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  1. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Would like your advice on the best pass for my trip.
    I will be travelling to Japan in February 2018.

    Rough itinerary
    Day 1 – Arrive at Chubu Centrair Airport, Nagoya

    Day 2 – Nagoya + Nagashima Onsen (Mie)

    Day 3 – Nagoya to Hamamatsu

    Day 4 – Hamamatsu to Izu Peninsula (Ito area)

    Day 5 – Izu Peninsula (Ito, Minami Izu, Kawazu)

    Day 6 – Ito to Hakone (Hakone Tozan Railway, Hakone Cable Car, Hakone Ropeway, Hakone Sightseeing Cruise)

    Day 7 – Hakone to Mishima to Kawaguchiko
    Will be picking up car rental at Kawaguchi Station

    Day 8 – Fuji Five Lakes area (Driving)

    Day 9 – Kawaguchi Station to Nikko (Lake Chuzenji, Kegon Falls, Ryuzu Falls)

    Day 10 – Nikko to Yunishigawa Onsen

    Day 11 – Yunishigawa Onsen to Zao Onsen

    Day 12 – Zao Onsen (maybe Zao Fox village)

    Day 13 – Zao Onsen to Tokyo

    Day 14 to Day 16 – Tokyo (may take side trips to Mount Takao, Kawagoe and Yokohama)

    Please advise if the 14 days JR pass is the best option for me and also if any additional pass would be necessary.

    Also do you have any idea how to get to Zao Fox Village from Zao Onsen?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Winnie san,

      You may use 14 days pass. But please do not expect a big saving. Total fares are not much far from 14 days pass price.

      You need to add single fare or other deals in the following :

      Bus to Nagashima onsen
      Izu peninsula (JR pass covers only Atami-Ito in Izu peninsula. Kawazu and other southern part of this place are not covered)
      Hakone (After Odawara, you may add Hakone Free Pass)
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/
      Mishima-Kawaguchiko (need to add the fare to take express bus)
      Kawaguchiko-Otsuki (Fuji Kyuko railway which is not JR)
      Nikko-Yunishigawa (need to take Tobu railway which is not JR)
      Bus to Zao

      It’s almost impossible to get fox village by public transportation. You should drive.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. I along with my mother will be travelling from India to Japan from 28 March – 4th April. Pls see below my Itinerary . I would be grateful if you could advice what would be the best JR pass or/and travel card options within cities and the associated costings .

    Day 1 – Arrival in Tokyo at Narita Airport via ANA
    Check into Hotel in Shinagawa, Tokyo
    Sightseeing – Sensoji Temple,Imperial Palace
    Garden, Tokyo Tower
    Day 2 – Travel to Shinanomachi
    Day 3 – Travel to Hachioji
    Day 4 – Travel to Hakune
    Day 5 & 6 – Travel to Kyoto
    Day 7 – Return to Tokyo
    Day 8 – Departure from Narita Airport

    Thank you very much. Best regards

    1. Hi Ellora,

      You may use JR pass 7 days for the last 7 days. You may add other deal, such as Limousine bus + subway ticket for arrival day. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

      JR pass covers most part of your trip from day 2 to the end. But it does not cover some transportation, such as Hakone, city bus/subway in Kyoto. Please see the link below to find more info:
      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

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi,

    From Narita Airport, is it possible to purchase Tokunai Pass at JR Funabashi station and take JR Sobu line directly to JR Bakurocho that is my destination ? Just for saving my time instead of taking off at JR Nippori.

    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi AKE,

      You cannot purchase it at Funabashi station because it’s outside the coverage area.
      If you take Sobu line, Koiwa station is located at the border of the coverage area. Koiwa is 5 stations away from Funabashi.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    This will be my first trip to Japan. We will be spending 3 weeks here (May 2nd-23rd).

    Here is my itinerary: –
    May 2nd-7th (5 Nights): Tokyo
    May 7th-8th (1 Night): Hakone
    May 8th-9th (1 Night): ??
    May 9th-14th (5 Nights): Kyoto
    May 14th-15th (1 Night): Nara
    May 15th-17th (2 Nights): Osaka
    ***May 17th: Fly to Hakodate***
    May 17th-18th (1 Night): Hakodate
    May 18th (1 Night): Lake Toya, than to Noboribetsu
    May 19th-23rd (4 Nights): Sapporo

    A few questions please:
    1. The original plan was to spend one night in Hakone, than another night in Mt Fuji (May 8th-9th). However one of my friends told me that it’s impossible to get to Mt Fuji via train from Hakone. (That I will need to head back to Tokyo to do that). Thus, I am in a dilemma now and not sure where I should spend that extra night. Do you have any recommendations? I am flexible with slotting that extra night any part of the trip, but just can’t seem to figure out another place to visit.

    2. We plan to get the JR Pass. Will this be suitable and the most cost effective for my trip?

    3. Do you recommend flying into Hakodate? From Hakodate, what is the best way to travel to Lake Toya, than to Noboribetsu?

