questions & answers: general japan travel

tokyo to kyoto with one stop?

Tokyo to Kyoto with one stop?

Hi Everyone, we are looking forward to our first visit to Japan soon. We only have 7 nights, we have a rough idea of where we would like to go, but have a few questions about the trains etc and if anyone has any comments on our proposed itinerary. We didn't book any hotels yet, only flights.

We arrive fairly late (21:30) 02 September into Haneda, we plan to stay in either Shinjuku or Shibuya area (budget per night is around 25,000 Yen). We have 3 nights in Tokyo. After a flight we would prefer to get the quickest/easiest transport available to the hotel - within reason. During the two days we are thinking of going to look at Shibuya crossing, Yoyogi park, mainly eating and chilling, people watching, no exhausting tours etc. At night we

On 05 September we head towards Kyoto, but we think it would be nice to stop somewhere on the way for one night, maybe Fuji Five Lakes or Hakone area. We will have luggage so don't want to be carrying that around too much. Budget for this night would be same as Tokyo, although it seems prices are high in this area as it's the weekend.

On 06 September we would like to get on the Bullet Train to go to Kyoto. If we choose to stay near Hakone and buy a Bullet Train ticket in Tokyo to go to Kyoto, can we get off at Odawara and stay in Hakone one night, then use the same ticket to get back on the Bullet train the next day or do we have to purchase two separate tickets?

We then stay in Kyoto for 3 nights (06 – 09 September). Any suggestions on which area to stay. We don’t want to be travelling around too much here if possible, we are not so interested in the main tourist spots, no museums etc, maybe one temple, we like food and walking around parks and rivers, just quietly soaking it all in, we will also want to go out at night for food and a few drinks. Budget here same as before if anyone has any hotel suggestions.

On 09 September we will go to Osaka for one night and then we fly out on 10 September from Kansai airport. Again any suggestions on a nice area to stay here for one night would be appreciated. Here we would like the most lively, hip place, with the best choice of restaurants.


Hello there,

I think we are missing some words what you plan to do in Tokyo (At night we...).

Starting with Fuji, I would recommend visiting the Hakone area. This is much easier to plan it and you can travel on directly from Odawara station on to Kyoto. Odawara is not that far from Tokyo, so you could also use a local train instead and save a bit on transport costs.

In Kyoto, the best stay is in the city center the, Kawaramachi, Gion, Shijou area. Kyoto station can also be handy to stay at if you want easy access to Osaka, Nara and other places in the area. For some more ideas in Kyoto, see this itinerary.

Osaka is also great to stay at. Especially the Namba/Shinsaibashi/Dotonbori area has an amazing atmosphere after dark and makes for a great stay. Alternatively the Umeda area near Osaka station is also nice, this is more modern and uptown.

As for walking around in Kyoto. Personally I love walking up the Kamogawa river up to Demachi-Yanagi. Here there's a small train company called Eizan Railway. You can take it up to Kurama and walk around in the mountains. There's also a beautiful temple complex that does not see of lot of foreign visitors because of the distance from the city. It is one of better kept secret places in Kyoto. More to be read here.

Hope this helps,


Your plans make it looks like a 7 day pass won't work for you, but some regional passes might help you out, such as a Hakone Free Pass and for Kyoto/Osaka a Hankyu tourist pass. I would also recommend Hakone for going near Mt. Fuji since there are some very good hot spring resorts there.

For Tokyo, if you want a real Japanese style breakfast, you could go to the Tsukiji Fish Market and try out a real sushi meal. There are tours there but you'd need to sign up by about 4:30 AM to get a spot. Eating there is no trouble at all though before 9 AM or so. The Sensoji Temple is also a hot tourist draw. If you are in Tokyo on a Sunday afternoon, be sure to go visit Harajuku to see the youth with their wild fashions. Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park are next to it and well worth seeing also. The Shibuya Hachiko intersection is amazing too, especially on a weekend.

For Kyoto I'd also recommend a hotel near Kyoto Station. There are a number of places close by, like the Honganji Temples which are within walking distance of the station and free. Toji is also not far and well worth seeing, as is Sanjusangendo. Even Kyoto Station is worth seeing at night.
But the three best sights though are the Kinkakuji Temple, Kiyomizudera Temple, and Fushimi Inari Shrine. It'd take some time to get to the first two and if you don't care to travel all over to see them, I'd recommend seeing Fushimi Inari - you can take a 5 minute train ride from Kyoto Station, and the shrine is literally across the street from Inari station.

For eating in Kyoto, you could try the Pontocho area - it has a long row of restaurants, and some even have English menus to draw in more tourists. For Osaka, a great place to eat is in Dotonbori which has some great pub-restaurants (izakaya) as well as the takoyaki octopus dumplings. If you still can walk after loading up on all the great food, the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg, and Abeno Harukas Bldg are stunning.

Be sure to take at least half a day and go see Nara. Missing the Todaiji Great Buddha would be a tragedy. Nara Park has a lot of other great places, such as Kasuga Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, and feeding the many deer in the area.

Best of luck.


Hi Daniel-san and Toraneko, Thank You very much for taking the time to reply to us, we really appreciate it and the info is very helpful.

@Daniel-san - sorry looks like I missed some of what I was going to say, at night in Tokyo we will just eat and have a few drinks, looking around for interesting people and places. That is why we thought that either Shinjuku or Shibuya will be good for this. As we only have 2 full evenings there we wanted to be in quite a busy place where there is lots to see without travelling around too much.

We also have a friend joining us for our trip. He will then be staying an extra week, the first week coming with us and then from Osaka he will go to Hiroshima and then make his way back to Tokyo, so I already recommended the 14 day JRPass to him.

If our friend has the JR pass and we don't, will we be able to get on the same Shinkansen from Odawara to Kyoto? Would any of us need to book in advance or can we just hop on? Do they travel regularly, like every hour or more/less often?



Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $279.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.