In Japan, the peak period during summer time is mid August that is called “Obon”. Most of Japanese go back to hometown and stay with family. All transportation will be busy from major cities at the beginning and back to major cities at the end. In 2015, the following dates will be busy.
Outgoing (from major cities) — August 12 and 13. Maybe August 7, 8 and 9
Incoming (to major cities( — August 15 and 16
If you travel during this period, I recommend you to avoid to make a trip to same direction as local tourist. It will be super busy.
And also, the public school is closed from July 20 to August 31 for summer break. This period is busier than usual too.
This will be on sale in March, 2015 and will replace currently selling Sanyo Area Pass. This pass includes all Sanyo Area Pass coverage area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Hakata. This pass also includes Sanin area (Matsue, Izumo, Tsuwano), Hikone, Maibara, Tsuruga, Wakayama and even part of Shikoku. It is wider coverage area, cheaper price and longer duration.
JR West will release new three deals in March, 2015. Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass is one of these three deals. This is the first pass that cover only Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, and Shinkansen to Hakata. If you arrive in Fukuoka airport and only stay in Kyushu but want to travel to Hiroshima, this pass helps you. It is the perfect option for the trip to Hiroshima from Hakata, Kyushu.
In Japan, summer school break start from mid July and until end of August. And Obon period in mid August is one of two busiest period in Japan. (Other one is New Years day break) Most of train will be packed. There are so many standing passengers on isle and passenger’s deck.
Limited Express Super Oki (スーパーおき) is operated between Tottori (鳥取), Yonago (米子) and Shin-Yamaguchi (新山口). This train connects all major cities in Sanin area with Shinkansen station Shin-Yamaguchi. Especially you can access to west part of Sanin area, such as Masuda (益田), Hamada (浜田), Odashi (大田市) where is UNESCO World Heritage Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine gate station, this train is your choice. And you can use this train for transfer among Matsue (松江), Izumoshi (出雲市) and other cities in Sanin area. Other limited express Super Matsukaze is operated between Tottori and Masuda. You can use both trains for inter-city transfer in Sanin area. Moreover don’t forget than Tsuwano (津和野) is on the way. This small town is called “Sanin’s little Kyoto”.
In summer season, the busiest period is mid August. This period is called “Obon (お盆)”. Everybody try to go back to hometown in this period. In this year 2012, August 10 to 19 will be Obon period. Especially the direction to go out from major cities on Aug 10-12 and the direction to go into major cities on Aug 17-19 will be much busier. These dates are weekend days. Everybody will try to move on these dates. If you travel in this period, try to go opposite direction. It makes you to travel much easier.
Fall is good season to travel in Japan. JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during this season. But it is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot.