questions & answers: itinerary check

14-day japan

14-Day Japan


My husband & I will be visiting Japan in May 2014. Appreciate it if you could tell us if our itinerary below is sensible for the JR route, I have a few questions :

  1. I need to buy an ICOCA card for the Kansai region which can also be used in Hiroshima, right ?
  2. What is the difference between the JR Hokkaido pass and JR Pass ?
  3. Do we buy the JR Hokkaido pass when in Sapporo ? If not, what type of card should we buy ?
  4. Can we make an advance reservation for the 2 night trains we plan to take when we arrive in Sapporo ? Just want to
    make sure we get seats to rest for the long journey.

Thank you and look forward to hearing from you.

01 – Arrive Sapporo onward to Asahikawa - Asahidake Onsen (3 nights)
02 – Asahidake Onsen
03 – Asahidake Onsen (hike up Asahidake) Oops - just realised no ropeway
04 – Asahikawa to Sapporo (morning)
05 – Arrive Sapporo (ETA 14:20) (1 night)
06 – Sapporo to Kyoto (night train)
07 – Arrive Kyoto ETA 13:30 (3 nights)
08 – Kyoto/Osaka
09 – Kyoto/Osaka/Kyoto
10 – Kyoto to Hiroshima (day tour) then take night train to Tokyo.
11 – Tokyo
12 – Tokyo (Disneyland)
13 – Tokyo (Disneyland)
14 – Tokyo (night flight at 23:50 Home)


Hi there,

1.) You ''don't have'' buy an ICOCA card for travel around Kansai but it does make life a lot more convenient. You can also use it for travel around Hiroshima.

2.) The JR Hokkaido pass can only be used within Hokkaido, while the JR Pass is valid nation wide (including Hokkaido).

3.) This is an interesting question. You will be traveling a lot in Hokkaido and a JR Pass would be useful for sure. Since you are 6 days traveling around Hokkaido, so you'd either need the 5 day Hokkaido pass (19,500 yen) or the 7 day Hokkaido pass (22,000yen). Also for your travel later on to Kyoto - Hiroshima - Tokyo a normal 7 day JR Pass would be very useful. What I would recommend doing is buying 14 day JR Pass (45,100 yen) instead of a separate 7 day JR Pass and a Hokkaido pass. The price for the upgrade from 7 day to 14 day JR Pass is 16,800 yen which is lower than either a 5 or 7 day JR Hokkaido pass and gives you 7 days of nationwide unlimited train travel.

4.) Now to night trains, you can reserve train tickets the moment that you are in Japan. I would especially doing so for night trains as they can sell out quickly. Also have a plan B ready just in case night train tickets prove to be unavailable. You can use the JR Pass on day train between Sapporo - Kyoto as well, which would eat up your entire day but at leave you'd get from point A to B.

Have a great trip!


Hi Daniel,

Yes, we'll be travelling a lot in Hokkaido, the reason we asked about the Hokkaido pass.

Actually, we only found out about Asahidake after we booked our flights to Sapporo. Otherwise we'd have booked our flights directly to Asahikawa & it would have spared us the train ride from Sapporo to Asahikawa.

Thanks for your advice on night train - looks like we should not book hotels in Kyoto/Tokyo until we get a confirmed reservation.

Thanks much for your help.


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