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  1. Hi Takeshi san

    Thank you for a great guide! My first time travelling to Tokyo and would appreciate your advice .

    I am planning my itinerary in March to go from Tokyo-Osaka-Hakone-Tokyo (and use Osaka as a base to go for day trip to Kyoto and a day trip to Nara) and back to Tokyo (day trip to Disneysea and other areas) over 10 days.

    Day 1 – arrive in Tokyo (mid afternoon), travel to Osaka (either Shin Osaka or Namba station)
    Day 2 – Kyoto (Bamboo Park)
    Day 3 – Nara, Castle Park
    Day 4 – Dontonburi area
    Day 5 – Osaka to Hakone (stay one night at Mount View Hakone at Gora/Sengokuhara, Odawara Station)
    Day 6 – Hakone to Tokyo (Oshiage Station)
    Day 7 – Tokyo Disneysea
    Day 8 – 10 – Tokyo and back to airport.

    I am thinking of buying a 7-day JR pass from Tokyo to Osaka and on the last 3 days in Tokyo, to buy railway rides, Hakone one day pass and one way to Airport. Do you think it makes more sense? Since I’m going to Kyoto for half a day, should I buy the one day pass also?

    What would be your suggestions on the easiest route from Hakone to Osaka since the journey is quite long?

    I am also thinking if it’s more convenient if I should go to Hakone first when I arrive Tokyo and then to Osaka and back to Tokyo:

    Day 1 – arrive in Tokyo (mid afternoon), travel to Hakone
    Day 2 – Hakone half day (ropeway Lake Aishi) and afternoon to Osaka
    Day 3 – Nara, Castle Park
    Day 4 – Kyoto
    Day 5 – Dontonburi area
    Day 6 – Osaka to Tokyo Oshiage
    Day 7 – Tokyo Disneysea
    Day 8 – 10 – Tokyo and back to airport.

    Would very much appreciate your thoughts to the above.

    Thank you very much
    Janice

    1. Hi Janice san,

      You can do either plan, Hakone first or later. JR pass is the choice for your trip but you may need to add other deal or ticket in Hakone, Osaka and Kyoto. Because JR pass does not cover Non JR trains, city bus and subways. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html#How_to_use_JR_pass_in_major_cities_and_tourist_spots

      Namba is very attractive place to stay in Osaka but Shin-Osaka is better location for JR pass user. Because JR has station in Namba but it’s not located in the center of Namba.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/namba-stations-guide-how-to-change-the-trains-among-nankai-kintetsu-hanshin-subway-and-jr.html

      Shin-Osaka is Shinkansen terminal station. You can access right after arrival by Shinkansen. You can drop off your luggage before you go to downtown Osaka and pick up your luggage just before you leave Osaka.

      You may use other pass, such as Tokyo subway ticket after JR pass is expired.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I will be travelling to Tokyo in mid December with my family for 8 days and we will be staying in Ikebukuro. We wish to travel to the following places and would appreciate your advise on the most economical way to travel

    1. Day 1 – 1 Day trip to Nikko area and Ashikaga Flower Park
    2. Day 2 – 1 Day trip to Ibaraki area
    3. Day 3 – 1 Daytrip to Yokohama
    4. Day 4 – 1 Daytrip to Hakone

    We will be spending the remaining days in Tokyo

  3. Hi Takeshi

    I am travelling to Japan on this coming Friday for a total of 10 days trip, but I couldn’t decide which type of passes best suit my plans. Appreciate if you can give me some advice on it.

    I will be arriving at 6am at Kansai Airport and my itinerary are as follow:
    1. Travel to Kyoto and stay at Kita-Ku, Kyoto-shi area from 3/11 to 8/11, plan to take a day trip to Nara in between;
    2. Move to Osaka on 8/11, stay at Chuo Ward area, plan to take a day trip to Kobe.

    I was looking at Icoca and Haruka pass to Kyoto, then Kyoto Bus Pass or Kyoto Sightseeing Two Days Pass when I am travelling inside Kyoto and Kansai Thru Pass for Nara, Osaka and Kobe. By the way, would you recommend to purchase a round trip Haruka pass to return to Kansai airport?

    Appreciate your kind advise on this.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Vivian

    1. Hi Vivian,

      You have picked the right deals. You can use these passes.

      I don’t think you need round trip ICOCA and Haruka. I think your place in Osaka is not near JR station. Subway and Nankai deal may be better.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/chikatoku.html

      Even if you stay near JR station, such as JR-Namba, you can purchase one way ICOCA and Haruka to Kyoto and one way Haruka discount ticket from Tennoji. It’s cheaper.

