questions & answers: itinerary check

hiroshima-tokyo haneda

Hiroshima-Tokyo Haneda

Please help with my itinerary and the use of JRPass. So far I have planned the following for my wife and I:

  • Arrival at Tokyo Haneda Sept 27 @ 10:15pm - 5 nights / 4 days visiting Tokyo - day trips to nearby attractions
  • Oct 2 take train from Tokyo to Kyoto - stay 3 nights in Kyoto - Day trip to Nara
  • Oct 5 take train from Kyoto to Hiroshima - visit Hiroshima in the morning and stay overnight in Mijayima
  • Oct 6 take train from Hiroshima toTokyo
  • Depart from Tokyo Haneda Oct 7 @ 6:55 am

Questions:

1) Given the early hour of my return flight, it would be great if I could take a train that would take me straight to Tokyo Haneda at 4 am so I can enjoy the whole day at Miyajima, but I understand that there are no overnight trains. Alternatively, I could spend the (short) night at a hotel near Haneda airport. What do you recommend?

2) Assuming that it is better to spend the last night at a hotel near the airport, should I start using the 7-day JRPass on Oct 1st considering that Oct 7 is the last day, or it is preferable to start using it on the Sept 30 and pay separately for the trip from the hotel to the airport, which should be short and at 4am anyway?

Many thanks for the help!

Alberto-san
Alberto-san

Hi Alberto-san!

1.) It is a bit of a shame but trains stop traveling in Japan generally around midnight and start the following morning around 6.00 a.m. This makes night travel by train almost impossible (except for a couple of night trains). I would take a late evening late evening train back to Tokyo in your case. This way you can still maximize your time in Miyajima and have a some sleep before heading out again.

2.) Taking the above in mind, to maximize your JR Pass: use it from Sept 30th to Oct 6th. Travel from Tokyo station - Haneda is less than ¥ 620 by train/mono and takes about 25min. I Taxi will cost around 5000 yen at least so I would try to avoid them or book a close to the Haneda Airport.
This way you can also make the most of your railpass by making a day trip from Tokyo on the 30th to Nikko or Kamakura for instance.

I hope this helps you!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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This is extremely helpful, Daniel-san. Thank you very much for your help!

Alberto-san
Alberto-san

Another question: I understand that using the JR Pass you don't have to pay anything extra, like a "seat fee", and that you can't reserve a seat and there's no need to because there is usually availability. So I assume we just show up at the station and hop in the train?
Is that the same for the Nozomi trains?
Thanks.

Alberto-san
Alberto-san

Hi Alberto-san!

With the JR Pass you can either make a seat reservation for one of the reserved seats on a train or take one of the non-reserved seats. I would always recommand making a seat reservation because it is free with the JR Pass and you never have to line up for a seat. Seat reservations can be made up to 5 minutes before departs, so you can ''just show up'' at a station and be on your way in minutes.

As for Nozomi trains, they are not covered by the JR Pass and you would have to pay the full price for one if you wish to ride them. All other types of trains such as the Hikari and Kodama are completely covered by the JR Pass.

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Daniel-san
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