questions & answers: general japan travel

first time in japan for 3 weeks - kindly assist?

First time in Japan for 3 weeks - Kindly assist?

Hello Friends

We are a young couple from India visiting Japan for the first time in the month of May 2015 for 3 weeks. Our Itinerary is FIXED as we have already reserved our hotels

1) May 12th : Arrive tokyo at 08: 35 hrs and check in at the hotel at approx 11:00 hrs. Kindly suggest activities for rest of the day? (We shall be staying at the flexstay inn Lidabashi)

2) May 13th : Asakusa and Odaiba

3) May 14th : Kamakura and Robot Show at night at Tokyo (Is this show worth?)

4) May 15th : Full Day Nikko Tour

5) May 16th : Yokohoma and Tokyo Sightseeing (please suggest). Also Kawasaki/Yokohoma factory tour at night (is it worth?)

6) May 17th : Hakone/Mt Fuji

7) May 18th : One FULL DAY IN TOKYO. Would like to see sumo wrestling or maybe visit Lake Kawaguchiko?). Also visti Shinjuku and other parts. (Please Suggest)

8) May 19th : Full Day Fuji Q Highland and then return to Tokyo

We shall have 8 nights/9 days in Tokyo and would welcome your comments/suggestions in order to alter our places of visit. As we are a young couple, we are more into modern stuff rather than museums etc

9) May 20th : Travel from Tokyo to Nagoya. (Toyota Museum worth it?)

10) May 21st : Nagoya - Takayama, Visit Nagoya Castle in the morning and the head to Takayama

11) May 22nd: Morning Market in Takayama and then go to Shirwakago and take a train the afternoon/evening to Kanazawa

12) May 23rd : Kanazawa, Visit the famous gardens and then head to Kyoto

13) May 24th : Kyoto SIGHT SEEING FULL DAY

14) May 25th : Kyoto - Mt Koya - Kyoto

15) May 26th : Kyoto Sight seeing and Nara Afternoon Trip

16) May 27th : Kyoto - Osaka and FULL day at Osaka and return back to Kyoto at Night

17) May 28th : Kyoto - Hiroshima

18) May 29th : Hiroshima sightseeing and Rabbit Island

19) May 30th : Miyajima sightseeing and then on to Nagasaki

20) May 31st : Nagasaki Sightseeing including Dejima, Hashima Battleship Island and Mt Inasa at night

21) June 1st : Nagasaki to Tokyo Narita with a stop at Himeji to view the castle

22) June 2nd: Depart Tokyo Narita

Some questions Please:-

a) Should we buy a 14 day or a 21 day JR Pass according to our itineary? Also which is the official website to purchase the JR Pass online as I see a number of websites online and what is the current cost of a 14 day and 21 day J R pass?

b) As I have 9 days in Tokyo, would it be worth to take a day trip to Matushima/Saigo Modeshi no Matso Park?(one of the must see three sights in Japan according to japan guide?)

c) Also in Kyoto, is it worth going to Sand Bar (amanohasidate)? again one of the must see three sights in Japan according to japan guide?

d) On my last leg from Nagasaki to Tokyo Narita, could you suggest a itineary with JR Train combination, where I can depart nagasaki in the morning, spend a couple of hours ar Himeji castle and reach Narita by evening?

Thanking you in advance as I look forward to maximum replies

Best Regards


Hello Micky,

1.) That's a great 3 week itinerary and well planned! I would suggest a 14 day JR Pass for the period May 9th to may 22nd. This will give you the best value out of the pass and you can cover all, otherwise costly, cross country travel on the Shinkansen with it. The official website of the JR Pass can be found here, the pass is sold through travel agencies and (local) re-sellers. You may order a JR Pass online on our website, we also have over 15,000 positive reviews. The cost of the JR Pass is always fixed in yen. For instance the 14 day JR Pass is 46,390yen, the amount you pay in your local currency depends on the exchange rate. We don't charge any additional booking costs and shipping is free to many countries.

