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  1. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be in Kyushu for full 16 day. I would like to seek your advice if below itinerary is the most efficient use of time and JR pass. I am also trying very hard to work out on best combinations of North and South Kyushu pass and SUNQ pass for lowest cost. For overnight stays, I have tried to pick locations where i can find cheap hostels or backpackers lodge.

    Reach Fukuoka at 8am- Nagasaki (1 night)
    Nagasaki- Mount Unzen- Nagasaki (1 night)
    Nagasaki- Shimabara, take the Ferry to Kumamoto-Yufuin- Mount Yufu/ explore town and onsen (1 night)
    Yufuin- Kuju Mountain- Yufuin (1 night)
    Yufuin- Beppu/ Oita (1 night)
    (Which stretch is good to take Yufuin no Mori?)
    Beppu/ Oita-Aoshima- Sun Messe-Michi no eki phoenix-Udo Jingu- Obi- Aoshima (1 night)
    Miyazaki- Nobeoka (Takachicho Gorge)- Miyazaki- Aoshima (1 night)
    Aoshima- Kagoshima- Shiroyama Observatory/ Sakurajima/ Dolphin Port/ Tenmonkan (1 night)
    Kagoshima- Yakushima Island (2 nights)
    Kagoshima- Kaimondake hike- Ibusuki- Kagoshima (1 night) (possible to catch the Ibusuki no Tamatebako?)
    Kagoshima- Kirishima- Kagoshima (1 night)
    Kagoshima- Yoshimatsu (Hayato no Kaze )- Hitoyoshi (Isaburo/ Shinpei )- Kumamoto (Kawasemi Yamasemi)- Fukuoka (Shinkansen)
    Day trip to Kitakyushu
    Day trip to Dazaifu and Yanagawa (optional)

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi AJ,

      I think you can use SunQ Pass northern pass for the first 3 days and then use all Kyushu 4 days pass until you get Kagoshima. You may use single ticket to take Yufuin no Mori from Yufuin to Beppu/Oita.

      And after you come back from Yakushima, you may use Kyushu Rail Pass, All Kyushu version 5 days.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Does JR Kyushu South pass cover this route:
        Kagoshima- Yoshimatsu (Hayato no Kaze )- Hitoyoshi (Isaburo/ Shinpei )- Kumamoto (Kawasemi Yamasemi)

        Am I right that JR Kyushu North Pass will be able to cover the first 5 days until Oita, except for the ferry ride to Kumamoto?

        For Kagoshima- Kaimondake hike- Ibusuki- Kagoshima, is it possible to catch the Ibusuki no Tamatebako?

        Does SUNQ pass covers the bus route to Mount Unzen, Kuju Mountain?
        Is it better to use SUNQ pass for Takachicho and Nichinan Coast?

        Thank you once again!

        1. Hi AJ,

          You need to take a bus to get Unzen, Kuju mountains, Takachiho, Nichinan coast.

          That is why I recommend you to use SunQ pass for the first part of your trip. JR Kyushu rail pass does not cover these places and not recommended. If you really want to take Yufuin no Mori, just add single fare to take it as I mentioned.

          You can take Ibusuki no Tamatebako but it depends on your schedule. The last one to Kagoshima-Chuo is 15:37 departure at Ibuski.

          You have to complete hike by this time.

          Kyushu rail pass southern Kyushu covers Kagoshima- Yoshimatsu (Hayato no Kaze )- Hitoyoshi (Isaburo/ Shinpei )- Kumamoto (Kawasemi Yamasemi). But how do you get Hakata after Kumamoto? If you take Shinkansen, you need to have all Kyushu version.


          Takeshi /

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            I have checked out the SUNQ pass website before, but cannot find the detailed route and time, like what I can find for JR website. Is there any website with such info?
            I have no idea where to board and alight by just looking at the routes given in the website.

            Are the bus timings frequent?

          2. Hi AJ,

            Unfortunately I don’t have any more info other than SunQ pass official site. Usually intercity bus runs very frequently.

            I know this pass but actually I have never used this. I cannot tell you many things about this pass.


