Sample itinerary Tokyo, Alpine Route, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka 9 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Snow Walls is very very popular on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. (C) Tateyama Kurobe Kanto / JTOA

Northern central part of Japan offers many “Must-See” places, such as Shirakawago, Takayama, Tateyama Kurobe alpine route. How do you combine these places, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

In this post, I will show you the sample itinerary which includes these places from Tokyo to Tokyo in 10 days by 7 days JR Pass.

Day 1 Narita airport to Tokyo or Haneda airport to Tokyo

Limousine Bus at Narita Airport South Wing (C) Rsa
Limousine Bus at Narita Airport South Wing (C) Rsa

Do NOT start using JR pass until you leave Tokyo for Nagano on day 3. There are many deals available for both airport arriving passengers. Many deals includes airport access fare and subway unlimited ride pass. But most of deals are available for only arriving passengers only. Therefore you may use these deals before you start to use JR pass and you can use JR pass until you get the airport. Please see the links below to get the detailed information about the deals of airport access and Tokyo subway pass:

Haneda airport access guide and the list of deals
The list of deals for Tokyo to/from Narita airport

In this sample itinerary, I use Limousine bus one way and 24 hours subway pass deal from Narita airport at 3,400 yen.

Staying in Tokyo

Day 2 Sightseeing in Tokyo

Cinderella castle is the icon of Tokyo Disneyland.

Tokyo subway covers most part of Tokyo. You can access to most of places in Tokyo by subway.

If you do not want to choose Narita or Haneda airport access + subway pass combo deal, you may buy subway pass separately. Otherwise you can add JR local deal, “Tokyo Tokunai Pass”. But both pass covers downtown Tokyo which is basically inside Tokyo 23 wards. Some places in Tokyo is not in this area, such as Ghibli Museum, Showa Kinen Park. Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea is not in this area either. Actually this place is not in Tokyo by Chiba. Please see the link below to learn more about train network in Tokyo:

Guide to take trains in Tokyo. How to choose the best deal and the best route by train to get the major spots?

You can extend your stay in Tokyo as many as you can

You can start using JR pass after you stay in Tokyo. So you can add the day of subway pass to extend your stay in Tokyo. Especially if you want to visit Tokyo Disneyland or/and DisneySea, you spend one full day easily. You need to stay in Tokyo more than 3 nights.

You can visit outside Tokyo if you add other deals. I have several posts to show you how to visit surrounding area of Tokyo, such as Mt. Fuji (Lake Kawaguchi), Hakone, Nikko, Yokohama and Kamakura.

If you intend to have a day trip to Yokohama and/or Kamakura from Tokyo, please see the link below:

Yokohama and Kamakura access guide. Find the right deal and route from your place to stay.

If you have a plan to visit Hakone or/and Lake Kawaguchi in Mt. Fuji area, you can find more information in the links below:

Fuji Hakone access guide by train and bus from both Tokyo and Osaka / Kyoto / Nagoya.
Fuji Hakone one day trip sample itinerary. You can visit both Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone by day trip from Tokyo!

If you want to visit Nikko, please see the link below:

How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa.

Staying in Tokyo

Day 3 Tokyo to Kanazawa via Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Day 1 by JR pass 7 days)

Kurobe dam is one of the highlight on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. (C) Nagano Prefecture/JNTO

On this day, you start using 7 days JR pass. But you need to add Tateyama Kurobe option ticket at 9,000 yen for Nagano to Toyama via Alpine route. The trips of Tokyo to Nagano and Toyama to Kanazawa by Hokuriku Shinkansen are covered by JR Pass.

Sample itinerary
Tokyo 06:26 (Hokuriku Shinkansen Hakutaka 551) 08:06 Nagano
Nagano 08:15 (Alpico express bus) 10:00 Ogizawa
Ogizawa 10:30 (Trolley bus) 10:46 Kurobe Dam
*Walking on Kurobe Dam to Kurobeko for 20 minutes
Kurobeko 11:10 (Cablecar) 11:15 Kurobedaira
Kurobedaira 11:30 (Ropeway) 11:37 Daikabo
Daikanbo 11:45 (Trolley bus) 11:55 Murodo
*Mikurigaike one hour walk and lunch time at Murodo
Murodo 14:20 (Bus) 14:35 Midagahara
*Short walk to Midagahara loop trail or Tateyama caldera view point (one hour)
Midagahara 15:55 (Bus) 16:30 Bijodaira
Bijodaira 16:40 (Cablecar) 16:47 Tateyama
Tateyama 17:24 (Toyama Chiho Railway local train) 18:28 Dentetsu Toyama
Toyama 18:35 (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 511) 18:54 Kanazawa

This above sample schedule is based on 2017 summer season timetable. Please check most updated timetable in the link below:

Hokuriku Shinkansen timetable (JR East official site)
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route timetable (Official site)

You may find the timetable in Hyperdia too. Please see the link below to learn how to use this site:

Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine

I include two short hikes in the sample at Murodo and Midagahra. There are many more trails available. But these are pretty easy and suitable for all ages. Please see the link below to find more information about trails:

