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I hope this website will help you to travel by rail in Japan!

5,152 thoughts on “Forums”

  1. Hi Takeshi San


    Planning my first trip Hokkaido. As we will be arriving Haneda in the afternoon so we plan to stay for a night and take the Shinkansen the next morning to Hakodate and travel down to Sapporo.

    We intend to get a 7days jr pass but are worried we may not be able to book a seat when we arrive.

    Wonder if we can make seat reservation on line and collect our tickets when we arrive.

  2. Hello Takeshi San. We are arriving Tokyo Haneda on the afternoon of June 15 and leaving morning of June 21. We will try to get as much seen of Tokyo but we would also like to try day trips to Kawagoe/Little Edo and Kanazawa/Shirakawago. Can you suggest the right JR passes and maybe subway/train passes to purchase for the 5 1/2 days we are there? Been following your forum since our first family trip to Tokyo in 2015. Thank you for any suggestions you could provide

    1. Hi Ross san,

      JR pass 7-day is the best choice. It covers Haneda to Tokyo, Tokyo to Kawagoe, Tokyo to Kanazawa and JR local train in Tokyo. But the bus to Shirakawago is not covered. You have to pay for it. Please see the links below to find the info:


      Takeshi /

      1. Hello Takeshi san,

        We are planning to visit the following in Kyoto and Nara area for 3 days:
        – Bamboo Grove, Arashimaya
        – Kinkakuji Temple
        – Kiyomizudera Temple
        – Fushimi Inari
        – Todai-ji, Nara
        – Osaka
        will the 3-day Kansai Thru Pass able to access all these places?
        Also, will it be cheaper to use this option?
        Thank you very much. Arigato!


  3. Hello Takeshi, thanks for creating this website; it’s a great resource.

    I don’t have my itinerary 100% nailed down, but I’d appreciate any suggestions on what I have so far. I’ve read several of your articles and I’ve gathered that in many cases it’s difficult to save money with passes. This, coupled with the fact that my day-to-day plans aren’t firm yet, has led me to believe that getting an IC card instead of various passes is my best option.

    I’m staying in Japan for about 20 days this month:
    – Three nights in Tokyo (mostly only one day here). Will visit Ghibli Museum, and skytree, and explore the city with whatever time I have left.
    [ Have already purchased highway bus ticket from Tokyo to Shizuoka ]
    – Four nights in Shizuoka. I’m visiting a friend and she has a car, so I don’t think I’ll need to purchase many train tickets here.
    [ Planning to purchase Kodama Tokaido Shinkansen ticket from Shizuoka to Maibara station and taking Biwako Line up to Nagahama ]
    – Three nights in Nagahama. Planning to visit Sekigahara, Hikone, Chikubu Island.
    [ Planning to take Biwako Line from Nagahama to Kyoto Station ]
    – Seven nights in Kyoto. Planning to see the major attractions in Kyoto, and also several day trips. Day trip possibilities include: Amanohashidate, Nara, Otsu, Himeji.
    – Last two nights are in Osaka. I’ll visit kaiyukan and explore the city with time left over.
    [ Finally, I will take an LCC flight from KIX back to Narita to depart ]

    If anything, I’m thinking that one of the Kansai passes might be worth getting, but I’m not sure. My hotels are booked, so the number of days I’m staying in each location is finalized but I don’t have a day-to-day itinerary drawn up for each location. If you’re unable to give me any suggestions due to this I completely understand. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jeff,

      I have a few recommended deals:

      In Tokyo, you may use one of subway deals in the link below. Ghibli is outside the coverage area of subway but most places in downtown Tokyo are covered by subway:

      Of course you may use IC card, such as Suica instead.

      I also recommend you to use Kansai Wide Area Pass.

      As long as you visit Amanohashidate, you can get the worth of this pass. This pass is a good choice to visit Himeji, Nara and Kyoto to Kansai airport. If you can make these trips in the last 5 days, you can get the biggest saving.


      Takeshi /

      1. Those both sound perfect! Thank you for taking the time to review my itinerary.

        To fill in the gaps, I was planning to buy a suica card to use until I reached Kyoto where I planned to pick up a Kansai One Pass (for the various discounts). Does this sound like a good plan?

