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4,719 thoughts on “Forums”

  1. Hi Takeshi! Thank you very much for all the help you provide to so many people!!! I am quite confused by the different offers, and pass and train diversity that I have to unfortunately ask for your help because I am going crazy to understand what is the best solution for me to move around.

    I am so sorry to ask your time to answer me, and I am so grateful for any kind of suggestion that you could give me.

    This is my plan:
    Day 1) Kinosaki Airport -> Osaka (in the morning 9:00)
    Day 2) Discover more Osaka ()
    Day 3) Osaka -> Nara -> Kyoto in the afternoon
    Day 4 & 5) Kyoto
    Day 6 & 7) Kinosaki onsen
    Day 8) *not planned* Tokyo or do you have any suggestion of interesting places towards tokyo direction?
    Day 9 & 10 & 11) Tokyo

    I was thinking that the Kansay Trough Pass it is not really convenient, but couldn’t figure it out what is the best organization between passes.


    1. Hi Alessio,

      I recommend you to use the following deals:

      Day 1 Yokoso Osaka ticket

      Day 2 See the link below:

      Day 3 to 7 Kansai wide area pass
      *If you leave Kinosaki on day 8, use this pass from day 4 to 8.

      Day 8 (Kyoto to Tokyo) single ticket

      Day 9 to 11 See the link below:

      Hakone is most popular choice to drop by on the way to Tokyo.

      If you want something different between Kyoto and Tokyo, you may think about adding Kanazawa and Shirakawago. These places can be accessed as day trip from either Tokyo or Kyoto. That means you can put these places between Kyoto and Tokyo. Please refer the links below:

      In this case, you may use Japan Rail Pass 7 days for day 2 to 8 or day 3 to 9.


      Takeshi /

  2. Hello Takeshi,
    We plan to go from Tokyo to Kyoto with an overnight stop to see Mt. Fuji from either Fujikawaguchiko or Hakone, but it is difficult to tell which place would be easier to access. We want to use a JR Pass, if possible. From Kyoto, we will return to Tokyo.
    Would you please advise the easiest/most economical way to travel this route?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Kate,

      Please see the link below:

      If you go to Lake Kawaguchi, Mishima is the gateway. If you go to Hakone, Odawara is the gateway. Trip time to Lake Kawaguchi is longer but you can get there directly from Mishima by express bus. Hakone is closer but Hakone area is quite wide. If you want to see Mt. Fuji clearly, you need to get Owakudani or Lake Ashi in Hakone area. You need to take train, cablecar and gondola.

      If you want to see Mt. Fuji plus something, Hakone is better. If you want to have clear view of Mt. Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi is better place. JR pass does not help so much. After Mishima or Odawara, JR Pass does not cover anything.


      Takeshi /

  3. Dear Mr Takeshi

    I had sent you an enquiry on the 2nd Oct about my 1st DIY trip to Kansai Area to celebrate my birthday in Japan.
    I had been to Hokkaido with guided tour a few year ago.
    And spent a few days in Tokyo city tour with friends.
    I am so deligted that I have found this forum.
    It gives me a lot of helps in planning my itineray and
    better understanding of the transport system in Japan.

    After reading your ‘Visit Kyoto, Osaka,Nara, Kobe in 5 days sample itinerary. I am making some amendments in my itinarary to follow your’s.
    I will be going to Kyoto/Takayama/Shirakawago/Tokyo this time to see the Autumn foliage.
    My amended itinerary is a below:-

    Day 1
    29/11 Arriving Kansai Airport at 8.25am
    Kansai Airport/Kyoto (Kansai Thru Pass)
    Check in airbnb near to Kyoto Station
    Kyoto Station/Fushimi Inari
    (Kansai Thru 3 DayPass)
    Would appreciate your suggestion where can I go after Fushimi Inari? Aware that is Autumn, it gets dark by 4.30pm and I am alone.

    Day 2
    30/11 Nijo Castle/Kinkaku-ji temple and Arashimaya
    (Use Kyoto city sightseeing 2 day pass)

    Day 3
    1/12 Visit temple and shrines in Gion and Hishimaya,
    Yasaka shrine, Kiyomizu-dera temple, Gion-Shijo area,
    Ginkakuji Temple
    ( Use Kyoto city sightseeing 2 day pass again)

    Day 4
    2/12 Kyoto/Nara ( use Kansai Thru 3 Day Pass)

    Day 5 Kyoto/Kobe, Himeji (Kansai Thru 3 Day Pass)

    Day 6
    4/12 Check out airbnb
    Kyoto/Takayama (use 1 way JR pass 9960 yen)
    Check in hotel in Takayama

    Day 7
    5/12 Exploring Takayama

    Day 8 Local bus trip to Shirakawago

    Day 9
    7/12 Continue to explore Takayama

    Day 10
    8/12 Check out hotel in Takayama
    Takayama/Tokyo (Activate 7 days JR Pass)
    Check in Hotel in Ueno, Tokyo

    Day 11
    9/12 Trip to Nikko (use 7 days JR Pass)

    Day 12
    10/11 Trip to Hakone/Mt Fuji (use 7 Day JR Pass)

    Days 13
    11/12 Tokyo city tour
    appreciate your suggestion on places of interest
    and transport.

