questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

10 days with luggage issues

10 days with luggage issues

We two seniors will be in Japan for 10 days prior to boarding the Diamond Princess in Yokohama for a 27 day cruise. This trip will require two large suitcases, two roll-a boards, and two backpacks. We expect to be jet-lagged when we arrive, as we will be traveling from the East Coast of the US. We are scheduled to land at Haneda at 10:15 PM and plan to spend that night at an airport hotel. We hope to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, possibly Nagano, Matsumoto, and other places of interest.

How can we best use a JR Pass? And what do we do with our luggage?

Tentative itinerary so far:
first night: Arrive in Haneda, spend the night in airport hotel
day 1-2: Tokyo
day 3 -9 ??
day 10: Sail from Yokohama

timetraveler
timetraveler

Hi there!

Let's start with your luggage, it does seem a bit much reading about it like that. Most Shinkansen and limited express trains offer a special compartment in each train car to store a suitcase or two, however it may be a problem if you travel locally such as on the Yokohama subway, it's better to avoid rush hour if you travel packed as local trains/subways will be packed with people.

For the itinerary, Matsumoto is very beautiful and well worth a trip! I'd recommend visiting it either on the way to Kyoto or when you travel back to Tokyo/Yokohama. Assuming that you would use a 7 day JR Pass you could do the following travel. A possible itinerary could look like this Yokohama - Matsumoto(1d) - Kyoto(3d) - Nara(1d) - morning train to Nagano (1d) and travel on the following evening to either Tokyo/Yokohama. This is straightforward route without extra travel time. You could also switch out Nagano for a visit to Osaka/Kobe/Hiroshima etc, either way a JR Pass would be very useful, just be sure to be back in Yokohama or at least Tokyo before the pass expires.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

To avoid some luggage hassles, would it be a good idea to use Tokyo and/or Kyoto as bases for day trips?

Would you recommend doing Matsumoto and/or Nagano as a day trip from Tokyo?

Would you recommend doing Nara as a day trip from Kyoto?

Would you suggest any other day trips from Kyoto?

timetraveler
timetraveler

Hi again!

Yes making day trips from either Tokyo or Kyoto would be a great idea. However I would not do so for Matsumoto or Nagano as both take quite some time to get too and you would lose too much time to do a return on the same day.

From Kyoto there are lots of possible day trips! Nara, Osaka and Kobe immediately come to mind. Also if you feel adventurous you could make a visit to Hiroshima.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

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