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4,454 thoughts on “Forums”

  1. Hello Takeshi-San

    Good morning to you. Sorry, I had some typo error in my earlier message.

    It should be:

    I have the goron-to-seat on Akebono on 10 Sep (not 9 Sep) from Ueno to Kisakata and I also managed to get the carpet car on Hamanasu on 11 Sep (not 10 sep) from Aomori to Sapporo.



  2. Hello Takeshi-San

    How are you doing?

    As I mentioned earlier on, somehow I managed to get the goron-to-seat on Akebono on 9 Sep from Ueno to Kisakata. Then I also managed to get the carpet car on Hamanasu on 10 Sep from Aomori to Sapporo. But I have no luck with Sunrise Izumo. Not a single seat left on Sunrise Izumo from Tokyo to Izumo Shi on 14 Sep. It was 14 Aug, 10.05 AM (Japan’s time) when the Odekake staff checked for me. I was really taken aback and lost my tongue. Guess someone must have booked the whole train in single transaction. Since then I have been calling Odekake f to see if there is any cancellation, but nothing change. The only seat I could get is nobi nobi seat on Sunrise Izumo from Tokyo to Izumo Shi on 13 Sep.

    Then as I also could not get the original flight schedule, I end up with flying to Nagoya and return from Osaka. So I have to made some changes to my travel plan. but I get stuck again with my options, especially the final leg. I really feel bad to keep asking you, but I wonder if I could borrow your expertise again this time….

    I only list down the days with change of plan:
    1. Thur, 06 Sep Singapore to Nagoya (overnight flight)

    2. Fri, 07 Sep (KRPW Day1) Chuubu Airport – Ise Shi (to visit Ise Jingu Naiku) (overnight at Ise-shi)
    Here I would have to purchase Kansai Rail Pass Wide instead of Kansai Rail Pass.

    7. Wed, 12 Sep (JR Day3)
    I have to forgo my plan to stay overnight at Hakodate. If I want take Hamanasu (heading to Aomori) on 12 Sep evening, I have to do either go back to Sapporo (waste some more time on the road) or wait until Hamanasu reach Hakodate at 02:52.

    Then I found out that if I leave Hakodate at 19:41 by Super Hokuto, I can reach Tomakomai at 22:12 and continue from Tomakomai at 23:03 with Hamanasu to Aomori. Is this good? I am contemplating with waiting for Hamanasu at Hakodate but not so sure if I could get a place to rest or wait till the train come.

    My tentative plan for 12 Sep is as follows:
    Sapporo – Otaru
    Otaru – Mori & Hakodate
    Hakodate – Tomakomai
    Tomakomai – Aomori (to ride night train Hamanasu to Aomori)

    8. Thur, 13 Sep (JR Day 4) Hakodate – Aomori (to see Hirosaki Castle) – Tokyo (to ride night train Sunrise Izumo to Izumo Taisha)

    Before I forget, I also have made reservation on Sunrise train for the following dates. I will cancel those that I do not need once I arrive in Japan. I know there is cancellation fee but I thought it would be safer to have the reservation as the night train’s seat availability is really unpredictable.

    14 Sep from Okayama to Tokyo
    15 Sep from Tokyo to Takamatsu
    15 Sep from Okayama to Tokyo

    9. Fri, 14 Sep (JR Day 5) Izumo Taisha (to visit Izumo Taisha and Yumura Onsen)
    Shall I take the night train and head to Tokyo or stay at Takamatsu? I am thinking to go to Kotohira to visit the Konpirasan on the following day.

    10. Sat, 15 Sep (JR Day 6)
    Tokyo or Takamatsu – Kotohira – Hakata and take night train to Tokyo.

    11. Sun, 16 Sep (JR Day7) Tokyo – Kansai Airport

    This is a very long note again, but I hope you would bear with me. Please let me hear your ideas.


    1. Hi Miki san,

      I feel sorry to hear that. Usually Nobi Nobi is much easier than Hamanasu Carpet. I’m really surprised it was sold out when you called at 10:05 am!
      Anyway you need to make an adjustment. I checked your revised plan and give you some suggestions.

      7. Wed, 12 Sep (JR Day3)
      I think it is not a good idea to use Hamanasu. You haven’t booked any seat so far, right? There are some non reserved seat. But it may be full when you will get in either Tomakomai or Hakodate. If you can get a space on Carpet or Dream seat, it is acceptable. I worry you will be exhausted. I understand you want to save your budget. But I want you to keep original plan, staying in Hakodate.

      8. Thur, 13 Sep (JR Day 4) Hakodate – Aomori (to see Hirosaki Castle) – Tokyo (to ride night train Sunrise Izumo to Izumo Taisha)
      9. Fri, 14 Sep (JR Day 5) Izumo Taisha (to visit Izumo Taisha and Yumura Onsen)
      10. Sat, 15 Sep (JR Day 6)
      Tokyo or Takamatsu – Kotohira – Hakata and take night train to Tokyo.

      If you want to squeeze Konpirasan on Sept 15, you should stay in Takamatsu or Okayama on Sep 14. Otherwise you cannot go to Hakata after Konpirasan. If you start from Tokyo, it will be too late to get Hakata after Konpirasan. It takes about 5 hours to get Konpirasan from Tokyo. And you will spend another 4 hours to get Hakata after Konpirasan. It does not include any time to see Konpirasan.

      If you give up Konpirasan, you still can take overnight train to Tokyo on Sep 14 if it is available. But you secured a space from Okayama to Tokyo on Sep 14. You can take Yakumo 30 from Izumoshi to Okayama.

      Yakumo 30 Izumoshi 18:35 -> 21:35 Okayama
      Sunrise Izumo Izumoshi 18:55 -> 22:33 Okayama -> 07:08 Tokyo

      It is only 20 minutes difference between Yakumo and Sunrise Izumo. You can transfer at Okayama very easily. You can get some food and drink for overnight train at Okayama. Because Yakumo is much faster than Sunrise. You have one hour to transfer.

      So your choice is give up Konpirasan and take Sunrise from Okayama or stay in Okayama and go to Konpirasan.
      You don’t need to go to Takamatsu. You can stay in Okayama. Travel time to Konpira from Okayama is not much difference from Takamatsu.

      Limited Express Nanpu 1 07:08 Okayama -> 08:06 Kotohira
      Limited Express Shimanto 1 07:20 Takamatsu -> 08:06 Kotohira
      * Both these trains are coupled at Utazu station near Kotohira.

      Okayama is much accessible from Izumoshi. Simply you can take Yakumo 30 to Okayama.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hello Takeshi-San

        Thank you for reviewing the revised itinerary and sharing your thought with me.

        It is disappointing not to be able to get the nobi nobi seat on the date I wished for, but I am glad that I have come to know this while I am still in Singapore. If I have already landed at Japan and only then I found this out, I would probably cry bucket on spot and have to look for you for help.

