Sample itinerary Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hokkaido 10 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Clock Tower is Sapporo’s icon.

I have posted the sample itinerary that includes Kyoto, Osaka and Hokkaido before. But at that time, Hokkaido Shinkansen was not open. Current train schedule and operation are completely different from that time. At this time, I revise all train schedule and update the information. And I add many more detailed information and help you to build your plan much more.

In this post, I would like to share this new itinerary. It is 10 days trip plan but I used 7 days JR pass. Local deals are added at the beginning and the end of the trip to shrink the total cost. But mostly JR pass covers the trip. Actually JR Pass 7 days gives you super saving!

Day 1 Narita or Haneda to Tokyo

Keisei Railway Skyliner
Keisei Railway Skyliner is the fastest train other than Shinkansen. This is the best way to get Ueno from Narita.

There are many kinds of deals available. Before you choose the deal, you have to make sure which airport, Narita airport or Haneda airport, you will arrive and which place in Tokyo you will stay. The following links shows you the deals for airport to Tokyo and airport Tokyo with subway ride combo.


Ueno is very convenient if you arrive in Narita. You can access to Ueno directly by Keisei railway from Narita airport. Especially limited express “Skyliner” is the fastest way to get downtown Tokyo. Ueno is Keisei railway’s terminal station. Ueno is also accessible to Akihabara, Shinjuku, Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree. Average hotel rate is more reasonable than most of places in downtown Tokyo.

Shinagawa is most accessible place in downtown Tokyo from Haneda. You can get Shinagawa from Haneda by Keihin Kyuko railway directly. Average hotel rate is not so reasonable actually. But you can catch Shinkansen to Kyoto at Shinagawa. This is a big asset to stay in Shinagawa. There is no subway station but you can catch JR local trains, such as Yamanote line. You can get Akihabara, Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku Yurakucho (Ginza) directly by Yamanote line.

Day 2 Tokyo

Senso-ji temple and Tokyo Skytree in Asakusa ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

You may use airport access + subway 24 hours ride pass. In this case, you can use subway pass for sightseeing in Tokyo. But some of you look for the deal to visit the places in Tokyo. The following link gives you some idea to find the best deal.

If you want to stay in Tokyo more, you can extend to stay as many as you want. You start using JR pass when you leave Tokyo and use other deal before that anyway.

Day 3 Tokyo – Kyoto

Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

This is the first day of using JR pass. JR pass can be exchanged in advance. You can exchange JR pass on day 1 when you arrive in airport if you want. There are station or service counter. Once you turn in the actual pass, you can start booking your seat. I recommend you to exchange in advance.

You can take Hikari on Tokaido Shinkansen. Hikari is second fastest train on Tokaido Shinkansen. Nozomi is the fastest but it is not covered by JR Pass. Please see the timetable in the link below. You will find “H” in the timetable that is Hikari.

JR Central official site, Tokaido Shinkansen timetable from Tokyo

If you want to spend the time in Kyoto as much as you can, please try to take the train as early as possible. It takes 3 hours to get Kyoto by Hikari. But when you take Shinkansen, you need to get Tokyo station or Shinagawa station. If you stay near one of these stations, you can take Shinkansen very smoothly. But if you do not stay near these stations, you need to take local trains. You might know how crazy local trains in downtown Tokyo in weekday morning peak hours. Please try to avoid to take local trains between 7:30 and 9:00.

If you stay in Ueno, you may take Shinkansen for the short ride to get Tokyo station. It takes only 5 minutes. You have JR pass and it covers. Some commuters use Shinkansen but it is not crazy busy. You can avoid to take a crazy packed commute train even if you depart in peak hours

After arriving Kyoto, you can take JR trains in Kyoto by JR pass. Please see the link below to get the coverage information in Kyoto at the link below:

Please remember that JR pass does not cover subway and non JR trains in Kyoto. You can get Arahsiyama, Nijo, Fushimi and Uji, But you need to take subway and/or city bus to get other places in Kyoto such as Gion, Kiyomizu-dera temple, Kinkaku-ji temple (Golden Pavilion), Kurama. Please see the link below to find the information about local deal in Kyoto.

Sample itinerary
Ueno 08:31 (Yamabiko 204) 08:36 Tokyo 09:03 (Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 465) 11:49 Kyoto
Or
Shinagawa 09:10 (Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 465) 11:49 Kyoto

Hikari between Tokyo and Kyoto runs almost every 30 minutes. Please see the link below to find the timetable. Hikari is shown as “H” in the timetable.
Tokaido Shinkansen timetable (westbound)

If you leave after 09:00 am from Ueno, you don’t need to take Tohoku Shinkansen. You can catch a local train too. Trip time is not much different. But Tohoku Shinkansen platform in Ueno station is located in very deep underground. It is not very convenient and local train is easier.

After arrival at Kyoto station, drop off your baggage at your hotel and eat lunch. And then you can start to explore Kyoto. Hotel near Kyoto station is recommended.