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Highlights

In this sample, luggage may be issue. Luggage delivery service is available from Nagano to Toyama. But you need to change trains and bus at Nagano and Toyama in minimum connection time. I recommend you to ship your luggage from Tokyo to your hotel in Kanazawa directly. Your hotel in Tokyo may be able to handle it. Even if your hotel do not handle it, you can find luggage delivery service at Tokyo station and Shinjuku station. Please see the link below:

Staying in Kanazawa

Day 4 Trip to Takayama via Shirakawago (Day 2 by JR pass 7 days)

Very popular scene of Shirakawago from Tenshukaku view point

Enjoy sightseeing in Kanazawa until lunch time. After lunch in Kanazawa, leave for Takayama with sightseeing in Shirakawago on the way. The bus in Kanazawa city and to Shirakawago/Takayama are not covered by JR pass. You may add Hokutetsu bus one day pass for sightseeing in Kanazawa. It is sold at 500 yen. The one ride fare is 200 yen in Kanazawa city. You can get the worth by only three rides.

Sample itinerary
Kanazawa station 08:30 (Hokutetsu bus / using bus pass) 08:45 Kenrokuen
Sightseeing in Kanazawa castle and Kenrokuen garden

Kenrokuen 10:45 (Hokutetsu bus / using bus pass) 10:55 Musashigatsuji-Oumichoichiba
Sightseeing and lunch time at Oumicho market

Musashigatsuji-Oumichoichiba 12:30 (Hokutetsu bus / using bus pass) 12:40 Kanazawa station
Pick up your luggage before leaving from Kanazawa.

Kanazawa 13:10 (Nohi Bus / 1,850 yen extra) 14:25 Shirakawago
Sightseeing in Shirakawago village

Shirakawago 17:20 (Nohi Bus / 2,470 yen extra) 18:10 Takayama

This above sample schedule is based on 2017 summer season timetable. Please check most updated timetable in the link below:

Nohi Bus timetable

You will also find the information about reservation in this link above. Advanced reservation is required from Kanazawa to Shirakawago. Please keep it in your mind.

I visited Shirakawago in 2016 winter. Please see the link below to find my trip report.

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 6, Takaoka to Shirakawago via Himi line, Johana line and Shirakawago

Day 5 Takayama to Kyoto (Day 3 by JR pass 7 days)

Preserved path in Takayama. It is very popular tourist district in Takayama.

Enjoy sightseeing in Takayama. You can visit morning market and preserved street.

You can take Limited Express Wide View Hida from Takayama. If you want the direct train to Kyoto, you can take the following train.

Sample itinerary
Takayama 15:35 (Wide View Hida 16) 19:17 Kyoto

This is only direct train to Kyoto from Takayama. If you want to leave Takayama earlier or later, you can choose other train. Wide View Hida departs from Takayama almost once an hour. You can take this train to Nagoya and change Shinkansen to Kyoto. The last train connection is the following schedule:

Sample itinerary
Takayama 18:46 (Wide View Hida 20) 21:02 Nagoya 21:09 (Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 529) 22:01 Kyoto

You have only 7 minutes to change trains but it is not impossible. Please see the guide on Nagoya station in the link below:

Nagoya station guide. How to transfer among Shinkansen, Kintetsu, Meitetsu, subway and JR local trains

I recommend you to stay near Kyoto station. It’s most convenient location in Kyoto. Most of places in Kyoto can be accessed directly by bus or train from Kyoto station.

Staying in Kyoto

Day 6 Kyoto (Day 4 by JR pass 7 days)

Torii gates in Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto
Torii gates in Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto

You can visit Arashiyama, Nijo, Fushimi Inari shrine and Uji by JR pass. But you need to pay extra fare or buy day pass to get other places, such as Gion by bus and subway. Please see the links below to find the detailed information in the following links:

Guide to take trains in Kyoto. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?
How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Kyoto

I show you one day sample itinerary in Kyoto. This includes most of big names in Kyoto, such as Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizu-dera and Gion.

Sample itinerary
Kyoto 08:48 (local train) 09:03 Sagaarashiyama

Sagaarashiyama station is located in Arashiyama. It is not located in the center of Arashiyama but you can walk to most of places in Arashiyama. You have 4 hours for sightseeing and lunch in Arahsiyama.

Sagaarashiyama 13:08 (local) 13:24 Kyoto 13:37 (local) 13:42 Inari
After Arashiyama, proceed to Fushimi Inari shrine. 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, Yasaka no Tou (pagoda) between Kiyomizu-dera and Gion. I highly recommend you to walk to Gion.

In my estimation, you stay in Kiyomizu-dera about 1 hour (15:45 to 16:45) and spend 2 hours from Kiyomizu-dera to Gion. If you want to visit more temples from Kiyomizu-dera to Gion, I recommend you to shorten the time in Arashiyama or start your trip earlier. Some of temples are closed by 17:00. You should leave Arashiyama by 12:00 and make one extra hour after Kiyomizu-dera.

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

If you want to move to Osaka, you can move there on this day. It takes 30 minutes by Special Rapid train. If you stay in Shin-Osaka, you can take Shinkansen in 10 minutes from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka.

You can stay in Osaka only and can make day trip to Kyoto from Osaka. It is totally up to you.

