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4,999 thoughts on “Forums”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    I am going Tokyo for 8 days in end May and I am planning to go Kurobe Gorge but not sure if getting JR pass is useful or going on single trip would be better. I will be staying at Unazuki for 2-3 nights before goin my back to Tokyo. Could you please advice.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      If you intend to use the deal for the trip to Kurobe gorge only, Hokuriku arch pass is better choice than JR pass:

      But if you visit other places surrounding Tokyo, JR pass may be better. Hokuriku arch pass covers downtown Tokyo only.


      Takeshi /

  2. Dear Takeshi,

    I would like to ask your help in checking my itinerary to suggest which pass should I use during my trip.
    We are going to travel in a group of 3 young adults, 3 grandparents & 1 baby.
    Will arrive at KIX April 14 – 9am.
    Then use Haruka train direct to Kyoto.
    We’ll be staying near Kyoto station and going to spend the whole day around that area.

    15 April : Fushimi Inari > Gion
    16 April : Arashiyama Forest then check out.
    Kyoto to Shin Osaka by JR Tokaido Sanyo.
    Shin Osaka to Namba (hotel for 4 days)
    17 April : Namba to Osaka Castle & Umeda area
    18 April : Namba to Universal Studio.
    19 April : Namba to Kobe
    20 April : Namba OCAT to KIX

    That’s all.
    Looking forward for your suggestion.
    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Melisa.

      You may use Kansai one pass and Haruka. You can use Kansai one pass to take train and bus for the first 3 days.

      For April 17, if you really sure to visit Osaka castle and Umeda only, Kansai one pass is okay. But if you intend to visit some more places, subway pass or Osaka amazing pass is considerable. Please find more info in the link below:

      Kansai One Pass is okay for USJ.

      Hanshin Tourist Pass is most affordable deal for trip to Kobe.

      Limousine bus is the best way to get KIX from OCAT.


      Takeshi /

  3. hi Takeshi,

    I am planning to explore Kyushu. I wonder if all places are covered in JR Kyushu pass as I am still thinking if self drive is more feasible.

    day 1 – Fukuoka
    day 2 – Fukuoka to Kagoshima.
    day 3 – Kagoshima to Ibusuki ->Kirishima->Sakurajima
    day 4 – Kagoshima to Kumamoto
    day 5 – Kumamoto – Nagasaki (Peace garden)
    day 6 – Nagasaki (Peace garden) – Huis Ten Bosch
    day 7 – Huis Ten Bosch – Fukuoka

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Pei,

      You cannot access to Sakurajima by train. The ferry is a major way to get there. This is not covered by Kyushu rail pass.

      You have to take a bus to get Kirishima from Kirishima Onsen station.

      Other places are covered by Kyushu rail pass.


      Takeshi /

  4. Dear Mr Takeshi,

    Chanced upon this blog while preparing for my maiden Japan Trip itinerary (Sat 16/3-Sat 30/3 – Osaka/Himeiji/Kobe/Nara/Kyoto/Tokyo). Still confused by the different types of train pass/bus pass to select, LOL. At this moment, I have not considered JR Rail Pass, though have heard good feedback about it. I am considering some local passes.

    By the way, I majored in Jap language and culture in uni days, still can hold very simple conversation in Jap, with a mixture of Eng/Mandarin.. I am a backpacker, hence, for this coming up maiden trip i have read up a fair bit of info before drafting my itinerary. Have cut and pasted the drafted itinerary for your reference and comments. Perhaps with your expertise and advice, I can make a more informed and wise decision in terms of choosing the train/bus pass. If after reading my itinerary, you find that it is not advisable to buy so many passes and that it is more straight forward to get a JR-Pass, I am definitely opened to the suggestion.. Yo-ro-shi-ku o-ne-gai-i-shi-masu…. Arigato gozai-i-masu!

    My itinerary is as follow
    Sat 16/3
    – 1135am Arrives at Kansai Airport
    – Custom clearance and likely to purchase Yokoso Osaka Pass
    – Take Nankai Airport Express Namba Station, then transfer train to Yodoyabashi Station
    – Check-in hostel
    – Sightseeing Osaka Station & Surrounding:
    a) Osaka Train Station & Surrounding
    b) Umeda Sky Building
    c) Shinsekai &Tsutenkaku Tower

    Sun 17/3 Osaka – Minami District
    – Likely to purchase Amazing Osaka 2-Day Pass
    a) Kuromon Ichiba Market
    b) Den-Den Town
    c) Midosuji
    d) Sennichimae Doguya-suji
    e) Hozenji-yokocho.
    f) Hozenji Temple
    g) Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
    h) Dontombori
    i) America-mura
    j) Shinsaibashi

