I have tried to check with hyperdia to make sure our itinerary fits on the pass and makes it worthwhile but if you could check for me that would be great. It gets a little confusing weather some other railways are showing up that I cannot use on the pass. Is the 14 day ordinary pass the best way to go. Also with our 4yr old is it worth the risk not buying him a pass and hoping there is a spare seat on the longer journeys ?
Also I have a dilemma regarding a Nagano - Kanazawa onwards routing I am hoping You could answer.
We arrive 24 March. 2adults & 4yr old.
TOKYO - 3 nights ( incl general city sightseeing and 1 day disneyland - plan to get a suica card for these 3days and our hotel has free bus to disneyland)
27 Mar TYO - NAGANO activate JRpass
2 nights NAGANO -day trip to OBUSE & possibly Yudanaka/Shibu Onsen. Look around old town Nagano & temple. We are in Nagano to visit friends
29 Mar NAGANO - KANAZAWA
Is the scenery via Noetsu nice ?? or is it best that we bear the extra 2 hours and go to takayama first from Nagano via nagoya instead of backtracking a little on 30Mar through Toyama. This part of the itinerary is really confusing me, I am almost tempted not to visit our friends at all as Nagano has added alot of extra travel to the kanazawa/Takayama part of our trip.
30 Mar KANAZAWA - TAKAYAMA
2 nights ryokan
1 APR TAKAYAMA - KYOTO
5nights - day trips to Arashyama / Uji & Osaka.
6 APR KYOTO - KINOSAKI
1night for the traditional japanese onsen experience
7 APR KINOSAKI - TOKYO via kyoto
9 Apr TOKYO - NARITA AIRPORT
Our friends suggested stopping on the way to Nagano at Kurizawa for lunch but still deciding if it interests us.
Thanks so much in advance if you can advise us.
almost 4 years ago
For the first question about your child. This is a bit hard to judge, looking at your travel days they are not particular busy so I think you are fine there. Trains may be a bit more busy in the weekend however. The best thing to do is to ask the JR-Staff if the train will be busy when you make your seat reservations. You can then consider buying a single ticket for your child (half price of an adult ticket) if you are unwilling to carry him for the journey.
About Nagano --> Kanazawa,
Personally I think that it comes down to a choice between comfort and travel time. If you see the following routes, route 1 is via Naoetsu and is the fastest. The downside here is that the first leg is by local train, which may be someone uncomfortable. Route 4 via Nagoya takes about an hour longer but you only have to transfer once and the limited express trains are very comfortable. Also the scenery between Nagoya and Takayama is very nice! Personally I would go for route 4 and make sure that I have a good book to read or listen in the train.
For the rest I think your journey looks very nice, you may have to travel a bit but in return you get some of the best experiences Japan has to offer.
Let me know if I can help in any other way.
Thanks so much for your reply. It was very helpful.
I can see why you recommend route 4....if we do this we may try and stopover in Matsumoto on the way, though it makes it a very long travel day. Japan is deceptively large ! I definately do not want to miss the scenery between Nagoya - Takayama as I have read it is beautiful and you have confirmed it.
We are now 60% planning on skipping Nagano altogether as there is not much for us to see there and instead adding an extra night to Kanazawa and Tokyo, which will allow a day trip to Hakone instead. Possibly if the weather/view is bad we could do a day trip to Nagano instead of Hakone.
Do you have any thoughts on missing out on the Nagano area ?
If not thanks again anyway you have been a great help.
The last time I was in Nagano was 1.5 years ago in the Summer. While the town does not really have a big attraction besides the temple, you could probably see it all in 2-3 hours, it is a pleasant place. I know most people that stay are use it as a staging area for trips into nature or the Nakano region. For places like Matsumoto and Karuizawa I think the best reason to visit there however would be if there is somebody there you really would like to meet, otherwise you wont miss too much by skipping it.
Something else you can consider is visiting Kyoto in between Nagano and Kanazawa.
Travel times between Nagano and Kyoto are 227 minutes and Kyoto --> Kanazawa 126 Minutes. You could stay in Kyoto for 2 days after Nagano, than head for Kanazawa, come back to Kyoto for an other 2-3 days and finish with Kinosaki-onsen. This way you spread the traveling over several days.
PS: I noticed that I put in the route for Kanazawa -> Kinosaki onsen in the 2nd link but if you look at the first part you will see that the train stops at Kyoto and this part is 126minutes. here is the right one.
Thanks for that. Yes we are definately going to skip Nagano now unless our friends can meet us somewhere like Karuizawa or Matsumoto for lunch. If we do end up going we will only do one night so that we can add a night to Kanazawa or even Hakone.
It would be TOKYO-NAGANO-TAKAYAMA vi Nagoya-KANZAWA-KYOTO-KINOSAKI-TOKYO via kyoto.
There really is nowhere else of interest in Nagano as we decided against Shibu Onsen, I have read so many bad reviews of the monkey park there. If we didn't have our child with us we would take advantage of the hikes and parks like Kamikochi but its not practical for a family.
Thanks for the idea about splitting our time in Kyoto but as we are trying to maximise our chances of viewing cherry blossom in full bloom we left kyoto till near the end of our trip and have a 5 night block as we have 3 day trips planned from Kyoto.
You have been a really great help in fine tuning our itinerary.