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5,152 thoughts on “Forums”

  1. Dear Takeshi san,
    I found your website very informative and helpful.

    My family will be travelling to Japan early December.

    We will be flying in to Komatsu and towards Kanazawa, downwards to Shirokawago and then Takayama. From there we will head to Kyoto then to Osaka and back to Tokyo.

    Basically, the brief itinerary is as follows:
    1/ Kanazawa (3 full days) – Around Kanazawa and Noto Peninsula (1day) (Stay: Kanazawa)
    2/ Shirokawago and Takayama (2days with overnight either at one of the place)
    3/ Kyoto (3 full days) – Around Kyoto and Nara(1day) (Stay: Kyoto)
    4/ Osaka (3 full days) – Around Osaka,Himeji and possibly Kobe. (Stay: Osaka)
    5/ Back to Tokyo (1.5 day- 2 nights) – Heading to Takasaki (short trip) then home (Stay: Tokyo)

    I was thinking of JR Pass (7days) but discovered that they don’t cover private railway in Osaka and Kyoto. I am now thinking of getting Kansai pass and then fly back from Osaka to Tokyo instead of taking Shinkansen

    My calculation is that the Kansai Hokiruku Pass and Kansai Thru pass will give a better value compared to JR Pass.

    I do appreciate if you can help to confirm if my analysis is correct.

    Thank you very much.

    Best Regards

    1. Hi Kim san,

      I recommend you to use JR pass. There are many reasons. I show you one by one.

      JR trains in Osaka and Kyoto covers many places actually, such as Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Nijo in Kyoto, Osaka castle, Umeda, USJ in Osaka. Please see the links below:

      You can use JR pass to get Nara as well even though JR Nara station is not more convenient than Kintetsu Nara station:

      You still have to add the fare to take city bus, subway and/or Non JR trains. Especially in Kyoto, you must take city bus to get most of places. But city bus pass is sold at 600 yen for one day. So you can add bus pass and regular fare to take subway or non JR when you need to take.

      Takayama is not in the coverage area of Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass. So if you use it, you have to add the fare to take JR train to Inotani which is located on the way to Toyama from Takayama, or taking Nohi Bus. If you use JR pass, you can take the route of Takayama-Nagoya-Kyoto.

      Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass has almost same coverage as JR pass in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. I don’t think you need to add Kansai thru pass. It’s way too much.

      I cannot say which is cheaper option, JR pass or Kansai Hokuriku area pass + additional fare + flight fare. If you can find the air fare for Osaka to Tokyo less than 10,000 yen, it is cheaper than JR pass. I think it’s not easy to find the air fare at this price range.


      Takeshi /

      1. Dear Takeshi san,
        Thank you very much for your valuable advise.

        I check through my plan again and have noted that I need to travel to Takasaki to meet a friend when I am in Tokyo. Therefore, JR pass will be the cheaper option. I arrive in Tokyo (from Osaka) and then head to Takasaki on the same day.

        1/ In Kanazawa, I will probably buy the day pass to travel around town.
        2/ From Takayama, I plan to take the Nouhi bus to Kyoto (this is because the 7 day JR pass will not cover the trip to Takasaki if I take it one day earlier). Travelling time is about an hour more.
        3/ In Kyoto, will buy the day pass.

        The above is my tentative plan. Does it make sense??

        Kyoto,Osaka and surrounding areas will be by JR pass and day pass (if required).


        Best Regards
        Kim Thia

  2. Good day Takeshi-San,

    Appreciate your kind assistance to recommend on which passes will be more worthwhile to purchase for my trip below.

    28 Oct (Day 1)
    – Arrive in Kansai @ 9.10pm
    – Staying in Osaka-Namba by taking Nankai Railway

    29 Oct (Day 2)
    – Nara, Todaiji or kasuga shrine, Fushimi-Inari and Kiyomizu-Dera, Ninen-zaka & Sannen-zaka, Yasaka Shrine & then Gion at night
    – Staying close to Kyoto Station

    30 Oct (Day 3)
    – Kinkaku-ji temple, Philosopher’s Path, Nishiki market, Teramachi & Shinkyogoky shopping streets, Pontocho
    – Staying close to Kyoto Station

    31 Oct (Day 4)
    – Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (early morning), Sagano Romantic Train, Togetsukyo Bridge, Tenryu-ji Temple, Kyoto Tower
    – Staying close to Kyoto Station

    01 Nov (Day 5)
    – Check out hotel & heading to Kanazawa by Limited Express Thunderbird
    (1st train 6.30am arrival 9.13am)
    – Kenrokuen Garden, Omicho Market, Higashi Chaya district, Shima Teahouse, try the gold leaf ice cream at Hakuichi, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
    – Staying in Kanazawa
    – Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass (5 days) for D5 to D7

    02 Nov (Day 6)
    – Kanazawa to Shirakawa-Go by Nohi Bus (1st bus 8.10am arrival 9.25am)
    – Visit the Ogimachi Castle Ruins Lookout & explore the inside of a thatch-roof house
    – Shirakawa-Go to Takayama by Nohi Bus (departure 2.35pm arrival 3.25pm)
    – Takayama Old Town, Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine
    – Staying in Takayama

    03 Nov (Day 7)
    – Explore morning market before leaving Takayama
    – Leave from Takayama->Toyama->Kanazawa->Osaka
    – Shinsekai, Tsutenkaku Tower, JanJan Yokocho
    – Staying in Namba

    04 Nov (Day 8)
    – Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium, Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Umeda Sky building for sunset
    – Staying in Namba

    05 Nov (Day 9)
    – Kuromon Market, Shinsainashi, Dotonbori
    – Staying in Namba

    06 Nov (Day 10)
    – Depart from Kansai @ 9.25am

    P.S : I will skip some places if do not have enough time & sorry for the long post.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Hi LaySee san,

      You may use Kansai One Pass for day 1, 2, 4, 9 and 10.