      And also you can add Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA. It’s basically same type of card as ICOCA. But Kansai one pass offers discount at many attractions. Normal ICOCA doesn’t.
      https://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi-san,
    I will be in Japan for 10 days and arriving in Osaka first on 9th April. Here are my drafted itinerary :
    Day 1 Arrival at night
    Day 2 – Catch hanami. Depart to Kyoto for 2 nights
    Day 3 – Kyoto
    Day 4 – Nara + Kobe day trip
    Day 5 to 8 – Tokyo 4 nights
    Night of Day 9 – Back in Osaka
    Day 10 – Departure

    I will be purchasing JR pass for 7 days but i don’t know which day i should activate it. And for the remaining days without JR, which pass should I get to commute from Osaka-Kyoto-Nara-Kobe-Tokyo and be sure to back in Osaka? I’m willing to switch to starting in Tokyo first then back in Kansai region for the remaining days. Which is better?

    Arigatou gozaimasu!

    1. Hi Melsa san,

      I think you can keep this itinerary. It doesn’t matter which you go to Tokyo first or last.

      If you use this itinerary, you can use 7 days pass from day 4 to the end. You may use other deals in the links below before you start using JR Pass.

      KIX-Osaka
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Osaka
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      Kyoto
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      Single ticket is okay for Osaka to Kyoto. If you do Nara and Kobe in one day, I recommend you to do so from Osaka. It’s much easier.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Glad to know I can proceed with this itinerary. Thank you so much for the suggestion, Takeshi-san! May I know which is the best ticket I should get to get from Kansai airport to Namba area?

          1. Hi Takeshi-san,

            Thank you for your reply. Will consider regular ticket from KIX. I have revised my itinerary:

            Day 1 – Commute from KIX to Namba
            Day 2 – Osaka > Kobe > Nara > Back in Osaka
            Half day in Nara & Kobe. Back to Osaka in evening
            Day 3- Depart to Kyoto by morning (2 nights)
            Day 4 – Kyoto (Activate JR pass)

            I have shortlisted 3 passes for the first 3 days without JR Pass, please correct me if I am wrong. Is it better to get Kansai Thru (Unlimited for 3 days) or ICOCA (Limited but flexible) or Kansai One Pass?

          2. Hi Melsa san,

            I think you may use Kansai thru pass 2 days for day 2 and 3. But if you ride subway or other trains after you arrive in Namba on day 1, you may use 3 days Kansai thru pass for the first 3 days.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    I’m going to Hokaido on Nov 17 for 9 days. We are 2 adults and 2 young kids. Just wondering shall we need to buy the JR Pass? If yes, which JR pass shall we buy? our itinerary is as below.

    Day 1 arrive shin chitose airport in the morning and straight take the train to Sapporo.
    Day 2 at Sapporo
    Day 3 going to Otaru by train
    Day 4 from Otaru back to Sapporo by train
    Day 5 at Sapporo
    Day 6 going Noberibetsu via hotel shuttle
    Day 7 at Noboribetsu
    Day 8 going Chitose by train
    Day 9 shin Chitose take flight home

    Thanks!
    Regard
    Eelen

  6. We would like to plan our trip as below schedule.
    Do you think we should get JR pass to cover from 26 Dec to 1 Jan?
    1 Day – Tokyo – Mt. Fuji by Tour
    1 Day – Tokyo DisneySea – 7 days pass
    1 Day – Tokyo – Kamakura – 7 days pass (This pass can use for Enoden electric train?)
    Day 1 – Tokyo – Nagoya – Kyoto – 7 days pass
    Day 2 – Kyoto – Osaka – 7 days pass
    Day 3 – Osaka – 7 days pass
    Day 4 – Osaka – 7 days pass
    Day 5 – Osaka – 7 days pass
    Day 6 – Osaka to Sapporo – Lake Toya – MRT card/Rent Car
    Day 7 – Lake Toya – Niseko – Rent Car
    Day 8 – Niseko – Sapporo – Rent Car
    Day 9 – Sapporo – Otaru- Rent Car
    Day 10 – Sapporo – Rent Car
    Day 11 – Sapporo – Tokyo – MRT card
    Thank you.

    Best regards,
    Fang Fang

    1. Hi Fang Fang,

      Unfortunately JR pass does not work. If you have a big one day trip when you are in Osaka, it works. But trip must be a long day trip, like day trip to Hiroshima.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1-day/day-trip-to-hiroshima-and-miyajima-from-osakakyoto.html

      Day trip to surrounding area, such as Nara, Kobe, is not enough to get the worth. At this point, you may use single ticket and/or local deals.

