questions & answers: itinerary check

best way to travel for one way tokyo > hakone > kyoto > osaka

Best way to travel for one way Tokyo > Hakone > Kyoto > Osaka

Hi,
I am planning a trip to Japan in November. I have decided on a rough itinerary, but would like to know the best way to get around during the trip.

Days 1-3 in Tokyo
Day 4: Leave Tokyo for a one-night trip to Hakone (figured we would stop for 1 night since it's on the way to Kyoto and we want to see some of Mt Fuji).
Day 5: Depart Hakone for Kyoto
Days 6-10 in Kyoto. From here, I plan to do at least 2 day trips, one to Nara and one to either Himeji or Hiroshima.
Day 11: Kyoto to Osaka b/c on Day 12 I have an early morning flight out of KIX.

My questions are:

1) Do I just buy a 7 day JR pass and use that to get from Tokyo to Hakone and to Kyoto and for the day trips? If so, what would I buy to from Odawara station into Hakone and around Hakone?

2) or.. Do I skip the Shinkazen to Hakone and take the Romance Car instead? Would that justify buying a Hakone free pass? and if that's the case, would I still want to buy a JR pass to get from Hakone to Kyoto and to use for the day trips?

3) If you had to choose: Hiroshima or Himeji Castle? Is Hiroshima worth a day trip? We could do 1 overnight but I prefer to just base in Kyoto

I'd welcome feedback on my itinerary in general as well.

Thanks in advance!

mayortoby
mayortoby

Hi,
If you don't go to Hiroshima, a 7 day JR Pass would not pay off. It'd be better to just get the regular rail tickets. For Hakone, look at this info and get the free pass:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5206.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5210.html

A JR Rail Pass won't help much in seeing Hakone. Regardless of what you decide, get the Hakone free pass.

If you have not been to either Hiroshima or Himeji Castle, I'd go to see both. To see Hiroshima/Miyajima would take a full day and that's if you got an early start. For the castle (and don't miss the Kokoen gardens next to it) you could do it in half a day.
For Tokyo, look into a cheap airport bus and 3 day subway pass, or a Keisei combo ticket:

http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/

http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/travel/index.html#anc03

http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/special/index.html

If you choose regular tickets to get to Kansai, there are regional passes you can also use:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html

Good luck!

Toraneko
Toraneko

Thanks so much. This is very helpful.

So basically this hinges on whether I do Hiroshima or not. If I do Hiroshima, the 7 day JR pass is the way to go? (activate it after I leave Hakone?).

If we choose, NOT to do Hiroshima, I should just stick to the RomanceCar from Tokyo to Hakone, buy a single fare from Hakone to Kyoto and then get one of the Kansai regional passes to do my daytrips to Nara and Himeji?

Is this correct?

mayortoby
mayortoby

Yes, as you said. But as for activating the JR Pass, you can't do it just anywhere. It has to be a major station like in Tokyo.

http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/exchange.html

You don't have to start using it as soon as you activate it. You can activate it with a starting date 3 days in the future, for example.
As for using the Romance Car, it's advantage aside from nicer seats and not being swamped by daily commuters is that it is a limited express - this is where it stops:

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/romancecar/stops/

Toraneko
Toraneko

Hi Daniel,

I will be visiting Japan with my friends from 7-15 May with the following itinerary: Tokyo (7-11), Kyoto - Mijayima - Hiroshima (11-12/13) and Osaka (12/13 - 15 May ). Reading from the above questions from other traveler and your reply, we were wondering, would it be correct to conclude that with our itinerary it would be best to buy a 7 days JR Pass rather than taking regular train? Many thanks.

tun
tun

Tun,
Yes a 7 day pass would pay off for your itinerary.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Hi Toraneko,

Thank you for your reply.

May I know if the same 7 day pass can also be used for a trip to Akita from Tokyo? Many thanks.

tun
tun

Hi,
Yes, it certainly can.

Toraneko
Toraneko

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