    4. Last question, we (My husband, myself, 20month old and my parents) will be doing this trip. Thus I am hoping the train commute will be as efficient as it can be. Will you be able to help suggest the best train routes?

    I know this is super lengthly, and truly appreciate your time reading this.
    Thanks,
    Jace

    1. Hi Jace,

      1. You need to take a bus if you go to Lake Kawaguchi which is other side of Fuji. Please see the link below to find more info:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

      If you visit both, Fuji Hakone Pass covers all.
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/fujihakone/

      2. JR pass does not work for your trip. You need round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka to get even 7 days pass. You will travel more than 7 days and you cannot get the worth. You may use other deals and single ticket.

      In Tokyo
      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

      Regular ticket or Platt Kodama for Tokyo to 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

      In Kyoto, Nara and Osaka
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-transfer-among-kyoto-osaka-and-kobe-compare-japan-railway-and-private-lines.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/how-to-choose-discount-railway-ticket-and-pass-in-kansai-area.html
      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/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      3. Yes. Hakodate is the best place to start your trip in Hokkaido. Please see the links below to find the route:
      http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/train/index.html#ip1

      You also can find some info from my trip report:
      https://jprail.com/category/travel-informations/trip-report/2017-hokkaido

      4. I think I have explained all above.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            Still in the midst of slowly figuring out the trains and planning for my trip. I plan to travel from Hakone to Nagoya (quick stopover to check out the castle) and than continue to Kyoto. Can’t seem to figure out what is the best route. Ideally the fastest as I am travelling with a toddler, but if there is a ticket that is significantly cheaper… I don’t mind taking that option.

            I read your post about Platt Kodama but that doesn’t seem to be applicable to my above situation since I am doing a stopover and travelling from Hakone?
            Please advise. Thanks so much.

            Jace

          2. Hi Jace,

            You may take Odakyu Railway from Shinjuku (Tokyo) to Hakone directly. After Hakone, you can take Shinkansen from Odawara to Nagoya and then Kyoto. Only regular ticket is your choice but you can use one base fare ticket for Odawara to Kyoto with stopover at Nagoya. You will have one base fare ticket for Odawara to Kyoto and two Shinkansen tickets for Odawara to Nagoya, Nagoya to Kyoto.
            https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/for-non-jr-pass-travellers-guide-to-use-jr-single-ticket-basic-rules-validity-and-stopover.html
            https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/how-to-build-the-trip-plan-to-hakone-various-sample-itineraries-of-hakone.html

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Dear Takeshi, I am going Osaka in June 2018 & making day trips
    Day1 : Airport to Hotel Cordia. Visit Dontonburi.
    Day2 : Kuoromon market and Osaka aquarium
    Day3: Nara Day4: Kobe
    Day5 : Kyoto
    Day6: Kyoto Arashiyama
    Day7: Shinsaibashi/Minami (Namba)/Abenomics Harukas
    Day8 : Open for suggestion
    Day9: Leave for Kansai Airport

    May i know which type of pass should i buy. i am confused. Thank you so much

  6. Hi Takeshi San,
    My family will be visiting Japan flying in 26March – 18April.
    We start from Tokyo, after covering Kamakura-Kawaguchigo area, we will cover Nagano side through Matsumoto to Takayama & Kanazawa.and we plan to take the Alpine Route. In our case, we will be at the Toyama end when the route opens on April15, and should start there. We hope, weather willing, to do it on the first day April15-and here’s where we hit our dilemma.
    Many articles on the web propose starting from Nagano and cautioned about ‘time-constraint’ if we take the route from Toyama end; or
    If start from Toyama, the advise is to ‘START EARLY!’ Plan & time well your moves through the various stages, so that you catch the last bus leaving 4:30pm Ogizawa Station for Nagano!
    So the idea of paying ‘not a small fee’ to enjoy this great feast offering by Japan’s breath-taking Natural wonders uniquely combined with the Japanese magnificent engineering feats is slowly taking the shape of ‘Amazing Race’ due to bus schedule constraints, a very practical issue.
    So we decide that we’ll do our best to race, to partake whatever we can from this great feast, as to ‘taste some’ is better than to ‘taste none’!
    But as I read on, I get the impression that the popularity of the Alpine route is steadily increasing over the past years. There are reports that last year the bottle neck at the Tateyama cable-car end was about 3 hours around the 9-11am slot. Now the ‘taste some’ is becoming even less as the actual time left for murodo, snow-wall, and Kurobe-dam (the 3 main don’t-miss-areas?) is reduced even further. Also I read last year the first day opening ceremony at Snow Wall was at 10am instead of 9.30? So even if we start very early at Toyama, there is this time-check here.
    Then the next advise is to ‘stay over’ one night on the route. We have considered that even. But then there is the question: what if we reserving accommodation up on the route, and the route is closed on the day due to weather conditions. We end up having paid for accommodation up there while we are stuck at Toyama, and having to look for alternative accommodation which may be heavily booked except for expensive ones. There is also the question of finding alternative route back to Tokyo as accommodation is booked there for to prepare to leave the country from Tokyo.
    My little brain get ‘sleepless nights’ over the above dilemma. I am now wondering do we have to give up on the Alpine route, one of the main items we came for? Or are there suggestions that are within reasonable means?
    So, yesterday, I checked the Alpico bus timetable for the ‘Ogizawa to Nagano’ segment, I thought it says between 15-April to 5-Nov, there is a bus service leaving Ogizawa Station at 6:05pm arriving Nagano at 19:05pm? As I may be reading the wrong information or reading it wrongly. Can you kindly confirm if this is true? Below is the link that I checked
    https://www.alpico.co.jp/tourists/en/alpine/route01/
    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Many thanks and regards,
    Sera

