questions & answers: itinerary check

osaka, yamagata, tokyo, kyoto. 7 or 14 days jr pass ?

Osaka, Yamagata, Tokyo, Kyoto. 7 or 14 days JR pass ?

Hi guys

We are currently planning our trip to Japan and are not sure if it is worth purchasing the 14 days pass or not. Our preliminary itinerary is as follows:

23.11. --> Early arrival in Osaka - train to Yamagata
24.11. --> Yamagata + surroundings
25.11. --> in the evening travel to Tokyo
26. - 27. 11. --> Tokyo + surroundings (daytrip to Mt. Fuji
28.11. --> travel to Kyoto
29.-30.11. --> Kyoto + surroundings
1.12. --> travel to Osaka
2.12. -->Osaka + surroundings
3.12. --> early departure from Osaka (is airport train included in the JR Pass)??

The itinerary is not set at all. I am visiting a friend in Yamagata (he's studying there), not quite sure yet what we'll do there.
Is it worth visiting the Japan Alps in November?
Well, not sure if we should go for the 7 days + pay additional trips or the 14 days pass.

Thanks,
Karin

kaac
kaac

Hi Karin!

Here are some thoughts for you:

  1. I recommend using a 7 day pass from the 23rd to the 29th, and then using individual tickets from there until you leave. All your long distance travel will be encapuslated into these first 7 days so you'll make great savings. From the 29th, you are planning on doing a lot of local sightseeing so a rail pass would be overkill I think.

  2. You can use the JR Pass from Kansai Airport to Osaka on the Haruka Express so you will be fine to use it as soon as you land (note that the Kansai Airport exchange/activation office opens at 5:30am).

  3. While in Yamagata I strongly recommend you visit the wonderful Yamadera (temples embedded into the side of Hoshu-yama cliff), and also the nearby Nikka Whisky brewery - an excellent (and 100% free!) guided tour of one of the best distilleries in Japan.

  4. The Japan Alps will be gearing up for Skiiing in November. Bear in mind that Kamikochi is closed from the end of November onwards - I think you'll have enough to do without adding the alps to your itinerary.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Hi Mari!

Thank you so much for your help. Wonderful.

Well, actually we are arriving at 13.15 pm at Kansai. Do you think it's doable to catch a train at 14.16 to Shin-Osaka and from there to Tokyo and then onwards to Yamagata? Is it necessary to book the trains or can we just go there and hop on after we've exchanged our JR Pass?

Thanks for the tip of the Nikka Whiskey distillery.. we will for sure check that one out!

And thanks again for helping us in advance. You are the best.
Karin

kaac
kaac

Hi there!

Here's a valid itinerary for the trip from Kansai Airport to Yamagata. The transfers look nice and lengthy (35 mins at both Shin-Osaka and Tokyo, enough to pick up some refreshments like a Bento) so I think it will be do-able in theory. Note that the trip is fairly long, at nearly 8 hours. The Shinkansen you'll use will be much more comfy and spacious than the plane you'll have arrived on, but you may have had enough of travel by then!

If you do do the trip, then I recommend using the shower service at Kansai Airport to spruce up before you embark on your journey. There is a similar train to Yamagata leaving at 15:16 that will give you time to do this if you'd like (it does get into Yamagata later however...)

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Hi Mari!

We arrive from Taipei only, so we won't shower. But pretty cool service...

Thanks a lot for your help. Do we have to book the trains or can we just hop on? I am a bit afraid, that there will be a flight delay and we can't catch the 14.16 connection....

Thank you so much for your help.
Karin

kaac
kaac

Hi Karin,

If you're coming from Taipei then yep, you should be fine to get straight on the trains. Non of the trains you are using require a reservation so you can just hop on when you get there, but you can make seat reservations just before you leave. Christmas isn't such a big thing in Japan, so I don't expect you to have any problems finding seats on these trains.

You can reserve seats online from Tokyo - Yamagata but will need to pick the reserved tickets up a day in advance so it won't be useful to you this time.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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