Staying in Kyoto

Day 7 Kyoto to Osaka (Day 5 by JR pass 7 days)

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

Leave from Kyoto in early morning for Osaka and enjoy full day sightseeing there. I recommend you to stay near Shin-Osaka station. You can get there from Kyoto station directly. You can drop off your luggage there and start sightseeing.

Sample itinerary

Kyoto 08:00 (Shinkansen Hikari 493) 08:14 Shin-Osaka

You can take an ordinary trains but it is morning peak hour. Though it is such a short ride, you can avoid taking busy train by Shinkansen ride.

You may drop off your baggage at your hotel in Shin-Osaka.

If you do my sample itinerary below, please purchase Osaka Kaiyu ticket (2,550 yen) at subway Shin-Osaka station before starting trip. This deal includes admission for Kaiyukan aquarium and 1 day subway unlimited ride. JR Pass does not cover subway ride. You should have this deal.
Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

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 eating and shopping in Dotonbori and Namba.

19:40 (Osaka Subway Midousuji line) 19:53 Shin-Osaka

Subway runs very frequently until midnight.

Staying in Shin-Osaka

Day 8 Day trip to Kobe and Himeji, and Osaka to Tokyo (Day 6 by JR pass 7 days)

There are lots of castles in Japan. But Himeji castle is one of four existing original catle buildings. (C) JNTO

I include day trip to Himeji and Kobe before move to Tokyo. However you can stay in Osaka and visit more places. You may visit Nara instead of Kobe and Himeji. Shinkansen “Hikari” runs almost every 30 minutes. The train in the sample itinerary below is the last Hikari to Tokyo. You can skip Osaka, Nara, Himeji and/or Kobe and take earlier train to get Tokyo earlier. It is totally up to you.

Sample itinerary
Leave your baggage at your hotel in Shin-Osaka.

Shin-Osaka 08:04 (Sakura 547) 08:34 Himeji

Visit World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle. You can walk to get the castle from Himeji station. Please see the link below:

Himeji station guide. How to get Himeji castle from the station

Himeji 11:57 (Special Rapid Service) 12:33 Kobe

Special Rapid Service is a sort of commute train. But it is better and faster way to get Kobe from Himeji than Shinkansen. Because Shinkansen station in Kobe is Shin-Kobe which is not located in downtown Kobe. And also Special Rapid Service runs every 15 minutes in daytime. It is very frequent and convenient train service.

Most convenient and the fastest train among Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Special Rapid Service

You may have a lunch time at Kobe waterfront area. After that, continue sightseeing in Kobe. Many of places in Kobe can be accessed on foot from Kobe station and Sannomiya station. Please see the link below to find more information about Kobe.

Guide to take trains in Kobe. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

Sannomiya (Kobe) 19:07 (Special Rapid Service) 19:34 Shin-Osaka

You can take Special Rapid Service at Kobe or Sannomiya to Shin-Osaka. Pick up your baggage before you go to Tokyo.

Shin-Osaka 20:37 (Hikari 538) 23:36 Tokyo

As I mentioned above, this Shinkansen train, “Hikari 538” is the last train to Tokyo by JR pass. Please see the links below to find Shinkansen timetable. You may find the timetable to Himeji too.

Shinkansen timetable (Westbound / to Himeji)
Shinkansen timetable (Eastbound / to Tokyo)

Staying in Tokyo

Day 9 Tokyo to Narita (Day 7 by JR pass 7 days)

You can take Narita Express to get Tokyo by JR Pass.

Cost breakdown

Limousine bus (from Narita airport) and 24 hours Tokyo Subway Pass deal – 3,400 yen
JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass) 7 days – 29,110 yen
Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket – 9,000 yen
Hokutetsu bus one day pass (Kanazawa city bus pass) – 500 yen
Nohi bus from Kanazawa to Shirakawago – 1,850 yen
Nohi bus from Shirakawago to Takayama – 2,470 yen
Keihan railway from Fushimi-Inari to Kiyomizu-Gojo – 210 yen
Kyoto city bus from Gion to Kyoto station – 230 yen
Osaka Kaiyu Ticket – 2,550 yen
Total 49,310 yen

By the way, JR Pass 7 days covers the following trips.
Tokyo to Nagano one way trip by Hokuriku Shinkansen – 7,990 yen
Toyama to Kanazawa one way trip by Hokuriku Shinkansen – 3,330 yen
Takayama to Kyoto via Nagoya one way trip by Limited Express Wide View Hida and Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari – 9,960 yen
Kyoto to Shin-Osaka one way trip by Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari – 2,810 yen
Osaka to Himeji one way trip by Shinkansen – 3,740 yen
Himeji to Kobe one way trip by Special Rapid – 970 yen
Sannomiya to Shin-Osaka one way trip by Special Rapid – 410 yen
Shin-Osaka to Tokyo by Tokaido Shinkasnen Hikari – 14,140 yen
Tokyo to Narita airport by Narita Express – 3,020 yen

It costs 46,100 yen if you do not use JR pass. JR Pass 7 days is 29,100 yen. You can save more than 17,000 yen. The last ride of Narita Express is 3,020 yen. Even if you do not use JR pass for this ride, you still can get a big saving. If you want to spend one more day in Osaka, Kyoto, Takayama or Kanazawa, it will work. In this case, you can purchase Limousine bus and subway pass round trip deal.