2 and 3.) Do you mean Matsushima, near Sendai? This is a very pretty area and worth visiting on a clear day for sure. Amanohashidate is also a beautiful visit, especially if you use the local ropeway. Again, it does depend a bit on the weather.

4.) Nagasaki - Narita is a very long trip It's nearly 10 hours, for instance departing at 8 in the morning will mean arriving at 18:00 hours, still it is nice to make a break of 2-3 hours in order to make a stop and explore Himeji. Here is an example route covered by the JR Pass. The first part Nagasaki - Himeji depart at 7:29 arrival at Himeji:11:53

The 2nd part Himeji - Narita with a 3 hour break at Himeji for sightseeing. Depart Hemji at 15:01, arrival Narita 20:06.

As for other suggestion, in Tokyo you could make a visit to Odaiba it's one of the most modern parts of Tokyo, great for amusement, shopping and dating. The robot show in Shinjuku is absolutely amazing and well worth a visit.

Making a visit to Kawaguchi-ko to view Fuji is also one of the experiences that should be included in any trip but you do need to have a bit of luck with the weather. Sometimes Fuji becomes shy and hides in the clouds. So I would also recommend finding something of interest in the area, there are great hikes to be made around Kawaguchiko for instance.

Hope this helps,


Hello Daniel

Thanks for your prompt reply and I appreciate all your assistance

a) On 14 and 21 day JR Pass - I have been checking online and it shows a return trip Tokyo - Nikko cots US$ 50 per person, approx 5850 Yen. Now if we have 9 days in Tokyo and are travelling to Yokohoma, Kamakura, Fuji, Matsushima etc etc, would not it be cheaper for us to take the 21 day JR Pass,as the difference between the 14 day and the 21 day JR Pass is about 6000 to 7000 yen? Or would you still recommend a 14 day JR Pass and local transport in Tokyo and surrounding areas? Please advise which is cheaper? Thanks

b) Yes we want to visit Miyajima, Matsushima and Amanohashidate. Can we do Amanohashidate as a day trip from Kyoto and is it covered by the JR Pass?

c) We are visiting Odaiba on May 13th (please see above). Thanks we will see the Robot Show

d) Do you recommend a visit to the Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo?

e) Should we do the Tsujiki Market online auction tour at 04:00 hrs in the morning? Is it worth it? Or should we just visit the place later in the day?

f) Is Mt Koya worth a visit from Kyoto as a day trip? What is the highlight of Mt Koya?

g) My partner is confused if visiting rabbit island and battleship island is worth a visit?

h) Finally what would be a must see attraction at Nagoya?

Thanking you in advance as I look forward to your reply



Hello Micky,

a.) Yes I forgot the mention that you could also consider a 21 day JR Pass, the price difference with a 14 day JR Pass is only 12,960yen and you get a full week of additional travel with it. It would thus be easy to make saving with it by adding in a day trip to Nikko for instance.

b.) The JR Pass can be used for travel to Amanohashidate but a supplement fee is required because part of the journey is traveled on non-JR tracks. All the details are HERE.

d.) Yes, if you can manage to get tickets. There is a tournament going on the May, at the Kokugikan (Tokyo). Details are here. I would advise ordering tickets as soon as they come available on line as tournaments can sell out quickly.

e.) The real highlight of Koya is staying the night at one of the local temples and participate in the monks rituals. A day trip can be nice as well, because there are beautiful hikes to be made in the area and there are many beautiful views.

g.) I guess this depends on your own interests. They are nice places to visit and make for great pictures.

h.) I've found Nagoya to be more of a business city than suited for tourism. That said, I've come to appreciate it over the years. Nagoya Castle is a nice and easy visit, also downtown Nagoya is great for Shopping. There is the railway park. Nagoya is also a great place to make a day trip from to Mie.

Hope this helps,


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