questions & answers: itinerary check

14 days, first time to japan, please help!

14 days, first time to Japan, please help!

Hi there, hoping to get some enlightenment / recommendations, really!
We will be traveling to Japan on 2 Nov, which is really drawing close but still have yet to build an itinerary!

Initially we were hoping to travel to Hokkaido, after spending two days in Tokyo (flying in to Narita, and will be departing again from Narita) However after much discouragement from reading on people's experiences and advices from friends who had been saying that Nov is not the best time to visit Hokkaido, and perhaps we will be disappointed after having seen pictures of Hokkaido in winter. We decided to perhaps visit Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka however upon further research, seems like the Japanese Alps (Takayama) and surroundings seem like a great (and better) destination. Hakone is also one we are keen to explore, and just for the sake of cats, Tashirojima.

Could you please advise on how we should approach this trip, where best to start with, which places are worth to stay more than a night in and recommendations on how to get around (We were initially thinking of getting the 7 day JR pass, as we have come to realize that there is the Hakone Free Pass) And lastly, the must visits of the Japanese Alps! I apologize for the many questions however we really struggle with planning the itinerary, especially as there are so much informations that ( not necessarily applied to us but we read through) had in turned intimidated us. Thanks so much for reading!



Hi there,

Honestly, visiting Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka) and the Japanese Alps, not to forget about Tokyo. Will at as much fun as Hokkaido, if not more so. It is not to hard to make an itinerary either. Tokyo, Kansai and the Japanese Alps form a triangle that you could travel in. You could even fit Hakone in without too much trouble. An example itinerary you could consider is Tokyo - Kanazawa - Shirakawago - Takayama - Osaka - Kyoto - Hakone and return to Toyko. You could use a JR Pass for this if you cover at least as far as Hakone with it, there you could buy a Hakone Free Pass for the last part.

However I must say that Tashirojima is completely out of the route and would be better visited from Tohoku.

Does that help?


Hi Daniel,

Thank you so much for your reply and yes that helped to shed some light for me, and I spent the last few days building my itinerary. I have decided to forgo Kyoto and Osaka and made bookings for all my reservations. My itinerary is as follows:

2-4 Nov: Tokyo
4-6 Nov: Takayama (and visit Shirakawago)
6-8 Nov: Okuhida (and visit Kamikochi)
8-9 Nov: Takayama
9-11 Nov: Hakone
11-16 Nov: Tokyo

Upon my research, traveling within the Alps, we cannot rely on JR pass. Do you think it is worth it for us to get a JR pass to travel with a JR pass with the above itinerary? Also could you please advice on the best route to travel from Takayama to Hakone? Should I travel back to Shinjuku first and then get a round trip Hakone pass from there?

Thanks again,


Hi again!

With this itinerary it would be better to just buy normal tickets. To get from Takayama - Hakone, take a ltd. express train to Nagoya and get on the Shinkansen from there to Odawara station, this is the Shinkansen station for Hakone.


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