This is just a sample itinerary. You can arrange or make some changes, whichever you like. I hope this sample itinerary will give you some thoughts to build your trip plan.

80 thoughts on “Sample itinerary Tokyo, Alpine Route, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka 9 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days”

  1. Hi Takeshi san,

    I am making my 1st trip to japan from 23/Dec 2018 to 01/01 2019, and I’ve planned the following draft itinerary.

    Day 01 : Arrive in Osaka KIX airport-0845am
    Explore Kuromon area, Osaka Bay area & Kita district

    Day 02 : Osaka day trip (stay Osaka)
    Osaka Castle, Minami district & Dontombori area

    Day 03: Osaka to Kyoto (stay Kyoto)
    Kurama/Kibune and Northern Higashiyama or Nara tour

    Day 04: Kyoto day tour (stay Kyoto)
    Arashiyama, Kinkaku-ji and Daitoku-ji

    Day 05: Kyoto day tour (stay Kyoto)
    Southern Higashiyama, Downtown and Fushimi-Inari

    Day 06: Kyoto to Kanazawa (stay Kanazawa)
    Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa Castle Park, Omicho Market, Higashi Chaya Area

    Day 07: Kanazawa to Takayama (stay Takayama)
    Sanmachi-suji District, Heritage Houses, Sakaurayama-Hachimangu Shrine, Higashiyama Walkway or Hida no Sato

    Day 08 : Shirakawa-go & Shinhodaka Area and go up the Shinhotaka Ropeway (stay Takayama)

    Day 09: Takayama to Nagoya (stay Nagoya)
    Nagoya day tour

    Day 10: Depart rom Nagoya (morning flight: 1030am)

    1) Is my plan feasible?
    2) Please recommend What pass should I get based on above draft itinerary?
    3) Day 1 & Day 02: Where is the best place to stay in Osaka? We planned to stay near Namba station or Shin-Osaka station
    4) Day 05: is it possible to explore Shirakawa-go & Shinhodaka Area and go up the Shinhotaka Ropeway in one day?
    5) We also thinking to visit Gero onsen, is it possible to do it on Day 07 ? otherwise please advise which day we can visit onsen, not necessary must in Chubu area.
    6) Do we have a chance to see Sumo tournament in Dec ?

    Thank you in advance for your advise.


    1. Hi Cassy san,

      1) and 4) As you think, Shirakawago and Shin-Hotaka in one day may be busy. It depends on how much you want to spend at each place. I recommend you to stay in Shirakawago at least two hours and 1.5 hours at Shin-Hotaka. If you can, 3 hours is more comfortable in Shirakawago. Lunch time is not included. Please find the bus timetable for each locations in the links below and you can find how to arrange this one day tour:

      2) For day 1 to 5, please refer the links below:

      Single ticket is required for Osaka to Kyoto.

      For day 6 to 10, Takayama Hokuriku area pass is recommended:

      Kanazawa city bus and route bus to Shin-Hotaka are not covered by this pass. You need to add regular fare or bus pass in Kanazawa.

      3) Both Namba and Shin-Osaka are good location to stay. Shin-Osaka is more accessible to Kyoto and average hotel rate in Shin-Osaka is more affordable than Namba. But Namba is the biggest downtown core. It is perfect place for sightseeing, eat and shop.

      5) Gero onsen is the best option for you. There is Hirayu Onsen on the way to Shin-Hotaka. This day is tight but I just give you a link just in case.

      6) As far as I know, you cannot see it in year end period.

      At last, most of shops and restaurants will be closed in the evening on December 31. You may not have many choices to eat.


      Takeshi /

      1. HI Takeshi san,

        Thank you very much for your quick response.
        One more question, is it Icoca-haruka will be the best pass to use for Day 1 to 5 ?

        Thank you.


        1. Hi Cassy san,

          If you stay in Shin-Osaka, it’s the best choice. But if you stay in Namba, you may take Nankai railway which is not covered by ICOCA and Haruka. Please see the link about the deal for KIX-osaka which I gave you in pervious reply.


          Takeshi /

  2. Hello Takeshi-san,
    2 main questions for your help please!
    1: Would need the jr pass be advisable or would the takayama hokuriku area pass be enough?

    2: If we are flying in Tokyo and out from Osaka, should we still get the JR pass? We would finish our Tokyo itinerary before going to Tateyama.

    Day1: arrive in tokyo
    D2: day trip to lake kawaguchi
    D3: leave Tokyo for tateyama alpine route (stay in Toyama)
    D4: Kurobe Gorge + Kanagawa
    D5: Kanazawa + Shirakawago + take last train to Osaka
    D6: Kyoto day trip
    D7: USJ
    D8: Osaka + sunrise izumo to Tokyo
    D9: Tokyo
    D10: disneyland
    D11: disneysea + fly back

    1. Hi Deborah san,

      1. You may use JR pass for day 2 to 8. You must have a back up plan for day 8 trip by Sunrise. It’s not surprised if it’s booked out.

