Sample itinerary of Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto and Osaka classic route in 7 days

7 to 9 days
Senso-ji temple and Tokyo Skytree in Asakusa ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO
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Highest mountain, Mt. Fuji from Lake Ashi, Hakone  ©Odakyu Electric Railway/©JNTO
Highest mountain, Mt. Fuji from Lake Ashi, Hakone ©Odakyu Electric Railway/©JNTO

Some of you are wondering if you should use JR pass or not for one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka via Hakone and Kyoto. Actually JR pass does not meet this trip. The price of 7-day JR pass is 29100 yen. One way base fare from Tokyo to Kyoto or Shin-Osaka plus Shinkansen surcharge is around 14000 yen. As long as you have one way trip from Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka, JR pass is way more expensive than single fare. Even if you use JR pass when you stay in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, it is not realistic to spend another 15000 yen. Base fare in these cities is 200 to 500 yen.

In this post, I show you the sample itinerary and some deals in these cities.

*When you follow this sample itinerary, please check the updated timetable. You can find more information about timetable at the link below:

Guide to plan your trip. How to find Japan Railway’s timetables

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Day 1 Narita or Haneda airport to downtown Tokyo

New train E259 series Narita Express
JR’s airport express train, Narita Express

Suggested deals for Narita passengers

There are many deals available. Please refer the following link about Narita deals:

Suggested deals for Haneda passengers

Please refer the following links:

Day 2 Tokyo

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

Enjoy sightseeing in Tokyo.

You can find the detailed information of train system in downtown Tokyo in the link below. You also can find the information about the deals:

In Tokyo, the single fare is very reasonable because of a short trip. The regular fare may be cheaper if you visit one or two places. You may use IC card, such Suica or Pasmo instead:

Day 3 Tokyo to Hakone

Owakudani is one of Must-See spots in Hakone.  ©Odakyu Electric Railway/©JNTO
Owakudani is one of Must-See spots in Hakone. ©Odakyu Electric Railway/©JNTO

Suggested itinerary
08:53 Shinjuku
Odakyu railway’s limited express “Romancecar” Hakone 9
10:35 Hakone-Yumoto

Leave your baggage at hotel or locker at the station. Enjoy sightseeing Hakone all day.

Odakyu Railway is most convenient to get Hakone and cheaper than JR trains. You can purchase base fare ticket and Hakone Free Pass Odawara departure at Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center at Shinjuku station.

Suggested deals

Base fare ticket (Shinjuku – Odawara) and Hakone Free Pass (Odawara departure 2 days)

You may find more information about Hakone Free Pass and Odakyu Railway in the link below:

Hakone Free Pass official site

Shinjuku departure Hakone Free Pass (5140 yen) is not required for this itinerary. Because it includes round trip to/from Shijuku. But you do not come back to Shinjuku and leave Hakone then go to Kyoto next day. Of course single fare for Shinjuku-Odawara is cheaper than the difference between Shinjuku departure Hakone Free Pass and Odawara departure Hakone Free Pass.

Once you get Hakone, use Hakone Free Pass as much as you can. You can get most of places in Hakone by this pass.

I recommend you to stay in Hakone for at least one night. But if you want to visit Hakone as “luggage free” day trip from Tokyo, Hakone Free Pass Shinjuku departure is the best deal.

I have the post which explains about the access to Hakone and the trip plan in Hakone in the link below:

Day 4 Hakone to Kyoto

Fushimi Inari shrine is most popular spot in Kyoto in these days. ©Kyoto Convention Bureau /©JNTO
Fushimi Inari shrine is most popular spot in Kyoto in these days. ©Kyoto Convention Bureau /©JNTO

Suggested itinerary
09:40 Hakone-Yumoto
Hakone Tozan Railway
09:54 Odawara
10:08 Odawara
Hikari 507
12:13 Kyoto

Odawara station is the nearest JR station to Hakone. You can catch the the Tokaido Shinkansen to get Kyoto. Please find the details about Odawara station at the following:

There are some Shinkansen train, “Hikari” stop at Odawara and takes you to Kyoto without any transfer. I picked 10:08 departure, Hikari 507. Please see the timetable at the link below and find the train what you want to take:

JR Central official site – The Tokaido and the Sanyo Shinkansen timetable

You may find Hikari which stop at Odawara mostly every two hours. Please try to catch this kind of Hikari. This is the fastest and direct way to get Kyoto from Odawara.

There is no deals to cover the trip from Odawara to Kyoto. The base fare ticket and the Shinkansen seat fee ticket are required to take the Tokaido Shinkansen. You can purchase these tickets in advance if you want. The Shinkansen and limited express surcharge tickets can be purchased at most major JR stations that have reservation window, a.k.a. “Midori no Madoguchi”. The base fare ticket also can be purchased with surcharge ticket at same time. If you do so, you can just transfer from Hakone Tozan Railway train to the Shinkansen at Odawara.