    Mon 18/3 Osaka – Kita District
    – Using the same Amazing Osaka 2-Day Pass
    a) Osaka Museum of History
    b) Osaka Castle Main Tower
    c) Osaka Castle Park
    d) Ikutama-jinja Shrine
    e) Genshojizaka Slope
    f) Kuchinawazaka Slope
    g) Aizen-do Temple
    h) Shitennoji Temple,
    i) Tennjoi Park
    j) Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts
    k) Abeno Harukas/Harukas 300
    l) Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine

    Tues 19/3 Osaka- Himeji-Kobe-Osaka
    – Likely to purchase Kansai Through 3-Day Pass
    – Sightseeing at Himeiji:
    a) Koko-en Garden
    b) Himeji Castle
    c) Himeji City Museum of Art
    d) Hygo Prefetural Museum of History
    – Sightseeing at Kobe:
    a) Ikuta-jinjia Shrine
    b) Kitano Meister Garden
    c) Soraku-en Garden
    d) Suwayama Park/Venus Bridge
    e) Kantei-byo,
    f) Mausoleum
    g) Honganji Kobe Betsuin Temple
    h) Motomachi Shopping Mall
    i) Nankin-machi (Chinatown)
    j) Meriken Park
    k) The Former Foreign Settlement of Kobe
    l) Flower Road
    m) Kobe Harborland

    Wed 20/3 Osaka-Nara-Osaka
    – Using the same Kansai Through 3-Day Pass
    – Sightseeing Locations: Yet read up and planned

    Thurs 21/3 Osaka-Kyoto – Central Kyoto
    – Check-out hostel
    – Using the same Kansai Through 3-Day Pass to travel to Kyoto
    – Check-in hostel
    – Sightseeing:
    a) Kyoto Station
    b) Kyoto Tower
    c) Kyoto Railway Museum
    d) Kyoto Imperial Palace
    e) Nijo Castle
    f) Shimodachiuri-Gomo Gate
    g) Sento Palace
    h) Around Nishiki Market (Night Time)
    i) Pontocho

    Fri 22/3 Kyoto – Northern Kyoto
    – Might purchase another Kansai Through 3-Day Pass
    a) Kinkakuji
    b) Ryoanji Temple
    c) Toji-in Temple
    d) Ninnaji Temple
    e) OTHERS

    Sat 23/3 Kyoto – Southern Kyoto
    – Using the same Kansai Through 3-Day Pass
    a) Fushimi Inari Shrine
    b) Sembon Torii (1000 Shrine Gates)
    c) Tofukuji Temple
    d) Sennyuji Temple
    e) Daigoji Temple
    f) Toji Temple
    g) OTHERS

    Sun 24/3 Kyoto – Higashiyama – Eastern Kyoto
    – Using the same Kansai Through 3-Day Pass
    a) Hakusa-sono Garden & Museum (KIV)
    b) Ginkakuji
    c) Path of Philosophy
    d) Kumano Nyakuoji-jinja Shrine
    e) Eikan-do Temple
    f) Nomura Museum (KIV)
    g) Nazenji Temple
    h) Konchi-in Temple

    Mon 25/3 Kyoto – Higashiyama – Eastern Kyoto
    – Might consider Kasai Through 2-Day Pass
    a) Helan-jingu Shrine
    b) Shoren-in Temple
    c) Chion-in Temple
    d) Maruyama Park
    e) Yasaka-jinja Shrine
    f) Ihsibekoji (Stone Pavement Street)
    g) Kodaiji Temple
    h) Ryozen Kannon
    i) Yasaka-jinja Pagoda
    j) Sannenzaka Slope
    k) Kiyomizu-dera

    Tues 26/3 Kyoto – Arashiyama & Sagano – Western Kyoto
    – Using the same Kansai Through 2-Day Pass
    a) Tenryuji Temple
    b) Bamboo Groves & Surrounding Shrines/Temples
    – Okochi-sanso
    – Jojakkoji Temple
    – Nison-in Temple
    – Gioji Temple
    – Seiryoji Temple
    c) Togetsukyo Bridge
    d) Arashiyama Park
    e) Arashiyama Monkey Park
    f) Sagano Scenic Railway
    g) Hozugawa River Cruise

    Wed 27/3 Kyoto-Tokyo
    – Check-out hostel
    – Likely to purchase Shingansen ticket to travel to Tokyo
    – rhen purchase Tokyo Metro 1-Day Pass to travel to hostel
    – Check-in hostel
    – Sightseeing:
    a) Tokyo Station
    b) Kaminarimon
    c) Sensoji Temple
    d) Nakamise Shopping St
    e) Dempoin St
    f) Hoppy St
    g) Kappabashi St (Asakusa)
    h) Tokyo Skytree (Oshiage)

    Thurs 28/3 Tokyo
    – Might purchase Greater Tokyo 3-Day Pass
    – Sightseeing:
    a) Kichijoji Station
    b) Inokashira Park
    c) 2pm-6pm: Tokyo Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, Kichijoji (Ticket already purchased)