      2. If you leave from Osaka, JR Pass does not work. Single ticket is your choice. Even Takayama Hokuriku area pass does not work.


      Takeshi /

  3. Hi Takeshi-san,
    Thank you for your very informative website! I will be visiting the Chubu area this May, and I have planned the following itinerary.

    Day 00 Arrive in Osaka KIX Airport
    Day 01 Osaka – Nagoya – Takayama
    Day 02 Takayama – Shirakawa-go & Suganuma or Ainokura – Takayama
    Day 03 Takayama – Toyama
    Day 04 Toyama – Unazuki Onsen/Kurobe Gorge Railway – Toyama
    Day 05 Toyama – Kanazawa – Toyama
    Day 06 Toyama – Alpine route – Matsumoto
    Day 07 Matsumoto – Kamikochi – Matsumoto – Nagoya
    Day 08 Nagoya
    Day 09 Day trip from Nagoya
    Day 10 Depart from Nagoya

    Is this itinerary doable? What combination of tickets/rail pass would you recommend?

    Best regards.

    1. Hi Vanessa san,

      Your itinerary is feasible. I don’t see any issues on it. But there is no deals to cover your trip. If you can make some changes, you can use Takayama Hokuriku area pass.

      If you use this pass, you need to switch your trip plan on day 1 to 5. Your itinerary is the following:
      Day 01 Osaka – Kanazawa – Takayama
      Day 02 Takayama – Shirakawa-go & Suganuma or Ainokura – Takayama
      Day 03 Takayama
      Day 04 Takayama – Toyama
      Day 05 Toyama – Unazuki Onsen/Kurobe Gorge Railway – Toyama

      You have one full day in Takayama on day 3 but you don’t have any time in Takayama on day 1. That is trade off. You can start using this pass on day 0 because you do not have any chances to use this pass on day 5. You can take Limited Express Haruka from KIX to Tennoji or Shin-Osaka. You also can take JR local train in Osaka by this pass.

      On day 6, you can use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket if it’s available in this season:

      After you arrive in Shinano-Omachi, there is no deals to cover your trip. Single ticket is your choice for the rest of days.


      Takeshi /

  4. Hi Takeshin San,
    I’m planning to visit Japan in Nov 2018 from Singapore. There are 6 of us travelling together including 2 children (6 & 8 years old.

    Would appreciate you could help to comment on below travel plan and advise us on the pass available. Thanks !! 🙂

    DAY 1 17/11 Tokyo (arrival in morn) – Explore Tokyo City
    DAY 2 18/11 Tokyo – Explore Tokyo City
    DAY 3 19/11 Tokyo – Day trip to Hakone
    DAY 4 20/11 Tokyo – F&E
    DAY 5 21 /11 Tokyo – Nagona
    DAY 6 22 /11 Nagona – Toyama via Tateyama Alphine Route Toyama
    DAY 7 23/11 Toyama – Takayama
    DAY 8 24 /11 Takayama – Kanazawa
    DAY 9 25/11 Kanazawa – Osaka
    DAY 10 26/11 Osaka – Day trip to either Nara or Kyoto
    DAY 11 27/11Osaka (Univesal Studio)
    DAY 12 28/11 Osaka

    1. Hi Goh Bee Lian san,

      You may use JR pass 7 days for day 4 to 10. But you should visit Hakone on day 4 by JR pass to save your cost.
      You can use other deal for staying in Tokyo. Please see the link below:

      Single ticket is okay for day 11.

      If you leave from KIX, you may find the deal in the link below:

      Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is open until the end of November. But in November, this area is completely winter condition. It may be closed due to severe winter condition. It sometimes happens. You should prepare winter jacket, snow shoes and extra cloth. Please keep it in your mind.


      Takeshi /

  5. Hi Takeshi San,

    Thank you for the useful information on the sample itinerary.
    I am making my 1st trip to japan from 15 Mar to 30mar and the draft itinerary is as follow:

    15 mar: arrive at narita airport and stay in Tokyo
    16~18 Mar: tour in tokyo and stay in tour
    19 mar: day trip to hakone and stay in Tokyo
    20mar: from tokyo to takayama then shirakawa and stay in takayama
    21 Mar: ????
    22 Mar: visit Nagoya on the way to Osaka and stay in Osaka
    23 Mar: day trip to miyajima from osaka (stay in Osaka)
    24 Mar: day trip to Nara (stay in Osaka)
    25 Mar : tour Osaka (stay in Osaka)
    26 Mar: day tour to Himeji (stay in Osaka)
    27 Mar: from osaka to Kyoto and stay in Kyoto
    28~30 Mar: tour Kyoto and stay in Kyoto
    30mar: to Kansai airport

    It is my first time to japan and I will appreciate some advice about the planning.

    Do you think this plan is ok? Also, may you suggest a place for 21 Mar?

    Do you think should I get a 7 day or a 14 day JR pass? And may you suggest when will be the best day to activate the pass?

