Where and How to buy JR Pass: JR Pass user guide, how to use Japan Rail Pass to its maximum.

New look of JR Pass (Year 2018) (C) JR Rail

Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) covers all JR lines throughout Japan. This is only rail pass that covers throughout Japan. If you travel even a round trip to Osaka from Tokyo, the price of 7-day pass almost equal to normal fare. I think this pass gives the greatest deal to the travellers who wants to travel in Japan.

Japan Rail Pass Official site is very informative. But some points are not clear. And it does not show you how to get the worth of this pass.

In this post, I tell you about this pass as simple as possible. I compare a regular fare and JR pass, how to choose the retailer, additional charge and many more.

Continue reading Where and How to buy JR Pass: JR Pass user guide, how to use Japan Rail Pass to its maximum.

JR Pass official reservation site user guide: How to buy JR pass and book a seat online

JR Pass (2018) (C) JR Rail

The official reservation site for the JR Pass opened on June 1. Until now, you could only buy at an authorized retailer or at the retailer’s sales site, but now you can purchase at the official reservation site.

On this official website:

✅ The price is high.
✅ No voucher required
✅ Online seat reservation available

In this article, I will show you how to use this site.

Continue reading JR Pass official reservation site user guide: How to buy JR pass and book a seat online

Kyushu’s sightseeing trains hopping 4-day trip

Kawasemi Yamasemi
The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi (left) and the limited express Isaburo / Shinpei (right) at Hitoyoshi station (C) そらみみ [CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia commons]

You can board many fascinate Kyushu sightseeing trains which JR Kyushu call “D&S train” (Design and Story) in a limited time. Please note that there is almost no time to sightsee, and the purpose of this trip is boarding these trains.

You can board these following trains and railway lines in this trip plan:

✔ Yufuin no Mori
✔ Aso Boy!
✔ A-Train (A Ressha de Ikou)
✔ Kawasemi Yamasemi
✔ Kumagawa Railroad
✔ Isaburo
✔ Hayato no Kaze
✔ Ibusuki no Tamatebako
✔ Hisatsu Orange Railway
✔ Kyushu Shinkansen

If you are traveling during peak periods, you can add or replace sightseeing trains not included here. I’ll explain this later.

The section of the Hohi line from Aso to Kumamoto was damaged by the 2016 earthquake and has been closed since then, but it is scheduled to resume in August 2020. This plan uses the timetable of Aso Boy !, which was operating before the earthquake. Also, the timetable from Beppu to Aso will be changed when Hohi line will be opened, and it may be possible to move in a shorter time. Anyway, please understand that the schedule from Beppu to Aso and from Aso to Kumamoto is provisional.

Continue reading Kyushu’s sightseeing trains hopping 4-day trip

Amakusa and Kumamoto 3-day sample trip plan: Midwest Kyushu 3 days

Amazing dusk at Okoshiki beach

I will show you 3-day sample trip plan of the midwest Kyushu from Fukuoka. This trip plan covers these following spots:

✔ Amakusa World Heritage Site visiting
✔ Dolphin watching in Amakusa
✔ Memorable sunset in Okoshiki beach
✔ Kumamoto

Continue reading Amakusa and Kumamoto 3-day sample trip plan: Midwest Kyushu 3 days

Nagasaki, Unzen, Sasebo, Arita and Hirado 4-day sample trip plan: Western Kyushu highlights

Nagasaki Lentern Festinal
Nagasaki Lentern Festinal is one of the biggest event in Nagasaki city.

I will show you 4-day sample trip plan of the western Kyushu from Fukuoka. This trip plan covers these following spots:

✔ Arita
✔ Hirado
✔ Kujukushima (99 islands) cruise
✔ Nagasaki
✔ Unzen Onsen
✔ Shimabara

Continue reading Nagasaki, Unzen, Sasebo, Arita and Hirado 4-day sample trip plan: Western Kyushu highlights

The Limited Express Thunderbird timetable and the train information. The train bound for Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto.