    Fri 29/3 Tokyo
    – Using the same Greater Tokyo 3-Day Pass
    – Sightseeing:
    a) Shinjuku Gyoen
    b) Tokyo Metro Office Observation Deck
    c) Souvenirs Shopping
    d) Tokyo Night Life (Kabukicho/Omoide Yokocho/Golden Gai) (Shinjuku)

    Sat 30/3 Tokyo
    – using the same Greater Tokyo 3-Day Pass
    – Sightseeing:
    a) Meiji Shrine
    b) Yoyogi Park
    c) Harajuku
    d) Takshita Dori Shopping St
    e) Shibuya Shopping St
    f) Souvenirs Shopping
    – Travel to Narita Airport
    – 1825: Reach Airport
    – 2025: Board outbound flight

    1. Hi Jen,

      I agree with you that you will use Yokoso Osaka ticket, Osaka amazing pass and Kansai thru pass 3-day. But you are thinking about purchasing another Kansai thru pass 3-day and 2-day. It’s actually wasting money. You cannot get the worth of these by sightseeing in Kyoto.

      In Kyoto, you will take city bus in most of times. Kyoto city bus pass is sold at 600 yen for one day. You can get the worth of it by only 3 bus rides:

      You may need to take train or subway. But regular fare ticket is okay. Kansai thru pass is too much.

      In Tokyo, Greater Tokyo Pass is too much again. Tokyo Subway Ticket is okay. And you can find some deals for Tokyo to Narita in the link below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Mr Takeshi

        Based on your sharing and advice, I am most likely to consider the following:
        a) Yokoso Pass for Sat 16/3 (Osaka)
        b) Osaka Amazing Pass for Sun 17/3 & Mon 18/3 (Osaka)
        c) Kansai through Pass for Tues 19/3 (Osaka/Himeji & Kobe)
        Wed 20/3 (Osaka/Nara), Thurs 21/3 (Osaka/Kyoto)
        d) Kyoto Sightseeing Pass for Fri 22/3 & Sat 23/3

        Will greatly appreciate your addition d advice on transport tips for the following itinerary:
        a) Sun 24/3-Mon 24/3 Kyoto – Higashiyama – Eastern Kyoto – Kyoto Sightseeing Pass again?
        b) Tues 26/3 Kyoto – Arashiyama & Sagano – Western Kyoto – Perhaps a 1-day pass that covers subways/buses
        c) Wed 27/3 Kyoto-Tokyo – Since I am not getting JR Rail Pass, it might be very expensive to use Shingansen, unless I am doing this purely for experience as a first-timer tourist to Japan. Your advice?? : )
        d) Thurs 28/3-Fri 29/3 Tokyo – Thurs 28/3 I am going to Ghibli Museum, nearest station is a JR station, but there are other options too. Noted that you do not recommend Greater Tokyo Pass. Your recommendations?
        e) Sat 30/3 Tokyo-Narita Aiport – Leaving from Shinjuku hostel late afternoon / early evening to airport. I anticipate traffic is slow if I take bus. Will look up for subway.. Your suggestions?

        Thank you once again 🙂

        1. Hi Jen,

          Actually I don’t recommend Kyoto sightseeing pass so much. Because subway is not very convenient. Bus pass is okay for sightseeing in Kyoto. If you really need to take train or subway, just purchase a regular ticket.

          Even if you use JR pass, the cost of 7 day pass is almost same as round trip between Kyoto and Tokyo by Shinkansen. If you want to take it, you have to pay unfortunately.

          For trip to Ghibli museum, just pay as you go. Even if you have Greater Tokyo Pass, it does not cover JR anyway.

          If you want to take train, Narita Express is the best choice. But it costs about 3,000 yen. There is no deals available. Subway does not go to Narita airport.


          Takeshi /

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    I am planning to travel to Japan from April 11th – 23rd. The plane will arrive at KIX on April 11th at 9.30 pm. I’m planning to go directly to Tokyo for the next day (April 12th) and stay until April 15th. I am going to buy JR pass for 7 day and JR West Kansai pass for 4 days to cover train from Osaka to KIX.

    Please kindly advise if this arrangement is the best for me. Thank you.

    Really appreciate your advise.

    12 – 15 April Tokyo
    15 – 16 April Hirosaki Park (Aomori), Kakunodate (Akita)
    16 – 17 April Shirakawago
    17- 20 April Kyoto
    20 – 21 April Nara
    21 – 23 April Osaka


    1. Hi Karina,

      You can use JR Pass 7-day for 12th to 18th. However I don’t think Kansai area pass 4-day is required. Because the train fare from Kyoto to Nara is around 700 yen and Nara to Osaka is around 600 yen. In Osaka, subway is more convenient and you can use other deal. So you cannot get the worth of Kansai area pass and it’s not very useful.