Kyoto 13:37 (JR Nara line local train) 13:42 Inari
Inari station is located just in front of Fushimi Inari shrine.

Fushimiinari 15:08 (Keihan Railway / 210 yen extra) 15:14 Kiyomizu-Gojo (Walk 1.7 km / 20 minutes) Kiyomizu-dera temple
Even if you take a bus from Kiyomizu-Gojo station, you need to walk about 1 km. There is no buses to get Kiyomizu-dera directly. If you do not walk or travel with senior, do not hesitate to take a taxi. It costs less than 1,000 yen.

Kiyomizu-dera temple (walk about 2km) Gion
There are sightseeing spots, like Sanneizaka, Ninenzaka between Kiyomizu-dera and Gion. I highly recommend you to walk to Gion. It is very scenic and lots of shops along this route. You may have dinner at Gion area. Gion is one of the biggest downtown core in Kyoto. Enjoy the atmosphere of Kyoto in Gion!

Gion (city bus 15 to 20 minutes ride / 230 yen extra) Kyoto

Day 4 Kyoto – Osaka

Autumn in Arashiyama is breathtaking. ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

You can enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto until late afternoon. After sightseeing in Kyoto, proceed to Osaka. It is very short trip from Kyoto to Osaka. Even if you take commute rapid train, “Special Rapid Service”, it takes only 30 minutes. You can catch even Shinkansen for this short trip. It takes only 10 minutes from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka.

Shin-Osaka is most recommended place to stay in Osaka in my opinion. It is only one station away from Osaka (Umeda) by JR train. You can catch subway to get Namba directly. But subway is not covered by JR pass. Please see the link below to find the coverage of JR pass in Osaka:

Umeda Sky Building is one of popular spots in Umeda area. ©JNTO

I show you the sample itinerary that include Arashiyama, Kinaku-ji temple (Golden Pavilion) and Umeda.

Sample itinerary
Kyoto 09:03 (JR Sagano line local train) 09:12 Enmachi 09:21 (city bus #204 / 230 yen extra) 09:30 Kinkakujimichi (walk 5 minutes) Kinaku-ji temple
You have one hour to view Golden Pavilion.
*Leave your baggage at your hotel and pick up when you leave Kyoto later.

Kinkaku-ji temple (walk 5 minutes) Kinakujimichi 10:59 (city bus #204 / 230 yen extra) 11:08 Enmachi 11:15 (JR Sagano line local train) 11:19 Saga-Arashiyama
You have 4.5 hours in Arashiyama for sightseeing and lunch time. If you want, you can squeeze Sagano Scenic Train (Torokko train). Sagano Scenic Train is not covered by JR Pass.

Saga-Arashiyama 15:48 (JR Sagano line local train) 16:04 Kyoto
Pick up your luggage before you take Shinkansen train when you leave Kyoto.

Kyoto 16:49 (Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 475) 17:03 Shin-Osaka
You can take earlier or later train. Even if you take Special Rapid train (commute rapid service train), it takes less than 30 minutes to get Shin-Osaka from Kyoto and it runs every 15 minutes. Of course you can take this train by JR pass.
After you arrive in Shin-Osaka, drop off your baggage at your hotel and go to Umeda. Umeda is same location as JR Osaka station. It is only one station away from Shin-Osaka and it takes 5 minutes. Train runs almost every 5 minutes until midnight.

Day 5 Osaka – Tokyo

Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.
Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.

You enjoy full day sightseeing in Osaka. You have to leave Osaka for Tokyo because Hokkaido is very far to access from Osaka. But you can stay in Osaka until dinner time. I show you the sample itinerary that includes Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka Castle, Dotonbori and Namba. But you can build your own day plan.

Sample itinerary
Before starting trip, purchase Osaka Kaiyu ticket (2,550 yen) at subway Shin-Osaka station. This deal includes admission of Kaniyukan aquarium and 1 day subway unlimited ride.

Shin-Osaka 09:25 (Osaka Subway Midousuji line) 09:36 Hommachi 09:42 (Osaka Subway Chuo line) 09:53 Osakako (walk 10 minutes) Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium
Enjoy Aquarium and eat lunch at Tenpozan Market Place.
*Leave your baggage at your hotel before you leave for Tokyo.

Osakako 13:26 (Osaka Subway Chuo line) 13:41 Tanimachiyonchome
Tanimachiyonchome station is located beside Osaka Castle Park. But this park is quite big. You have to walk around 20 minutes to get the castle.

Osaka Business Park 15:41 (Osaka Subway Nagano/Tsurumiryokuchi line) 15:51 Shinsaibashi
Osaka Business Park station is also located beside Osaka castle park. You can get Shinsaibashi directly. After arrival at Shisaibashi, enjoy eat and shop in Dotonbori and Namba.