    1. Hi Sera san,

      I have never visited there on opening day. But as you said, it’s super busy and getting busier and busier year by year. So make sure what most important thing is for you. If you really want to go, you should go. If you don’t want to take any risks, just remove it.

      18:05 departure is available on Apr 15. But arrival time is 19:50, not 19:05.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Morning Takeshi-san,
            I have further question regarding tickets to get through the Alpine route as follows:
            we are wondering how does the (a)JR ‘Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket’ work with the (b)’on-line reservation for web-ticket’ under the Tateyama-Kurobe.Alpen-route website?
            or are the 2 mutually exclusive options?
            Kindly advise. Thanks.

          2. Hi Sera san,

            If you intend to use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket, you cannot use online reservation. You have to show your option ticket at the window and then you will be assigned which train you will take.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi,
    This will be my second time in Japan and my hotels are booked.
    will arrive 20-3 in the morning at kix (ICOCA + Haruka?)
    21-3 Osaka sightseeing (staying Osaka Chuo area on 20 and 21-3) small possibility of a free bike if not use subway. see Castle, Sumiyoshi Taisha, Shitenoji temple area, Dotonburi, Umeda and some other places possibly
    22-3 to Koya with overnight stay
    23-3 to Kyoto and stay near Sanjo station and visiting primarily the Eastern part (use keihan to get to hotel from Osaka)
    24-3 Kyoto sightseeing (maybe 2/3 day to Yoshino, or see it after Koya 22-3 and sending bags to Kyoto?)
    25-3 3/4 day trip Hikone from Kyoto
    26-3 to Himeji
    …..

    from 24-3 have 14 days railpass (go to Hikone, Himeji Kumamoto and Yakushima and back to Okayama, Matsumoto, Tokyo, Hakone, Shizuoka and back to Osaka).

    So my questions:
    – 20-3 to 23/24-3 use what passes? Kansai Thru pass or use Koyasan Heritage ticket and day passes/ICOCA?
    – what about Yoshino? (great time of the year to visit it). When and if convenient from Koya or better from Kyoto on railpass?

    Checked all passes and time schedules myself already but seems I cannot choose the best options.. and cannot see the forest through the trees any more 🙂

    Convenience, time and budget are about equally important..
    Can you advice me please…
    Thanks
    Tom

    1. Hi Tom,

      Please see the links below to find the deal for the first 2 days.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      Kansai thru pass is the best choice for 22 to 24. Trip to Yoshino is not covered by Kansai thru pass fully but you may use it partially. You need to pay around 500 yen extra for one way on top of Kansai thru pass. Trip from Kyoto is better than from Koyasan.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi I’m Mira,

    I’m going to Japan tonight. May I seek your advise if i’d like to go to Shirakawago for day trip, is it more convenient to go from Tokyo or Kyoto? Please also advise if it’s more efficient to take the Pass, and which pass is the best. Thank you.

    1. Hi Mira,

      Either ways are possible and not much different. Please see the links below:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1-day/sample-itinerary-of-day-trip-to-kanazawa-and-shirakawago-from-osaka-or-kyoto.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1-day/sample-itinerary-of-day-trip-to-kanazawa-and-shirakawago-from-tokyo.html

      If you visit there from Kyoto, there is no deals available. Takayama Hokuriku area pass is recommended but this pass is not sold in Japan. So you cannot use it. Regular ticket is your choice.

      If you visit there from Tokyo, Hokuriku arch pass is recommended. But bus to Shirakawago is not covered.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-osaka-hokuriku-arch-pass-user-guide-clarify-valid-trains-coverage-area-and-compare-single-fare-and-pass.html

      You must book a seat for bus to Shirakawago anyway from either Tokyo or Kyoto. Reservation is required. Please see the link below:
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. i would like to travel to kyoto from osaka on 16/1 around 9am and make a round trip back to osaka on the same day. then the next day 17/1 6am i will go to kansai airport. in this case i should purchase a one day kansai thru pass or 2 days kansai tru pass as i travel within 24 hours with the pass.

  10. We will arrive at Haneda Airport on 11/2/18, five nights in Tokyo, then one night in Takeyama, then 3 nights in Nagoya. We would like to visit Hakone and Nikko while staying in Tokyo. We will plan some one-day excursions while in Nagoya. We will be departing from Nagoya Airport. Should we purchase the 7-day Japan Rail pass for this itinerary?

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