683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region, such as Thunderbird and Shirasagi.
683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region, such as Thunderbird and Shirasagi.

The limited express Thunderbird connects Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Fukui, and Kanazawa. One round trip of this train operates to Wakura-Onsen. This train is the fastest way to get to Kanazawa from Osaka/Kyoto. If you go to Kanazawa from Osaka, simply take this limited express train.

This train is fully covered by JR Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass, and Hokuriku Arch Pass.

In this post, I will explain you about the train information of limited express Thunderbird.

Continue reading The Limited Express Thunderbird timetable and the train information. The train bound for Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto.

How to get to Takayama by a train and a bus

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

Takayama is one of the most popular destinations for overseas travelers. Especially spring and fall seasons are very popular since the festivals are held. This city is also known as the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawago.
I would like to tell you about the access to Takayama in this post.

Continue reading How to get to Takayama by a train and a bus

10 best day trip plans from Fukuoka, Hakata. DIY trip planner with a rail pass

Nakasu Fukuoka Kyushu
Night view of Nakasu

Fukuoka is the biggest city in Kyushu and one of major cities in Japan too. You can access to Hakata station the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo. And also Fukuoka airport is an international airport. You may get to Fukuoka from your country directly. And Fukuoka airport is very closed to the downtown. It is a few stations away from Hakata.

Fukuoka is very convenient location to go around Kyushu. You will hop on and off many places in Kyuthsu to visit various tourist spots. That would be fantastic. But the traveling with luggage may be a hassle for you. If you want to minimize traveling with a luggage, a day trip would be your option.

Orginal blank map made by Craft MAP

In this post, I will show you 10 day trip plans from Hakata station which is the biggest station in Fukuoka. You can make a trip by the rail pass, such as JR Pass, Kyushu Rail Pass. You can maximize using your pass to get your money worth.

Continue reading 10 best day trip plans from Fukuoka, Hakata. DIY trip planner with a rail pass

3 best Kyoto day trip plans and 3 best 2-day trip plans

Kyoto kiyomizu dera
The view of Kiyomizu-dera temple

Kyoto, which is the most famous tourist destination in Japan, has so many attractions that it is very difficult to make a schedule. You may be wondering if one day is enough or need two days or more.

It will be a little busy schedule, but you can still visit the “Must-See” places in Kyoto for a day. Of course it would be nice if you could spend a lot of time exploring Kyoto, but the reality is that your time is limited.

In this article, I will show you these following:

☑3 best Kyoto one-day plans
☑3 best Kyoto 2-day plans including Kyoto 1.5 days and Nara 0.5 day combined plan

I believe these choices will satisfy both travelers who want to see sights as many as they want and tourists who want to pick a few places for more relaxing trip.

Continue reading 3 best Kyoto day trip plans and 3 best 2-day trip plans

20 best day trip plan from Osaka: DIY day trip planner for the first timer to the advanced traveler

All 20 day trip destinations from Osaka
The blank map is provided by Craft MAP

While staying in Osaka, why don’t you try to visit outside Osaka? But traveling with luggage may be a hassle for you, especially if you travel with senior(s) or small child(ren). If you want to minimize traveling with a luggage, just stay in one place and make day trip(s). That may be a solution for you.

There are many places where you can go as day trips from Osaka. You may know that you can visit Kyoto, Kobe and Nara. But we can go not only these places but also many more places.

In this post, I will pick 20 places where you can reach from Osaka by a public transportation. Some of the plans I will show you may not be the place to visit as a day trip, but I’d like to share them with you as an idea. I will tell you a suggested deal for a day trip. If you intend using JR Pass or other deals, I also tell you how much you can use it to make a day trip.

Continue reading 20 best day trip plan from Osaka: DIY day trip planner for the first timer to the advanced traveler

20 best day trip plan from Tokyo: DIY day trip planner for the first timer to the advanced traveler

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Sapporo-day-trip.001-600x450.jpeg
All 20 day trip destinations from Tokyo
The blank map is provided by Craft MAP

Would you like to visit various places other than Tokyo while staying in Tokyo?