19:40 (Osaka Subway Midousuji line) 19:53 Shin-Osaka 20:37 (Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 482) 23:36 Tokyo
Pick up your baggage before you go to Tokyo.
*Hikari runs almost every 30 minutes. This above train is the last Hikari to Tokyo. You can take earlier train if you want to get Tokyo earlier. I just maximize to stay in Osaka. You stay in Tokyo on day 5 but you just stay there and prepare to take early train to Hokkaido next morning.

Day 6 Tokyo – Lake Toya

Lake Toya has nice Onsen resort (C) Toyako Tourist Association / JNTO

It is such a long trip by train. You spend 6 hours on board. After arriving Toyako Onsen (Lake Toya), enjoy lake cruise or walk along the lake shore.

You can skip Lake Toya and stay in Noboribetsu if you want. You make a stop at Noboribetsu next day. But if you stay in Noboribetsu, you can leave Noboribetsu earlier and make some extra time in Otaru or Sapporo.

I do not recommend you to stop at Lake Toya and then move to Noboribetsu on day 6. There are express bus running between Lake Toya and Noboribetsu. But no bus is available after 15:00. If you use train from Lake Toya to Noboribetsu, you have to take local bus to Toya station and then take train. And then you need to take local bus to Noboribetsu. You need to spend extra minutes and waste your time.

Sample itinerary
Tokyo 08:20 (Hokkaido Shinkansen Hayabusa 5) 12:22 Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto 12:34 (Limited Express Super Hokuto 11) 14:09 Toya 14:20 (Donan Bus / extra 330 yen) 14:40 Toyako Onsen

If you skip Lake Toya and stay in Noboribetsu, the itinerary is the following:
Tokyo 08:20 (Hokkaido Shinkansen Hayabusa 5) 12:22 Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto 12:34 (Limited Express Super Hokuto 11) 14:50 Noboribetsu 15:20 (Donan Bus / extra 340 yen) 15:34 Noboribetsu Onsen

You will change trains at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. You can find some more information about this station in the link below:

I traveled Lake Toya and Noboribetsu before. You can find my trip report in the link below:

 Rail travel in Japan complete guide - JPRa...
Trip to Hokkaido in 2017 winter – Part 6, Takikawa to Noboribetsu Onsen
https://jprail.com/travel-informations/trip-report/2017-hokkaido/trip-to-hokkaido-in-2017-winter-part-6-takikawa-to-lake-toya-via-noboribetsu.html
Limited Express Okhotsk by KIHA 183 seriesThis post is continued from Trip to Hokkaido in 2017 winter – Part 5, Asahikawa to Takikawa via Biei.On day 3, I dropped by three places, Biei, Noboribetsu and Lake Toya. In this post, I show you the seco...

Day 7 Lake Toya – Noboribetsu – Otaru – Sapporo

Noboribetsu Jigokudani means hell valley (C) Noboribetsu Tourist Association / JNTO

Leave Lake Toya by express bus for Noboribetsu Onsen. You have a quick stop at Noboribetsu Onsen and see the valley of hell. It is just step away from the bus stop in Noboribetsu Onsen. You also spend a few hours for sightseeing in Otaru.

Otaru Canal (C)Y. Shimizu
Otaru Canal is the highlight of Otaru city. (C)Y. Shimizu

You stay in Sapporo and enjoy the evening there.

Sample itinerary
Toyako Onsen 09:06 (Donan Bus “Express Iburi” / extra 1,700 yen) 10:11 Noboribetsu Onsen 12:00 (Donan Bus / extra 340 yen) 12:12 Noboribetsu 12:35 (Limited Express Super Hokukto 7) 13:48 Sapporo 14:13 (Rapid Airport) 14:45 Otaru 18:30 (Rapid Airport) 19:02 Sapporo

If you skip Lake Toya and stay in Noboribetsu on day 6, you can leave Noboribetsu earlier. The itinerary is the following:
Noboribetsu Onsen 09:45 (Donan Bus / extra 340 yen) 09:57 Noboribetsu 10:09 (Limited Express Hokukto 3) 11:27 Sapporo 11:43 (Rapid Airport) 12:15 Otaru 17:30 (Rapid Airport) 18:02 Sapporo

You can skip Otaru and spend more time in Sapporo if you like.

Day 8 Sapporo – Otaru – Hakodate

Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO
Night view form Hakodate mountain (C) Hokkaido Tourism Organization / JNTO

You spend the time in Sapporo until late afternoon. The last train to Hakondate is 20:00 departure. However night view from Hakodate mountain is marvelous. I recommend you to arrive Hakodate by 20:00 because Hakodate mountain gondola is operated until 21:00 in winter time and 22:00 in summer time.

The train in the following sample is the latest train to see the night view from Hakodate mountain. And also I recommend you to stay in the hotel near Hakodate station. You can drop off your luggage right after arrival in Hakodate. And catch the taxi to get Hakodate mountain ropeway station.