            Takeshi /

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    We will be staying in Kyoto at Sunroute Hotel Kyoto for 6 days and would like to visit the following places:
    Day 1. Kifune shrine (in the morning). At night, Osaka (Dotonbori)
    Day 2. Arashiyama (1/2 day). At night, walk to Gion/Pontocho Alley/Nishiki market
    Day 3. Bus to Kiyomizu temple ??? not sure what bus #
    Day 4. Fushimi Inari shrine
    Day 5. Bus to Sanjusangendo ??? not sure what bus #.

    We have JR pass. Could you please advise :
    – How to get to those places using JR pass (if possible) and bus to others.
    – Can we combine any of the above on the same day so we can go to different place like Hiroshima?
    – Since we’re coming from Tokyo, can we take Yamanote Line to Tokyo station from Ebisu station? Then, from Tokyo station, take Hikari shinkansen to Kyoto station. Is this ok? Do you, by any chance, have a time table for the Hikari line? How often do they run?
    – When we leave, we’ll take Hikari shinkansen –> Shinagawa station , then take Keijyu airport Rapid train to Haneda airport. Am I correct?

    Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Hi Tiffany,

      JR pass does not cover many places in Kyoto. Basically only Arashiyama and Fushimi are covered. Please see the link below:

      Please see the link below to find the bus route map.

      But city bus is not covered by JR pass. You may use single fare or all day bus pass.

      You can take Hikari from Tokyo via Yamanote line. Please see the link below and find “H” in the timetable which is Hikari.

      You can get Haneda by Shinkansen and Keikyu. But Keikyu is not covered by JR pass. If you want to use JR Pass, change to Yamanote line at Shinagawa to Hamamatsuho. And then take Monorail. It’s covered by JR pass but Keikyu route is faster.


      Takeshi /

  3. Hi Takeshi San,

    Firstly thank you. Your website has given me a lot of information and made my decision making easier. But I would still like to take your expert advise for my trip to Japan.

    We arrive 21 June 17, into Kix 1735hrs. Planning to spend the night in umeda then go on to Koya San on the 22nd for two nights. Then proceed to Kyoto on 24th for two nights then proceed to kawaguchiko on 26th for two nights then proceed to Takayama on 28th for three nights, then proceed to Kanazawa on 1st July for 2 nights then proceed to Osaka umeda for a night then fly off on the 4th from KIX.

    Can I request you to simplify my thought process as to where I should use single tickets and where I should use the pass( from whatever passes available keeping cost in mind eg Takayama-Hokuriku pass etc.)

    Regarding Takayama-Hokuriku pass can I travel unlimited on nohi bus between Takayama- shirakawago as I have dedicated one day just to do Takayama-Shirakawago-takayama and proceed to Kanazawa the following day? And also all places I am staying I would like to do local sightseeing.

    So please help me solidify my decision.

    Thank you and cheers,


    1. Hi Svapnil san,

      Actually you will use single ticket in most part of your trip because you will stay in each places for several nights. But 14 days JR pass is too expensive to cover your trip. Takayama Hokuriku area pass seems to be a good choice. But you will stay in Takayama for 3 nights and Kanazawa for 2 nights. You will spend 6 days for this part of your trip, but this pass is valid for 5 days only. If you shrink to 5 days for this part, Takayama Hokurikju area pass will work. This pass offers unlimited ride of Nohi bus to Shirakawago. But you need to get Osaka in 5 days. Otherwise single ticket is your choice anyway.

      You may use a few deals in some part of your trip.

      Haruka discount ticket to Tennoji for arrival day
      You can get JR Osaka station (Umeda) by this ticket to Tennoji. Tennoji is located on the way to Osaka. But this deal includes base fare to any JR stations in downtown Osaka. Only restriction is taking Haruka to Tennoji. After arrival in Tennoji, you can take any local trains to continue your trip. You may take rapid train from KIX to Osaka directly if you like. It’s still cheaper than single fare.

      Kansai thru pass 3 days for Umeda-Koyasan, Koyasan-Kyoto and one more day in Koyasan or in Kyoto

      In Kyoto and Osaka, you can use other deal.

      Basically single ticket is your choice for other part of your trip. From Kawaguchiko to Takayama, direct bus is available.


      Takeshi /

      1. Dear Takeshi San,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. You have helped me reinforce my decisions and made my trip easier. Your website is extremely good and I will suggest it to friends and colleagues for sure.