        I wrote down the re-revised schedule, taking your ideas in consideration. I also have some doubt on certain parts, which I did not mention earlier on. When you have time, would you help me to see if they make sense?

        7. Wed, 12 Sep (JR Day3)
        The last time I called Odekake, the staff told me that no more seat available on Carpet Car (for Hakodate to Aomori route on 12 Sep), but plenty of Dream seat. I took Hamanasu’s dream seat before and I could not say I have a good night.

        I will heed your advice and spend a night at Hakodate. I have never been to Hakodate and am thinking to visit either Mt Hakodadate or Fort Goryokaku to see the night view. Takeshi-San, which one do you think is better? If I arrive at Hakodate after 5 pm, would I have time for both?

        For the last 3 days of my trip:

        9. Fri, 14 Sep (JR Day 5) Izumo Taisha (to visit Izumo Taisha and Yumura Onsen) – Okayama
        Transportation: Kisuki – Shinji (JR Kisuki), Shinji – Okayama (Yakumo 30)
        Ps. I had wanted to stay at Takamatsu but I realised now that by doing so, it would take at least another one more hour before I could get some rest for the day.

        10. Sat, 15 Sep (JR Day 6) Okayama – Kotohira – Hakata – Okayama (to take Sunrise Seto to Tokyo)

        11. Sun, 16 Sep (JR Day7) Tokyo – Kansai Airport
        I wonder if I should take Sunrise Seto on 15 Sep from Okayama to Tokyo, because I would fly back from Kansai Airport. My flight is 17:20. Should I take the Sunrise Seto on 15 Sep from Okayama to Fuji and go somewhere along the line before I head to Kansai Airport? I also wary about the transfer time to Kansai Airport, wondering when I should leave for airport.

        Takeshi-San, thank you for always putting my well being on the priority when you offer an alternative route. There are so many places in your country I want to go to, yet so little time. I would try to have enough rest even during a packed trip.



        1. Hi Miki san,

          Goryokaku open until 19:00. Mt. Hakodate ropeway runs until 22:00. So if you go to Goryokaku first, you will be able make both.

          In regards to Sep 16, you should decide where you want to go in Mt. Fuji. There are so many spots.
          But first of all, let’s make sure how many hours you will have before departing for KIX.

          Haruka 25 Shin-Osaka 13:45 -> 14:34 Kansai Airport
          Haruka 27 Shin-Osaka 14:45 -> 15:34 Kansai Airport

          If I take your flight at 17:20 I take Haruka 25. I don’t like to take a risk. But it is your choice. At this time, I pick Haruka 25 at 13:45 Shin-Osaka departure.

          Sunrise arrive Fuji at 05:09. The first bus to Fuji departs from Fujinomiya station at 7:50, not Fuji. If you get off Sunrise at Fuji, you can easily get there. (Fuji 05:20 – Fujinomiya 05:36) But I checked Fujikyu bus line schedule. The first bus to Fujinomiya arrive Fujinomiya at 11:33. It is too late to catch Hikari to Shin-Osaka. Even if you take Haruka 27 at 14:45 Shin-Osaka, it is still late.

          Unfortunately you don’t have enough time to go to Mt. Fuji.

          You need to take Hikari 509 (Tokyo 10:33, Shin-Yokohama 10:52, Shin-Osaka 13:30) to get Shin-Osaka by 13:45. I think it is not much time what you think. If you get off Sunrise at Tokyo, you have 3.5 hours. If you get off at Yokohama, you have some more hours, about 4 hours.

          So how about Kamakura? It is only 30 minutes away from Yokohama. I think you are not interested in big city, like Tokyo and Osaka. Kamakura is small town. You can feel true Japanese atmosphere. I cannot find any other choices other than sticking around Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka.

          You must not miss the flight to go back to Singapore. Please don’t try to squeeze too much. 🙂


          Takeshi / JP Rail

          1. Hello Takeshi-San

            Thank you for always being patient with me, no matter how silly my questions might be. I feel like I do not travel alone anymore, for knowing that there is someone like you is there. ☆⌒(*^▽゜)vありが㌧

            16 Sep (JR Day7) Tokyo – Kansai Airport

            I agree with you that it is not good to take a risk when it comes to return flight. I would take Haruka 25 from Shin-Osaka.

            Yaa…I grew up and living in busy cities; despite the conveniences, I always long for going to remote places for a break. I would love to go to Kamakura as you have suggested. I remember that there is a big Buddha statue at Kamakura. Would check the train timing and hope I could spend the morning there.

            Takeshi-San, I really appreciate your help to calculate the timing, checking the bus and train schedules, to make sure I could go comfortably to those places I wish to reach to. I am embarrassed to have bothered you with so many questions, not once but again and again. I hope you would not ‘get scared’ if my name pop up in the forum again and looking for your help in near time. ★☆ぉ原頁ぃします☆★(ゝ●_,・`人)

            PS. I will heed your advice and not to miss the return flight. I am stopping over at Bangkok to meet a friend so I definitely have to make sure I hop into Haruka 25 on 16 Sep.(●^ ^)

            Good night Takeshi-San.


          2. Hi Miki san,

            Kamakura is still suburban area of Greater Tokyo. But there are lots of nature, beautiful Shonan shoreline, Kamakura Daibutsu (Buddha statue), and also you may put Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine on your list. I think it is a sort of your taste.

            It is only 10 minutes away from JR Kamakura station. You may take Enoshima railway to go to other spot surrounding Kamakura.
            This train is not covered by JR pass. But it runs along Shonan shoreline. This is one of my favorite small rail companies.

            I think you’ve done and ready to go!
            You are so lucky because both Takuji san and Jonathan helped you so much. 🙂 These guys are knowledgeable and very experienced.

            I hope you will enjoy your stay in Japan.


            Takeshi / JP Rail

          3. Hello Takeshi-San

            I read the Tsurugaoka Hachimagu Shrine link you gave me, and searched for more information about the shrine. I found that the shrine’s background is very historical and special. I would make a trip to Kamakura to visit this shrine and the Daibutsu.

            I looked at the Enoden’s website and counted how much time I have.
            If I take the Sunrise Seto on the night before, I should be able to reach Kamakura at around 7:30 (via Yokohama). But I saw that it takes a longer time to go from Kamakura to Kansai Airport (about 5 hours), compared from Kamakura to Narita Airport (about 2 hours). So if I could get hold of return flight at 16:55 from Narita, I would be able to buy some more time and explore other neighbourhoods along Enoden railway. If I have to leave from Osaka, I would take a train from Kamakura around 9:30 and head to Kansai Airport.

            Kamakura looks very pleasant and I really like the idea of visiting the Tsurugaoka Hachimagu Shrine and riding the Enoden. Thank you very much, Takeshi-San. I do not know how to describe it well, but you are fundamental in enabling many many of us to truly enjoy our time in Japan; reaching to those destinations we dreamed to set our foot in, in the most possible efficient route. I am wondering how I could thank you for all the help you have extended to me…m(_ _)m アリガトォ~★



    2. Hi miki san,

      I agree with Takeshi san’s feedback. In addition to that, if you want to refresh at bath after overnight flight, there is a Japanese bath in the chubu airport. It’s located upstairs restaurant floor.
      If you are going to Atsutajingu, Jingumae station is direct from the airport.