Sample itinerary
Sapporo 15:39 (Super Hokuto 18) 19:24 Hakodate
Hakodate (10 minutes by taxi / extra fare about 2,000 yen) Hakodate mountain gondola station
*You can take tram to Jujigai from Hakodate station and walk from there to gondola station. You spend 210 yen only but you spend 10 minutes for tram and 15 minutes to walk.

Day 9 Hakodate – Tokyo

Goryokaku is one of the best spots to see cherry blossom in Hokkaido. (C) JNTO

Enjoy sightseeing in Hakodate and leave for Tokyo by Hokkaido.

This is the last day of JR pass. You have to get Tokyo by midnight. There is no overnight trains available either.

Sample itinerary
Hakodate 18:01 (Rapid Hakodate Liner) 18:23 Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto 18:36 (Hokkaido Shinkansen Hayabusa 38) 23:04 Tokyo
I pick the last train to Tokyo. But you can take earlier train. Please check the timetable in the link below:

Hokkaido Shinkansen timetable

You can get off the train at Ueno if you go to Narita on next day.

Day 10 Tokyo to Narita or Haneda

If you use round trip deal on arrival day, you can use the remaining portion. Otherwise single fare is your choice to get the airport.

Cost break down

During 7 days period of JR pass, these following costs are covered by JR pass 7 days at 29,100 yen.

Tokyo – Kyoto one way trip by Shinkansen – 13,600 yen
Kyoto – Fushimi one way trip by local train – 140 yen
Kyoto – Osaka one way trip base fare – 560 yen
Shinkansen seat fee for Kyoto to Shin-Osaka – 2,250 yen (*)
Shin-Osaka – Tokyo one way trip by Shinkansen – 14,140 yen
Tokyo – Toya one way trip by Shinkanansen and Limited Express Hokuto – 25,120 yen
Noboribetsu – Otaru one way trip by Limited Express Hokuto and rapid train – 6,510 yen
Otaru – Sapporo one way trip by rapid train – 640 yen
Sapporo – Hakodate one way trip by Limited Express Hokuto – 8,830 yen
Hakodate – Tokyo one way trip by rapid train and Shinkansen – 23,210 yen
Total 94,910 yen

You can save more than 60,000 yen!

Even if you use 14 days pass at 46,390 yen, it still gives you about 50,000 yen saving. In this sample itinerary, I use 7 days pass and I recommend you to use other deal for day 1, 2 and 10. The extra cost for these 3 days is around 5,000 yen. For example, if you use Keisei Railway Skyliner round trip ticket + Tokyo Subway Ticket 24 hours combo is sold at 4,700 yen. You can get round trip access by high speed access express and 24 hours subway unlimited ride. If you arrive in Haneda, Haneda is much closer to Tokyo than Narita and you will spend lesser. So 14 days pass is still cheaper than actual cost but 7 days JR pass and other deals combination is cheaper than JR pass 14 days.

If you want to make the trip be longer

As I mentioned, even if you use 14 days pass, you have already to get the worth of that by this trip. So you can use 14 days JR pass and add any places. But if you just want to extend your stay in Tokyo, simply add subway ticket on this trip plan. 14 days JR pass is not very efficient in Tokyo and just wasting money.

104 thoughts on “Sample itinerary Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hokkaido 10 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days”

  1. Hello Takeshi san,

    I will be traveling alone with my 3 children July 24-Aug 31st.

    We arrive into Tokyo July 24th, 3:20 PM and would like to go to Kyoto and Hokkaido to explore the food.

    We are flexible and would like to travel to the locations as quick as possible. Your suggestions are welcomed.

    Thank you,
    Heng

    1. Hi Heng san,

      Are you staying in Japan more than 1 month? If so, you can do whatever you like. You have lots of time. If you meant you will stay in Japan from July 24 to July 31, you should move among the cities as quick as possible. You should take the flight. Please see the link below to find the trip time to Hokkaido.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7to9-days/sample-itinerary-of-staying-in-osaka-kyoto-and-osaka-8-days.html

      And also you should make sure which part of Hokkaido where you go. Hokkaido is a big island. If you intend to visit eastern and/or northern Hokkaido, such as Kushiro, Abashiri, Shiretoko, Wakkanai, you have lots of time.

      If you want to save your cost and do not mind to spend many minutes, you can use JR pass to move among Kyoto, Tokyo and Hokkaido. But if you want to save your time, you should take a domestic flight among Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo (or other airports in Hokkaido).

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you for your quick reply.

        No, we are only there for 7 days. I just purchased the 7 days J Rail pass. I would like to know the stations to catch the trains and to use the rail pass.

        July 24 – Tokyo – Kyoto (arrive into Narita 3:20 PM)
        July 24 – 27 – Kyoto
        July 27 – 29 – Hokkaido
        July 29 – July 31 – Tokyo

        Thank you for your time,
        Heng

        1. Hi Heng san,

          You can take Narita Express from Narita airport to Shinagawa, Shinkansen (Hikari) from Shinagawa to Kyoto. It take about 4 hours in total. But you will spend other 1.5 to 2 hours to clear custom and immigration, baggage pick up and exchange JR pass. You can get Kyoto anyway but it may be late.