        Thank you again and cheers.


  4. Hi and thank you for your very useful website.

    My partner and I will be travelling in Japan from August 8th until August 26th.
    We are wondering if it is better for us to buy a 14 days JR Pass, or to buy tickets during the 1rst part of our trip until we are in Kyoto and then a 7 days Sanyo Sanin area pass during the 2nd part (which allows us to take the Nozomi Shinkansen without extra free and also allows us to book in advance the trains during Obon period). What would you recommend?

    Our transfers :
    8/08 Narita airport-Tokyo
    12/08 1 day excursion to Kamakura from Tokyo
    13/08 Tokyo-Matsumoto
    14/08 Matsumoto-Takayama (by bus?)
    16/08 Takayama-Kanazawa (by bus?)
    17/08 Kanazawa-Kyoto
    20/08 Kyoto-Nara
    21/08 Nara-Himeji
    22/08 Himeji-Hiroshima
    23/08 Hiroshima-Miyajima
    24/08 Miyajima-Osaka
    26/08 Osaka-Kansai Airport

    Many thanks for you help,


          1. PS: I understand from the website that you can book tickets exactly 1 month before your travel on the Japan Rail East website, but not earlier. Do I understand correctly?

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    We are going to Osaka on Thursday June 15 and was hoping you could see if our itinerary is ok?

    Day 1 – Arrive Kansai Airport 8:00PM Travel to Kyoto
    – We have Icoca Card already, do I have to reserve for Haruka discount ticket before travel to Japan or no need?

    Day 2 – Kyoto – Arashiyama

    Day 3 – Kyoto – Nishiki Market – Gion Street

    Day 4 – Osaka – Dotonbori

    Day 5 – Osaka – Aquarium Kaiyukan and Abeno Haruka

    Day 6 – Yamazaki Distillery

    Day 7 – Nara Day Tour and Kuromon Ichiba

    Day 8 – Osaka Central Fish Market and Kobe Half day

    Day 9 – Osaka – Den Den Town and Amemura

    Day 10 – Osaka – Kansai Airport and Rinku Outlet

    Should we reserve Haruka discount ticket KIX to Kyoto and Osaka Namba to KIX before travel? We already have Icoca card. 🙂

    Thank you very much!

  6. Hallo Takeshi,

    great website, thanks for all the support here!!
    I will be in japan for 2 weeks (29.6 – 13.7.17).
    This is our itinerary:
    A few days in Tokyo – then Hakone – then doing the Tsumago to Magome walk – from there to Kyoto (few days in Kyoto) – then to Kinosaki – back to Kyoto (catching our flight back from Osaka).
    I wonder if the 14 days JR pass is the best option? Especially as I am not sure if Hakone – Tsumago or Tsumago – Kyoto is covered by JR pass. Would it be better to purchase single tickets?
    Any advice?
    Thanks a lot in advance!
    Have a nice day

    1. Hi Steffen,

      14 days pass is too expensive for your trip. If you can complete for Hakone-Tsumago/Magome-Kinosaki-Kyoto in 7 days, 7 days pass will work. You can get Kyoto in 7 days since you leave from Hakone.

      For staying in Tokyo, you can use subway pass and other combination deal for airport access + subway pass.

      You may use single ticket for Odakyu railway from Tokyo to Hakone and then you can start using Hakone Free Pass.

      You can get Nakatsugawa from Odawara via Nagoya by JR pass. Nakatsugawa is the gateway to Magome.

      You can get Kyoto from Nakatsugawa or Nagiso or other JR station by JR Pass.

      Once you get Kyoto, JR pass is not required. You can use local deals.


      Takeshi /

  7. We plan to stay in Asahikawa for 7 days and visit the lovely flower parks in Furano-Biei region and the Hokuryu and Daitetsu areas (starting from the 21 July 2017).

    We will like to purchase the 4 Days Furano Biei Rail Ticket (Starting from Sapporo) Y6,500 shown below for the Furano-Biei region. We understand that the pass cannot be used Hokuryu and Daitetsu regions.

    Question: Can I use Ticket B once to return to Sapporo on the 7th day (27th July 2017) .