    Day 14
    12/12 Check out Hotel at 1000 hour
    Take JR Narita Express to Narita Airport for flight at
    1455hour .

    Would you kindly advise whether I am doing the right thing
    in purchasing :
    3 day Kansai Thru Pass, Kyoto City Sightseeing 2 days Pass, 1 way JR Pass to Takayama , 7 days JR Pass for my trip.
    And can I use the JR Pass in Tokyo OR I have to buy separate ticket for using the trains in Tokyo? Would Pasmo card be cheaper?
    I will be leaving for Singapore on 11/10 and travel to Osaka on 29/11.
    Would be very grateful if I could hear from you soon.

    Thanking you in advance, Mr Takeshi.

    Kind Regards Ean

    1. Hi Ean,

      Kansai thru pass covers trip from KIX to Kyoto on day 1. But you need to change trains at least three times.
      KIX (Nankai railway) Tengachaya (subway) Awaji (Hankyu railway) Karasuma/Shijo (subway) Kyoto

      All trains are commuters trains.

      Actually it’s not convenient way. On the other hand, if you use Kansai area pass one day for day 1, you can take Haruka to get Kyoto directly. You can take JR train to Inari station by this pass. You have to purchase one day Kansai area pass and 2 days Kansai thru pass. It’s more expensive than 3 days Kansai thru pass but it’s much more convenient.

      I highly recommend you to use both pass even if you pay more.

      JR Pass is a good choice but I recommend you to start using it on day 6. Even if you pay single fare for Narita express, it costs around 3000 yen. And also Keisei railway is more convenient to get Narita from Ueno. Keisei railway is not covered by JR Pass. There is other deal to take Keisei. You can use subway pass in Tokyo. 2 days subway pass is enough and it costs 1200 yen.

      So you should use JR pass when you leave Kyoto for Takayama to save your cost, around 10,000 yen.


      Takeshi /

      1. Dear Mr Takeshi

        Much appreciated for your prompt reply and suggestions.
        I thought that I can use Kansai Thru Pass to catch Haruka Express from Kix airport to Kyoto. I am so grateful that you had brought it to my attention about the inconvenience which I was unaware of. Thank you so much, Mr Takeshi.

        As per your suggestion, I will activate my 7 day JR Pass on Day 6 from Kyoto to Takayama. Then buy 1 day subway pass on Day 11 and Keiser Skyline ticket on my last day which covers Ueno to Narita.
        May I know If I were to use hyperdia timetable from Ueno to Hakone, there were 3 destinations to pick – Hakone Itabashi, Hakone Yumoto and Hokenegasaki. Should I pick Hakone Itabashi? And I have to pay for Torzan Raiway?
        Much appreciative for your advice.

        Kind Regards

        1. Hi Ean,

          When you go to Hakone, you should maximize using JR pass. So you can take local train from Ueno to Tokyo and then catch Shinkansen to Odawara. After arrival Odawara, purchase Hakone Free Pass. JR Pass does not cover anything. Hakone Free Pass covers all transports in Hakone, such as Hakone Tozan Railway, Ropeway, Cablecar, bus and cruise on the lake.

          You will take a train from Odawara to Hakone-Yumoto first. So input Hakone Yumoto when you check it at Hyperdia.


          Takeshi /

          1. Dear Mr Takeshi

            Would you kindly give me some further advices on
            my trip from Kyoto to Kobe/Himeji Castle using Kansai Thru pass on Day 5 of my trip.
            How to make full use of the pass for the day and How do I schedule it on Hyperdia?
            Thank you.

          2. Hi Ean,

            I look your plan again and I found Kansai area pass 3 days is better option if you can visit Nara, Kobe/Himeji on day 2 and 3. I suggested you to use Kansai area pass 1 day for day 1. And also JR Special Rapid train is the best option to get Himeji. You can get there from Kyoto directly.

            You can get Himeji by Kansai thru pass. But you need to change trains at least twice and it’s much slower than Special rapid. JR Special rapid is not covered Kansai thru pass. You can get Nara by JR train from Kyoto too. But Kansai area pass must be used in consecutive days. So if you use 3 days pass for the first 3 days and visit there in this 3 days, it’s easier and cheaper.


