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. Nicola says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    My family (2 adults 2 children) have booked a trip to Japan with the following itinerary
    Day 1: Arr Kansai airport (5pm)
    Day 2: Osaka (sightseeing)
    Day 3: Osaka (sightseeing)
    Day 4: Kyoto (sightseeing)
    Day 5: Kyoto (sightseeing)
    Days 6-11: Hakuba
    Day 12: Tokyo
    Day 13: Tokyo
    Day 14: Tokyo
    Day 15: Tokyo
    Day 16: Tokyo (Depart 8pm)
    Can you please suggest what rail passes/tickets we would need over our trip.
    Thank you very much for your help

  2. Jien says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,

    I am travelling to Japan for four weeks over November and December. I was wondering whether a JR pass would be worth it for our itinerary?

    We are travelling from:
    • Tokyo (4 days) to
    • Hakone -> Izu Peninsula -> Hakone (4 days)
    • Kyoto (3 days)
    • Hiroshima (2 days)
    • Matsuyama (1 day)
    • Takamatsu (transit)
    • Iya Valley (via car)
    • Naoshima (2 days)
    • Uno Port to Osaka (where we then fly to Hokkaido from)
    • Fly from Hokkaido to Tokyo (3 days)

    The main cities we’re spending time in are Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Sapporo (in Niseko area).

    Thanks so much !

  3. Janette Soh says:

    Dear Takeshi,

    We wish to go 1 day trip to Nikko on 3 November 2019.
    Is it necessary to book/reserve the Tobu Railway Seat from Asakusa or we can just buy the ticket 1 to 2 days before the departure at the Tobu Railway Counter.

    Please advise us.

    Thank you.

    Janette

  4. Marge says:

    Hi,

    I am planning to purchase the JR 7-day Pass but am not sure which dates to use them to get the most out of the pass. I know that you cant use the JR from Tokyo to Hakone.

    Or should I just do away without the JR and just take single trips all the way. I know that the JR Pass covers the Narita Express but does it bring me to Osaka’s Airport as well?

    Also, should I be getting the 3 days Hakone Free Pass?

    Flying in to Tokyo
    8 Oct – 12 Oct: Tokyo
    12 Oct – 14 Oct: Hakone
    14 Oct – 15 Oct: Kyoto
    15 Oct – 19 Oct: Osaka
    Flying out from Osaka

    Appreciate your advice. Thank you.

  5. Leo says:

    Hi,
    My itinerary is arrive at HND in the evening of day 1. In Tokyo days 2-4. Going to Hakone overnight and to Kyoto next day. Spend 3 nights in Kyoto (with day trip to Osaka). Back to Tokyo for 1 night and leave from NRT. Is it worth it to get JR pass for the last 7 days of the trip?
    Thank you!

  6. Sansan says:

    Hi..Takeshi,

    I’m going to visit Japan on 1-9 April 2020. My initial itenerary is:
    1 April (Wed) : Depart from Jakarta to Narita. Arrive at 16.20 Narita time. Staying at Asakusa. Visit Sensoji at night.
    2 April (Thur): Ueno-Asakusa-Nakamise st-Sumida-Akihabara. Back to hotel at Asakusa (near Minami Senju station)
    3 April (Fri): check out hotel, go to see snow at Gala Yuzawa. Check in at hostel in Shibuya. Shibuya sight seeing at afternoon/night.
    4 April (Sat): Day trip to Hakone checking on Fuji-san beauty.
    5 April (Sun): Tsukiji market-Harajuku-Takeshita st-Yoyogi park-Meiji shrine etc.
    6 April (Mon): Move to Osaka (I don’t know which one better. Move to Osaka in Afternoon/night of 5 Apr or in the morning or 6 April?). Stay at Namba. Explore Namba, Dotonburi, Sinsaibashi.
    7 Apr (Tue): Universal Studio Japan (all day).
    8 Apr (Wed): Kyoto day trip. Fushimi Inari, Kiyomisudera, Kinkaku-ji, Arashiyama bamboo forest, ( is it possible to add Nara on this day?)
    9 Apr (Thur): Osaka Castle, Himeji. Off to KIX to catch flight on 14.40

    Do you find my itenerary make sense?
    I’m worried about Gala Yuzawa trip, but I want to experience snow. Will it be snow on April?
    Should I buy JR Pass 7 days?
    Or should I follow your itenerary with the single trip fare?

    I look forward for your advice. Thank you very much.

  7. Jennifer Komori says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Can you let me know if I should get the 7 day JR Pass or not?

    Narita airport to Tokyo (Shinjuku)
    Tokyo (Shinjuku) – 5 nights
    Hakone – 1 night
    Kyoto – 3 nights (day visit to Nara and Osaka)
    back to Tokyo – 1 night
    Tokyo (shinjuku) to Narita airport

  8. Mariela says:

    Hello Takeshi! I find your article to be the most helpful, but also it made me to rethink what’s best for me. it seems for you it worked out perfectly fine not buying the JR Pass, and I want to know if I can get away with just buying the 7-days JR Pass (everytime I use the calculator it says that I should stick with the 14 days, but it’s very pricey)
    This is my itinerary:
    Tokyo 2 days
    Hakone 1 night
    Kyoto 4 days
    Hiroshima 2 days
    Osaka 2 days
    Back to Tokyo to catch our flight back

    I really hope if you can give me your advice, which I’d really appreciate it.
    Thanks!

  9. Ciara Murray says:

    Takeshi San,

    Thank you so much for all your detailed information which I have used to plan my own itinerary. We will be travelling from London through Shanghai to Tokyo and out from Osaka through Shanghai back to London spending 13 days in Japan following Ireland play two rugby games either side of our trip in Yokohama and Kobe.

    I would be grateful if you can advise that I have planned transport appropriately and don’t require JR pass?

    Arrive 8.40pm to Narita from Shanghai
    Travel to Yokohama direct (limousine bus given we will not make the Narita Express)
    Day 1& 2 in Yokohama for rugby match
    Day 3-5 Tokyo (from Yokohama by train? Use Daily Travel Card for Tokyo?)
    Day 6 – Travel to Kawaguchiko (Express Bus) and buy Fuji/Hakone Free Pass
    Day 7 – Hakone
    Day 8 – Odawara to Kyoto (Shinkansen ticket to Osaka)
    Day 9-11 – Kyoto Sightseeing (best transport card?)
    Day 12 – Osaka (best daily transport card? which route best to Kobe?)
    Day 13 – Kobe
    Day 14 – Kobe – KIX for flight to Shanghai (Best train route for this?)

    I would appreciate any assistance or advice you can give that I am on the right track with planning the transport.

    Thank you

    Ciara

  10. Thea says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,

    I am traveling to Japan for 2 weeks this December. Will a JR pass be good for my itinerary?

    Dec. 3 – Tokyo
    Dec. 10 – Tokyo to Hakone (will be staying at a ryokan for one day)
    Dec. 11- Hakone to Kyoto (will be staying in Kyoto for 3 days but will be moving around Osaka, Nara and maybe Kobe)
    Dec. 14- Kyoto to Tokyo

    Thank you!

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