    1. Hi Belinda,

      It’s valid for 4 days only. When you start using ticket A, it starts to count days. So if you start using it on 21st, it’s valid until 24th. You cannot use it both ticket A and B after 25th.


      Takeshi /

  8. Hi Takeshi san,

    I have planned out my itinerary as follows and would like to seek your advice on the best mode of transportation & the type of passes for our Dec 2017 Japan Trip.

    Day 1
    Haneda Airport / Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel
    Take Airport Limousine Bus directly to Hotel.

    Day 2 to Day 4
    DisneySea & Disneyland

    Day 5
    Disney / Hakone
    Option 1 – Take bus from Disney to Shinjuku Station
    Option 2 – Take train from Miahama to Shinjuku Station

    Upon arrival at Shinjuku Station, take “Romance Car” directly to Hakone-Yumoto Station. Buy 2 Day Hakone Free Pass at Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center at Shinjuku Station.
    If I buy the Romance Car tickets (1 way) upon arrival, will there be a possibility that the train tickets are sold out for that day? Would it be more advisable to buy the tickets online?

    Day 6
    Activate the 2 Days Hakone Free Pass for Day 6 & 7 for Hakone Round Course.

    Day 7
    Hakone / Osaka
    Activate 7 Day JR Rail Pass
    Use JR Pass & purchase 1 way subway ticket to reach hotel near Osaka-Namba Station.

    Day 8
    Osaka-Namba / Kyoto / Osaka-Namba
    (Kiyomizudera Temple / Yasaka Shrine / Higashiyama District / Fushimi Inari Shrine)
    Use JR Pass & purchase subway tickets to Kyoto Station, then take a bus to Kiyomizudera Temple. Purchase subway ticket to Fushimi Inari Shrine. Does JR Pass cover Keihan Main Line?
    Take the same route back to Osaka-Namba station.

    Day 9
    Osaka-Namba / Arashiyama / Osaka-Namba
    Use JR Pass & purchase subway tickets to Saga-Arashiyama Station. Take the same route back to Osaka-Namba.

    Day 10
    Osaka-Namba / Takayama
    Use JR Pass & purchase subway tickets to Takayama Station.

    Day 11
    Takayama / Shiragawa-go / Takayama
    Take Nouhi Bus to & fro Shiragawa-go.

    Day 12
    Takayama / Shinjuku
    Use JR Pass to Shinjuku Station.

    Day 13
    Shinjuku / Harajuku (Meiji Jingu Shrine) / Shibuya / Shinjuku
    Use JR Pass from Shinjuku to Harajuku Station to visit Meiji Jingu Shrine. Use JR Pass from Harajuku to Shibuya & Shinjuku.

    Day 14
    Shinjuku / Tsukiji Fish Market / Asakusa / Shinjuku
    Purchase subway tickets to Tsukiji-shijo station to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market. From Tsukiji-shijo station, may I know how to go to Asakusa (Sensoji Temple) by train? Which is the nearest train station at Asakusa? I also read that we can go by boat to Asakusa. What is your advice?

    From Asakusa, how do I go back to Shinjuku Station by train?

    Day 15
    Shinjuku / Haneda Airport
    Take Airport Limousine Bus directly to Haneda Airport.
    Do I buy the return trip ticket from Airport Limousine counter upon arrival at Haneda on Day 1 or can I buy the tickets at one of the drop-off hotel nearer to our departure date?

    Most of the trips in Osaka/Kyoto requires subway tickets. Should I get any other 2-3 day passes to cover my trips?

    Appreciate your advice.
    Thank you

    Shirley Ong

    1. Hi Shirley san,

      I recommend you to use Limousine and subway combo deal for arrival and departure days. You can get 48 hours subway pass too.

      You may use subway pass from day 13 to 15. It’s valid for 48 hours not 2 days. I understand you have JR pass on day 13. But subway pass cover some places which are not covered by JR pass. It makes your trip be easier.

      You can get all places on day 14 by subway pass. Please see the map in the link below to find the route for Shinjuku-Asakusa.

      I cannot tell you about boat to Asakusa. I have never taken it before.

      JR pass does not cover subway and Keihan either. I recommend you to have Kansai one pass. You can use this card when you take subway and non JR railways.


      Takeshi /

  9. Konnichiwa Takeshi-san! 🙂

    I have here a draft of our Japan itinerary on November 14-22. Could you please check and advise if this is doable?