But traveling with luggage may be a hassle for you, especially if you travel with senior(s) or small child(ren). If you want to minimize traveling with a luggage, just stay in one place and make day trip(s).

Actually there are many places where you can go as day trips from Tokyo.

In this post, I will pick 20 places where you can reach from Tokyo by a public transportation. Some of the plans I will show you may not be the place to visit as a day trip, but I’d like to share them with you as an idea. I will tell you a suggested deal for a day trip. If you intend using JR Pass or other deals, I also tell you how much you can use it to make a day trip.

Continue reading 20 best day trip plan from Tokyo: DIY day trip planner for the first timer to the advanced traveler

7 best day trip plans from Sapporo. DIY trip planner with a rail pass

Traveling with luggage may be a hassle for you. If you want to minimize traveling with a luggage, consider a day trip.

In this post, I will show you seven places where you can reach from Sapporo by a rail pass, such as JR Pass, Hokkaido Rail Pass. You can maximize using your pass to get more worth.

Continue reading 7 best day trip plans from Sapporo. DIY trip planner with a rail pass

How to create your trip to Hokkaido. Easy DIY trip planner

drift ice shiretoko
Shiretoko mountains winter view

Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan and it is the northernmost place. Hokkaido has lots of nature and offers many outdoor activities. The winter season is very cold. The temperature is below zero degree. On the other hand, the summer season is beautiful and very comfortable. The spring season comes at last in Japan. The tourist can enjoy the cherry blossom until early May. The fall season comes at first. The breathtaking fall foliage can be seen in September at the high elevation area in Hokkaido.

I made five sample itineraries of Hokkaido. In this post, I will tell you how to combine these itineraries and maximize your times in Hokkaido.

Let’s create your trip in Hokkaido with this trip planner.

Continue reading How to create your trip to Hokkaido. Easy DIY trip planner

Wakkanai, Rishiri and Rebun 3 days sample trip plan. The trip to the farthest land in northern Hokkaido

The limited express train “Super Soya” runs into the rural area of northern Hokkaido.

Wakkanai is located at the northernmost place of not only Hokkaido but also Japan. Honestly it is not very accesible place and I have never been there yet. But this area has been in my bucket for a long time. This farther place has been attracting me.

This time, I would like to show you the 3-day trip plan. Actually this is a part of my future trip plan. This plan covers these following spots in the very isolcated area of northern Hokkaido:

✔ Wakkanai (the northern most city in Japan)
✔ Cape Soya (the nothern most place in Japan)
✔ Cape Noshappu
✔ Rishiri island
✔ Rebun island

Continue reading Wakkanai, Rishiri and Rebun 3 days sample trip plan. The trip to the farthest land in northern Hokkaido

Sapporo and Otaru 2-day sample trip plan

Odori Park
Odori Park is located in the center of Sapporo.

I will show you 2-day trip plan of Sapporo and Otaru. But this trip plan consists of Sapporo day trip plan and Otaru day trip plan from Sapporo. You may use one of these two days.

This 2-day trip plan covers these following highlights in Sapporo and Otaru:

☑Odori Park
☑Clock Tower
☑Former Hokkaido Government Office
☑Shiroi Koibito Park
☑Hokkaido Jingu Shrine
☑Nijo Market

☑Moiwayama (Mt. Moiwa)
☑Kitakaro
☑Otaru Canal
☑Kitaichi Glass
☑Funamizaka
☑Sankaku Market
☑Sakaimachi Street
☑Orgel Doh

If you use JR Pass or Hokkaido Rail Pass, you may use it for the round trip to Otaru. But the one way fare for Otaru is 750 yen. In Sapporo, you will make the trips by a tram, a subway and a bus. But these are not covered by both JR Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass. These pass are not essential for this 2-day trip.

