 (Hokutetsu bus / using bus pass) 08:45 Kenrokuen
Sightseeing in Kanazawa castle and Kenrokuen garden

Kenrokuen 10:45 (Hokutetsu bus / using bus pass) 10:55 Musashigatsuji-Oumichoichiba
Sightseeing and lunch time at Oumicho market

Musashigatsuji-Oumichoichiba 12:30 (Hokutetsu bus / using bus pass) 12:40 Kanazawa station
Pick up your luggage before leaving from Kanazawa.

Kanazawa 13:10 (Nohi Bus / 1,850 yen extra) 14:25 Shirakawago
Sightseeing in Shirakawago village

Shirakawago 17:20 (Nohi Bus / 2,470 yen extra) 18:10 Takayama

This above sample schedule is based on 2017 summer season timetable. Please check most updated timetable in the link below:

Nohi Bus timetable

You will also find the information about reservation in this link above. Advanced reservation is required from Kanazawa to Shirakawago. Please keep it in your mind.

I visited Shirakawago in 2016 winter. Please see the link below to find my trip report.

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

Day 5 Takayama to Kyoto (Day 3 by JR pass 7 days)

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

Enjoy sightseeing in Takayama. You can visit morning market and preserved street.

You can take Limited Express Wide View Hida from Takayama. If you want the direct train to Kyoto, you can take the following train.

Sample itinerary
Takayama 15:35 (Wide View Hida 16) 19:17 Kyoto

This is only direct train to Kyoto from Takayama. If you want to leave Takayama earlier or later, you can choose other train. Wide View Hida departs from Takayama almost once an hour. You can take this train to Nagoya and change Shinkansen to Kyoto. The last train connection is the following schedule:

Sample itinerary
Takayama 18:46 (Wide View Hida 20) 21:02 Nagoya 21:09 (Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 529) 22:01 Kyoto

You have only 7 minutes to change trains but it is not impossible. Please see the guide on Nagoya station in the link below:

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

I recommend you to stay near Kyoto station. It’s most convenient location in Kyoto. Most of places in Kyoto can be accessed directly by bus or train from Kyoto station.

Staying in Kyoto

Day 6 Kyoto (Day 4 by JR pass 7 days)

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

You can visit Arashiyama, Nijo, Fushimi Inari shrine and Uji by JR pass. But you need to pay extra fare or buy day pass to get other places, such as Gion by bus and subway. Please see the links below to find the detailed information in the following links:

Guide to take trains in Kyoto. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?
How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Kyoto

I show you one day sample itinerary in Kyoto. This includes most of big names in Kyoto, such as Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizu-dera and Gion.

Sample itinerary
Kyoto 08:48 (local train) 09:03 Sagaarashiyama

Sagaarashiyama station is located in Arashiyama. It is not located in the center of Arashiyama but you can walk to most of places in Arashiyama. You have 4 hours for sightseeing and lunch in Arahsiyama.

Sagaarashiyama 13:08 (local) 13:24 Kyoto 13:37 (local) 13:42 Inari
After Arashiyama, proceed to Fushimi Inari shrine. Inari station is located just in front of Fushimi Inari shrine.

Fushimiinari 15:08 (Keihan Railway / 210 yen extra) 15:14 Kiyomizu-Gojo (Walk 1.7 km / 20 minutes) Kiyomizu-dera temple
Even if you take a bus from Kiyomizu-Gojo station, you need to walk about 1 km. There is no buses to get Kiyomizu-dera directly. If you do not walk or travel with senior, do not hesitate to take a taxi. It costs less than 1,000 yen.

Kiyomizu-dera temple (walk about 2km) Gion
There are sightseeing spots, like Sanneizaka, Ninenzaka, Yasaka no Tou (pagoda) between Kiyomizu-dera and Gion. I highly recommend you to walk to Gion.

In my estimation, you stay in Kiyomizu-dera about 1 hour (15:45 to 16:45) and spend 2 hours from Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. If you want to visit more temples from Kiyomizu-dera to Gion, I recommend you to shorten the time in Arashiyama or start your trip earlier. Some of temples are closed by 17:00. You should leave Arashiyama by 12:00 and make one extra hour after Kiyomizu-dera.

Gion (city bus 15 to 20 minutes ride / 230 yen extra) Kyoto

If you want to move to Osaka, you can move there on this day. It takes 30 minutes by Special Rapid train. If you stay in Shin-Osaka, you can take Shinkansen in 10 minutes from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka.

You can stay in Osaka only and can make day trip to Kyoto from Osaka. It is totally up to you.

Staying in Kyoto

Day 7 Kyoto to Osaka (Day 5 by JR pass 7 days)

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

Leave from Kyoto in early morning for Osaka and enjoy full day sightseeing there. I recommend you to stay near Shin-Osaka station. You can get there from Kyoto station directly. You can drop off your luggage there and start sightseeing.

Sample itinerary

Kyoto 08:00 (Shinkansen Hikari 493) 08:14 Shin-Osaka

You can take an ordinary trains but it is morning peak hour. Though it is such a short ride, you can avoid taking busy train by Shinkansen ride.

You may drop off your baggage at your hotel in Shin-Osaka.