    14th- 11PM ETA at Chubu airport; Check-in
    15th- Laguna Ten Bosch (Thousand Sunny Cruise) and Nagoya Castle
    16th- check out; travel to Tokyo via Willer Bus (ideally before lunch); check in Tokyo
    17th- Tokyo (One Piece Tower, Shibuya, Akihabara)
    18th- Check out; travel to Osaka via plane (Narita Airport); Osaka > Kyoto, check-in Kyoto; short tour
    19th- Kyoto whole day tour
    20th- check out Kyoto; half day tour in Nara; travel to Osaka
    21st- Osaka (USJ)
    22nd- Osaka city tour, 9PM ETD Kansai Airport

    i’ll be traveling with my brother, and the reason why we consider taking a plane (Jetstar Air) going to Osaka from Tokyo is to lessen the transportation expenses, as compared if we’ll take a bullet train.

    Based on our itinerary, what is the ideal pass or transportation that is still on a budget? 🙂

    Hope you could help me on this one. Arigato! 🙂

      1. Arigatou Takeshi san for your very detailed blog. 🙂

        I still have few more questions. 🙂 We’ve decided not to avail a JR pass, that’s why i’m now more confused of the transportation. 🙂

        For Tokyo:
        1. What kind of IC pass should we avail?
        2. What is the difference between “Common One-day Ticket for Tokyo Metro & Toei Subway” and “Tokyo Subway Ticket for customers visiting Tokyo”? Which of these should we get?

        For Kyoto/Nara/Osaka
        1. is it correct that we should avail ICOCA and Haruka?
        2. Which kansai pass should we avail- Kansai Thru Pass or Kansai Wide Area Pass?

        Thanks so much for your help! 🙂

        1. Hi Michella san,

          Pasmo and Suica are available in Tokyo. But it doesn’t matter which one you will use it. Both cards have same coverage.

          Common one day and Tokyo Subway Ticket have same coverage but Tokyo Subway Ticket is available for travelers only and cheaper.

          You can use ICOCA and Haruka. But if you get Suica or Pasmo, you can use it in Kansai area too and ICOCA is not required. You don’t need either Kansai thru pass or Kansai wide area pass. After you arrive in Osaka, your trip plan is same as my sample itinerary. I gave you the link in previous reply. You may just follow it.


          Takeshi /

          1. Hi Takeshi san,

            Which is better to purchase, Tokunai Pass or Tokyo Subway 24-hour ticket?

            And do we still need Pasmo/Suica aside from Tokunai pass/Tokyo subway ticket?

            Apologies if i have many question. Thank you so much for your help. 🙂

          2. Hi Michella san,

            It depends on your plan. Tokunai pass covers only JR trains. The coverage are smaller than subway pass. I gave you the link below already but please see it once again to make sure.

            Basically subway pass covers most part of Tokyo and more convenient than Tokunai pass.


            Takeshi /

          3. Hi Takeshi-san,

            I’ve read in your blog that Kansai One Pass could be the IC card, in replacement of ICOCA, in “ICOCA and Haruka deal”, is that correct?

            We’re planning to purchase a 1way ticket of “Kansai One Pass and Haruka” for KIX to Kyoto, and Haruka Discount Ticket 1 way, for Osaka to KIX,

            I just like to confirm if the unreserved seat fee is already included in the ICOCA/Kansai One Pass + Haruka deal? or Haruka Discount ticket?

            Thank you very much again for your help. 🙂

  10. Hi Takeshi San,
    I am really confused on which pass to use, can you please advise as my trip is on 8th June to 13 June.

    8th – Arrive at Kansai Airport , take train (can be JR) to Kyoto (stay near Kyoto station), Kyoto sightseeing
    9th – Kyoto city sightseeing
    10th – Day trip from Kyoto to Nara , would like to is Todiji, Nara Park and others, then stay at nearby Kyoto Station
    11th – Travel from Kyoto to Osaka, Namba, stay near by Shinsaibashi
    12th – Osaka city sightseeing
    13th – Travel back from Namba , Osaka to Kansai Airport

    * If have time, would like to go Kobe on day 11 or 12th

    Appreciate you can advise soonest

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