questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

comments/advice please

Comments/Advice Please

We are visiting Japan for the first time on May 1st for 16 days. We have booked our accommodation and have purchased our 7 day Rail JR Pass.

We will be spending 6 days in Tokyo in the Keisei Tateishi station area.

On May 7th we will depart Tokyo and go to Kanazawa. I plan to activate our rail pass at this time. Going from Keisei Tateishi station to Kanazawa appears involve a bit of walking between stations. Would it be better to get a train to Tokyo station and start our trip from there?

We will get the Hokuriku Shinkensen to Kanazawa where we will spend 3 days.

When we leave Kanazawa we will get the Hokuriku back to Nagarno and get the Shinano to Matsumoto.

After spending 3 days in Matsumoto we will go to Odawara area where we will stay for 3 days before flying back home to New Zealand.

It looks like there are 3 options of getting to Odawara. The one I am thinking of is getting the LTD. EXP (WIDE VIEW) SHINANO 8 to Nagoya and then the SHINKANSEN HIKARI 520 to Odawara.

Time taken does not matter as the experience of seeing the countryside is all part of our holidays.

If you any comments or advice on my plans would be most appreciated.


Len P.


Regarding going to Kanazawa by bullet train, you can leave from Tokyo Stn., but why not just get on the bullet train at the JR Ueno Station?
And then for going to Odawara, it is your choice of course. But for the same amount of time with a good connection, you can get from Matsumoto to Odawara as you can to Nagoya. And it'd be then an extra 2 hours by bullet train to get from Nagoya to Odawara. Only you can decide if it is worth it really, I would suggest not wasting the time and spending it more at your destination. And it's unclear what would hold your attention in Odawara for 3 full days.....
Please be aware also that you will be arriving in Japan during Golden Week (Apr. 29-May 6) which is one of the busiest holiday times of the year. Many places will have a lot more people than usual. Leaving Tokyo should not be a problem though since at the time you're leaving, most people will be returning to Tokyo.
While you are missing the cherry blossom season, you will though be just in time for wisteria season, and if you have the time, you can see a stunning display of them at the Ashikaga Flower Park just north of Tokyo:

For Kanazawa, be sure to see the Kenrokuen Garden - it is rated as Japan's most beautiful traditional and historical garden.
I'd suggest though that 3 days are enough to see Tokyo. Some other day trips would add more variety. Popular choices are Nikko, Kamakura/Enoshima, and Hakone. If not using your JR Pass, look into a regional pass for them:

For going to/from Tokyo, the Keisei is 1 choice but there are also cheaper ways by bus:


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