      I recommend you to use local deals in Kyoto and Osaka, and use a regular ticket for Kyoto to Nara and Nara to Osaka. Please see the links below to find info about the local deal:


      Takeshi /

  6. Dear Sir,
    Need your best advice on how many days of JR pass I should buy for my trip to Hokkaido on 09-May to 18-May-2019
    09&10/05 -Arrived CTS Airport and stay 2 nights at Hokoate.
    11/05 – Hokodate→ Toya→ Usuzan Ropeway→Sapporo stay
    12&13/05 – Join 2 days tour see Shibazakura
    14/05 – Sapporo →Otaru →Sapporo stay)
    15/05 – Sapporo→Noboribetsu
    16/05 -Noboribetsu→Sapporo →Biei →Sapporo
    17/05 -Sapporo Sightseeing
    18/08 -Sapporo →CTS Airport (Dep)

    Thank you.

  7. Dear Mr Takeshi

    I would like to seek your review n recommendation of my May19 9Day Hokkaido Trip. Arrive@CTS 9.30am
    D2-Hakodate sightseeing(stay@hajodate)
    《Wanna to go matsumae castle for sakura but journey too far any recommendation?》
    D3-Hakodate>Noboribetsu (stay@Noboribetsu)
    D4-Noboribetsu>Sapporo (Stay@Sapporo)
    D5-Sapporo>Otaru (stay@sapporo)
    D6-Sapporo>Abashiri (stay@Abashiri)
    D7-Abashiri>Sapporo (stay@Sapporo)
    D8-Sapporo>Bieie/Takikawa (stay@Sapporo)
    Will seek your recommend for our planning and what jr pass are suitable to our trip.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Chloe,

      You may use 7-day Hokkaido Rail Pass for day 1 to 7.

      But you have to switch trip to Otaru on day 5 and trip to Biei on day 8. Because Otaru is very closed to Sapporo. You should pay a regular fare for Otaru and you must go to Biei in 7 days period.

      I don’t recommend you to visit Matsumae to see cherry blossom. It will be too late to see it. The forecast says the peak will be early May.

      It takes 3 hours to get Matsumae. I don’t think it’s worth visiting there in late May.


      Takeshi /

  8. We will be arriving at Narita airport 11 September mid morning
    We then need to go to matsumoto for a 3 night stay
    We then move to Ena for 5 nights, checking out places such as Magome and Tsumago
    We then go back upto Kiso for 4 nights before returning to Narita for 4 nights before flying off
    Total days between leaving and arriving back at Narita is 13
    Is there a pass which would cover all train travel?
    Would a JR pass be worthwhile?
    Do we need to book seats or do we just rock up at the station and scan our Icoca / Suica / Pasmo cards at the gate?
    Many thanks for any advice

    1. Hi Peter,

      JR pass is way too expensive for your trip. Actually the regular fare ticket is the best option. Seat reservation is required for Narita to Shinjuku and Shinjuku to Matsumoto. For other ride, it’s not required but recommended. All reservation can be booked at Narita Airport station if you like.

      Suica, Pasmo or other IC card is not recommended for long distance riding. Please use these to take a local train in downtown Tokyo area.


      Takeshi /

  9. Hi Takeshi, we plan to travel to Japan in July 2019 for a 14 days trip. The plane will arrive and depart at Narita airport.
    First we will visit our friend for a couple of days in Honjo Waseda. After that, we will start our trip with the departure point is from Honjo Waseda station. The place of interest are:
    2 nights in Kanazawa
    2 nights in Takayama
    3 nights in Kyoto
    4 nights in Tokyo with day trip to Hakone and Fuji areas then heading home.
    I don’t think the 7 days Japan Rail Pass will work for us because the trip starting from Honjo Waseda to Tokyo is more than 7 days. It is only worth if we cut down 1 night in either Kanazawa or Takayama however I don’t want to miss out on these locations. Would you please advise which pass is best for us on this occasion? Thank you and regards.

    1. Hi Trang,

      Unfortunately there in no deals to cover your trip. As you thought, if you cut one night at Kanazawa, Takayama or Kyoto, 7-day JR pass will work. 14-day pass is too expensive. Regular fare ticket is your choice for moving between these cities.

      Do you think that you can cut one night in Kyoto? I think it’s hard to cut in Takayama or Kanazawa. But Kyoto is connected to Tokyo by the Shinkansen. You can take the last train to Tokyo, you still can have one full day on the day to leave from Kyoto. The last train to Kyoto leave from Kyoto around 20:30. It arrives at Tokyo after 23:00 but you can maximize your time in Kyoto even if you stay only 2 nights there.

      Otherwise regular ticket is only choice unfortunately.

      Please see the links below to find the deal for Narita to Tokyo, Hakone and Fuji in the links below:


      Takeshi /

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