If you do my sample itinerary below, please purchase Osaka Kaiyu ticket (2,550 yen) at subway Shin-Osaka station before starting trip. This deal includes admission for Kaiyukan aquarium and 1 day subway unlimited ride. JR Pass does not cover subway ride. You should have this deal.
Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

Shin-Osaka 09:25 (Osaka Subway Midousuji line) 09:36 Hommachi 09:42 (Osaka Subway Chuo line) 09:53 Osakako (walk 10 minutes) Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium
Enjoy Aquarium and eat lunch at Tenpozan Market Place.
*Leave your baggage at your hotel before you leave for Tokyo.

Osakako 13:26 (Osaka Subway Chuo line) 13:41 Tanimachiyonchome
Tanimachiyonchome station is located beside Osaka Castle Park. But this park is quite big. You have to walk around 20 minutes to get the castle.

Osaka Business Park 15:41 (Osaka Subway Nagano/Tsurumiryokuchi line) 15:51 Shinsaibashi
Osaka Business Park station is also located beside Osaka castle park. You can get Shinsaibashi directly. After arrival at Shisaibashi, enjoy eating and shopping in Dotonbori and Namba.

19:40 (Osaka Subway Midousuji line) 19:53 Shin-Osaka

Subway runs very frequently until midnight.

Staying in Shin-Osaka

Day 8 Day trip to Kobe and Himeji, and Osaka to Tokyo (Day 6 by JR pass 7 days)

There are lots of castles in Japan. But Himeji castle is one of four existing original catle buildings. (C) JNTO

I include day trip to Himeji and Kobe before move to Tokyo. However you can stay in Osaka and visit more places. You may visit Nara instead of Kobe and Himeji. Shinkansen “Hikari” runs almost every 30 minutes. The train in the sample itinerary below is the last Hikari to Tokyo. You can skip Osaka, Nara, Himeji and/or Kobe and take earlier train to get Tokyo earlier. It is totally up to you.

Sample itinerary
Leave your baggage at your hotel in Shin-Osaka.

Shin-Osaka 08:04 (Sakura 547) 08:34 Himeji

Visit World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle. You can walk to get the castle from Himeji station. Please see the link below:

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

Himeji 11:57 (Special Rapid Service) 12:33 Kobe

Special Rapid Service is a sort of commute train. But it is better and faster way to get Kobe from Himeji than Shinkansen. Because Shinkansen station in Kobe is Shin-Kobe which is not located in downtown Kobe. And also Special Rapid Service runs every 15 minutes in daytime. It is very frequent and convenient train service.

Most convenient and the fastest train among Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Special Rapid Service

You may have a lunch time at Kobe waterfront area. After that, continue sightseeing in Kobe. Many of places in Kobe can be accessed on foot from Kobe station and Sannomiya station. Please see the link below to find more information about Kobe.

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

Sannomiya (Kobe) 19:07 (Special Rapid Service) 19:34 Shin-Osaka

You can take Special Rapid Service at Kobe or Sannomiya to Shin-Osaka. Pick up your baggage before you go to Tokyo.

Shin-Osaka 20:37 (Hikari 538) 23:36 Tokyo

As I mentioned above, this Shinkansen train, “Hikari 538” is the last train to Tokyo by JR pass. Please see the links below to find Shinkansen timetable. You may find the timetable to Himeji too.

Shinkansen timetable (Westbound / to Himeji)
Shinkansen timetable (Eastbound / to Tokyo)

Staying in Tokyo

Day 9 Tokyo to Narita (Day 7 by JR pass 7 days)

You can take Narita Express to get Tokyo by JR Pass.

Cost breakdown

Limousine bus (from Narita airport) and 24 hours Tokyo Subway Pass deal – 3,400 yen
JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass) 7 days – 29,110 yen
Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket – 9,000 yen
Hokutetsu bus one day pass (Kanazawa city bus pass) – 500 yen
Nohi bus from Kanazawa to Shirakawago – 1,850 yen
Nohi bus from Shirakawago to Takayama – 2,470 yen
Keihan railway from Fushimi-Inari to Kiyomizu-Gojo – 210 yen
Kyoto city bus from Gion to Kyoto station – 230 yen
Osaka Kaiyu Ticket – 2,550 yen
Total 49,310 yen

By the way, JR Pass 7 days covers the following trips.
Tokyo to Nagano one way trip by Hokuriku Shinkansen – 7,990 yen
Toyama to Kanazawa one way trip by Hokuriku Shinkansen – 3,330 yen
Takayama to Kyoto via Nagoya one way trip by Limited Express Wide View Hida and Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari – 9,960 yen
Kyoto to Shin-Osaka one way trip by Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari – 2,810 yen
Osaka to Himeji one way trip by Shinkansen – 3,740 yen
Himeji to Kobe one way trip by Special Rapid – 970 yen
Sannomiya to Shin-Osaka one way trip by Special Rapid – 410 yen
Shin-Osaka to Tokyo by Tokaido Shinkasnen Hikari – 14,140 yen
Tokyo to Narita airport by Narita Express – 3,020 yen

It costs 46,100 yen if you do not use JR pass. JR Pass 7 days is 29,100 yen. You can save more than 17,000 yen. The last ride of Narita Express is 3,020 yen. Even if you do not use JR pass for this ride, you still can get a big saving. If you want to spend one more day in Osaka, Kyoto, Takayama or Kanazawa, it will work. In this case, you can purchase Limousine bus and subway pass round trip deal.

This is just a sample itinerary. You can arrange or make some changes, whichever you like. I hope this sample itinerary will give you some thoughts to build your trip plan.

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