questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

first time trip to japan, trying to put together a timeline...

First time trip to Japan, trying to put together a timeline...

Hello!

I will be making my first trip to Japan this fall with my husband and had a few questions about the rail, times between cities, and other general first timer info.

We plan to be there for 19 days, starting and ending in Tokyo. Here are the cities we would like to visit and explore: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Naruto, and Hiroshima (day trip). Currently, we are planning them in that order, spending 2 nights per city the first 1.5 wks then ending in Tokyo and spending several days there, with closer day trips planned.

Do you have any other recommendations for the order of visiting these areas?

Would you recommend any other northern or southern areas that would be more worthwhile for a first timer?

I have read that travel time from Tokyo to Kyoto can be close to 3 hours. Do you have any estimation as to length of time between the other cities?

Also, we are currently looking to do a 7 day pass to start, but contemplating getting the 14. If we spend the last half of the trip mostly exploring Tokyo and doing smaller day trips, would it be more beneficial to get the 14 day, or not?

Lastly, what are the best methods of transport from HND airport to Tokyo if it is early morning/late at night and the JR is not running?

Thank you!!

michdmy
michdmy

Hi there,

The cities you picked make for a great selection, especially for a first time visit to Japan. I would recommend visiting Miyajima while you are in Hiroshima and perhaps add in a visit to Kobe as well, as it's very close to Osaka and Kyoto. If you would like to explore Japan a little bit more, consider visiting Izumo Taisha and the closeby Matsue. Looking at your itinerary, I would advise the 14 day JR Pass. Simply because it gives you a lot more flexibility and you will have enough time to explore each city. Additionally the JR Pass can be used for local travel in Tokyo and you could also add in a day trip to Nikko or Kamakura.

I would recommend using Hyperdia.com to look up travel times and other route information. We have a great Blog post HERE to get you started. Travel from Kyoto - Hiroshima is around 120 min and about 80-100 for travel to Osaka.

The only way to get early/late to Haneda is to use a taxi. You can use the Monorail during the day with the JR Pass.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thanks so much Daniel!

I had another question - once we get our XO's, is there any way to change it to a 14 day pass when we are already there, or if we get a 14 day pass but then discover we don't need it, can we change to a 7 day?

michdmy
michdmy

Hi again!

The JR period can't be changed. So be sure to finish planning before you place the order.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Also, when navigating through the site, it shows seat fares and reserved seat fares. Are these not included in the price of the JR pass?

michdmy
michdmy

They are included in the JR Pass, you don't have to pay anything extra for a seat reservation or any other fare.

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

Please disregard my previous post.

Thanks again!!

michdmy
michdmy

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