questions & answers: itinerary check

first visit to japan and need advice

First visit to Japan and need advice

Hi, I have been following this forum with great interest and the advice given. My wife and I will be traveling to Japan first time from 18 till 29 Sep and would like suggestions that can make our trip more enjoyable.
Also should I get the 7 days JR pass and start using on arrival at Kansai Airport?

Itinerary

  • 18 Sep: Arrive Osaka through Kansai Airport. To visit Shinsaibashi, Umeda, Osaka castle and Nipponbashi. We will be staying in Osaka for 5 nights.
  • 19 Sep: Osaka to Kyoto
  • 20 Sep: Osaka to Hiroshima/Miyajima. Will the JR pass cover all the transport to Miyajima?
  • 21 Sep: Osaka to Kobe to Himeji castle. Can I add in an Onsen visit nearby?
  • 22 Sep: Osaka to Hakone and stay a night in Gora Onsen. We need to change train at Odawara station to the Hakone-Tozan Line. Understand that with JR Pass, we only need to pay ¥300 for the Hakone-Tozan line but will this take us all the way to Gora or must pay additional from Hakone-Yumoto station?
  • 23 Sep: Hakone to Tokyo. Will stay 6 night in Tokyo
  • 24 Sep: Tokyo to Nikko: Day trip. Understand that we can use JR pass to Nikko (JR Nikko station)
  • 25 Sep: Tokyo
  • 26 Sep: Tokyo Disneyland
  • 27 Sep: Tokyo DisneySea. Should we visit both theme parks or spend one day to do something else?
  • 28 Sep: Tokyo
  • 29 Sep: Tokyo. Will take midnight flight back to Singapore.

Is my itinerary too rushed in Osaka? Any suggestion or alternative is much appreciated.

silvester
silvester

Hi there! Great looking trip. Here are some answers to your questions:

should I get the 7 days JR pass and start using on arrival at Kansai Airport?

Yes. Looking at your itinerary you should start using the JRPass on arrival at Kansai Airport. The costs of travel into Osaka plus the return journey to Kyoto the following day will be approx. ¥4,000. It is unlikely you'll spend that much on internal transit within Tokyo at the other end of your trip.

Will the JR pass cover all the transport to Miyajima?

Yes, the Japan Rail Pass covers all transport to Miyajima, including the ferry crossing from Miyajima-guchi station to the island.

Osaka to Kobe to Himeji castle. Can I add in an Onsen visit nearby?

I'd recommend researching a visit to Kinosaki Onsen. It's around 2hrs from Himeji, but 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.

Please note that large portions of Himeji castle are currently under renovation. As an alternative day out from Osaka you may like the Naoshima art island.

Understand that with JR Pass, we only need to pay ¥300 for the Hakone-Tozan line but will this take us all the way to Gora or must pay additional from Hakone-Yumoto station?

I'm afraid you'll have to pay an additional ¥390 from Hakone-Yumoto to Gora to use the Hakone Tozan Train.

Understand that we can use JR pass to Nikko (JR Nikko station)

Yes, this is correct.

27 Sep: Tokyo DisneySea. Should we visit both theme parks or spend one day to do something else?

It really depends on how much you like your theme parks :).

Personally, I love FujiQ Highlands which is very ride focussed and has some of the best Jet Coasters in Japan, the longest Ghost house, and is at the foot of Mt Fuji with great views of the mountain (depending on cloud cover!). More on FujiQ at the official site and how to get there.

If you do decide to go for the DisneyLand/Sea combination, you could always see how you feel on the second day and decide then. There are certainly lots of things to do in Tokyo, so you will not be short of things to do!

Is my itinerary too rushed in Osaka?

I don't think so - it seems well paced. Normally, if people are travelling from further afield, I would recommend at least 1 day to recover from the flight. As you will be travelling from Singapore there is only 1 hour time difference so you should be able to get going straight away.

However, if you do feel too rushed, I would perhaps forfeit the Himeji trip - as I mentioned above it is under renovation right now and is often covered in scaffolding (here is a live webcam).

Hope this helps and you enjoy your trip!

Mari

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mari
Expert_button_2

Thank you for the suggestions.

Think I will skip Himeji and may be opt for Nara. We are not really art person and Naoshima may not be for us at this time.

As for Onsen, I am deciding between Kinosaki or Arima Onsen. For Kinosari, it may be worthwhile staying a night there and I will probably do it on arrival 18 Sep so that I do not have to split my hotel stay in Osaka but it is day before holiday and check that most are fully booked and also additional charges applied.

For Arima Onsen, am I right to say that there is no JR train to Arima Onsen station but JR buses are available from Kobe where I can use my JR pass?

Will push Disneyland/sea visit to last depending on the activities in Tokyo as suggested or even consider FujiQ Highlands.

Thanks!

silvester
silvester

Nara is a good choice - If you are spending more time in Kyoto, i'd also recommend a look at Arashiyama (west of Kyoto). It's a great town and it's distinctive bamboo grove is often featured in films (some photos)

Regarding Arima Onsen, you are correct: there is no JR rail access, but you can use your JR Pass to board a Highway bus from Shin-Kobe station or Sannomiya to Arima.

Hope you have a good trip!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Hi

How was your trip? We are going in January for 8 days and looking at your itenary would like to follow!
Please advice.

Thank you

She
She

Hey,
So personally for me I couldn't seem to spend enough time in Kyoto. If you plan on only doing a day trip to Kyoto then I would plan on it being a long day. I stayed there for three days and it just wasn't enough. I loved wandering down random streets and just finding things there for some reason.

Have fun!!

Lain

queenlain
queenlain

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