    Is a combination of other passes needed?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    1. Hi Lynn san,

      Your trip plan is okay. You can use JR pass 7 days from 20th to 26th. You may add other deal before/after using JR pass. Please see the link below:

      Single ticket is okay for Osaka to Kyoto and add city bus pass or subway/bus pass in Kyoto.

      You may take limousine bus from Kyoto to KIX.

      I think you may have some more time in Takayama. You will spend most of time for Tokyo to Takayama and Shirakawago on 20th. But if you want to visit some more place, Shin-Hotaka may be suitable.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you very much for your suggestion Takeshi San.

        We are thinking of alternative plans as the rooms in Kyoto is far too expensive.

        Do think we should get a 14 day pass if we are staying Osaka inside of kyoto from 27~30mar? That means that we will be visiting Kyoto from osaka everyday from 27~30 Mar.

        Thank you for your useful advice!

        1. Hi Lynn san,

          14 days pass is still to expensive. Even if you take Shinkansen everyday between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto, you cannot get the worth of 14 days pass. If you want to use 14 days pass, you need one more big trip, like day trip to Hiroshima from Osaka. Kyoto is too closed.


          Takeshi /

          1. Hi Takeshi san,

            Very thankful for your advice.
            If 27-30 Mar, i am travelling making round trips from Osaka to Kyoto + sightseeing in Kyoto. And on 30 Mar, from Osaka to KIX.

            Is there any passes that you will suggest for us to use? or will buying tickets for each trip be cheaper?

            Thank you again.

          2. Hi Lynn san,

            Kansai thru pass and Kansai area pass are the best choice:

            You may use 3 days Kansai thru pass for 27-29. And Kansai area pass one is for the last day. Because Kansai area pass covers JR limited express train “Haruka”. You can get KIX from Kyoto directly.

            Kansai thru pass covers city bus in Kyoto and it’s more convenient to go around Kyoto by Kansai area pass. Kansai area pass covers only JR train but you can access to Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari. So you can visit these places in the last day. But you can get these places by Kansai thru pass too. So if two places are too much for the last day, you can pick either place.


            Takeshi /

  6. Hi Takeshi san,

    I do really appreciate your writing and i feel inspired to make my own japan trip. So, i will go to japan in mid march (15th – 21th March 2018). I kindly seek your advice whether my following itinerary is ok or not ? Also is there any chance that i can see cherry blossom (sakura) in the period because my mom really looking forward to see one. One more thing, i want to visit Kamakura-daibutsu but i don’t know where i should put it in. Thank you so much.

    Day 1 – Explore Tokyo & Ushiku to see Ushiku-Daibutsu (stay in Tokyo)
    Day 2 – Mt Fuji, Kawaguchi, Chureito Pagoda, Gotemba outlet (stay in Tokyo)
    Day 3 – Toyama & Shirakawa go, back to Toyama and head to Kyoto (stay in Kyoto)
    Day 4 – Explore Kyoto, Kinkakuji temple, Arashiyama, Philosopher path, Gion Shirakawa (stay in Kyoto)
    Day 5 – Nara – Todaiji Temple – Osaka (stay in Osaka)
    Day 6 – Osaka to Tokyo (stay in Tokyo)
    Day 7 – Tokyo (Narita Airport)

    PS. I’m going to buy 7 day JR-Pass for the trip, is there another pass that i need to buy to complete my itinerary ? And should i bring winter coat since it’s a time of transition from winter to spring ?

      1. Hi Takeshi San, I changed my itinerary as follows, and i’m really need your advice whether the following one is better than the previous one or not ? ’cause i’m bit confused i want to visit many places but the time does not seem to make it. Thank you in advance.

        Day 1 – Arrive in Narita and directly go to Osaka, check in,
        and then proceed to Nara to visit Todaiji & Nara park (stay in Osaka)
        Day 2 – Explore Kiikatsura (Kumano-kodo & Nachi falls) then Dotonbori & Shishinbashi (stay in Osaka)
        Day 3 – Explore Kyoto, Fushimi Inari, Kinkakuji temple, Philosopher path, stay till night in Gion (stay in Osaka)
        Day 4 – Visit Himeji castle in the morning, then go to Kamakura daibutsu, spend night in Yokohama, back to Tokyo (stay in Tokyo)
        Day 5 – Explore Shirakawago & Odaiba (stay in Tokyo)
        Day 6 – Explore Fuji san area, kawaguchiko, chureito, gotemba premium outlet, Shibuya, Shinjuku (stay in Tokyo)
        Day 7 – Tokyo (Narita Airport)

        P.S. I choose to stay only in Osaka & Tokyo to ease my mobilization because we will bring couple of luggages.

  7. Hi Takeshi

    We will travelling around end of Sep, 3 adults, 1 elderly (70 years old)and 1 child – 6 years old, arriving 17.30 at Haneda Airport.

    Places to visit:
    Kusatsu Onsen ( optional)
    Hakone & Mt Fuji – stay 1-2 nights
    Tateyama Alpine Route
    Shirakawago & Gokayama – stay 1 at Shirakawago
    Kanazawa – Kenrokuen garden
    Kanazawa – Kyoto & Nara – stay at Kyoto 2 nights
    Osaka – 1-2 nights sightseeing and shopping
    Kobe & Himeji castle (optional if time allow)

    Which one should I visit first in order?
    Tokyo- Mt Fuji- Alpine Route- Shirakawago- Kanazawa- Kyoto-Nara- Osaka? Or Alpine Route – Shirawago – Kanazawa- Mt Fuji- Kyoto- Osaka?

