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 temple7 to 9 days
Light-up at Kiyomizu-dera temple
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.

Do not 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 when you leave from Tokyo. There are lots of deals available for Narita to Tokyo.

The list of deals for Tokyo to/from Narita airport

Day 1 Tokyo – Nagoya – Takayama

Tanabata festival decoration in Takayama ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO

07:33 Depart from Tokyo by Tokaido Shinakansen “Hikari 503”
09:17 Arrive at Nagoya
09:39 Depart from Nagoya by “Wide View Hida 5
12:23 Arrive at Takayama
After arriving at Takayama, enjoy sightseeing in very traditional Japanese town.
(Overnight in Takayama)

Day 2 Takayama – Shirakawa-go – Kanazawa

Doburoku Matsuri (Matsuri means festival) in Shirakawa-go.

Doburoku Matsuri (Matsuri means festival) in Shirakawa-go.

08:50 Depart from Takayama for Shirakawa-go by Nohi Bus.
*This bus is not covered by Japan Rail Pass. The bus fare 2,470 yen. Reservation is not required.
09:40 Arrive at Shirakawa-go
Enjoy sightseeing UNESCO world heritage site Shirakawa-go.
12:20 Depart from Shirakawa-go for Kanazawa by Nohi Bus
*Reservation is required to take Shirakawago to Kanazawa bus. Don’t forget to make a reservation. This bus is not covered by Japan Rail Pass. The bus fare 1,850 yen.
13:35 Arrive in Kanazawa

After arrival in Kanazawa, enjoy exploring in Kanazawa city

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 gardens in Japan.

(Overnight in Kanazawa)

Day 3 Kanazawa – Osaka

You can depart for Osaka anytime. In this sample, I pick an early departure train because I try to maximize the time in Osaka.

Enjoy exploring downtown Kanazawa in the morning.
08:05 Depart from Kanazawa for Kyoto by Limited Express “Thunderbird 26”.
10:35 Arrive at Shin-Osaka

Enjoy sightseeing in Osaka after arrival.

(Overnight in Shin-Osaka)

Day 4 Shin-Osaka – Hiroshima – Miyajima-guchi – Miyajima – Hiroshima

Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima

08:04 Depart from Shin-Osaka for Hiroshima by Sanyo Shinkansen Sakura 547
*Don’t forget to reserve a seat for Sakura. It has some non reserved seat. But the reserved seat is much more spacious than non reserved seat. Please see the link below to learn more:

Kyushu Shinkansen N700 series for Mizuho, Sakura and Tsubame image gallery

09:33 Arrive at Hiroshima
09:50 Depart from Hiroshima for Miyajima-guchi by local train
10:18 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 the link below to learn more.

How to access to Miyajima from Hiroshima by local train. No extra charge for Japan Rail Pass user.

The ferry takes you to Miyajima in 10 minutes. This ferry is fully covered by JR Pass.
After arriving at Miyajima, enjoy sightseeing in Miyajima until dusk.

Take ferry and local train to go back to Hiroshima.

(Overnight in Hiroshima)

Day 5 Hiroshima – Shin-Osaka – Kyoto

A-Bomb dome

A-Bomb dome

JR pass covers sightseeing bus, “Meipuru-pu”. You can visit most of places in Hiroshima by this bus.

Meipuru-pu official site – Chugoku JR Bus

14:22 Depart from Hiroshima for Shin-Osaka by Sanyo Shinkansen Sakura 544
15:48 Arrive at Shin-Osaka and transfer to another Hikari for Kyoto
15:33 Depart from Shin-Osaka for Tokyo by Tokaido Shinkansen Kodama 670
16:07 Arrive at Kyoto

You can depart of Kyoto anytime you want. You can even skip a free time in Hiroshima if you want to have more time in Kyoto.

Day 6 Kyoto

Togetsukyo bridge is the highlight in Arashiyama. ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

You may explore Kyoto until taking the last Shinkansen to Tokyo.

20:53 Depart from Kyoto to Tokyo by Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 538
23:26 Arrive at Tokyo

*You may stay in Kyoto and move to Narita airport on day 7 if your flight departure time is late afternoon or evening.

Day 7 Tokyo – Narita airport

Take Narita Express to Narita Airport.


  1. Ovilie says:

    Hi takeshi, i will be travelling to japan 1April- 16April
    This is my itinerary
    1 Apr: Arrive at tokyo
    2 Apr: Tokyo to Hakodate by Shinkansen
    Mount Hakodate
    3 Apr: Hakodate (Morning Market, Fort Goryokaku, Bay Area)
    4 Apr: Hakodate to Sapporo by shinkansen (Shiroi Koibito Park, Sapporo beer museum)
    5 Apr: Sapporo to Otaru (1 day Trip) (stay at Sapporo)
    6 Apr: ?
    7 Apr: ?
    8 Apr: Tokyo (Fujiko Fujiyo, Shibuya Street)
    9 Apr: Tokyo (Tsukiji fish market, Ginza, Asakusa, Akihabara,Tokyo Sky tree)
    10 Apr: Disney sea Tokyo
    11 Apr: Tokyo to Mount Fuji ( Lake Kawaguchi, Gotemba)
    12 Apr: Tokyo to Kyoto by shinkansen
    (Fushiminari,Kiyomizudera, Gion)
    13 Apr : Kyoto to Osaka (Kinkakuji Temple –> go to Osaka by shinkansen) (Stay at Osaka) Dotonburi
    14 Apr: Universal Studio
    15 Apr: Osaka Castle, Umeda Sky Building, Shinsaibashi
    16 Apr: Flight back to my country

    Would you mind advise me which pass i must use? Is it worthed if i buy JR Pass for 14days. Or Just buy 7days and use JR at Hokkaido?

    Do you have reccomended places at Hokkaido or somewhere else to fill my itinerary at 6-7April.
    Is it still snowing at early April? I want to go to Alpine route to see snow but unfortunately it will be open at mid April.

    Thankyou very much for your help

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