            Takeshi /

  4. Hello Takeshi
    Could you please advise me as to which tourist passes I should purchase for my upcoming trip ? Please see itinerary-
    My accommodation is in Takatsuki-shi (between Osaka and Kyoto)
    16 Oct – arrive KIX 9am and explore Osaka before arriving Takatsuki-shi
    17-18 Oct – explore Osaka
    19-20 Oct – explore Kyoto
    22 Oct- Takatsuki-shi to Kii-Tanabe to explore Kumano Kodo
    22-26 Oct – hiking Kumano 5 days taking some local buses too.
    26 Oct- travel back to Takatsuki-shi accommodation
    27 Oct- fly out KIX 9pm

    For the 5 days traveling from Takatsuki-shi to Kumano Kodo and back:
    Ise-Kumano-Wakayma Tourist Pass or JR Kansai Wide Area Pass?

    For to and from KIX: ICOCA and Haruka return pass?

    For 2 days exploring Osaka?
    For 2 days exploring Kyoto?

    Thank you in advance, Iโ€™m finding my research quite confusing.

  5. Hi:

    I am planning a trip to go to Alpine, Kurobe Dam, etc and thereafter proceed to Nyuto Onsen?

    May I know what is the best way to to Alpine from Tokyo and then to Nyuto Onsen?

    Would appreciate your feedback by return?


    1. Hi Annie,

      Please see the link below. It shows sample itinerary of Tokyo to alpine route day trip. But you can find the route from Tokyo.

      When you go to Nyuto Onsen after alpine route, you need to go back to Omiya. It is very closed to Tokyo but you can catch Akita Shinkansen. Get off Akita Shinkansen at Tazawako to catch the bus to Nyuto Onsen. There is no direct ways to Tazawako station from either Nagano or Toyama.


      Takeshi /

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    What is the easiest and most economical way to go from Kansai International Airport to Nakazakicho Station and return?

    Considering we have luggages and kids, the less walk and transfer the better.


    1. Hi Regina,

      The best way is the following:

      Kansai airport (JR rapid or limited express Haruka) Tennoji (subway Tanimachi line) Nakazakicho

      You may use ICOCA and Haruka for Kansai airport to Tennoji, and using ICOCA to take subway.

      This is actually not most affordable choice but this is the easiest transfer. If you take other way, you need to change more and/or walk more.


      Takeshi /

  7. Hi, I am confused with all the different passes available and am wondering if it’s worth purchasing ICOAC + Haruka pass?

    26 Oct Arrive in Kansai airport
    26-30 Okt Kyoto for 4 nights (will be going to Arashimaya other than that will be in Kyoto)
    30-31 Okt Kobe
    31Okt-2Nov Osaka, staying close to Namba station (seems like most direct way is to take Nankai line to Airport)

    Thank you in advance ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Hi Tracy,

      You can use ICOCA and Haruka. You may add Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA. Kansai one pass is same type card as ICOCA but it offers discount at many attractions. It’s better choice than ICOCA.

      You can use Kansai one pass for city to city transfer.

      You can add subway or bus pass in Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka. Please see the link below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you for your assistance ๐Ÿ™‚

        A couple more questions if I may, just to clarify:
        1) I can use ICOCA + Kansai One Pass (Without Haruka) to Kyoto?
        2) The add-on Bus pass can be done separately when in Kyoto/Osaka?

        Thank you again! ๐Ÿ™‚


        1. Hi Tracy,

          1. You misundertood. You need Haruka + Kansai one pass. Kansai one pass is same type card as ICOCA. You don’t need both ICOCA and Kansai one pass.
          2. You need buy other deal in Kyoto and Osaka separately.


          Takeshi /

  8. Takeshi

    Sorry to bother you again. I will be using the plan on this train schedule using Hyperdia and am not sure if the timing is cutting to close. Considering we are unfamiliar with the stations and how the tracks are located from one another. I worry that we might miss the connecting train or board the wrong train. So need your expert advice again. Here’s the schedule:

    8:45 am Kansai Airport (by Ltd Exp. Haruka 8) to Shin-Osaka
    9:37 am arrive on track no. 11
    9:46 am depart from track no. 12 to Kanazawa (by Ltd. Exp thunderbird 13)
    12:17 pm arrive Kanazawa on track no. 7
    12:28 pm depart from track no. 12 to Toyama (by Shinkasen Tsurugi 710)
    12:51 pm arrive Toyama on track no. 14
    1:02 pm depart from track no. 2 to Takayama (by Wide View Hida 14)
    2:31 pm arrive Takayama

    Am I on the right track and will I have enough time moving from one track to the next? Is Shinkasen Tsurugi 710 covered under the Takayama-Hokuriku Area Pass that I bought? Do I need to make seat reservations in advance? If so, is this done online?

