questions & answers: general japan travel

three weeks in japan

Three weeks in Japan

I plan to tour Japan for three weeks in May. I will arrive in and depart from Tokyo-Narita. Apart from the first and last nights, spent near the airport, I will stay 19 nights in Japan.
So far I have decided the following :
-6 nights in Tokyo, with one-day trips to Nikko, to Hakone and to Kamahura/Yokohama ; -5 nights in Kyoto, with a day-trip to Nara ; -2 nights in Hiroshima/Miyajima ; -3 nights in Osaka, with one day-trips to Kobe and to Koya-san. I have decided to buy a 21 day JR Pass.
My questions are the following :
-Is it worth to buy a first-class Pass ? If so, will I have to make reservations each and every time I use the Pass ?
-There are three nights left. How can I complete my stay in Japan and make efficient use of my Pass ? (Takayama-Shirakawa-Kanazawa, after Tokyo and before Kyoto) ? (A big loop Tsuwano-Hagi-Izumo-Matsue-Kurashiki, after Hiroshima and before Osaka) ? (Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, after Hiroshima) ? Any other suggestion ? Thanks in advance for your answer.


Hi there,

Sorry for the somewhat late replay, I got a little caught up in the train travel today.
I think you are making a very nice itinerary, especially since you have so much time to travel around.
To answer your last question first, I personally really like the Takayama, Kanazawa round trip and going down to Kyushu to visit cities like Fukuoka and Nagasaki. Alternatively you could also go to Shikoku, to visit some of the more remote places of Japan and combine it with a visit to Matsuyama and Kochi.

Personally I love Kyushu, I think it is the best part of Japan, the weather is nice, the trains are amazing and there is so much to see and explore. If you have 3 nights I would probably try to make a small round trip. With the first night in Nagasaki, the 2nd in Kagoshima and the 3rd in Beppu to enjoy some of the Onsen.
Nagasaki is a very lovely city with great views and there is a lot of history to be found. Kagoshima is especially nice if you to see Sakurajima the volcano in its bay, also Senganen Garden is very beautiful, lastly Beppu is knows as the "Onsen Town" in Japan.

Let me know if you have any special interests any I can give you some more specific suggestions.

As for green class, it is a very nice upgrade but normal seats are fine too. We have a blog post about it. I think it may be worth it for you because you will be doing a lot of travel and the Greencars in Kyushu are specially nice. You do need to make reservations for Green seats every time you wish to travel because there are no non-reserved green seats.

Hope this helps,


Your answer, which is very helpful, has reminded me that I also enjoy sun and heat.

Here are my new plans :
-the first and last nights in Narita; -6 nights in Tokyo, with one-day trips to Nikko, to Hakone and to Kamahura/Yokohama; -5 nights in Kyoto, with a day-trip to Nara; -2 nights in Hiroshima/Miyajima; -1 night in Nagasaki; -2 nights in Kagoshima; -3 nights in Osaka, with one day-trips to Kobe and to Koya-san. Am I right in thinking that my JR Pass will enable me to go to all these places ?

I will be travelling with a somewhat large trunk. Does the Green Car Pass make any difference ?

Thank you for your answers.



Hi Clement,

Yes the JR-Pass covers the train to all those places, the only exception is Koya-san.
For Koya-san I think you may find this ticket useful.

Every Shinkansen and many limited express trains come equipped with a special space for large size luggage.
This is the same for normal and green cars.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

PS: Your new plans look very good!


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