      But if you want to take the limited express Rapi:t for KIX-Namba on day 1 and 10, you may use the deal in the links below:
      If the above deal is not available in your country, see the link below:

      All day bus pass is your choice on day 3:

      Osaka amazing pass for day 8:


      Takeshi /

  3. hi takeshi, im going to sapporo and osaka this october.

    im planning to take the new chitose airport limousine bus upon arrival. ill be staying at karaksa hotel, is it right that i alight at minami san jo susukino bus stop and walk around 10-15mins?

    if from karaksa hotel to airport, i saw that there is a bus stop across hotel sunroute. can we use this bus stop instead upon arrival?or the bus stopping here is only going towards the airport?

    can i use my suica/icoca on this bus?or do i need to buy a ticket somewhere?

    i hope you understand, thank you in advance! 🙂

    1. Hi Aa,

      I think you have understood it correctly. But I’m not very familiar with the limousine bus to/from New Chitose. I have never taken it before. I always use the train. If you really want to make sure, please ask the hotel. You can contact them through the hotel website.

      You can use Suica or ICOCA.


      Takeshi /

  4. Dear Takeshi san,

    Would really appreciate your input regarding our plans to stay in 5 lakes for 3 days.

    We are wondering if there are special train rates for going to 5 lakes from Tokyo. As we are only going for two nights, should we just pay ala carte train tickets at the station? We are even thinking of driving in 5 lakes district but only upon arrival to rent a car. We are also confused by the tourist passes available. There is the mt Fuji pass and also one called Fujigoko pass. Are they the same? Thank you so much.

    Kind regards


    1. Hi Samantha san,

      There is no deals available unfortunately. Fuji Pass is bus pass and local train ride pass but you will drive to go round that place. This type of pass is not required for you. Just pay the regular fare to get there from Tokyo.


      Takeshi /

  5. hi takeshi,

    1) can i use suica card when i go to hokkaido (sapporo/otaru/biei) and osaka?

    2) can i use icoca card to hokkaido (sapporo/otaru/biei)?

    thank you!

  6. Hi Takeshi San
    Can you please recommend what pass I have to buy for my trip
    Arriving to haneda
    Staying 4 nights in Tokyo
    Going to hakone 2 nights
    Next Osaka -2 nights
    Kyoto 2 nights
    Back to Tokyo for 3 nights
    Flying back from hakone home

  7. Dear mr.Takeshi

    As i know Genbi shinkansen is cover by jr east ..but is it cover too by jr pass? And how to reserve genbi shinkansen

    Budi nio

    1. Hi Budi,

      It’s covered by JR pass as well.

      If you really want to reserve your seat, you can book it at the reservation window in any JR stations. But I don’t think you need. Because it’s such a short ride. If you see many artworks, you don’t have a time to stay at your seat.


      Takeshi /

  8. Hello Takeshi-san,

    If I purchase my Shinkansen ticket from Mishima to Kyoto online, which station can I pick up my tickets from? During the ticket purchase process, it was informed that the tickets cannot be picked up at the Mishima Station. Do you know if I can pick up the tickets in the Narita Airport or any stations in Tokyo?



        1. Hi Wayne san,

          If you book a seat on JR Kyushu reservation site, you have to pick up a ticket in JR Kyushu and JR West area. The major cities in JR West and JR Kyushu area are Hakata, Kumamoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Kanazawa. Basically all places are located in western part of Japan. You cannot pick up a ticket at Tokyo and other places in eastern part of Japan.

          Smart Ex is other choice to book and it may be available in your country.

          If it’s not available, there is no ways to book a ticket online.


          Takeshi /

          1. Hello Takeshi-san,

            Thanks for your help.

            If I book my Shinkansen ticket using Smart EX, will I be able to pick up my Shinkansen ticket in the Mishima station? How much time should I allocate for picking up the ticket on the vending machine?



  9. Hello Takeshi-san,

    Thank you for helping all of us travelers out with your wealth of information. I have the following itinerary and was trying to figure out if a 7 day JR pass would be most cost effective.

    Sept 14th – take train from NRT into Ueno Stn
    Sept 18th – take train from Ueno Stn to Kusatsu
    Sept 20th – take train from Kusatsu to Kofu (via Tokyo stn)
    Sept 22nd – take train (or bus) from Kofu stn to Kawaguchiko Stn
    Sept 24th – take train from Kawaguchiko Stn to NRT airport stn

    From what I can tell, the pass would be best but I wanted an expert’s opinion! Also, I am having difficulty figuring out if there is a train from Kofu Stn to Kawaguchiko Stn. So far, I’ve only found buses.

    Thank you for your help. It is very much appreciated!



      1. Hello Takeshi-san,

        Thank you very much for giving me all of the information for my trip.

        I do have one question regarding the Tokyo Wide Pass. Will the train get us to Kusatsu? I looked at the map of the train lines but was unable to tell if it did or not.



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