    Appreciate your help again.

    1. Hi Jessie,

      All train connections are okay. Please see the link below to find the info of each stations:

      All trains are covered by this pass. You can book a seat for Thunderbird and Wide View Hida. You have to take a seat in non reserved car on Haruka and Tsurugi.

      Online is not available for booking. You need to book when you exchange the pass at Kansai airport. I recommend you to have at least 2 hours from flight arrival time to Haruka departure time.


      Takeshi /

  9. Hi Takeshi

    We’ve decided to take your advice and travel via Kanazawa to Takayama. How long will the total journey take? How should we go about starting from Kansai Airport. How many transfers will I need to take? This is our first time in Osaka on our very first DIY trip and we are very unfamiliar with the rail system in Japan. When I search the route by Hperdia, it shows me the route to Takayama via Nagoya.

    We will take the Wide View Hida on our return to Osaka to enjoy the view but have not decided if we should buy a separate ticket from Nagoya to Osaka or go with your suggestion to take Wide View Hida from Takayama to Toyama then Kanazawa to Osaka. Will we have time to drop by Kanazawa without staying? Where do we deposit our luggage if we drop by Kanazawa for a few hours.

    Look forward to your advice. Thanks.

    1. Hi Jessie,

      Hyperdia shows most convenient and the fastest route. Kanazawa route is slower than Nagoya route, that is why this route is not shown.
      Trip time is around 5.5 to 6 hours from Kansai airport to Takayama via Kanazawa. You will take 4 trains.
      Kansai (limited express Haruka) Shin-Osaka
      Shin-Osaka (limited express Thunderbird) Kanazawa
      Kanazawa (Hokuriku Shinkansen Tsurugi or Hakutaka) Toyama
      Toyama (limited express Wide View Hida) Takayama

      If you arrive in Kansai very early morning, you may have a time to drop by Kanazawa. I recommend you to have at least 4 hours to see Kanazawa. Most of tourist places cannot be accessed from the station by walk. You need to take a bus. You can store your luggage in coin locker. Most of station have it.

      If you use Hyperdia to find this route, you may search segment by segment, such as Osaka-Kanazawa, Kanazawa- Toyama and Toyama-Takayama.


      Takeshi /

  10. Hello Takeshi, our itinerary is as follows. Would appreciate your advice.
    Day 1 Kansai Airport to Takayama
    Day 2 Takayama
    Day 3 Takayama / Shirakawago
    Day 4 Takayama/Osaka (base in Osaka; stay in airbnb at Nipponbashi)
    Day 5 Day trip to Kyoto
    Day 6 Day trip to Himeji or Uji
    Day 7 Osaka Sightseeing
    Day 8 Osaka Sightseeing
    Day 9 Osaka (check out airbnb and check in airport hotel)
    Day 10 Depart Osaka
    We plan to buy the 5 Day Takayama-Hokuriku Area Pass. For the rest of the trip in Osaka and Kyoto, what type of pass would you recommend? We are wondering if it is possible to make a day trip to Hiroshima when in Osaka and Kamikochi or Shinhotaka Ropeway while in Takayama. The route from Namba to Nagoya is not covered by the JR pass. Which rail should we take to Nagoya to connect to Hida Wide View Rail?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Jessie,

      You can use Takayama Hokuriku area pass for the first 5 days. But when you go to Takayama and go back from Takayama, you have to take the route via Kanazawa. The primary route for Osaka/Kyoto to/from Takayama is via Nagoya route. But this route is not covered by this pass.

      For day 5, you can get Kyoto by this pass. You may add bus pass or bus/subway pass in Kyoto. This pass does not cover any local transportation in Kyoto.

      You can use Kansai area pass one day for day 6.

      In Osaka, there are lots of deals available.

      You may find the deal for Osaka to KIX in the link below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Takeshi

        Thanks for your prompt response. I actually plan to use the Takayama Hokuriku pass to travel to Takayama via Nagoya. I understand that I will need to buy a separate ticket from Osaka to Nagoya. I heard the route is shorter and the train ride by Hida Wide View has beautiful scenery.
        What do you think?

        1. Hi Jessie,

          The scenery is impressive from Nagoya to Takayama. This route is recommended.
          And also you can take Wide View Hida from Takayama to Toyama too. There are only three trips a day but this segment has very nice view too. You may take Takayama to Toyama, Toyama to Kanazawa and Kanazawa to Osaka when you go back to Osaka. If you have a time, you may drop by Kanazawa. It is very nice city too.


          Takeshi /

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