    How do I fit Kusatsu Onsen? Arrive Tokyo 17.30 head straight to Kusatsu Onsen will it be too late? I heard it takes 2.5 hours from Tokyo?

    Is it necessarily to purchase 7 days pass with our above itinerary?

    Is taxi in Japan allow 5 passengers? I heard place like Golden Pavilion is only accessible by bus. Since they are 5 of us may as week catch taxi if it’s allow.

    On the way back home, we can depart either way from Tokyo or Osaka.

    Thank you for your suggestions.

    1. Hi Shelly,

      I don’t recommend you to go to Kusatsu on arrival day. It’s too late.

      You may visit Kusatsu on next day or later in your trip.

      Fuji/Hakone should be visited from Tokyo. After you visited there, you need to go back to Tokyo anyway. So you can visit these places first. Fuji Hakone Pass is recommended for this trip. Even if you have JR pass, it does not cover so much in these areas.

      If you go to Kusatsu, you should visit there after Fuji Hakone and then you can start using JR Pass. If you give up Kusatsu, you may consider using Hokuriku arch pass. It’s cheaper.

      But Himeji is just outside coverage area of Hokuriku arch pass. And also if you leave from Tokyo, JR pass covers Osaka to Tokyo direct route. Hokuriku arch pass covers Osaka-Kanazawa-Tokyo route which is longer than direct route. So you have to make sure which airport you will leave before choosing the deal.

      Most of taxi allows 4 passengers.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you Takeshi.

        Is Alpine Route all right to be visited by 6 years old and elderly?

        Do you think it is necessary to stay 1 night at Murodo?
        So your suggested routes:
        Tokyo – Mt Fuji/ Hakone – using Fuji Hakone pass, stay 1-2 nights and back to Tokyo

        Tokyo – Kusatsu Onsen – back to Tokyo using JR pass

        Tokyo – Alpine Route ( follow your above sample itinerary).

        Is it possible to travel from Mt Fuji to Alpine route direct instead of going back to Tokyo?

        Thank you.

        1. Hi Shelly,

          Alpine route is suitable for any generations. If you leave Tokyo early, you don’t need to stay in Murodo. But if you want, you can do. I think hotel in Murodo is very pricy and hard to book.

          There is no direct route from Fuji/Hakone to Alpine route. You should go back to Tokyo and access to Nagano. And then start the trip to Alpine route.


          Takeshi /

      2. Hi Takeshi

        Some changes to my first itinerary instead of arriving 17.30 at Haneda Airport, we will arriving at Narita Airport at 8am.

        Then go straight to Mt Fuji/ Hakone and stay 1 night. I heard there is Keisei Bus offer direct route from Narita Airport to Mt Fuji?

        Any other better option to reach Mt Fuji/ Hakone?

        Day 2 Explore Mt Fuji & Hakone and back to Tokyo

        Day 3 Go to Kusatsu Onsen and stay 1 night – what is the best transport to reach there? Should we start activate our JR pass if we have.

        If we don’t have JR pass what other transport to reach there?

        Day 4 Back to Tokyo and sightseeing

        Day 5 Full day Alpine Route – not sure where should we stay overnight? Kanazawa or Shirakawago? We would like to try to stay at Japanese farm house.

        Day 6 Kanazawa, Shirakawago – not sure where to stay? Shirakawago or Takayama?

        Day 7 Takayama till noon and head direct to Kyoto and stay in Kyoto

        Day 8 Kyoto

        Day 9 Nara & Osaka
        Himeji (optional) – I heard many stairs and quite steep ? Not sure elderly and kid will tolerate it.

        Day 10 Osaka sightseeing

        Day 11 Kansai Airport 17.30 back home.

        Can you suggest where else we can visit on day 6-7 in Kanazawa and Shirakawago?

        Since we are not back to Tokyo, do we need to purchase JR pass?
        What are pass suitable for our trips?

        Thank you so much in advance.

        Is there any better option?

        1. Hi Shelly,

          You can take a direct bus from Narita:

          But if you take this bus, you cannot use Fuji Hakone Pass as I recommended you in previous reply. You have to pay one by one until you get Hakone.
          You can get Hakone Free Pass in Hakone area, like Gora, Togendai.

          So if you want to use Fuji Hakone Pass, you need to get Shinjuku first by Limousine bus or Narita Express.

          If you stop at Shinjuku and use Fuji Hakone Pass, total cost will be cheaper.

          If you use JR pass, you should start using it when you go to Kusatsu.

          Shirakawago is the place to stay if you want Japanese traditional house. Kanazawa does not offer it.

          Himeji castle is located on the hill. It’s not hard to reach but there is no elevators. I think kids are okay but elderly may be tired. In my opinion, it’s worth visiting still.