      1. Hi Tak-San

        It is great to hear from you!

        I would arrive at Chuubu airport on 7 Sep around 8 am. I checked with hyperdia just now, and see how close Jingumae is from Chuubu airport. Shall I head first to Atsuta Jingu from Chuubu airport, and then to Ise Shi?

        Do you think I would have some extra time to do a quick city tour at Nagoya? If not enough time, I would be happy to have a good local speciality meal before continuing my trip.

        Thanks for the tip about the bath! Chuubu airport’s official airport do not have much info in English, and I am really bad at reading Japanese… I shall not miss itミ★(*^-゜)v Thanks!!★彡I love taking japanese bath.



      2. Hi miki san,

        I think you can have a tour of Nagoya city, as you’ve saved time by arriving at Chubu airport. In that case, you can arrive Ise shi in the late afternoon. Then, on the next day, 8th of Sep, you can do all the Ise Jingu, Naigu/Gegu and Meoto Iwa on the next day.

        The webpage of the Chubu airport bath house in English is this one. When I went there, not many people. it’s perhaps because it’s 1000yen, but there’s nothing refreshing like Japanese bath after long flight. 🙂

        Nagoya has many interesting local foods to offer. It’s getting like different topic from JR pass. I hope Takeshi san don’t mind it. I can give you some information later.

      3. Hi miki san,

        I am happy to share some information on Nagoya, but I am afraid the topic is not about JR pass. Sorry, Takeshi san. Please bare with me… As I said before, Nagoya offers unique foods which you won’t see in other Japanese big cities. I found a good webpage which has link to recommended restaurant as well. All these restaurants are famous in Nagoya. The 5. Hitsumabushi shop is near Atusta Jingu which is convenient for you. It’s a bit expensive but really good. I like 6.Misonikomi Udon too. I hope you’ll enjoy.
        For the sightseeing in Nagoya city, how about Osu shopping mall? It is a old shopping mall like and there is a temple like Asakusa, but they also have high tech shops like Akihabara. Funky old clothes for young people are sold as well, but old shopping mall is a favourite hang around place for old folks. Brazilian immigrant people open shops and restaurant. bit international. I like all the mixture there. i find it is an interesting place.

          1. Hi Takeshi-San

            You are so thoughtful and understanding.
            Thank you for being so nice to me.



      4. Hi Tak-San (or should I call you Takuji-San)?

        The bath house at Chuubu Airport looks like an ideal place for rejuvenation. Ya, may be because of the price, but it is definitely worth a visit.

        I checked the Osu’s website indicated in the link you gave me, and I found that it is situated near to Oosukannon Station Kamimaezu Station. (My apologies for my late response to your message. My Japanese reading is not good at all – I needed some time to check the words…) According to hyperdia, the Kamimaezu Station is a nearer station to reach if I depart from Jingumae Station.

        So my day at Nagoya shall be:
        Chuubu Airport – Jingumae (for Atsuta Jingu) – Atsuta Houraiken (for lunch) – Kamimaezu (for Osu shopping mall) – Ugata (for a night at Ise Shima).
        Note. I have to leave Kamimaezu by 13:36 and head to Ugata so I would not miss hotel’s last shuttle bus at 16:40). Btw, do you think it is better for me to buy one-day Nagoya subway pass since I will use the subway many times?

        I would see if I could slip yamamotoya into this schedule so I could also try the udon. The hitsumabushi looks so delicious – I could not wait to try the eel rice. Heard about taking eel in summer is highly recommended since ages ago. I saw how beautiful the honten of Houraiken. Wished I have a full day at Nagoya so I could go there for lunch…

        Thank you very much for helping me with the visit to Nagoya. Those links you forwarded to me are extremely good and I doubt I would come to know them on my own search. “(*^^)/。・:*:・゜★,。・:*:・゜☆アリガトー!If you were at Nagoya, I would definitely love to ask you to join me for lunch.

        Enjoy your Sunday!



        1. Hi miki san,

          Thanks for telling me that last bus time from Ugata station.Sorry, I misunderstood and I thought you are staying near Ise shi station. You have to travel 30 minutes more to get to Ugata station.

          Now the bad news is if you are catching the last bug from Ugata station at 16:40, you won’t have much time to enjoy the Osu shopping mall.

          Your schedule is like this
          I assume your flight arrive at 8:50 and you probably be able to exit the immigration within 1 hour. Then, you will probably need 1 hour for the bath house.
          Assuming you will leave Chubu Airport around 11am, it will take about 30 min to Jingu mae. Then, 11:30 Atsutajingu – lunch – 13:47 Jingu mae > 13:54 Nagoya > 14:10 Kintesu Nagoya
          I set 2 hours for the shrine and lunch because I don’t want you to rush for the lunch. They are kind of slow. I want you to slow down because it’s a expensive good food. Not a fast food. Sometimes people are waiting but it’s probably all right on weekdays.
          In case the Houraiken is busy, you can go to Nagoya station for the Misonikomi udon. This one is near the Meitetsu Nagoya station. It is in the meitetsu department store.

          enjoy the trip

        2. Hi Takuji-San

          No worries. I am trying to buy some more time to explore Osu and to eat the udon, so I tried to see if I could take rosen bus (is this the right word for normal bus?) from Ugata to hotel. I would be staying at this ooedoonsen monogatari (address: 三重県志摩市浜島町浜島1035) but all I could find from internet is the following website. I do not know if this is useful or not….

          If it is not troublesome, would you help me to check the link if there is any bus that would stop nearby the hotel? I tried to read it but can’t figure anything out of it….

          My flight would arrive at Chuubu 8 o’clock in the morning. So I have an extra 50 minutes from your earlier time calculation. About the lunch at Houraiken, I can understand if they need some time to prepare the food. I guess they may use the charcoal to cook the eel, which will take longer time of cooking. Yes, I will not rush and take my time to savour the lunch. Thank you Takuji-San for thinking so kindly of me in making the Nagoya trip plan ☆⌒(*^-°)v Thanks!!

          Have a great week ahead!



        3. Hi miki san,

          I found the bus time table from the Mie Koutsu webpage.

          Click 停留所を地図から指定して検索. Then, I found the nearest bus stop from the map. Your bus is bound for 宿浦 and your hotel is near 朝日山 bus stop. Please see below for the timetable.

          鵜方駅前 → 朝日山
          Departure Arrival
          16:15 16:33

          17:15 17:33

          18:15 18:33

          19:15 19:33

          20:15 20:33 (Last)

          As for the Atsutajingu and Houraiken, I think you should go to Houraiken first to secure the table. When I went there I waited 1 hour or so. I checked google and many people say they waited long especially during weekends. See this one.

