questions & answers: general japan travel

1st time visit to japan!

1st time visit to Japan!

Hi,

This will be our 1st visit to Japan! we are a family of 4 (2 boys, 18 and 15) I have just booked flights into Narita and 2 nights in Tokyo and need to book the rest of the stay. We are there for 12 days and 12 nights in total. Currently thinking of visiting Kobe, Hiroshima and Kyoto with side trips to Himeji, Osaka, Miyajima and Nara but open to advise on these. We would like to go back and spend last 2/3 nights in Tokyo too. Not sure if I need a 7 or 14 day JR Pass to cover our trip? or what other tickets will we need? Also booking accommodation is really tricky as we need to work out a route 1st. Really need some advise as we need to book ASAP for our trip in 2 wks time!!!
I hope we can get some guidance and help.

Many thanks,

Nish

Nish
Nish

Hi Nish,

Looking at your trip, I would recommend a 14 day JR Pass for the following reasons. You will be travelling on nearly daily basis. With long trips to Hiroshima, the Kansai Area (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara) and back to Tokyo. Add to that local travel in Tokyo and to and from Narita Airport and the JR Pass will give you very good value. Every JR Pass is counted in consecutive days and you would be limited with a 7 day JR Pass, however you don't have to worry about planning with a 14 day JR Pass, as you can go anywhere at any time, without any additional cost.

For routing, I would do something along the lines of: Tokyo - Kansai stop one (pick one: Kyoto, Osaka or Kobe) Hiroshima - Miyajima - Himeji - Kansai top 2 (pick one: Kyoto, Osaka or Kobe), you can make day trips to the two places in Kansai where you did not stay. Then return to Tokyo for 2/3 nights, its best to do this at the end, so you can shop as much as you want.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much for your response. We have tweaked our itinerary slightly after 1st 2 nights in Tokyo planning to go to Hiroshima (2nights) with one day in Miyajima Island; to Kyoto (3/4nights) with one day in Nara and possibly a trip to Himeji; to Hakone/Kawaguchi-Ko near Mount Fuji (1/2nights) then back to Tokyo for the remaining time.

Which is better to do Hakone or Kawaguchi-Ko? We still haven't decided if we are climbing Mount Fuji yet but the chances are probably not.

Also now would we need 7 or 14 day JR pass? If we activate our pass on trip from Tokyo to Hiroshima say for example on Tuesday will it still be valid to use the following Tuesday to get back to Tokyo? Not really sure how this pass really works and what it allows access to?

We would like to stay in a Ryokan in either Kyoto or at Mount Fuji area- can you recommend any and where would it be better do this please.

Many thanks.
Nish

Nish
Nish

Hi Nish,

Both Hakone and Kawaguchiko are nice visits, though Hakone is easier to access by the JR Pass and also has a bit more to offer in terms of variety.

The JR Pass is counted in full days, so the first day is counted as a full day. Activating it on a Tuesday would mean that the last day of validity would be the following Monday. All together I think a 14 day JR Pass would be the best option.

I don't have any specific recommendations for Ryokans, we all have different wishes, budgets etc. However I suggest reading reviews on general travel websites and see how other travellers liked it.

Hope this helps too :)
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
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Thank you so much Daniel.
Our confirmed plan is: to
1. fly into Narita Airport and travel to Tokyo 2 nights
2. travel to Hiroshima (2 nights) side trip to Miyajima Island
3. travel to Kyoto (3 nights) side trip to Nara and possibly Himeji (depending on time and weather)
4. travel to Hakone (1 night)
5. back to Tokyo (4 nights)
6. travel to Narita for return flight

Our trip from Tokyo to Hiroshima to Kyoto to Hakone and back to Tokyo takes 7 days.

Whilst we are in Tokyo do you think we will need to use the JR lines as I thought the metro was more convenient?
The price difference between the 14 day pass and the 7 day pass for 4 adults is quite a bit but I'm not sure if buying separate tickets from Narita to Asakusa and Shinjuku to Narita and possibly a one day trip somewhere from Tokyo will cost that much? Can you advise please.

Many thanks,

Nish

Nish
Nish

Hi Nish,

The JR Network in Tokyo is very good and covers most of the metropolis. Still you may need to use the Metro at times as well. I think 7 day JR Pass is fine if you can make the trip Tokyo - Hiroshima - Kyoto - Hakone with it. This will give you very good savings.

If you do get a 14 day JR Pass, then I recommend adding in a day trip from Tokyo to Nikko to get both the best our of the JR Pass and your time in Japan.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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