questions & answers: general japan travel

tokyo - osaka - kyoto - tokyo

Tokyo - Osaka - Kyoto - Tokyo

Hi Daniel-san

We family of 5 planned to visit 8 days during end November.
Trip are touch down from Tokyo. Directly shall go straight to Osaka, most likely 3 days, follow by Kyoto another 3 days, the rest of the day back to Tokyo.
In between, we would like to visit Mt Fuji and Japanese ALPS. Is possible ?
By the way, any recommendation to stay how long for each part of Japan. Although I have planned for 3-3-2...
JR pass for 5 of us it is worth ? or can we cater for a day tour instead ?
Is this JR pass cannot travel on Shinkansen lines ?
Appreciate your expertise ... thanks

Wilson O


Hello Wilson,

Using a 7 day JR Pass will give you very good value. The cost of a 7 day JR Pass is about the same as a normal return ticket Tokyo - Kyoto or Tokyo - Osaka. From there, any additional travel you cover is basically what you'd save.

You can view Fuji on the way from Tokyo - Osaka (or on the way back). A great stop is Odawara station, from where you can explore the Hakone area.

If you want to explore the Japanese Alps, good stops include Takayama and Matsumoto. Both are worth while visiting.

The JR Pass is valid on all Shinkanen lines, as well as for travel to Takayama/Matsumoto, local JR lines in Tokyo/Osaka and Kyoto.

Hope this helps,


Hello Daniel,

Thanks for your advices. Although JR lines give convenient route, but JR pass only can travel along with all Shinkanen Lines ( Blue ) and JR lines ( Green ) and talking about the Japanese ALPS, and Takayama, there is no direct JR train to access, we need to take bus again to reach their place....
I had also heard about this Shirakawago... it is worth to stay 1 night there and next morning proceed to ALPS ? or we just spend there for 2 to 3 hours. Just Like Mt Fuji, there is no direct train access, got to take bus to reach the area right. And with so many luggage to carry during one place to another... cant possible to carry in and out from the train and buses, especially when weekdays Japanese go work, train are very crowded, are we going to avoid their busy time? at are the best solutions for us ?

I would like to hear from your expertise again. Thanks



Hi Wilson,

You can also use the JR Pass to travel to Takayama, however from Takayama a bus is required to travel to Shirakawago.

About your luggage, you will always have to carry something when travelling. Its part of the fun, just don't pack too much. If you don't want the hassle, than I would recommend sticking to the major cities and travel only on the bullet trains. Then make day trips and keep your luggage at your accommodation.

Japan is king when it comes to coin-lockers, so you can always store your luggage at a station and do some sightseeing before returning.


Hi Daniel-san,

Good morning. Okay. I have come out with a itinerary. Please help check whether workable ?

15 Nov - 24 Nov 2016.

We will be flying in and out of Narita on:

Arriving: 15 Nov 2016 0825
Leaving: 23 Nov 2016 1805

We plan to cover Tokyo - Takayama - Shirakawago - Kanazawa - Kyoto - Osaka -Hakone - Tokyo.

Day 1 (15 Nov 2016)
Arrived Tokyo then we shall move forward to Takayama ( around 2.5 hours from Tokyo. is this true ?, Hokuriku Shinkansen - heard that this is a new lines, has it been opened and operated ? if not had to travel 5 to 6 hors ) If yes, we would want to plan and stay a night in Takayama.

Day 2 (16 Nov 2016)
Proceed to Shirakawago and we are planning to stay a night.

Day 3 - 5 (17 Nov 2016 - 19 Nov 2016)
From Shirakawago to Kanazawa and stay 3 nights in Kyoto ( Explore Gion, Shouren-ins, Honen-in, Kyo-Ryori, Ishibes Alley, Lyemon Salan, the scrubbing brushes, Mamemasa's goshiki-mame, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Nishiki market etc.

Day 6 (20 Nov 2016)
From Kyoto do a day trip to Osaka ( Dotonburi, Umeda sky buildings, Hozenji-yokocho, Shinsekai market, Abeno Harukas etc. ) and then to Hakone.

We are planning to stay 1 night in Hakone. (Heard that it is worth to stay a night in Hakone, Owakudani, Lake Ashinoko, Mt Fuji, Hakone Tozan Railway, Hot Springs, Detached Palace etc. )

Day 7 - 9 (21 Nov - 23 Nov 2016)
Travel back to Tokyo ( explore Tokyo - Tsukiji Fish Market, Kamakura, Odaiba, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Asakusa, Ueno, Ginza, Tsukishima etc.

Based on this itinerary, is it worth to purchase a 7 days JR pass? It seems that we will not be taking JR lines for most of the routes. For example, Tokyo to takayama. Takayama to kanazawa. Kanazawa to Kyoto. Kyoto to Osaka and Osaka to Tokyo ....

We would appreciate your expertise to help out with above route and seek your advice on staying in hotel or ryokan / B&B. We actually prefer to stay in entire home. However, any good suggestion are most welcome.

Thank you very much.



Hi Wilson,

The itinerary looks very workable :) Its a nice circle you travel through the mainland in Japan with many great stops.

The route Tokyo - Takayama, is via the Tokaido Shinkansen with a stop at Nagoya station. This route takes about 250 minutes and is fully covered by the JR Pass. It is also a very scenic route and well worth making.

Tokyo - Takayama ¥ 15,220
Kanazawa - Kyoto ¥ 7,100
Kyoto - Odawara (for Hakone) ¥ 12,280
Odawara - Tokyo ¥ 3,940

For a total of ¥ 38,540 or at least ¥ 9,430 in savings as the 7 day JR Pass is ¥ 29,110. You'll get very good value out of a JR Pass and all of these routes are covered, as well as travel to Osaka.

For hotels, I recommend reading general booking websites and search for places that speak to your imagination. We all have different wishes, budgets and so on, this makes giving individual recommendations quite hard. Japanical and Rakuten travel are two websites that focus on just Japan and generally have better rates than more general booking websites.

Hope this helps,


Hi Daniel

Good day again. For 1st day when we arrived Tokyo. We actually plan to go to ALPINE Route. Heard that this route is amazing... From Tpyama Chiho Railway 60 mins ... Tateyama Cable Car 7 mins ... Tateyama Highland Bus 50 mins ... Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus 10 mins ... Tateyama Ropeway 7 mins ... Kurobe Cable Car 5 mins ... On Foot 15 mins ... Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus 16 mins ... Local Bus 35 mins back to Shinano-Omachi station

Okay. My questions if ( family of 5 ) we wanted to stay at TAKAYAMA nearby hotel ( for example best western hotel ) How would I plan to visit Shirakawago and ALPINE route in a day and back to the hotel we planned to stay at TAKAYAMA. Or after the ALPINE Route, are we suppose to stay at Shinano-Omachi station nearby hotel, the next day we travel to KANAZAWA or travel to OSAKA directly?

Appreciate your could help about this...


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