        Also I had one other question. Do you have an article about handling situations where part of a route is not covered by a pass? I imagine the gate would show me an error, and I’d just scan an IC card instead?


        1. Hi Jeff,

          Please see the link below:

          You may use Suica in other area too. But Suica does not offer any discount and Kansai one pass does. So you may get Kansai one pass too.

          In your trip plan, only Sekigahara is out of the coverage area of IC card. When you go to Sekigahara from Nagahama, you should buy a regular fare ticket. And when you get there, you cannot get Kansai one pass. It’s sold in Kyoto and Osaka area. So you can keep Suica and use it for trip to Hikone, Nagahama to Kyoto.

          And I forgot to put the link of the deals in Osaka and Kyoto.

          Please try to use Kansai Wide Area Pass for the trip to outside Kyoto and Osaka. You may use other deal or Kansai one pass when you are in Osaka and Kyoto.


          Takeshi /

          1. Hello Takeshi, I hope you’re well.

            Sorry for not responding sooner. I wanted to thank you for all the help. I made it to Japan (actually on my bus to Shizuoka as I type this) and I’m puting your suggestions to good use. The Tokyo metro information was especially helpful. It turns out the Narita limousine bus went straight to my hotel. The first stop too! 🙂

            Thanks again, it’s very generous of you to help people like this.


  4. Dear Takeshi san,
    I will be travelling to Nagoya , takayama this October for a 7 days trip and planning to purchase the Takayama~Hokuriku pass. My plan as follows , go straight to Takayama upon arrival.
    Day 2 shiragawa go by bus
    Day 3 Toyama
    Day 4 down to Nagoya (will stay here till I leave Japan)
    Day 5 Kyoto (day trip)
    My question is will the pass cover the Nagoya to Kyoto sector. Instead of going by the Takayama line which is very far( I am not prepared to travel in trains for 4 hours)will the pass cover the sector which need transfer at Melba station (I checked that in Hyperdia).
    If is too far to go Kyoto or Osaka as day trip, please suggest any other destinations that the train pass cover. And my above plan is changeable too. Please advise,
    Thank you

    1. Hi Anne san,

      The Shinkansen is most realistic choice to get Kyoto and Osaka from Nagoya.

      But this is not covered by Takayama Hokuriku Tourist Area Pass at all. You must pay the regular fare. Platt Kodama is a bit cheaper choice than the regular fare.

      I don’t think that it’s too fare to go to Kyoto and Osaka from Nagoya as the day trip. But you have to pay extra.

      You may add Kanazawa when you stay in Takayama. Kanazawa is very attractive town and you can get there from Takayama by either train or bus.

      You cannot get Kanazawa as day trip from Nagoya by this pass. Because this pass does not cover the fastest route from Nagoya to Kanazawa. If you add Kanazawa, you should visit from Takayama.


      Takeshi /

    2. Hi Takeshi san,

      We are travelling to Kyoto by night bus from Tokyo on June 14, 2019.
      We are going to stay in Kyoto for 2 nights and 3 days. We are planning to see the major tourist spots in Kyoto and would want to try to squeeze also to see the Golden Buddha in Nara.
      On the 3rd day, we are going to Osaka to stay for 2 days before flying back to our homeland.
      Can you please suggest the best pass that we can buy to cover all the major spots in Kyoto and Nara for 3 days and also to include the fare going to Osaka at the end of our 3 day trip?
      Thank you very much! Arigato!

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    First, thank you again for hosting this site. I got your advice about tickets / passes before arriving in Japan in late March, and everything has worked out really well. Thank you for your help!

    I am still in Japan and I want to take a weekend trip from Kyoto to Tokyo. I no longer have my JR pass (that was used up in April!). However, I am here on a temporary visitor visa, so I have used that purchase 2-day JRWest pass a few weeks ago.

    Is there a similar pass I can buy in Japan (but as a foreign tourist) just to use for a round-trip shinkansen ticket between Kyoto and Tokyo (actually, Shin-Yokohama)? It appears that the JRWest passes do not go east of Nagano. Is there a similar pass for JRCentral lines? (Or perhaps it’s not worth it for just one trip between Kyoto and Tokyo…) Or should I just pay normal price for a round-trip ticket from a machine or at a JR office?