Continue reading Sapporo and Otaru 2-day sample trip plan

Shiretoko, Lake Mashu, Lake Akan and Kushiro Marsh 4 days sample trip plan. Eastern Hokkaido 4-day highlights

drift ice shiretoko
Shiretoko mountains in the winter time

I will show you 4-day sample trip plan of the eastern Hokkaido from Sapporo. This trip plan covers these following spots:

✔ Abashiri
✔ Shiretoko Five lakes
✔ Shiretoko cruise
✔ Kushiro Marshland
✔ Lake Akan
✔ Lake Mashu
✔ Lake Kussharo

Continue reading Shiretoko, Lake Mashu, Lake Akan and Kushiro Marsh 4 days sample trip plan. Eastern Hokkaido 4-day highlights

Asahikawa, Biei and Daisetsuzan 3 days sample trip plan. Central Hokkaido 3-day highlights

Very typical scenery in Biei and Furano area

I will show you 3-day sample trip plan of the central Hokkaido from Sapporo. This trip plan covers these following spots:

✔ Asahiyama Zoo
✔ Biei and Blue Pond
✔ Daisetsuzan and Sounkyo

Continue reading Asahikawa, Biei and Daisetsuzan 3 days sample trip plan. Central Hokkaido 3-day highlights

Hakodate, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya 3 days sample trip plan. Southern Hokkaido 3-day highlights

limited express hokuto onuma
The limited express train “Hokuto” is running by Onuma lake.

This 3-day trip plan covers these following spots in the southern Hokkaido:

✔ Noboribetsu Onsen
✔ Lake Toya (Toyako Onsen)
✔ Hakodate
✔ Onuma Park

You can make this 3 days trip from either Sapporo and Tokyo.

Continue reading Hakodate, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya 3 days sample trip plan. Southern Hokkaido 3-day highlights

Very cheap trip of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka from Narita to Kansai for less than 10,000 JPY (100 USD)

Dotonbori is located within a walking distance from Namba.

I will show you how to make one way trip from Narita to Kansai airport with the sightseeings in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka for less than 10,000 yen. You may not be able to imagine the value of 10,000 yen. I coverted 10,000 yen into the following currencies. (as of April 20th, 2020)

  • 93 USD
  • 148 AUD
  • 86 EUR
  • 133 SGD
  • 408 MYR
  • 659 CNY
  • 721 HKD
  • 114686 KRW
  • 2795 TWD
  • 132 CAD
  • 3029 THB
  • 4723 PHP

I just focused on the cost for the modes of transpotation for a budget traveler.

This sample itinerary includes the following:

☑Narita airport to Tokyo station by a bus
☑48 hours Tokyo subway pass
☑Tokyo to Kyoto overnight bus
☑Train fares for the sightseeing in Kyoto and Kyoto to Namba
☑Osaka subway pass
☑Train fare for Namba to Kansai airport

It does not include the accommodations, the meals and the admission fees. But I will tell you the attractions which you can enter without an admission. I also give you the tips for the cheap hotels and the foods. You will find a rough total cost of the trip.

Continue reading Very cheap trip of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka from Narita to Kansai for less than 10,000 JPY (100 USD)

Hakone and Izu, Kawazu Zakura early cherry blossom viewing 2-day sample trip plan

Owakudani
The trails are well maintained. It is very easy to walk for anybody in Owakudani.

This 2-day trip plan is designed for viewing Kawazu cherry blossom from mid February to early March. And Hakone and some more places in Izu are combined with Kawazu in 2 days.

This trip plan includes these following places:

✔ Hakone (1 hour walking in Owakudani, Open Air Museum, Pirates Ship lake cruise, Hakone shrine)
✔ 30 minutes walking in Jogasaki Kaigan
✔ Ride on Izukyu Railway sightseeing train “Resort 21”
✔ Kawazu cherry blossom festival day time and evening light-up
✔ Visit the town of Shimoda

You can enjoy both mountain and ocean sceneries.

Most train rides are covered by JR Pass or JR East Pass Nagano Niigata, JR East Pass Tohoku, JR East-South Hokkaido Rail pass and Tokyo Wide Pass. But you cannot get your money worth by this 2-day trip. You may use this sample as the part of your trip.