          As per my previous reply, Kyoto to Hokkaido is such a big trip. You will spend one whole day on July 27. And you go back to Tokyo on July 29. So you have only 1.5 days in Hokkaido. Probably Sapporo and Hakodate are enough. Even one place, Hakodate or Sapporo is more comfortable.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi-san,

    We (3adult + 3 teen+ 1child) will traveling to Japan june 23 – july 5..

    Please give me a suggestion about my itinerary and pass require which cover the trip :
    Day 1 : KIX – Hiroshima – Miyajima – Hiroshima
    Day 2 : Hiroshima – Osaka
    Day 3 : Osaka Seightseeing
    Day 4 : Osaka (USJ)
    Day 5 : Osaka – Shirakawago – Osaka
    Day 6 : Osaka – Kyoto
    Day 7 : Kyoto – Tokyo (Sumida)
    Day 8 : Tokyo – Hokone – Gotemba – Tokyo
    Day 9 : Explore Tokyo
    Day 10 : Tokyo (Disneyland)
    Day 11 : Explore Tokyo
    Day 11 : Departure From Narita Int Airport

  3. Hello! I’m wondering if getting a 7 day JR Pass would be best for my trip in June? 2 Adults, we would get a JR Pass and then in Tokyo pay extra fares after the 7 days.

    Itinerary:
    June 7: Arrive at Haneda, Tokyo 6:20pm
    – Stay the night in Tokyo
    June 8: Start in Tokyo, End in Kyoto
    – Sight Seeing
    June 9: Kyoto
    – Sight Seeing
    – Fushimi Inari Taisha
    June 10: Start in Kyoto, End in Osaka
    -Sight Seeing
    June 11: Osaka, Half day trip to Nara
    – Nara-koen park
    – Sight Seeing
    June 12: Start in Osaka, End in Tokyo
    – Sight Seeing
    – Toshima
    – Shinjuku
    June 13:Tokyo
    – Sight Seeing
    – Akihabra
    – Chiyoda
    June 14:Tokyo
    – Sight Seeing
    – Studio Ghibli tour
    – Shibuya
    June 15: Leave Haneda, Tokyo 9:50pm
    – Sight Seeing
    – Tsukiji Fish Market
    – Temples

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  4. Hi!
    Pls feel free re arrange my route if it would maximise our time. I will be with my 2 sons.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Joanne,

      I checked your itinerary. Basically it’s okay but I would like to mention several things.

      When you travel from Sapporo to Tokyo by train, it’s quite a big trip. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/how-to-get-sapporo.html

      When you visit Shirakawago, you will spend one whole day. You will spend 2.5 hours to get Takayama and spend another 1 hour to get Shirakawago. Total trip time is around 4 hours for one way.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-access-to-takayama-by-trains-and-buses.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-get-shirakawa-go-%E7%99%BD%E5%B7%9D%E9%83%B7.html

      So you need to visit Nabana no Sato on the arrival/departure day in Nagoya.

      If you are okay for these above things, you can use 14 days JR pass.
      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

  5. Hi!
    I have this route. Pls see if you can help me out:
    Dec 20 – travel to Sapporo/Hokkaido and visit
    Odori Park, Moerenuma Park, Ishiya Factory, Mt. Moiwa, Sappor White Illumination
    Dec. 23 – travel to Tokyo and visit Mr. Fuji, Ramen Museum, Akihabara and shopping
    Dec. 26 – travel to Nagoya and visit Nabana no Sato and Shirakawa go
    Dec. 28 – travel to Osaka and visit USJ
    Dec. 30 – back to my country

    Thank you!

  6. Hi! We are planning to go to Japan on Dec. 24-Jan. 2 or 3. My kids want to experience snow so I guess Hokkaido is the place for them. Am I right? Places I wanted to go are Tokyo( including Disneysea), Hokkaido( Sapporo), Osaka(including Universal). Can you help me make an itinerary for our trip? I have one in mind but I really don’t know if it’s possible. I’ll just follow your suggestion since you’re an expert at this. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Cozette,

      You don’t need to go to Hokkaido. Gala Yuzawa is just 1.5 hours away from Tokyo by Shinkansen. It’s most accessible spot to see snow from Tokyo.
      https://gala.co.jp/winter/english/

      You can go to Hokkaido if you want. But it’s quite far.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/how-to-get-sapporo.html

      So please make sure that you have any other reason to go to Hokkaido. If you just want to see the snow, you don’t need to as I mentioned.

      Unfortunately I cannot make the trip plan personally as I mentioned above comment section. If you make a plan and show me it, I will give you suggestion.