If you follow my suggested itinerary, you have half day for sightseeing in Kyoto. I recommend you to visit south part of Kyoto, like Fushimi Inari. It’s just 5 minutes away from Kyoto station by Nara line local train. If you want, you can visit even Nara.

If you need some more information about Kyoto station, please refer the link below:

Day 5 Kyoto

Arashiyama is very popular in any season.  	© soryofu/© JNTO
Arashiyama is very popular in any season. © soryofu/© JNTO

You can enjoy in Kyoto for all day.

Please refer the links below to find the information of train system in Kyoto and deals in Kyoto.

Day 6 Kyoto to Osaka

Osaka castle is very accessible. ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO
Osaka castle is very accessible. ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

Suggested itinerary
09:14 Kyoto
Special rapid
09:43 Osaka

I use JR train, Special Rapid which is the fastest way to get Osaka (Umeda). It is a sort of commute train. Only base fare is required to take this train.

There are many other trains running between Kyoto and Osaka. Please see the link below to find the train network in Kansai area:

After arriving in Osaka, you may add the deal as you need.

Day 7 Osaka to Kansai airport

There are some deals available. Please see the link below:

Summary and total costs

If you have one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka, as you read above, the key is how to combine some local deals and the regular fare ticket. In this itinerary, approximate total cost is 23,000 to 26,000 yen. It is cheaper than JR Pass 7-day. And JR Pass does not cover Hakone area, subway and city bus in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. You might feel the total cost is very close to JR Pass 7-day. But actual different is much bigger.

I show you 7 days itinerary but you can extend staying in Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto or Osaka. And also I have another sample itinerary that includes Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka only. Please see the following post to find it.

I hope this post will help you to build your trip plan to Japan!

Comments

  1. Emina says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    Thank you for your valuable info, it is very helpful. However, I would like to get your advice on my first trip to Japan on March. It would be just me and my sister and we’re totally clueless on how to go around using transit line. Is it okay if we use 7 day JR rail pass?
    This is the itinerary that I made to cover on Tokyo, Hakone and Kansai.

    Day 1 – Tokyo
    Day 2 – Tokyo
    Day 3 – Tokyo – Hakone
    Day 4 – Hakone – Kyoto
    Day 5 – Kyoto
    Day 6 – Kyoto
    Day 7 – Kyoto – Uji – Nara – Osaka [optional for Uji]
    Day 8 to 9 – Osaka
    Day 10 – Osaka – Kobe – Himeji [optional for Kobe]
    Day 11 – Osaka [departure]

    Well, it is more than 7 days, try to squeeze it on 7 days but I still come up with this list…my sister wants to go to Tokyo but I prefer Kansai so this is it. I was hoping to find a more economical option on travelling around.

    Appreciate your advise on the train travel.

  2. Mashael says:

    Hello,,

    Thank you for your helpful post..

    I would like to ask for your advise on which rail tickets i should purchase for my trip to Japan in March 2015.. My itenrary will be as follows:

    19 – 22: Tokyo

    23: Kyoto

    Thank you,,

    24: Hakone

    25 – 28: Tokyo

  3. tonet says:

    dear takeshi-san,

    can you please advise me if its practical to purchase a JR 7 day pass for this route

    day1-arrive at haneda airport afternoon flight, then catch Nozomi shinkansen to Kyoto
    day 2- day trip to kyoto
    day 3- day trip to kyoto
    day 4- day trip to kyoto-osaka
    day 5- nozomi shinkansen to tokyo
    day 6- day trip to tokyo
    day 7- day trip to tokyo
    day 8- depart tokyo

    thank you so much!

    cheers!

  4. LOO KIM HUAT says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,

    I need some advice from you, should I buy the JR pass for my journey to Japan from 25th February 2015 to Tokyo..This is my second visit to Japan as my wife and I love to visit Japan and my last visit was only to Tokyo and Hakone.My coming trip will be :

    From 25th till 28th February 2015 from Tokyo to Kyoto.1st March till 2nd march to Osaka.I will go back to Tokyo and straight to Haneda airport and back to Malaysia ,on the 3rd of March very late flight.Should I buy 2 J.R.Pass for this journey.

    Arigato gozaimas in advance.

    Yours truly.

    • HI Loo Kim Huat san,

      So you have 7 days from 25 Feb to 3 Mar. Yes, you can use 7 days pass. As long as you have round trip Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka, 7 days pass will work.

