questions & answers: itinerary check

3 week itinerary for sept/oct trip to japan (& 14 day jr pass?)

3 week itinerary for Sept/Oct trip to Japan (& 14 day JR pass?)

Hi there,

My boyfriend and I are travelling to Japan in Sept/Oct and would like to check whether our itinerary is feasible for a 3 week trip, and whether we're best getting the 14 day Japan Rail pass for the first two weeks. I've done some research and noticed that a few legs of our trip might not be possible on JR trains. We're planning on renting a car while we're up on Hokkaido. We're both big fans of the outdoors - hence why we're so interested in spending time in the Japanese Alps and Hokkaido - but we'd also like to get a good mix of food and culture in there as well.. and maybe even a little time to relax!

Any thoughts on our itinerary (and alternatives/must sees if you have any), its feasibility, and the utility of the Japan Rail pass for our trip would be greatly appreciated :)

Our proposed itinerary is below:

Sept 20 Arrive Tokyo (am)
21 Tokyo
22 Nikko
23 Kawaguchi-ko
24 Matsumoto
25 Matsumoto
26 Kamikochi
27 Kamikochi
28 Takayama
29 Kyoto
30 Kyoto
Oct 1 Kyoto
2 Kyoto
3 Nara
4 Koya-san
5 Koya-San - Osaka - Hokkaido (Fly to Sapporo)
6 Hokkaido
7 Hokkaido (Daisetsuzan)
8 Hokkaido (Daisetsuzan)
9 Hokkaido (Akan)
10 Hokkaido (Akan)
11 Hokkaido - Tokyo
12 Fly home

I'd be very grateful for any advice you have - thank you!
Helen

Helen
Helen

Hi Helen,

It's a very nice itinerary with a lot of nature. It looks very doable in general, only Nikko - Kawaguchiko looks a little tricky as it can easily take 6 hours to travel from one to the other but I guess that may be okay if you stay the night near Kawaguchiko.

As nice as the your itinerary is, it is hard to match a JR Pass to it. Will you be traveling from Hokkaido back to Tokyo by rail? As a JR Pass would be very helpful here, for instance a one way Sapporo - Tokyo is ¥ 24,340. At the same time, I don't think that a 14 day JR Pass for the first 2 weeks is very cost efficient either, as you fly out of Osaka. I would either advise a 14 day JR Pass and use it from 28th to Takayama and also for the return to Tokyo or a 21 day JR Pass for the entire trip.

If you have the time somewhere, be sure to visit a Japanese Onsen. This is a great way to relax together and enjoy some of the finest experiences Japan has to offer. There are some good onsen near Nikko, Takayama and in Hokkaido.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel,

Thank you very much for your advice, we will most certainly be visiting an Onsen during our visit! We've looked a little more and have settled on an itinerary for the trip, which I have listed below. I have a couple more questions for you if it would be possible to trouble you again for your help?

I'm still trying to work out whether it would be better for us to purchase the JR rail pass for our trip. We're looking to use the trains for all of our travel, except for the flight to Hokkaido from Osaka and from Hokkaido back to Tokyo. I'm aware that for journeys such as Matsumoto-Takayama via Kamikochi and Kyoto-Koyasan we won't be able to use the JR rail pass, but I was wondering whether you might be able to advise whether or not the savings we might make on other legs would make it worthwhile? It would be very helpful if you were able to indicate exactly where we will struggle to use the JR Pass, as at the moment I'm finding it quite difficult to figure out.

We're no longer planning on hiring a car in Hokkaido, so as long as the pass can be used in Hokkaido then it may be possible to get the 21 day pass. On the days where we will need to travel from one place to the next, we will most likely do it early morning to make sure we get the most out of the trip... in theory we'd like to be on the train by 8am most days.

Not JR pass related, but I was also wondering what the metro is like in Tokyo - how easy is it to get around and is it fairly reasonably priced? Is there a multi-trip ticket that you can buy for the metro?

Thank you again for all of your help.

Regards,
Helen

20 Arrive Tokyo
21 Tokyo
22 Tokyo - Nikko - Tokyo (day trip)
23 Tokyo - Kawaguchi-ko
24 Kawaguchi-ko - Matsumoto
25 Matsumoto
26 Matsumoto - Kamikochi - Takayama
27 Takayama
28 Takayama
29 Takayama - Kyoto
30 Kyoto
1 Kyoto
2 Kyoto
3 Kyoto - Koyasan
4 Koyasan - Nara
5 Nara-Osaka Airport (then fly to Hokkaido at 0830 am, so very early train to Osaka!)
6 Sapporo
7 Sapporo - Daisetsuzan
8 Daisetsuzan
9 Daisetsuzan
10 Daisetsuzan-Sapporo-Tokyo
11 Tokyo
12 Fly home

Helen
Helen

Hi Helen,

I would recommend buying normal tickets for now. Because travel in the first two weeks does not add up enough for a JR Pass to be useful.

As for travel in Tokyo, the metro is not too pricey and normal tickets are available between 150-250yen depending on the route traveled. There's an all day metro card available if you travel a lot each day, which costs 750yen per day. This can be purchased at any ticket machine and is only valid for the day it is first used on (it's not a 24h pass).

Hope this helps!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

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