          For the Osu shopping mall, the shopping mall starts from Kamimaezu station and all the way to Osukannon station. There is a Osukannon temple near the Osukanon station. I like the Kamimaezu station side better as there are more shops in that side. The entrance of the mall is only 5 min walk from the station, but might not be easy to find. Please ask a station staff for direction if you are not sure. You will not need the 1 day pass, as you will take subway twice only. Denmacho (Atsuta jingu) > Kamimaezu > Nagoya
          Normal ticket is better. Enjoy your trip!

        4. Hi Takuji-San

          I am relieved… So I should have time till 4pm before I have to leave Nagoya in order to reach Ugata before it is too dark. Thank you Takuji-San, for taking for the trouble to check out the bus time table and giving me many many precious advices. Thanks ☆☆** v(o^▽^o)v**☆☆ Thanks. Looking at those blogs and reading your directions, I feel as if I am at Nagoya right now…

          The food pictured in the blog referring to Houraiken looks so tempting! Was it the honten? I hope that the one near Atsuta Jingu would not be so crowded….Ok, then I would have my fill at Houraiken first before heading to Atsuta. It would be really good if you were still at Nagoya, so I can meet you for lunch and hear more about Nagoya.

          Hi Takeshi-San

          My apologies for taking much of the space here to check out the destination and transportation. Hope this information would also help others who are planning to explore Nagoya.



          1. Hi miki san,

            You are welcome. yes, that is honten. Some people say they waited for three hours on weekends.I think it should be all right on weekdays, but please go first to secure a table. Good luck!
            I found a map of Osu shopping mall. I think this one is good.
            Enjoy your trip.

          2. Hi Takuji-San

            Good morning to you.

            Waa… three hours?? (°.°;)ア・・・That’s very very long…I saw in the website Houraiken branch near Atsuta Jingu is open from 11:30 am. Thus I shall start queueing, at least from 11 am. I shall equip myself with umbrella and water .

            The link for access to Osu is awesome. It is very clear. Thanks, Takuji-San, for being so nice to me. ブンブン ヾヾ(^-^) ありがとぉ♪ I’ll must meet you one day to thank you in person.

            Have a great Wednesday!



    3. Hi Miki,

      I am disappointed to hear about not getting a seat for Sunrise Izumo when it was important. I’ve been there before.

      Last year I thought I had a chance to get on Sunrise Izumo (any type) on December 28th if I booked 3 weeks in advance when I arrived in Japan. I was wrong. Fortunately I had sufficient adaptability to change my schedule.

      I was on my from Matsue to the snow monkeys at Yudanaka Onsen (a long trip I know) and had hoped to get off at Fuji and go via Kofu to try the Minobu Line. Fortunately I was able to cut short Matsue a little and go from Matsue to Nagoya, then Nagoya to Nagano and onwards the next day.

      A tip though about the 285 series Sunrise set (not so relevant if you are taking nobi-nobi seat) is that many rooms face in the direction of travel. Many people I’ve been with on Sunrise say that its actually less comfortable because they can feel every curve more, but the stops less.

      I hope you enjoy your trip. I’m sorting out a few nuts and bolts with my plan at the moment but am mainly waiting on the winter timetable revision to really finalise things.

      Best regards,

      Jonathan Ayre

      1. Hi Jonathan

        Am so happy to see you in forum again. Thanks for your kind words. It is really nice of you.

        Yaa…it is so disappointing. I am even willing to take Solo or Single, but I kept getting the same answer for days: ‘sorry but none available’ 。゜(*´□`)゜。ウワェェェン. Guess either because it is a Friday night, or because 17 Sep is a public holiday. I will try my luck again when I reach Japan and pop by at any JR madoguchi.

        Waa.. you must be pretty taken by surprised last Dec then. Glad that you could make adjustment and don’t have to sacrifice much. ‘…many rooms face in the direction of travel.’? Meaning the head rest would be in the direction of the travel? Guess it is hard to sleep if you can feel a lot of train movement…Hope I would knock off immediately when I hit the sack ha ha.

        Seems that you have been at every single must-go places in Japan…I have never been to Nagano. Heard about the famous snow monkeys and have been wanting to try one of the hot springs there for a soak. Hope I would have the opportunity in one fine winter.

        Thanks, Jonathan. I really look forward to my coming trip. I also hope that you would be able to fine tune your Nov trip schedule in near time. Btw, if you need anything from Japan for your coming trip to Japan in Nov, please feel free to let me know. Could arrange to bring it back and send it over to you from Singapore.

        Dear Takeshi-San, I hope you do not mind when we touch on other subjects here and there (most of the times they are part of the travel plans) in this forum. Being an inexperienced solo traveler and having language barrier, it is be hard to find great advices and information most of the time. Thank you for always giving me wonderful ideas and kind concern.

        Have a great Friday!



        1. Hi Miki,

          Thanks for the welcome back. Unfortunately my main PC blew up and I was without a computer for a week! However things should be back to normal now.

          To answer your question, yes, what I mean by facing in direction of travel is that the bed faces towards the front (or back) of the train. I guess since you get a pillow, you could put your head at either end. I’ve used both the solo and single/twin compartment, and I should mention that luggage is really difficult to carry on board, too. If you have a solid suitcase it is much harder to store than on other overnight trains. My wife and I had to put the luggage literally on our beds. I hope it does not inconvenience you too much.

          Thanks for the offer of bringing anything back if I need it. I can’t think of anything now, but I will let you know if I do. I think its more important you enjoy yourself and not worry about me 🙂

          Best regards,

          Jonathan Ayre

        2. Hi Jonathan

          I know how inconvenience it is when your computer or mobile phone is not there. Hope you do not lose any major data.

          Thank you for your advice on the sleeping cabin. In my previous trips, I sent the big luggage with courier to the last accommodation I would check in later, and used a small (flight cabin) size one for night train. But every time I would end one with at least one additional big carrier, being the result of giving in to the temptation of buying local products ha ha.

          Certainly I would try to enjoy every moment I have in Japan. Please do not hesitate to contact me when you have something in mind. That’s what friends are meant for.

          As the fall season’s time table is up, hope you could fine tune your coming trip very soon.