      At last, you will travel in the busiest period in Japan. Please see the link below and find which day and direction is the busiest.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/2018-busiest-period-to-travel-by-train-tips-to-book-your-seat-in-even-busy-period.html

      Tokyo Disney Resort and USJ will busy in all days when you are in Japan because it is school winter break in Japan.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Here is our initial itinerary:
        day 1- arrival at Narita -11am
        day 2- Disney
        day 3- tokyo city tour
        day 4- travel to kyoto
        day 5- Osaka
        day 6- USJ
        day7- travel back to tokyo
        day8- Hakodate
        day9- sapporo, niseko, otaru
        day 10-tokyo
        day11-8:30pm flight (narita)
        is this possible? i am planning to get 7day jr pass for this trip. how much do you think will this trip cost? i mean excluding airfare of course. thanks for helping Takeshi-san.

        1. Hi Cozette san,

          If you use 7 days JR pass, you will start using it on day 4. It will cover your trip until day 10. In this period, JR pass covers most part of your trip. You may need to add extra fare or other pass in Kyoto, Osaka, and Sapporo because JR pass does not cover subway, city bus and other non JR trains. 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

          Sapporo, Niseko and Otaru in one day is too much. If you go to Niseko, you will spend one full day. You can visit both Sapporo and Otaru in one day. But you may need one full day for just Sapporo. There are lots of place to see.
          https://www.japan-guide.com/list/e1101.html

          You may use the deal in the link below for before/after using JR pass.
          https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Thanks for the help, Takeshi san. If we fly out Osaka on the last day, should we go first to Hokkaido? Also, will it affect our schedule if I’ll choose to arrive in Nagoya airport (flight is cheaper) Or should I stick to Narita?

          2. Hi Cosette san,

            If you depart from Osaka, I recommend you to visit Hokkaido first, and then Tokyo and Osaka. If you stay in Tokyo and then go to Hokkaido, you have to move from Hokkaido to Osaka. It’s such a long trip. Please try to visit Hokkaido and Tokyo in 7 days. You have to be in Osaka until JR pass is expired.

            If you arrive in Nagoya, you have to spend another 2 hours to get Tokyo. Trip to Hokkaido is much longer than from Tokyo. If you are okay with it, you can go for Nagoya arrival.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

          3. Takeshi san, so this one if possible?
            Nagoya-Hokkaido-Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka?
            After the JR pass expires, what deal can we use in Osaka? Do we have to purchase Kansai Pass?

          4. Hi Takeshi san! Please check if my plan is possible…we will arrive in Nagoya and depart in Osaka.
            Dec. 24- arrival in Nagoya 9pm
            overnight in Nagoya
            Dec. 24 – travel to Hakodate (sightseeing then travel to Sapporo late afternoon)
            Dec. 25-27 Sapporo, Otaru, Noboribetsu
            Dec. 28-travel to Tokyo
            Dec. 29- Tokyo city tour
            Dec. 30- Disneysea
            Dec. 31- travel to Osaka
            Jan. 1 -USJ
            Jan. 2- Kyoto, Nara, Osaka tour
            Jan. 3- 9pm flight back home

            I will start using JR pass on Dec. 25 till Dec. 31. Right?
            Your suggestions are appreciated. 🙂
            Thanks in advance.

          5. Hi Cozette san,

            I would like to make sure which date you will depart for Hakodate. Is it 24th or 25th? You mentioned that you will start using JR pass on 25th. But in your itinerary, arrive in Nagoya 9pm on 24th overnight in Nagoya, Dec 24 travel to Hakodate. I believe you will depart for Hakodate on 25th.. If so, you can start using it on 25th.

            Travel to Hakodate then to Sapporo is very very tight. You will spend 6.5 to 7 hours to get Hakodate from Nagoya. Even if you take the earliest train from Nagoya and make very tight transfer at Tokyo, you will be Hakodate around 13:00. Please find the timetable in the link below:
            http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/_pdf/eastbound.pdf
            http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/pdf/e-timetable01.pdf

            You can do but you will be Sapporo in late night. Please keep it in your mind.

            I recommend you to drop by Noboribetsu on the way to Tokyo. It is located on the way to Tokyo from Sapporo. And you will not have enough time to make a day trip from Sapporo.

            Other part of trip looks good.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi San,

    I have plans to travel to Japan for 11 days. Can you suggest which pass should i use / purchase? My itinerary is as follows : –

    Day 1 – Arrival at Narita and go to Hakodate
    Day 2 – Hakodate
    Day 3 – Hakodate – Tokyo
    Day 4 – Tokyo Disneyland
    Day 5 – Explore Tokyo
    Day 6 – Tokyo – Osaka (day trip to kyoto)
    Day 7 – Osaka (day trip to Nara & explore Osaka)
    Day 8 – Osaka – Tokyo
    Day 9 – Explore Tokyo
    Day 10 – Explore Tokyo
    Day 11 – Tokyo – Narita

    Thank you very much in advance!