    Thank you again for your help!

    1. Hi Bob,

      You have two choices. The first one is Platt Kodama. You can take only Kodama on the Shinkansen. It is slow but cheaper.

      The next one is JR pass. But the price is higher than purchasing outside Japan. You cannot get the worth of it by Kyoto-Tokyo round trip, But if you intend to use the pass more, it is considerable:


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you very much for responding, Takeshi. It appears that I just have to pay regular price, unfortunately (the Kodoma will take too long). I appreciate you re-stating information from your website…I’m sure you get lots of repeat questions like mine!

  6. Konnichiwa!

    Dear Takeshi, I will be travelling to Japan in July and would really like to take the Sunrise Izumo night train from Tokyo to Hiroshima. I would love to experience a night train in Japan. I have the JR pass.

    I understand that these tickets sell out really fast, are not available online and can be purchased from 1 month in advance.

    I would travel on my 3rd day in Japan, on 3rd July at 22:00, so if I wait until I arrive there, it will be too late.

    Can you please advise how can I reserve them? Is there a phone I can call to do this? Will any of the staff be english speakers? What information do I need to provide to reserve the tickets?


    1. Hi Pelayo,

      You can book a seat at any stations. The easiest way is booking when you exchange JR Pass. You can exchange the pass right after you arrive in Japan. Even if you don’t start using JR pass right after you arrive, you can exchange it. You may pick the date when you start using it. Once you get the actual pass, you can start booking.

      There is no phone booking service. The only way is booking after you arrive in Japan. So try to book it as soon as possible after you arrive in Japan. Unfortunately this is only way to book.


      Takeshi /

  7. Hello Takeshi-San,

    Our party of 4 will be arriving in Tokyo on 9 August 2019 (late noon) and I understand it is peak period because of the Obon Festival. We will head to Takasaki from Narita Airport. Can you advise if it is difficult for us to buy train/shinkansen tickets? Will taking the bus be better instead?

    Thank you.

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Serena,

      I think you will be okay. Most travelers will start the trip on 10th. Probably it will be busier in the afternoon on 9th but it is not very serious yet. And also you can get Takasaki by the commute train in the worst case. You can get there anyway.


      Takeshi /

  8. Hello Takeshi San,
    Pls suggest best rail/bus pass for below itinerary travelling end June 2019:
    arrive Haneda airport – stay 2 nights in Urayasu area Tokyo – travel to Takayama (2 nights stay with visit to shirakawago) – travel to Kyoto (5 nights – visit Heroshima, Miyajima, Osaka, Himeji castle, maybe Nara) – travel to Shinjuku area Tokyo(4 nights – visit a day visit to Mount Fuji, and 2 days in local Tokyo area.

  9. hi takeshi! im looking at chuo bus going to mitsui outlet park iriguchi. is this the same as mitsui outlet park kitahiroshima? thanks!

  10. Hello Takeshi San,

    We plan to visit Japan for 10 days coming November. Will buy the JR East 5 days flexi Pass.
    Will be staying at Kawazu, Hamamatsu, Atami and Shinjuku.

    Please advice if I can make advance purchase of all train tickets (10 days) at the Narita International Airport JR or JR East Ticketing Office? If not, where can I purchase advance tickets.

    Best regards, David Lee.

    1. Hi David san,

      You may use JR East Pass Nagano Niigata 5-day for your trip. But Hamamatsu is not in the coverage area. You have to pay for Atami-Hamamatsu segment. And also this pass does not cover the Shinkansen between Tokyo, Atami and Hamamatsu. So if you intend to take the Shinkansen from Hamamatsu to Tokyo (or versa), you have to pay for Atami-Tokyo even though this is in the coverage area. You must take the limited express Odoriko or other ordinary train between Atami and Tokyo.

      And also you must use the pass for Tokyo-Narita airport round trip to get the worth of it. You cannot get the worth of this pass by Shinjuku-Atami-Kawazu-Shinjuku. It costs around 12,000 to 13,000 yen. The one way trip costs around 3,000 yen for Tokyo to/from Narita by Narita Express.

      You can purchase and book at Narita Airport station. Once you exchange the pass, you can book a seat later at other major JR East station, such as Tokyo, Shinjuku.


      Takeshi /

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