questions & answers: general japan travel

need some advice for my first japan trip

Need some advice for my first Japan Trip


I am planning a trip to Japan and have many questions and hopefully someone will be able to help.

1) One of my friend will be working in Japan on business for 2 months, would this person be eligible to purchase the 7, 14, or 21 day pass?

2) I will be flying into Tokyo, likely Narita airport. I plan to visit the country for 2-2.5 weeks. What would be the best way to go from Tokyo to Nagoya (to meet up my friend)? I heard about the fastest bullet train, is the JR Rail pass, the 7 or 14 days allow me to take that bullet train?

3) I need some help to plan the itinerary. What would be the suggestion.

This is my preliminary plan:

(a) 6/22 (arrive in Tokyo, Narita airport), in the evening, plan to head to Nagoya right after. (b) 6/23-7/6 (stay in Nagoya) - would like to visit nearby area such as Osaka, Kyoto, and other suggestions that you might have. Would Day trip be sufficient or should I plan to book a night or two hotels in the places I plan to visit? (c) 7/7-7/12 or 7/13 - leave Nagoya to Tokyo, plan to visit the area, mount Fuji. Not sure if I need to spend that many days there.

Also, when and where would be the season for lavender? I always want to catch that.

4) Which train passes should I opt for, if I plan to go

from Tokyo -> Nagoya from Nagoya -> Kyoto and back to Nagoya from Nagoya -> Osaka and back to Nagoya from Nagoya -> Tokyo

This is the minimal travel plan I have. Might have more travel if I go to other places.

Thanks much, hope to get some comments/suggestions from you.


Hi Jonlinee,

Sorry for my English. It's not perfect!

1) If your friend has a visa "temporary visitor" in Japan (usually 15days to 90days visa), he will be able to use Japanrail pass. Please ask him to see this JR group website. There is a photo of immigration stamps. If he got another stamp, he will not be able to use Japanrail pass I'm afraid.

2) Are you going to Nagoya? It's my hometown!
Well, if you get japanrail pass, you can use bullet train to Nagoya. It will take about 1.5 hours. However, you won't be able to use the fastest bullet trains are called "Nozomi" and "Mizuho"
For more information, please check links below.

a: You can use japanrail pass straight away from Narita airport to Nagoya. You need to activate your japanrail pass in a JR ticket office. There are a couple of ticket offices in Narita airport.

Take Narita express (run by JR) to Tokyo station then take bullet train to Nagoya.

b: You can also use bullet train to Osaka and Kyoto from Nagoya station. Both places are really quick from Nagoya if you use bullet train. Less than 1 hour but it would be better to check last bullet train to Nagoya if you are planing to come back in same day. (around 9pm)

Other suggestions are
* Takayama: It will take about two hours from Nagoya. Access: Take train is called "Limited Express WIDE VIEW HIDA" You only need your japanrail pass.

  • Nara: it was the first capital in Japan. it will take 2 to 3 hours from Nagoya. It is depends on the local lines. Access: Take bullet train from Nagoya to Kyoto. Then take JR Miyakoji Rapid or other JR Nara local lines to Nara station. You only need Japan rail pass.

  • Kumano kodo: it is one of world heritages in Japan. If you plan to visit here, I recommend to stay in Kumano. Probably day trip is difficult. / Access: Take JR WIDE VIEW NANKI from Nagoya station to owase. After that, it is actually depends on you. Kumano kodo is an ancient walking route. You need to decide the starting point.

  • Ise shrine/ Ise jingu (Personally I would love to recommend this shrine than Kyoto! It is the biggest shrine in Japan. Seafood in this area is great! Prawns are big and you can have Japanese lobster "Ise Ebi") Access: Take JR Rapid MIE from Nagoya station to ISE SHI/ ISE City. There is only a JR train per hour.

If you want to see Lavender, Hokkaido (Big island in North) is the best.

4) As you intend to travel for around 3 weeks, lets look at the 21 day rail pass as a guide first. The 21 day rail pass is ¥57,700, so you will need to spend at least that in individual tickets for it to be worth while. Here are the legs you are sure about:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥2740, (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Nagoya: ¥10380, (127mins, 366km)
  3. Nagoya > Kyoto: ¥5240, (37mins, 147km)
  4. Kyoto > Nagoya: ¥5240, (51mins, 147km)
  5. Nagoya > Osaka: ¥5980, (66mins, 190km)
  6. Osaka > Nagoya: ¥5980, (66mins, 190km)
  7. Nagoya > Tokyo: ¥10380, (107mins, 366km)
  8. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥2740, (58mins, 79km)

TOTAL: ¥48,680 for 8 legs

This means that you will need to spend at least ¥9020 in other trips to make a 21 day rail pass worthwhile. Many of the suggestions above will take you over this and will make a 21 day rail pass worthwhile.

A 14 day rail pass, at ¥45,100 will not cover your trips from Nagoya to Narita. As the trip from Nagoya to Narita is ¥13,120, you will have to pay a minimum of ¥58,220 if you go for this option, ¥570 more than a 21day pass! (14 day pass plus travel to Narita from Nagoya), and will also have to make extra trips to make the 14 day pass worthwhile.

A 7 day rail pass will only make sense if you aim to base yourself in Tokyo after the first week, as the costs of transport will become very high after the 7 days have elapsed. Also you will be rushing to fit everything in the first week. If you have time on your side I don't recommend this option.

Hope this helps!


Thank you for providing such great information, looks like I have some more planning to do.

By the way, do you have any recommendation on where to stay in Tokyo.

We might be planning to stay at the Disneyland in Tokyo. Also, what is the difference between Disneyland Tokyo vs. Disney Sea?

Would you recommend hiking mt. Fuji? or 1 day trip out there would be sufficient? Any recommendation on Ryokan?

Again, thanks much for your time.


Hi there,

Here are some answers:

By the way, do you have any recommendation on where to stay in Tokyo.

Tokyo wise it very much depends on the area you would like to stay, budget and so on. For good reviews, I would check trip advisor to zero in on specific hotels in your price range. That said, I love staying in the Naka Meguro area while I am in Tokyo. Here's a link to the trip advisor page with hotel recommendations.

We might be planning to stay at the Disneyland in Tokyo. Also, what is the difference between Disneyland Tokyo vs. Disney Sea?

DisneyLand is the original Disney theme park in Tokyo, with many of the classic attractions along the theme of the Magic Kingdom. DisneySea is the more modern park with a focus on Nautical, exploration and adventure. You should check out the pages on Disneyland and Disneysea for more info. Personally though, I prefer DisneySea :)

Would you recommend hiking mt. Fuji? or 1 day trip out there would be sufficient? Any recommendation on Ryokan?

Very much depends on your level of fitness and comfort threshold levels! I'd say 'do it!' but only because it is such a great achievement to reach the summit. Also, June will be a nice time of the year to attempt it. Location wise, if you intend to climb, I recommend you check out Fuji-Kawaguchiko for places to stay as this is the town from which most hiking tours start. If not, and you're after a hot spring experience with views of Mt Fuji, I recommend you take a look at Hakone for places to stay.

Hope this helps!


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