questions & answers: itinerary check

family visit july 12

Family visit July 12

Hi. My daughter is studying Japanese in Tokyo (year 2 of her course), we are visiting at the end of her year in July. Planning itinerary as follows:
29 July Arrive Narita, N'ex to Tokyo
30 July Sightseeing Tokyo
31 July JR pass to Kyoto, sightseeing Kyoto
1 August Sightseeing Kyoto
2 August Sightseeing Kyoto
3 August JR Pass to Hiroshima, sightseeing Hiroshima
4 August Sightseeing Hiroshima
5 August JR Pass to Osaka, sightseeing Osaka
6 August JR Pass to Nara to sightsee, then JR pass to Hakone, spend night in Ryokan
7 August Sightseeing Hakone then train to Tokyo
8 August Sightseeing Tokyo
9 August Sightseeing Tokyo
10 August N'ex to Narita and depart

We are 2 adults and 3 children (all over 12) coming out from UK, so 5 full-price 7 day JR Passes. Daughter has student visa so not allowed JR Pass.

Is this itinerary sensible, in particular 6th August getting from Nara to Hakone? What time would we need to leave Nara by in order to reach Hakone for early evening dinner?

Would it be cheaper to buy a 14 day JR Pass each?

Many thanks.

jonathan
jonathan

Hi there,

This looks like a great itinerary.

The 6th of August may be a bit of a hard day - Nara is around 1hr from Osaka, and Odawara (for Hakone) is around 4 hours away from Nara. From Odawara you'll need at least another hour to travel up to the Hakone lakes ares (using non-JR transport - I recommend the Odakyu Hakone Freepass. Factoring in 5 hours or so around Nara will make for a pretty long day. If you can fit the Nara trip as a day trip from Kyoto on perhaps the 1st or 2nd I think you'll have a much easier day on the 6th.

Given your itinerary, I think a 7 day Japan Rail Pass makes most sense. You could couple this with the Narita Express + Suica Tokyo Metro card deal. This will give you a prepaid card with ¥1500 travel on the Tokyo metro essentially for free, in addition to the Narita Express return for around the same price as a normal N'EX return.

If you think you'll travel outside Tokyo during your time there - for example to Nikko, then a 14 day rail pass will start to make sense, but based on the information you listed, a 7 day pass is the right choice.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Thank you Mari, very helpful.

Having considered your reply, we are thinking of moving our flights forward so that we spend longer in Japan. New itinerary as follows:

26 July Arrive Narita, N'ex to Tokyo
27 July Sightseeing Tokyo
28 July Sightseeing Tokyo
29 July Odakyu Hakone Freepass 2 days, night in Ryokan
30 July Sightseeing Hakone, return to Tokyo
31 July JR pass to Kyoto, sightseeing Kyoto
1 August Sightseeing Kyoto
2 August Sightseeing Kyoto
3 August JR Pass to Hiroshima, sightseeing Hiroshima
4 August Sightseeing Hiroshima
5 August JR Pass to Osaka, sightseeing Osaka
6 August JR Pass to Nara to sightsee, then JR pass to Osaka and return to Tokyo
7 August Sightseeing Tokyo
8 August Sightseeing Tokyo
9 August Sightseeing Tokyo
10 August N'ex to Narita and depart

Does this sound ok? I assume still go for the 7 day JR Pass? Might do a day-trip to Nikko I guess, but only 5 and a half days in Tokyo.... Or if we go for 14 day passes, what else should we squeeze in?

Thanks,
Jonathan

jonathan
jonathan

Hi there!

That's looking like a great trip.

If you keep your itinerary as you have it, then yes, I recommend a 7 day rail pass. I think if you stick with your curent itinerary you'll have a great time, but if you were searching for another thing, you could look at a trip to Kinosaki Onsen. It's around 3hrs from Osaka on the Japan Sea coast, and is a fantastic little town with many Onsen, a great atmosphere and routinely described as the best Onsen town in the area of Hyogo. Here's a good forum post with more, and you can also book many onsen online. Here's a good tripadvisor. You are going to stay in Hakone however, so it really depends on if you've had your fill of onsen (personally I can never get enough!).

Hope you have a great time!

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mari
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