    1. Hi Wai san,

      Only 14 days JR Pass is the choice for your trip.
      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

      If you can stay just 2 nights in Tokyo between Hakodate and Osaka, and can go back to Osaka on day 7, you can use 7 days JR pass.
      Day 1 – Arrival at Narita and go to Hakodate
      Day 2 – Hakodate
      Day 3 – Hakodate – Tokyo
      Day 4 – Tokyo Disneyland
      Day 5 – Tokyo – Osaka (day trip to kyoto)
      Day 6 – Osaka (day trip to Nara & explore Osaka)
      Day 7 – Osaka – Tokyo
      Day 8 – Explore Tokyo
      Day 9 – Explore Tokyo
      Day 10 – Explore Tokyo
      Day 11 – Tokyo – Narita

      You may use subway pass after day 8 and find other deal for day 11.
      https://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/travel/index.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

      It’s much cheaper than using 14 days pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Dear Takashi San,

    Hope you are well… I plan to visit Japan in June and this is my Itinerary, could you please suggest the best train pass I should buy, is 7 days JR pass worth?

    Day 1 – Arrive Tokyo at 7 am, explore Tokyo
    Day 2 – Tokyo Site seeing
    Day 3 – Disney
    Day 4 – Mt. Fuji, back to Tokyo in the evening
    Day -5,6,7,8,9 – Explore Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kobe & Nara
    Day 10 – Depart from Kansai airport

      1. Hi Takeshi San,

        Thanks for your prompt reply, so you suggest I should buy 7 days JR pass + Tokyo metro pass. Will the JR pass allow me to explore places in Osaka/Kyoto region? and then take the train to Kansai airport?

  9. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Please give me a suggestion about my itinerary :
    Day 1 haneda (arrived at 08.50) and go to hokkaido (sapporo) using JR
    Day 2 explore sapporo – hakodate
    Day 3 sapporo -> osaka
    Day 4 osaka -> kyoto
    Day 5 explore kyoto
    Day 6 mt. Fuji kawaguchiko/hakone
    Day 7 shirakawa go + shopping time
    Day 8 disney sea -> tokyo
    Day 9 explore tokyo
    Day 10 explore tokyo
    Day 11 departure haneda

    I have plan for using 7day JR Pass from Day 1 – 7 and for last 3 days use Tokyo subway pass. Is it okay? Or any other suggestion??

    Thanks

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Please give me a suggestion about my new itinerary :
        Day 1 : Haneda – Tokyo – Osaka (using willer bus – night at bus)
        Day 2 : Osaka (using OAP)
        Day 3 : Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka (using Osaka Kyoto Seightseeing 1 Day Pass)
        Day 4 : Osaka – Tokyo – Sapporo (Day 1 using JR Pass)
        Day 5 : Sapporo – Hakkodate
        Day 6 : Hakkodate – Tokyo
        Day 7 : Tokyo – Kawaguchiko (Shibazakura)
        Day 8 : Hokone – Gotemba – Tokyo
        Day 9 : Explore Tokyo
        Day 10 : Explore Tokyo
        Day 11 : Departure From Haneda Int Airport

        Or

        Day 1 : Haneda – Tokyo
        Day 2 : Tokyo – Kawaguchiko to see Shibazakura Festival (using Fuji Hakone Pass 2 Days)
        Day 3 : Hakone – Gotemba – Tokyo
        Day 4 : Tokyo – Sapporo (Starting using 7Days JR Pass)
        Day 5 : Sapporo – Hakodate
        Day 6 : Hakodate – Tokyo
        Day 7 : Tokyo – Osaka
        Day 8 : Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka
        Day 9 : Osaka – Tokyo
        Day 10 : Explore Tokyo
        Day 11 : Departure Haneda Int Airport

        1. Is it okay for the second option we are not using our JR Pass but buy Fuji Hakone Pass starting from Odawara?
        2. The last day we go to Haneda airport is not covered by JR Pass, any suggestion the way to go there?

        Thanks for response.

        Regards.

        1. Hi Vani san,

          I think option 2 is better. Option 1 is too much day 4 and 5. You don’t have enough time to see Sapporo.

          If you do option 2, why don’t you use Fuji Hakone Pass from Shinjuku? You don’t have any passes to get Odawara. You should use it from Shinjuku.

          There is no deals to get Haneda. It’s very close and use regular fare to get there.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi san,

            Thanks for your quick response.

            How about if I change the itinerary like this :

            Day 1 : Haneda – Tokyo
            Day 2 : Tokyo – Sapporo (Starting using JR Pass)
            Day 3 : Sapporo – Hakodate
            Day 4 : Hakodate – Tokyo
            Day 5 : Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka (stay in Osaka)
            Day 6 : Osaka – Tokyo
            Day 7 : Tokyo – Lake Kawaguchi to see Fuji Shibazakura
            Day 8 : Lake Kawaguchi – Gotemba – Tokyo
            Day 9 and 10 : Explore Tokyo
            Day 11 : Tokyo – Haneda

            Honestly I am little bit confused to make this itinerary. So please help me to give the suggestion which route more effective.