  3. Takeshi-san,

    I have my Itinerary here. This is the first time I go Japan. Appreciate if you could help me to check if my plan is ok.
    14 Sept Arr at Osaka Kansai International Airport @ 11am
    Kansai international airport to Tanimachi-yonchome
    (I check the Kansai Airport site and found that ‘Nankai Airport Express” connect Airport and Namba. Could I take this bus to Namba and I change to the subway to Taniyon?)
    15 Sept Osaka to Kyoto (I will be doing the trip with my daughter. She will travel from Hachioji to Kyoto Using JR Pass)
    Kyoto to Nara
    Nara to Osaka
    16 Sept Osaka Castle
    Osaka to Kurashiki/Okayama (Kurashiki need to transfer train from Okayama. Free for JR Pass)
    Kurashiki to Osaka
    17 Sept Osaka to Nagoya
    Nagoya to Shizuoka
    Shizuoka to Ikebukuro
    18 Sept Ikebukuro to Tsukiji (with Tokyo Host help)
    Tsukiji to Ginza
    to Kawaguchiko (Mt Fuji 5 lake)
    By bus from Shinjuku Station
    Fujikyu and Keio Bus operate one to two direct buses per hour from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station (Keio Highway Bus Terminal) to Kawaguchiko Station in the Fuji Five Lakes region. The one way journey takes about two hours and costs 1700 yen. Most buses stop at Fujisan Station and Fujikyu Highland before arriving at Kawaguchiko Station and some of them continue on to Lake Yamanakako (2.5 hours, 2000 yen one way from Shinjuku). The Japan Rail Pass is not valid on these buses.
    Where do I buy the ticket. How much time do I need for visiting this site (sightseeing and taking pictures etc but not staying overnight?) Where do I buy the ticket to return to Shinjuku.
    19 Sept Ikebukuro to Nikko
    Nikko to Hachioji
    20 Sept Ikebukuro to Senjoji
    Ikebukuro to Hachioji
    Hachioji to Osaka
    Is it possible for me to travel an overnight or evening train form Ikebukuro or Hachioji to Osaka where I can transfer to Kansai Airport.
    I try to use Hyperdia and saw the train goes to Himeji and return to Osaka/Kansai. The train stop by Himeji and goes to Osaka/Kansai Airport if I start the journey at 9pm from Ikebukuro/Hachioji. I may reach Kansai airport 8am. Correct?
    21 Sept Kansai International airport (Flt 12:25pm)

    1. Hi Lindsay,

      I answer for you one by one.

      Sep 14
      I recommend you to take the bus to Kintetsu Uehonmachi. Subway Tanimachi Kyuchome station is within walking distance from Kintesu Uehonmachi. Tanimachi Kyuchome is 2 stations away from Tanimachi Yonchome. It is much easier to access than via Namba.

      Sep 15
      I think it is too much. I recommend you to go to Kyoto only. In my opinion, one day is not enough to see just Kyoto. If you really want to do, you can do it. But it will be super busy trip.

      Sep 16
      You better go to Kurashiki first. If you love to stay in Kurashiki, you can stay longer and visit at Osaka castle next day.

      Sep 17
      Do you have any plan in Nagoya and Shizuoka? If not, you can spend several hours in Kyoto or Nara. It takes 2.5 hours to get Tokyo from Shin-Osaka by Shinkansen. If you do not have any plan in Nagoya, Shizuoka and Tokyo, you can stay in Kyoto until evening.

      Sep 18
      Are you staying in Hachioji? If so, you can take the train at Hachioji to go to Kawaguchiko via Otsuki. JR Pass cover to Otsuki.
      Of course you can use the bus. Even though JR pass do not cover it, it may be easier to get Kawaguhchiko and other lakes. But you need to make a reservation before boarding.
      It is hard to tell how long you need to stay in Fuji. It depends on what you want to do. But I recommend you to skip Tsukiji and go to Kawaguchiko ASAP. As long as you have one full day, it should be okay. You can visit Tsukiji before going to Sensoji.

      Sep 19
      See those link below. It may give you some ideas.

      Sep 20
      I think you mean Sunrise Seto/Izumo. See the link below.
      You can take Limited Express Haruka from Shin-osaka at 7:17 and arrive there at 08:17. Most of time, JR trains arrive on time. But I don’t usually take Overnight train on departure day. Because it is risky. If trains are late, you may not be able to catch your flight. JR do not compensate your flight. But choice is yours.
      If you want to take Sunrise Seto/Izumo, make a reservation right after you get JR pass. This train is very popular.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Takeshi-san,

        I am reworking my itinerary. Before I change to make it too complicated for myself and my daughter. I need your advice again.
        We will be staying near Taniyon. It is better to take subway to Osaka Station or Tennoji. How should we travel, as in taking subway or walk if we want to go Nara on the 17 Sept before we go to Ikebukuro or Hachioji. I will be staying in Ikebukuro. My daughter will be staying in Hachioji. She is attaching to Tokyo Uni for short-term study abt 5 weeks.
        You mentioned I take the bus to Kintetsu Uehonmachi from Kansai Airport. Nankai Airport Express is the bus that will stop here?

        Thank you very much.

        1. Hi Lindsay san,

          If you want to get Nara by JR lines, using Rapid trains are the best. First of all, take subway (not covered by JR pass) to Tennoji. Tennoji is only 3 stations away from Tanimachiyonchome. It is same line as taking from Uehonmachi=Tanimachi Kyuchome.

          Tanimachi Yonchome – Tanimachi Hacchome – Tanimachi Kyuuchome (Uehonmachi) – Tennoji

          From Tennoji, you can take Rapid Yamatoji train. Please see the following link:

          After you finish Nara sightseeing, go to Kyoto and catch Shinkansen from Kyoto station. Kyoto is closer than back to Osaka. Take Miyakoji Rapid train to get Kyoto:

          There are so many rapid service in urban Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe area. The following post might give you some idea how to use these trains:

          When you go to Uehonmachi from KIX, take Kansai Airport Transportation bus. Forget about Nankai bus. You don’t need to go to Namba. Namba is the biggest downtown core in Osaka. It makes you confused. And you need to take subway twice from Namba to Tanimachiyonchome. Just take the bus on those following links:


          Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    Can I trouble you for a moment? I know this is not related to JR matters but I really could not find information on this on other websites.

    Ok, I plan to go Kitsuki castle town from Beppu. I know I can take a JR train to Kitsuki station but will have to walk a long way to reach Kitsuki castle town. Do they have any transport from Kitsuki station that brings us there? Do they have a tourist information counter at the station?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi John,

      Oita Kotsu bus can take you to Kitsuki bus terminal from Kitsuki station.

      To Kitsuki bus terminal
      Please find “杵築バスターミナル” at the column. Don’t care about “中平” and “市役所”.

      to Kitsuki station
      Please fnd “杵築駅”.

      Fare is around 300 yen.

      I am not sure but I don’t think it has tourist info.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be travelling to Japan from 24 to 1 October, can you advise if the following travel plan suitable and JR Rail Pass 7 days the best way.

    24 Sept Arrived in Kansai International Airport at 7 PM, to Unvivesal Hotel – start using the Rail Pass
    25 Sept travel to Kyoto and spend most the day there (can I use JR Rail pass within Kyoto)
    26 Sept spent the whole day in Universal Studio and Osaka Aquarium (no need to travel as they are close to hotel)
    27 Sept travel to Rihga Royal Hotel Tokyo using the SHINKANSEN HIKARI train via a few transfer
    28 Sept travel from hotel to Disneyland Tokyo and after that spend time sight seeing (not sure if JR Rail Pass will be valid for these route)
    29 Sept travel to Sanrio Park (can I use JR Rail Pass) and more sight seeing and shoppint
    30 Sept travel to Harajuku’s main strip Train station near Harajuku at nightHarajuku etc,
    1 October hotel to Narita Airport (may need to use shuttle bus or taxi as the 7 days pass run out)

    Please also suggest other things to do while in either Osaka and Tokyo.