      Enjoy your second trip to Japan! 🙂

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Ramesh g says:

    I will be in Tokyo for 4 days. Want to visit Kyoto. Then move to Hokkaido region for 3 days. Can I use the JPR in Hokkaido region also. I shall be visiting in April. Thanks.

  6. Janet says:

    Dear Takeshi-san
    I have a query regarding what you wrote :”You can purchase base fare ticket and Hakone Free Pass Odawara departure at Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center at Shinjuku station”
    Are you sure you can get the free pass for Odawara departure at Shinjuku? I thought it had to be purchased within the free zone for the 4000 yen price. Can you please clarify this?

    Also, would I be able to use a SUICA to pay for some of the fares? Or is it more economical to get the sightseeing pass/tourist cards like you suggested?

    For your information, I am arriving at Narita, spending 3 days in Tokyo, 1 night in Hakone, and then moving on to 2 days in Kyoto, then Nara and Osaka. This will be my first time travelling overseas.

    Many thanks!

    • Hi Janet,

      Yes, you can. But don’t purchase it at vending machine. Please find the place in the link below and purchase it there.
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/center/

      If you use Suica, you can use it for Shinjuku – Odawara. But you have to exit at Odawara station. So I don’t think it’s a good idea.
      I don’t think you can use Suica to pay Hakone Free Pass either. But I have never tried it. You can ask it at the counter.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Tom says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,

    Thank you very much for your insightful posts on JR rail.

    I am planning a trip to Japan in April 2015. Would need your advice on purchase of passes and the travel itinerary

    2 April: KIX arrival and proceed to Osaka
    3-5 April: Stay in Osaka with day trips to Nara and Himeiji
    5 April: Travel to Kyoto
    5-7 April: Stay in Kyoto with day trips around Kyoto
    7 April: Travel to Tokyo
    7-9 April: Stay in Tokyo with day trip to Nikko
    9-11 April: Hakone, Mt Fuji
    11-13 April: Stay in Tokyo
    13 April: KIX departure

    Should I purchase a 14-day JR rail pass? I have not actually bought my air tickets, but is arrival and departure via Tokyo a better choice? (Not possible to arrive and depart from different airports)

    I look forward to your advice. Thank you very much!

    Best regards,
    Tom

  8. cj says:

    Hi Takeshi-San, thank you for your wonderful insights on the Japan Rail. I have read through your fantastic posts and have taken much consideration and planning for my first Tokyo-Fuji-Kyoto trip.

    Initially it was natural to include the JR Pass 7-days in my itinerary, however it may seems not necessarily.
    2 to Apr: Tokyo, Shinjuku > Hakone-Fuji (Return) via Fuji Hakone 3-day Pass ( Odakyu Electric Railway )
    5 Apr onwards: Tokyo > Kyoto Return via Shinkansen

    I have leaving Tokyo on 10 April. I do not wish to rush however I need your advise if this would cost equally or more than the JR Pass. Thanks very much!

    • Hi CJ san,

      If you leave from Osaka, JR Pass is not required. But you will go back to Tokyo. Round trip fare between Tokyo and Kyoto is very closed to JR Pass 7 days price. And also you may have change to take a train if you leave from Narita.

      If you are really sensitive with cost, you can go for single ticket. It will be slightly cheaper. But JR Pass is much easier to handle. The difference will be around 1000 yen. And if you use JR Pass more when you stay in Kyoto, such as trip to Nara, Osaka, JR pass may be cheaper.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  9. Tak says:

    >You CANNOT make multiple stopover in same city. So once you exit the station in Osaka, do not use this ticket until going to Kansai airport.

    Actually, if you buy Odawara to Kansai Airport single ticket, you CAN make as many stopovers as you wish to. Making multiple stopovers within Osaka city area should not be problem at all. Thanks for interesting stories all time 🙂

  10. Mike Wong says:

    Dear Takeshi-san

    I just came back from Japan not too long ago and I have bought the 7 days JR Pass. Our entry point into Japan is via Osaka (Kansai Airport). We took Shinkansen train for most of our journeys whenever possible to maximize the value of the JR Pass that we have purchased.
    Our travel route as follow: Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka by Haruka Express (1 way), Osaka to Kobe (Rapid Service Express-2 way), Osaka-Kyoto (1 way-Shinkansen), Kyoto-Tokyo (1 way-Shinkansen), Tokyo-Nagano (2 way-Shinkansen), Tokyo-Odawara (1 way-Shinkansen), Gotemba-Otsuki (1 way-JR train), Otsuki-Mishima (1 way-JR train), Mishima-Tokyo (1 way-Shinkansen), Tokyo-Narita Airport (NEX). Most of our local travel within Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo were by JR. I hope I have maximize the value of the JR Pass that I bought fully. Please advise if otherwise. Thks

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