      Single ticket to Disney

      Kamakura
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/yokohama-and-kamakura-access-guide-find-the-right-deal-and-route-from-your-place-to-stay.html

      Single ticket or Platt Kodama for Tokyo-Nagoya, Nagoya-Kyoto
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

      Kyoto
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      Single ticket to Osaka from Kyoto

      Osaka
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      JR pass does not cover Enoden.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks a lots, Takashi-San

        In this case, we shall buy single tickets as we are not planning to go to Hiroshima side.

        Appreciate for your help.

        Regards,
        Fang Fang

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be going to Japan on the 11th of March 2018. I have planned a day trip to Gala Yuzawa by using the JR East Pass (Tohoku Area).

    1) Can I use the JR East Pass (Tohoku Area) to reach GALA Yuzawa Station?

    2) Do I need to purchase any entrance fee to enter the Resort?

    Please advise.

    Best Regards,

    Eventius

  8. Hi Takeshi

    I plan to go to Japan with my family. In total, there are 9 of us with young children and elderly. We are going to stay for the entire visit at an AirBnB near Kasai station apart from 2 nights in Hakone.

    My plan is to get the Tokyo Wide Pass from 16-18 Dec, but I was wondering if you have any comment how to make the most of my time by maybe changing the destination or getting a different pass?

    Fri 8-Dec 2130 Arrive Tokyo
    Sat 9-Dec Tsukiji, Asakusa, Skytree, Ueno, Ikebokuro
    Sun 10-Dec Meiji, Yoyogi, Harajuku, Omotesando, Shibuya
    Mon 11-Dec Yokohama
    Tue 12-Dec Kawasaki
    Wed 13-Dec Hakone
    Thu 14-Dec Kawaguchiko
    Fri 15-Dec Odaiba
    Sat 16-Dec Nikko, Kinugawa
    Sun 17-Dec Kawagoe, Omiya
    Mon 18-Dec Kusatsu Onsen/Gala Yuzawa
    Tue 19-Dec Disneysea
    Wed 20-Dec Shinjuku, 1930 Depart

    1. Hi Chana,

      You may use one of the deals in the link below:
      Narita https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html
      Haneda https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/haneda/how-to-access-from-haneda-airport-to-downtown-tokyo.html

      Tokyo wide pass is your choice but you may gather Kaawguchiko, Nikko and Kusatu/Gala in three days.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-wide-pass-is-newer-version-of-kanto-area-pass-nikko-fuji-gala-yuzawa-and-odaiba-are-covered-by-this-pass.html

      You can use subway pass for sightseeing in Tokyo. You can find subway pass + airport access deal in the link above.

      You can use Hakone Free Pass for day trip to Hakone.
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/

      You may use the deal for Yokohama in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/yokohama-and-kamakura-access-guide-find-the-right-deal-and-route-from-your-place-to-stay.html

      Single ticket or using Suica is okay for the rest of your trips.
      http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/suica.html?src=gnavi

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Hi Takeshi-san

    My family and I are planning to visit a few places in Japan end of this week.
    While my Mom and I will travel for 9 Days, so we consider to buy the JR Pass, but my dad who will only spend 5 days, we are unsure which ticket we should buy for him.

    We will arrive in Narita on October 21st early morning and will spend 3 days in Tokyo. We are thinking to go to Nikko between these dates.

    On october 23st, we will catch the bus to fujikawaguchiko from otsuki station and stay in fuji for one night.

    on October 24th we will travel to Osaka, spend there one night.

    My dad will fly back home on October 25th from KIX while my mom and I will travel to Kyoto and spend one night as well.

    On 26th we will go back to Osaka and stay there until we fly from KIX on October 29th. while staying in Osaka, we would like to go to Kobe and if Possible to Takayama as well.

    The question is, for my dad who will spend 3 days in Tokyo and travel to Nikko, then stay in Fuji for One night and Osaka one night, which ticket would you suggest?

    Meanwhile for my Mom and I, when do you think is the perfect time to validate our 7Days JR Pass?
    1. Once we arrive in Tokyo and then spend the last two days in Osaka using another ticket
    2. or, we spend two days in Tokyo and validate the JR Pass on third day until 9th day?

    should we consider tokyo wide pass since we are going to Fuji and Nikko?

    Thank you
    Really Appreciate your help

    Regards

    1. Hi Corry san,

      If you want to make your trip be easier, everybody get 7 days JR Pass. If you start using JR pass when you arrive in Narita and take Narita Express to Tokyo, roughly total fares of your father’s trip plan will be almost same as 7 days JR pass. If you and your mother will go to Takayama, it makes a huge difference. You will get a huge saving. But trip to Kyoto, Kobe do not make a big difference. One way fare from Osaka to Kyoto is less than 1,000 yen.

      So if you go to Takayama, try to make it in 7 days period. You may add other deals in the links below after JR pass expires.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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