    1. Hi Kevin,

      Your itinerary is not enough for Japan Rail Pass 7 days. Round trip between Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto is minimum requirement to use JR pass.
      The best way for you is the following:

      KIX-USJ Limousine bus

      Kyoto sightseeing
      Single fare + Kyoto city day pass

      Osaka-Tokyo transfer
      Single fare

      Sightseeing Tokyo
      Single fare or Metro pass

      to Narita
      Limousine or Narita Express


      Takeshi / JP Rail

    2. Hi Takeshi,

      Thank you for your feed back.

      Can you clarify what you mean by not enough to use the JR Rail Pass, do you mean not economical or is there a condition to use the pass.

      Also, looking at the limousine bus service it appear that it does not stop at Universal Studio, we are stay at Universal Port Hotel (a few minutes from Universal Studio) therefore what is the best way to get to our hotel. Sorry I forgot to mention that I will be travelling with my wife and three child age 11, 6 and 3.

      I’ve been plotting out my itinerary on Hyperdia and yes it appear some of the route I may have to purchase the metro rail ticket in particularly in Tokyo where JR rail are not valid.

      Can you also advise cost of taxi travelling around Tokyo or Osaka and can taxi fit 5 people?

      Your advise is greatly appreciated.


      1. Hi Kevin,

        It is not economical. See the link below:

        Limousine bus stops at Universal studio if you catch the bus by 16:10. See the link below and check the timetable at the bottom:

        Otherwise you need to take a cab at Tenpozan. It is hard to tell the taxi fare. Maybe the following link help you to understand more:


        Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. Hello, I will be travelling from Hakata to Beppu somewhere in September.

    I want to take the route via Yufuin to Beppu in Oita.

    I look at the timetable at that “LTD. EXP YUFU 1” at 07:45am goes from Hakata to Beppu without needing to transfer at Oita station. Is this correct?

    Thank you in advance!

  7. Hello

    We are a family of 4 arriving in tokyo on Dec 12, staying in Tokyo for 5 nights for local sight-seeing and day trips. We then head to Kyoto for 3 nights and Osaka for 2. From Osaka I am wanting to book 4 births in a B Compart (6,300 yen per person) on the twighlight express to Sapporo on December 22. I am thinking of purchasing 7 day JR Passes for us to use once we leave tokyo to head towards Kyoto. Can you tell me if you think this is a wise use of a pass, and will be be able to use it on all/most sightseeing transport in and around both Kyoto and Osaka. Secondly with our JR rail pass i am wanting to know if i can book the twighlight express train from australia as we will not be in Japan at the time of the tickets becoming available.

    Lastly would it be beneficial for us to go from a 7 day JR pass to a 14 day JR pass and use in and around tokyo and for day trips out of tokyo or would it be better value to purchase a different type of ticket or single journey return tickets for our stay in tokyo?


    1. Hi Mel,

      If you use 7 days pass for Tokyo-Osaka/Kyoto transfer and going to Sapporo, that is perfect way.

      Next regarding reservation, you cannot book it outside of Japan without speaking Japanese. See the following link:

      Usually B compart is easiest to book in Twilight Express. But Twilight Express to Sapporo is always busier than to Osaka. And December 22 is Saturday in long weekend. I’m not surprise it is sold out. You can try but you need to have a back up plan. See the following link:

      At last, Japan Rail Pass is not perfect choice to use in downtown Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. See the following link:


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. Hi Miki, Takeshi,

    Firstly I’d like to thank Miki for the advice about sightseeing in Tohoku, mainly about Yachi and Nyuto Onsen. I have made a day trip to Nyuto Onsen before when I visited Kakunodate during cherry blossom season. It was very memorable and is very relaxing in the baths, as you mentioned.

    As for Yachi Onsen, I see it is difficult to access as it is not near a JR Line. I will however be using a JR Bus to go to Lake Towada from Aomori, and the bus route should pass through Yachi Onsen. I have not finalised my schedule on that day, so depending on the JR Bus I may be able to stop in for a while. The pictures looked lovely ^_^.

    My schedule in Tohoku, as you can imagine, is very tight. Last week, Tohoku Tourism announced the introduction of a new tourism zone based in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture. Miyako is on the Iwate Coast and was seriously damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The area has a variety of natural tourism spots including caves and picturesque beach views. If anyone is visiting Tohoku soon I encourage them to visit Miyako as the first badly affected zone in the campaign, to show support for the communities devasted by the earthquake and tsunami.

    Here is a quick overview of the itinerary I’m working with at the moment, and there is a bit of flexibility still so if anyone has any suggestions they are more than welcome to offer them.

    Day 0 – (Transfer from Osaka by Shinkansen) – Board Ltd Exp Akebono bound for Higashi-Noshiro.

    Day 1 – Disembark Higashi-Noshiro, Noshiro (Shirakami Zone, Breakfast stop). Transfer to Kazunohanawa (Towada Zone), Hirosaki (Hirosaki Zone, meal stop), Goshogawara (Tsugaru Zone, Sightseeing), Aomori (Aomori Zone, O/N).

    Day 2 – Lake Towada Day Trip (Towada stamp is at Kazunohanwa Stn, but no buses from there in winter), evening transfer to Mutsu (Shimokita Zone, O/N).

    Day 3 – Transfer to Hachinohe (Hachinohe Zone), Ichinoseki (Ichinoseki/Hiraizumi Zone, Sightseeing), Kitakami (Kitakami Zone), Hanamaki (Hanamaki Zone, meal stop), Ninohe (Ninohe Zone), Morioka (Morioka Zone, meal stop), evening transfer to Miyako (Miyako Zone, O/N).

    Day 4 – Transfer to Kakunodate (Tazawako Zone, Sightseeing), Yokote (Yokote Zone, Sightseeing), Akita (Akita zone, O/N).

    Day 5 – Transfer to Sakata (Shonai Zone, Sightseeing), Shinjo (Mogami Zone), Yonezawa (Yonezawa Zone, Sightseeing), Yamagata (Yamagata Zone), Ginzan (Ginzan zone, O/N).

    Day 6 – Transfer to Fukushima (Fukushima zone), Shiroishi-zao (Shiroishi Zone, Sightseeing), Naruko Onsen (Naruko Zone, meal stop), Sendai (Sendai Zone, Sightseeing), Matsushima (Matsushima Zone, O/N).

    Day 7 – Transfer to Koriyama (Koriyama Zone, Sightseeing), Iwaki (Iwaki Zone, Sightseeing), Tokyo/Saitama (O/N).

    Zone not included – Aizu-Wakamatsu (I have a stamped Tohoku Passport from my trip to Aizu on SL Ban’Etsu Monogatari earlier this year).