          Shin-Hotaka is popular place from Takayama:


          Takeshi /

          1. Thank you Takeshi for your quick reply.
            After Mt Fuji/ Hakone, is it possible to go straight Kusatsu Onsen and stay overnight there instead back to Tokyo.

            What transport should we use if possible?

            Also, as you said Shirakawago is the one offer farm stay, would that possible after alpine route we go straight to Shirakawago instead Kanazawa.

            Do we still need to get JR pass if we are not back to Tokyo? Is it worth?

            Thanks again

          2. Hi Shelly,

            You need to go back to Tokyo anyway. There is no direct train/bus service from Hakone (or Fuji or Odawara) to Kusatsu. Tokyo is on the way to Kusatsu from Fuji/Hakone.

            When you go to Shirakawago after Alpine route, you can catch the bus from Toyama. This is the fastest way.

            As long as you use JR pass for round trip to Kusatsu from Tokyo, you can get the worth. In other word, you cannot get the worth without trip to Kusatsu.


            Takeshi /

  8. Hi Takeshisan,

    I will be travelling to Japan in May 18 for 15 days, arriving at Kansai Airport.
    Plan to visit Osaka, Kanazawa, Tateyama Alpine Route. Snow Monkey Park, Tokyo, Mt Fuji, Kyoto and back to Osaka.
    Could you please tell me what tickets should I buy and how to use it?
    Thank you


    1. Hi Young san,

      JR pass is your choice. You may choose 7 or 14 days pass but 14 days pass may be more expensive than regular ticket.

      So please try to squeeze Kanazawa, Tateyama Alpine Route. Snow Monkey Park, Tokyo, Mt Fuji in 7 days period. This is most cost-effective way. You don’t need JR pass when you are in Kyoto and Osaka. There are many local deals available and those are okay for staying in Osaka and Kyoto.

      If you cannot put these places in 7 days period, you can choose 14 days pass. But try to use JR pass as much as you can. You may have another trip to outside Tokyo or Osaka, such as day trip to Nikko from Tokyo, day trip to Hiroshima from Osaka. If you do one of this trip, you can get the worth of 14 days pass.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Thank you so much for your instant reply and detailed information.
        Since there are many types of day pass tickets for Osaka and Kyoto,could I buy 2 tickets of 3 days Kansai Thru Pass in order for me to explore more of Kyoto and Osaka?

        Is the Kansai Thru Pass cover Hashiguiwa Rocks and Takeda Castle?What is the nearest station? If not what type of pass is cover then?

        Thank you.


        1. Hi Young san,

          Hashiguiiwa and Takeda castle are way far from the coverage area of Kansai thru pass. You need to go to Kushimoto to get Hashiguiiwa.

          Takeda station on Bantan line is the gateway to get Takeda castle.

          You should have Kansai wide area pass to visit these places.

          Kansai thru pass is a good choice for day trip to outside from Kyoto and Osaka. If you use this pass in Kyoto or Osaka only, you cannot get the worth. Subway pass or bus pass is better solution.


          Takeshi /

  9. Hi Takeshi San,

    Thank you very much for this itinerary, it has been helpful for making my one. We are a family of 4 and will be going around Japan from Mid January for 17 days and have a very busy Itinerary. Please advise if this is ok, we will buy the 14 day JR pass, but what are the extra costs we will need to add or is there another way that is more suitable? Thank you

    1. tokyo disneyland- pay bus fare
    2. tokyo disneysea- pay bus fare
    3. tokyo city- shibuya, shinjuku, harajuku, asakusa- buy JR/metropolitan one day pass (1590)?
    4. tokyo to sapporo- START Day 1-JR 14 days pass: use NEX to airport, from Sapporo airport to city and wander around city
    5. Sapporo to Niseko ski resort for day trip (or is there any other suitable ski resort in Sapporo using JR pass?)
    6. Around Sapporo- go back to Tokyo at night
    7. Tokyo- Mt Fuji- Tokyo
    8. Tokyo- Yudanaka (stay in yudanaka) to see Monkey park and shibu onsen
    9. Yudanaka-Shiga Kogen-Yudanaka
    10. Yudanaka- Kanazawa- Shirakawago-Kanazawa
    11. Kanazawa-Kyoto
    12. Kyoto-Nara-Kyoto
    13. Kyoto-Osaka in morning and explore Osaka
    14. Osaka- Hiroshima-Osaka
    15. Osaka-Kobe-Osaka
    16. Osaka Universal Studios
    17. Osaka- around Osaka, Osaka aquarium and then to Kansai Airport at Night

    PS- can we start the JR Pass on another day that is more suitable is what i’ve planned ok? Thank you very much

    1. Hi Darlene san,

      You can use JR pass 14 days pass as your way.

      Niseko is actually not recommended. Train does not run very frequently. Express bus is major way to get there but JR pass does not help. There are some ski slopes around Sapporo but JR Pass does not help either.

      Tomamu ski area is connected to Tomamu station and you can maximize using JR pass.

      JR pass does not cover Yudanaka, Shirakawago and many city transports. such as subway. Please see the link below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Thankyou Takeshi San,

        So it is not recommended to go to Yudanaka? If we want to see the snow monkeys and Shibu Onsen where is the best option to stay?

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