questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

15 day trip planned for end of july

15 Day Trip Planned for End of July

I purchased the 14-day JRPass.
I have never been to Japan before...

Here is my itinerary thus far:

I land at NRT July 21st at 4:40pm
LAX --> Tokyo (3 Nights)
Tokyo --> Mount Fuji (2 Nights)
Mount Fuji --> Kyoto (4 Nights)
Kyoto --> Matsuyama (2 Nights)
Matsuyama --> Hiroshima (1 Night)
Hiroshima --> Nagoya (2 Nights)
Nagoya --> NRT --> LAX
Flight leaves at 8:00pm from NRT August 4.

My questions are thusly:
1. Am I doing this right? or should I mix things up? Am I leaving myself enough time for each place?
2. How do I navigate from each place using the JRPass?
3. The way I set it up, I am traveling from Nagoya straight to the airport... is this wise?
4. Some of the places I am staying are off the beaten path, how easy is it for a foreigner from America to navigate in Japan?
5. Aside from Matsuyama, I am staying in hostels the whole time so switching things wouldn't be too difficult, so should I?
6. Any other advice would be much appreciated!

Like I said, I've never been to Japan before and this is all sort of last minute. I ordered my JRPass today. I live in California... how long should it take to receive it?
Also, I have specific addresses for all of my accommodations. How would I go about figuring the best route to each?

Thanks again!

Flavacraze

Flavacraze
Flavacraze

Hello Flavacraze,

1.) Yes I think it looks good. There's no unnecessary travel time or anything, making for a great trip!

2.) I would recommend reading our guide on how to plan with Hyperdia it gives you all the information which you would need and Hyperdia is an amazing resource once you understand it. For instance it will allow you to find the best routes covered by the JR Pass.

3.) I don't think that it would be a problem since you have a flight in the evening. Just plan the day of travel well and leave some overhead in case of delays. There is only one transfer involved at Tokyo station, so it's a pretty easy route.

4.) Do you mean Matsuyama? Generally it's not so hard. People are very helpful, even if you don't speak Japanese. Also almost every train station has an English speaking tourist information, you can always ask for help, tips or advice there.

5.) No, in fact I usually stay in hostels when travelling through Japan. It's one of the best ways to travel on a budget and a great way to meet new people.

6.) If you have time in Hiroshima, be sure to swing by Miyajima and try some of the local Ramen noodles the Hiroshima flavour is very good.

As for the JR Pass, we delivery post passes within the USA overnight and it should not be long before it arrives.

As for routes, google maps is your friend. Just put in the address and look for the nearest station and you can generally walk from there. Also hostels most of the time provide good access directions on their websites. Be sure to read them beforehand.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thank you Daniel!
Sorry for the delay in response... I've been away from my electronics entirely.

I'm going to put Miyajima on my must-do list and I love Ramen so thank you for that advice as well.
I am tracking the JRPass and it says it will be here today! That is amazing... I ordered it yesterday.

When I ordered the JR Pass it asked me to indicate the first day of travel...
Did that need to be spot on? Basically what I am trying to figure out is if the date I put in for the first date of travel is when the pass is valid or when I begin using it?

Google maps shall definitely come in handy, which brings me to another question: What's the best way to use the phone over there? I have an iPhone with AT&T service and am planning on calling them soon but I figured I would submit this here in case anyone knew off-hand the best way to go about doing that. And thank you for the link to Hyperdia. I am going to familiarize myself with it before hand.

From your experience Daniel, how are the lockers in the hostel? Do I need to bring my own lock? Do I even need to worry about security and all that? From everything I've read about Japan and the research I conducted leading up to booking the trip, it seems people in Japan aren't jerks like they are here in the States and won't steal or loot my gear... Like all of the vending machines in the middle of nowhere and no one vandalizes or destroys them.

And finally, is there any place you think I am missing? Was Matsuyama a good choice? I figured it wasn't a place many tourists probably go so I chose it...

Thanks again Daniel!

Flavacraze

Flavacraze
Flavacraze

One more thing:

I've just been playing around with Hyperdia and there is an option for reserved seating called 'Green Seat' that costs extra... I am assuming this is like first class? I am also assuming this is not included in the JR Pass... is that correct?

Thank you Daniel.

Flavacraze
Flavacraze

Hello again!

Sometimes is good to take a break from all the tech we have around us these days.

The date we ask during check out serves as an indication only. You can select the 1st day of use once you activate the JR Pass in Japan.

Using a mobile in Japan can be pricey but Iphones work without problems. You can also consider buying a B-Mobile prepaid data Sim in Japan. Although that too is pricey.

From my own experience, Japan is a very save country and lockers in most hostels are fine. After some time I even got too lazy and left my laptop on my bed for the day without trouble. Still you never know, if something disappears it will most likely be the foreigner sleeping in the other bed.

Well there are literally hundreds off great places which you could add within Japan. However given the available time, I think that you've made a very nice selection. Matsuyama is also very nice. My own last visit there is already 5 years ago in April, its a good place to stay a couple of days, especially the local onsen is good. A good alternative in Shikoku is Takamatsu, this is a relaxed town with a nice park, great shopping streets and the best part is that you can use all kinds of ferries to explore the local islands (including Naoshima).

Lastly, the Green Class is indeed 1st class. It is not included in the JR Pass but you can purchase Green Class JR Pass if you wish to travel with a little extra comfort.

Does that help?
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thank you sir for your wealth of knowledge!

And yes, you've been more than helpful and I truly appreciate the time you take to respond to queries such as mine.
I've looked through the forums and you are most helpful.

Good looking out.

Thanks again,

Flavacraze

Flavacraze
Flavacraze

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