    I think its very important to make sure that a year and a half on, people have not forgotten the effect of the natural disaster on the Tohoku region, so I’m going to try as hard as possible to visit as many places as possible.

    Best regards,

    Jonathan Ayre

    1. Hi Jonathan,

      First of all, I would like to thank you for supporting my country, Japan and Tohoku region.

      I’m still checking your tentative itinerary. I found it is very tight in day 1. (I’m using JR booklet timetable. Not hyperdia.)

      ex) Day 1
      07:48 Higashinoshiro arrived by Akebono
      07:52 Higashinoshiro depart by Gono line local
      07:57 Noshiro
      09:00 Noshiro depart by Gono line local
      09:05 Hisgashinoshiro
      09:34 Higashinoshiro depart by Tsugaru 1
      10:13 Odate
      10:51 Odate depart by Rapid Hachimandaira
      11:35 Kadunohanawa
      You have two choices, take 11:41 dep to Odare or 14:42 to Odate. But if you take 14:42, it is too late to get Goshogawara.
      11:41 Kadoruhanawa by Hanawa line local
      12:33 Odate
      13:35 Odate by Ou line local
      14:19 Hirosaki
      If you travel on the day when Resort Shirakami run, you can take it at 14:35. Otherwise local train depart at 16:55. But I think it will be too late to go there because it will be after sunset.
      14:35 Hirosaki by Resort Shirakami #4
      15:12 Goshogawara
      17:44 Goshogawara by Resort Shirakami #5
      19:19 Aomori

      I have not checked the timetable for other days. But I guess it will be tight on day 3 and day 6 too. And also JR revise the timetable in October. We may need to make an adjustment.

      I think you already knew this situation and checked the timetable already. But I am just wondering and make sure it.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thanks for taking a look. Your route was essentially the same as mine for day one. I have just checked with the Destination Tohoku campaign. They will be opening a new traveler salon at Lake Towada soon, meaning I do not have to visit Kazunohanawa Station. This means I have much more time to use.

        I was thinking I could take Akebono through to Hirosaki and visit Goshogawara and Ajigasawa instead. I would love to take Resort Shirakami if it is operating. I will be travelling through that area on November 30. It is a Friday. If we find out Resort Shirakami is operating, I may disembark at Akita and take Resort Shirakami through instead. Do you think Noshiro or Ajigasawa is more convenient for the Shirakami zone?

        Best regards,

        Jonathan Ayre

        1. Hi Jonathan,

          I think Resort Shirakami won’t be operating on Nov 30. JR East has not announced fall seasonal train schedule yet. But if they do same dates as last year, Nov 25 (Sun) will be last day to operate. Since then Resort Shirakami was operating irregularly in December.

          If you really want to take Resort Shirakami, try to put this itinerary on Saturday or Sunday. You will be able to take it anyway.

          If you cannot change the itinerary and keep this schedule on Friday, you will spend many hours to visit Goshogawara and Ajigasawa. Because there are very few trains operated.

          Hirosaki 09:33 -> 10:19 Goshogawara 12:07 -> 12:37 Ajigasawa 15:41 -> 16:45 Kawabe

          If you have a time, I would like you to try Tsugaru railway.

          If you want to enjoy Shirakami Mountains, Ajigasawa is better choice than Noshiro. Noshiro is just one of local towns. It is very popular as High school basket ball team. Not Shirakami mountains 🙂


          Takeshi / JP Rail

        2. Hi Takeshi,

          Looking at the timetable, I think its one of those situations where I would have to make a choice. I could either spend some time in both Ajigasawa and Goshogawara or try Tsugaru Railway. If I wanted to try Tsugaru Railway I came up with this option:

          Disembark Akebono Hirosaki 09:14
          09:33 Hirosaki – Kawabe 09:42 JR Ou Line
          09:49 Kawabe – Ajigasawa 10:50 JR Gono Line
          10:56 Ajigasawa – Goshogawara 11:25 JR Gono Line
          11:35 Tsugaru-Goshogawara – Tsugaru-Nakasato 12:22 Tsugaru Railway

          I was wondering if there was a private bus connecting to Aomori from Tsugaru-Nakasato or whether I need to connect back through Goshogawara. I see there are limited options to get back to Kawabe, Aomori or Hirosaki if there is no bus.

          Best regards,

          Jonathan Ayre

          1. Hi Jonathan,

            I don’t think bus to Aomori is available. So you choice is the following:

            Tsugaru Nakasato 12:40 (or 14:25) – 13:25 (or 15:00) Goshogawara 16:11 – 16:45 Kawabe 16:50 – 17:33 Aomori

            You can take 14:25 departure too. But I think two hours is too much to stay in Tsugaru-Nakasato.

            If you take Tsugaru railway on Dec 1, you may be able to take Daruma Stove train.

            And I have one more suggestion.

            Tsugaru-Nakasato 12:25 (Konan Bus) 13:35 Odomari (小泊) 13:50 (Konan Bus) 16:00 Goshogawara
            Konan Bus site (Jpz)

            The bus from Odomari to Goshogawa go through Jusanko (十三湖). This lake is one of the popular spot near Goshogawara. You can feel deep Tusgaru area atmosphere. They speak Japanese with very strong accent. I may not be able to understand what they say. 🙂


            Takeshi / JP Rail

          2. Hi Jonathan,

            I found nice blog about Tsugaru Railway. It is in Japanese. But there are lots of images.

            Ashinokoen station
            There is a cafe restaurant. It is a nice stop for lunch. But if you stop here, you cannot go through Jusanko that I mentioned.

            Stove train.
            This is very popular seasonal train. It may be started to operate on Dec 1. So you cannot take this train on Nov 30. But if you change the date, this is strongly recommended.


            Takeshi / JP Rail

        3. Hi Miki and Tak,

          Thanks for the advice and offers.

          Tak, I’d love any help with booking Akebono. I’m thinking of booking a solo compartment at this time, but the Goron-to is also tempting as it is free under the pass. I had a look at Minori train. It looks very nice. I would definately consider it if I knew it was operating. I know that many seasonal trains do not run in December, and we have to wait until the next timetable revision to see what will be running.

          Miki, I’ll look into a day visit to Yachi onsen some more, espeically if they have different bus schedules. Since they’re in the same direction its no doubt possible, as long as the time between services is not too large. I thought about visiting Fukushima earlier or later as well, however if I am going to Shiroishi it is actually fastest from Ginzan to go to Oishida, then Tsubasa through to Fukushima to change to Yamabiko anyway. As the Rikuu-East line does not have frequent service I found thus far I have more time if I head for Shiroishi first rather than Naruko for this reason.

          However if I could get to Yamagata late it would be possible to do much more I agree. My schedule currently doesn’t get me to Akita until a little after 17:00. It usually takes a long time to get to Yamagata by either the Ou Line or the Uetsu Line. This could be pushed further back depending on how I work Miyako into the schedule (which I’m really, really happy seems to be back on its feet and accepting tourists).