            In Day 7 and 8, Is there any Bus Pass we can use that cheaper than we using Fuji Hakone Pass? I have read that Bus 1 day pass price around ¥550. Could you please tell me what kind of Bus Pass it is? How can we buy it?

            Or could you mind to give me the calculation with or without using Fuji Hakone Pass if we follow your sample itinerary 2 Days in Kawaguchi and Hakone.

            Thanks you very much for the response.

            Regards,
            Vani

          2. Hi Vani,

            I recommend you to change the itinerary as follows:

            Day 6 Osaka – Odawara – Gotemba – Lake Kawaguchi
            Day 7 Lake Kawaguchi – Shibazakura – Tokyo

            Odawara is the gateway to Gotemba. It is located on the way to Tokyo. You don’t need to go to Tokyo before visiting Gotemba and Lake Kawaguchi. You can save your time.

            I have never heard the bus pass at 550 yen. It’s impossible to cover Gotemba and Lake Kawaguchi at 550 yen. Fuji Hakone Pass from Odawara is your choice. You can use JR pass after visiting Lake Kawaguchi because Fuji Hakone Pass Odawara does not cover Lake Kawaguchi to Tokyo.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

          3. Hi Takeshi san,

            I want ask again,
            1. Is it possible to visit Hakone in day 6 or day 7? Which day is the same route if I want to visit Hakone?

            2. What Pass I can used when I am in Sapporo and Hakodate?

            Thanks and Regards.

            Vani

  10. Hello Takeshi-san,
    I want to ask some questions. I plan to travel to Japan from mid-May to early of June (for 13 days). My rough initial itinerary is:

    Day 1 (22 May – Tuesday): Land at Osaka’s Kansai airport, ride JR train to Tokyo, stay there for 6 days

    (I read somewhere that JR trains from Osaka-Tokyo may not run on Tuesdays, it makes me worry as I’m set to arrive at Kansai aiport on Tuesday and want to board the train to Tokyo maybe just one hour after my arrival, can you make that clear for me?)

    Day 6 (27 May – Sunday): Travel from Tokyo to Kyoto by JR train
    Spend another 4 days in Kyoto

    Day 9 (May 30 – Wednesday): Go to Osaka (by normal train)

    Day 13 (June 3): Go to Kansai airport, return to my country

    I intend to buy 7-day JP pass to save money. Though I travel at a pretty tight budget, if possible, I want to visit other cities/sights in addition to those 3, especially while I’m in Tokyo. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you very much in advance!

    1. Hi mi_nt san,

      You may use JR Pass for the first 7 days. JR trains run everyday. You can take Haruka from KIX to Shin-Osaka and then take Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo. I don’t have Haruka’s timetable but you can find it at Hyperdia:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      For Shinkansen, please see the links below to find the timetable. JR pass covers Hikari (shown as “H”), Sakura (S) and Kodama (K) only. It does not cover Nozomi (N) and Mizuho (M).
      http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/_pdf/eastbound.pdf
      http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/_pdf/westbound.pdf

      You can visit many places as day trip from Tokyo.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/how-to-access-to-nikko-from-tokyo-there-are-three-ways-from-tokyo-shinjuku-and-asakusa.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/sample-itinerary-of-day-trip-to-kanazawa-and-shirakawago-from-tokyo.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/sample-itinerary-of-day-trip-to-kurobe-tateyama-alpine-route-from-tokyo.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/yokohama-and-kamakura-access-guide-find-the-right-deal-and-route-from-your-place-to-stay.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/hokkaido-area/crazy-but-not-impossible-sample-plan-of-day-trip-to-hakodate-from-tokyo.html

      If you are okay with spending one day in Kyoto (day 7 of JR Pass), you can visit Hiroshima/Miyajima:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/day-trip-to-hiroshima-and-miyajima-from-osakakyoto.html

      For day 9, single ticket is okay. For other days after using JR pass, you can find the deals in the links below:
      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/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

          1. Hi Takeshi-san,
            I have just returned from my 2-week trip to Japan. The last 2 weeks of mine were pretty wonderful, and I believe I was able to enjoy it to the fullest thanks to your help.

            Before going, I read a lot of information on this website and found many useful things to make my Japan trip easier and more memorable. I’m glad that I followed your advice, even though I had to make some changes compared to the first itinerary I asked you. I really want to visit Hokkaido, so I successfully paid an 1-day trip to Hakodate and enjoy my short stay there with your suggestion. Plus, the trip to Arashiyama in Kyoto using Randen railway was indeed interesting like you said. And there were other tips that truly came in handy.

            Therefore, I really want to express my gratitude to you, thank you for the thorough and precise instructions. You and this website are very awesome. I wish you good health and keep up the good work!!!

          2. Hi mi_nt san,

            I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed staying in Japan. There are many more places to visit in Japan. I hope you will go back to Japan again to enjoy again.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

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