Continue reading Hakone and Izu, Kawazu Zakura early cherry blossom viewing 2-day sample trip plan

Tottori, Kinosaki, Amanohashidate and Ine 2-day sample itinerary

Ine is sometimes called ”Venice of Japan.”

This 2-day trip plan covers these following highlights in Tottori, norther Hyogo and northern Kyoto prefectures in just 2 days:

☑The Tottori Sand Dune
☑Overnight in Kinosaki Onsen
☑Biking on Amanohashidate
☑Bird-eye view of Amanohashidate from Kasamatsu Park
☑Cruise in Ine
☑Cruise in Amanohashidate

If you use JR Pass, you have to add some fares to take trains. If you use Kansai Wide Area Pass, all train trips are covered. I will explain you other deals which you have to add on JR Pass or Kansai Wide Area Pass. I will also tell you about the coverage of other deals.

Continue reading Tottori, Kinosaki, Amanohashidate and Ine 2-day sample itinerary

Ashikaga Flower Park and Hitachi Seaside Park in 12 hours. Two spectacular parks 1-day sample trip plan

Ashikaga flower park
Ashikaga flower park is very famous as four tall wisteria trees.

I will show you how to visit two popular flower parks in 12 hours from Tokyo.

☑2 hours in Ashikaga Flower Park
☑2 hours in Hitachi Seaside Park

This is such a busy trip. But if you want to visit both but you have only one day, this trip plan will fit in your trip plan.

All train trips are covered by JR Pass, JR East Pass Tohoku, JR East Pass Nagano Niigata, Tokyo Wide Pass and JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass. You have to add bus fares for visiting Hitachi Seaside Park only.

Continue reading Ashikaga Flower Park and Hitachi Seaside Park in 12 hours. Two spectacular parks 1-day sample trip plan

Alpine route, Kurobe gorge and Shin-Hotaka 3-day sample trip plan. Three best scenic mountain routes with Shirakawago and Takayama

Kurobe Gorge Railway trains go along the deep valley,

This 3-day trip plan covers these following mountain routes and spots in Japan Alps mountain range:

✔ Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route
✔ 1 hour walking in Murodo
✔ Ride on Kurobe Gorge Railway
✔ 2 hours sightseeing in Shirakawago
✔ Visit Takayama morning market
✔ Shin-Hotaka Ropeway

Two train rides are covered by JR Pass or JR East Pass Nagano Niigata. But you cannot get your money worth by this trip. You may use this sample as the part of your trip.

Continue reading Alpine route, Kurobe gorge and Shin-Hotaka 3-day sample trip plan. Three best scenic mountain routes with Shirakawago and Takayama

Japanese trains suspension due to COVID-19

Last update – June 13th, 2020
I will update this post when I receive new announcement from a railway company.

Covid-19, mask

Train operations in Japan are now almost normal.

The government of Japan have lifted the state of emergency in all prefectures. But the trip to Japan is not appropriate yet.

Many railway companies have announced that they will be operating more frequently in June and will resume the currently canceled trains, but the situation is still in flux.

The train information below may change without notice, and the information may be complicated, so please be sure to check the latest information yourself before boarding.

Please find the detailed information below:

Continue reading Japanese trains suspension due to COVID-19

Resort Shirakami and Lake Towada 2-day sample trip plan

resort shirakami
The route which Resort Shirakami runs on is one of most scenic train routes in Japan. This is Resort Shirakami Buna train set.

This 2-day trip plan covers these following highlights in Akita and Aomori prefectures.

☑Ride two types of Resort Shirakami
☑1 hour hiking and a tea break at Juniko in Shirakami mountain
☑Biking along Oirase stream
☑Cruise in Lake Towada

Most train and bus rides are covered by JR Pass, JR East Pass Tohoku, JR-East South Hokkaido Rail Pass and JR-Tohoku South Hokkaido Rail Pass.

Continue reading Resort Shirakami and Lake Towada 2-day sample trip plan