          Since I do not have to go to Kazunohanawa Station anymore I am considering moving Mutsu up the list and skipping a stay at Aomori. This could potentially enable a move to go to Lake Towada from Hachinohe instead, much closer to the tourism sites in Iwate.

          I do agree though that Ginzan (Oishida) to Fukushima, Shiroshi, Naruko, Sendai and Matsushima is no doubt a stretch. Matsushima is a lower priority because I have been on a boat cruise before in the bay. I have a lovely ryokan on the bay’s edge that I’m considering staying at, and some time the next morning before heading to Koriyama.

          Best regards,

          Jonathan Ayre

          1. Hi Jonathan

            Day 4 – Really sorry. I checked and realised I had typed something wrong yesterday. It should be:

            ‘There are quite regular direct train services (ordinary and some express) from Akita to Yamagata Sakata throughout the day.’

            My apologies. It may have created some confusion.

            I have some further considerations for Day 5 and Day 6:

            1. Day 5 – if you want to stay overnight at Ginzan Onsen, then you may want to re-consider if you need to go to Matsushima on Day 6.

            2. Day 5 – If you have no particular schedule at Ginzan Onsen, how about staying overnight at Fukushima area on Day 5? There are so many beautiful traditional inns with great bath and they are very affordable. Also if you stay overnight at Fukushima on Day 5, then you can start your Day 6 early and reach Matsushima by dinner time (you would still need to rush though…).

            Having said so, of course if you do some adjustment on Day 2, like you mentioned earlier on about no further need to go to Kazunohanwa and moving Mutsu up, you could spread well all your original destinations for Day4, 5,and 6 and visit them.

            I may not be much of help to you Jonathan, as I have not much knowledge about trains. But I love hot springs and to visit great local places (remote is even better ), also to enjoy local specialties.

            I trust your schedule would work fine with some touch up. Just go to those places you need to as soon as possible, and have back up plan. My friend who is living at Yokote always tell me that winter days at Tohoku (especially Akita and Aomori) could be quite unpredictable, sometimes you could be stuck due to transportation break down due to heavy snow falls.



    2. Hi Jonathan,

      Looks like you are covering all the Tohoku region. Have you take a look at this Rapid minori from Naruko onsen to Sendai? I wasn’t able to find English webpage.
      I have taken this before. It is a Rapid train but the seat is almost like a green car with large windows.
      Are you going to make Akebono reservation at JTB sydney? I am thinking if I could be of any help since they charge a bit too much. Are you interested?

    3. Hi Jonathan

      I wish I had the opportunity to carry the 7-day plan you are drawing now. It is definitely a challenging one for sure, but for such an awesome cause. Tohoku is one region that I always find it greatly endearing for its nature and people.

      I am glad to hear that u went up to Nyuuto and enjoyed it. By the way, if you found some time to go to Yachi Onsen, you may want to check if they can pick you up from Aomori station. Yachi Onsen has a free daily pick-up service for its customer, but not sure if they extend it to day-visit customers as well. I found the following JR bus schedule for Yachi Onsen (you may already have this with you). As Takeshi-san mentioned, you would need to wait for the winter bus & train schedule. The current schedule is only valid till 04 Nov 2012. (English version) (Japanese version)

      Also, if you do not mind, I would like to share with you some consideration points for your Day 4,5 and 6.

      There are quite regular direct train services (ordinary and some express) from Akita to Yamagata throughout the day. If you have no particular schedule at Akita, you may want to continue from Akita to Yamagata and stay overnight at Yamagata on Day 4. This would enable you to start Day 5 earlier and hopefully to reach Fukushima on Day 5 evening

      The reason I would prefer you to reach Fukushima on Day 5 evening instead of Day 6 morning is because I am worry you would reach Matsushima pretty late. Also, would you like to try having a meal at Sendai before going to Naruko? It’s pretty close from Shiroshi-zao and Sendai’s most popular beef tongue dishes should not be missed 😉



    4. Hi Miki, Takeshi,

      I’ve heard about Aomori and Akita’s legendary snowfalls. I’ve made checks about general climate data, but of course, things can go wrong. I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. You can do pretty much anything with a Midori no Madoguchi since they have timetable books.

      I’m thinking at this stage about my schedule with Tsugaru Railway. With some creative reorganisation I’ve been able to get an extra day in Tohoku, meaning I can go on Akebono Nov. 28 instead of 29. I’ve got a tentative plan going up until I get to Akita, but I think it is too big to post on the forum. If you don’t think it’s too big I can post it here, but so far it’s 40 services long.

      I need to think about how best to do Yamagata, Shinjo, Yonezawa, Fukushima and Naruko Onsen. I saw I can get to Sakata from Akita at on the same day even in the evening, but I need to think about the costs and benefits.

      Best regards,

      Jonathan Ayre

  9. Hi Takeshi,

    There are 4 of us travelling to Tokyo-Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto-Osaka-Tokyo from 3 Nov 2012 to 11 Nov 2012.

    We are thinking of getting the 7 day rail pass and use it to take the N’Ex to Tokyo station and then take the shinkansen to Osaka. We will also use the JR Pass to travel to Kyoto, Kobe etc.
    Can we use this JR Pass for all these areas? Or do we need buy any other pass? Can we use the JR Pass on midosuji lines?

    Many thanks in advance

  10. Hi Takeshi
    I would really appreciate your help with planning travel between Narita airport and Kobe. Arrival at airport will be around 9.30am, would like to travel asap after to Kobe – no sightseeing stops in between. It looks like I have to go to Tokyo > Osaka > Kobe, but I’m not sure which is the best way, and whether I can buy tickets from the UK in advance, or whether I have to buy when I get to the airport, or if there is any benefit from buying a pass. I have to do the return journey 11 days later. All this takes place in October. Return flight time is early morning so I will probably stay near the airport the night before. Return from Kobe would be early evening (after 5pm). All help much appreciated. Thanks

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Your route will be the following:

      Narita Airport > (Narita Express) > Shinagawa > (Shinkansen) > Shin-Kobe

      You can transfer from Narita Express to Shinkansen at Tokyo. But Shinagawa is easier. Please see the link below:

      Shin-Kobe is one station away from Sannomiya (downtown core of Kobe) by subway. You can access to Kobe city easily from Shinkansen station, Shin-Kobe.

      If you have round trip between Tokyo and Kobe in 7 days, Japan Rail Pass is much cheaper than single ticket. But you will stay in Kobe for more than 7 days. So single ticket is only your choice. You can buy a ticket on the spot at Narita airport station. You can buy return ticket same time if you want.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

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  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • I cannot recommend any hotels other than which I have stayed. Basically I cannot talk about hotels in this site. The number of hotels are too many to talk about by my experience.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals.
  • Please do not ask me to reply to your inquiry by email. In this website, I would like to share all information with any readers. I do not communicate with you directly.

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Japan Rail Pass and rail travel in Japan complete guide. Let's use the Japan Rail Pass to its maximum!!!