questions & answers: itinerary check

tokyo kyoto hiroshima

Tokyo Kyoto Hiroshima

Hi,

I am looking at taking a trip to Japan next April and I am currently working out the best way to arrange my travel. I plan on basing my trip around Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. My initial plan is as follows:

Fly into Tokyo, stay for 6 or 7 nights.
Train to Kyoto, stay for 6 or 7 nights.
Train to Hiroshima, stay for 3 nights.
Train to Osaka Airport, fly home from there.

However, I am not sure if this is the best order to do things. I plan on taking a few trips while i'm in these places, for example trips to Nikko & Kakamura whilst I'm in Tokyo, Nara (maybe Himeji and Osaka) whilst I'm Kyoto and Miyajima whilst in Hiroshima.

Would it make sense for me to get a 14 days JR pass?

Does this sound like a realistic plan? Do you have any suggestions for other places I should visit (or perhaps places on my list that aren't worthwhile)?

I am looking to fit as much in as possible but I don't want to feel rushed so I am able to truly enjoy my time in Japan. I am also mindful of my budget! Sorry if this seems like a lot of questions, but I am just looking for as much help as possible, any advice will be greatly appreciated!

epdavies
epdavies

Hi there!

I'm a huge fan of using the larger cities as a base and then doing lots of daytrips rather than moving hotel every night, so I think you're certainly going about this the right way. I think your general ordering is good too, so you've got no problems there, and your day trips listed so far sound realistic to fit within the time you have (perhaps you are spending a night too many in Hiroshima, and possibly in Kyoto, but more on that later...)

Pricing check

Lets take a look at your general costs with the daytrips you list and assume you start your JR Pass validity while you are in Tokyo and leave from Kansai Airport:

  1. Tokyo > Nikko: ¥5,630 (121mins, 150km)
  2. Nikko > Tokyo: ¥5,630 (117mins, 150km)
  3. Tokyo > Kamakura: ¥2,100 (47mins, 51km)
  4. Kamakura > Tokyo: ¥890 (54mins, 53km)
  5. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13,420 (164mins, 513km)
  6. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690 (44mins, 41km)
  7. Nara > Kyoto: ¥690 (44mins, 41km)
  8. Kyoto > Himeji: ¥5,330 (68mins, 130km)
  9. Himeji > Kyoto: ¥2,210 (91mins, 130km)
  10. Kyoto > Osaka: ¥540 (28mins, 42km)
  11. Osaka > Kyoto: ¥540 (29mins, 42km)
  12. Kyoto > Hiroshima: ¥10,990 (112mins, 380km)
  13. Hiroshima > Miyajimaguchi: ¥400 (26mins, 21km)
  14. Miyajimaguchi > Kansai airport: ¥11,850 (205mins, 424km)

JR ticket cost: ¥60,910 for 14 legs

As you can see you'll make great savings with the 14 day pass, and also have the added benefits of flexibility with any extra day trips you may fancy doing.

Other recommendations

While you are in Hiroshima, I really recommend you stay at least 1 night on Miyajima island. The island in April will be totally covered in Sakura, and will be a very special place I think.

As I mentioned above, you could probably save a night from both the Kyoto and Hiroshima parts of your trip. If you did save these nights, I recommend you to look into either a night in temple lodgings at Koyasan, or a night in a Japanese onsen ryokan in Kinosaki hotsprings. Both of these places will make a nice change from the norm. If you are an art fan, then you could also look into a night on Naoshima island too, which is a fantastic experience. From a budget perspective, they will all be fairly similarly priced I think, and you can leave your luggage in a coin locker at a main station and carry an overnight bag so you are not weighed down for these trips.

Hope this helps and gives you some food for thought! Don't hesitate to ask if you have any further questions :)

Af705d2483ca769d2753af956a5d149b?s=50&d=mm
mari
Expert_button_2

Thank you so much for the help and advice, it is greatly appreciated. I was already looking at a couple of places you mentioned, I will look further into them and take a look at the new suggestions.

1 more question though, say for example my itinerary was as follows:

April 10 arrive in Tokyo
April 18 train to Kyoto
April 23 train to Hiroshima
April 26 train to Osaka to fly home.

Am I right to presume It would be best to activate the JR pass on April 12th? I am perfectly happy to spend my first couple of days exploring Tokyo itself, and leave the day trips until after I have activated the pass. What should I do for the first couple of days with regards transport (getting from the airport to my accommodation and getting around Tokyo)?

Thanks.

epdavies
epdavies

Hi there,

If you activate a 14 day pass on the 12th then the last day of validity would be the 25th, so I recommend activating on the 13th to include the trip back to Osaka Airport. Aside from that, then yes, I always think it's better to activate after a few days exploring Tokyo if you have the time rather than the other way round. You'll be more up for exploring further afield after a few days acclimatisation and Tokyo has a lot to offer!

To cover your first few days I recommend buying a 2 day metro pass on arrival at the airport. These give you unlimited travel on the Tokyo Metro (map) for ¥490/day and are extremely good value for zooming around the city. If you're landing at Narita, then I recommend you purchase the Keisei Skyliner + 2 day metro combo ticket as this also includes the travel into Tokyo from the Airport. Note that both these special tickets can only be purchased at this price at Narita or Haneda so be sure to pick them up when you land.

Hope this helps!

Af705d2483ca769d2753af956a5d149b?s=50&d=mm
mari
Expert_button_2

Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $254.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.