questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

looking for the cheapest way

looking for the cheapest way

Hi

We will be in Japan for 12 days and we will be traveling to the following location in the order below
Osaka to Kyoto,
Kyoto to Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji to Tokyo

Should we buy a 14 day JR pass or is there a cheaper way to do this?

Cheers
Rajnita

rajnita
rajnita

sorry I missed one location :( please see below,

Osaka to Kyoto,
Kyoto to Mt. Fuji
Mt. Fuji to Hakuba
Hakuba to Tokyo

Cheers
Rajnita

rajnita
rajnita

Hi Rajnita,

Adding Hakuba does make for a good change :) Do you plan on Skiing or some other snow fun?
I looked up the route you plan to travel to see what JR Pass would help best. This may be a bit of a surprise but I think that you will be best of buying normal travel tickets. The JR Pass can quickly pay of if you travel a couple of times on the Shinkansen for instance, a return Kyoto - Tokyo already pays for a 7 day JR Pass. You travel from Kyoto to Tokyo with a stop at Fuji and a detour to Hakuba, which would not cover the price of a pass.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

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

Hi Daniel

Thank you for your reply, Yes we will be Snowboarding in Hakuba :) My husband loves the snow in Japan.

when you say "I think that you will be best of buying normal travel tickets" - do you mean regular rail? or just normal shinkansen tickets instead of JR pass? - We would still like to catch the shinkansen trains between various locations, as they are quite a distance apart, and catching these trains would really save us on time. - what are your thoughts?

Can you please give a break down for the cost of the train tickets please?

Starting from Kansail International Airport 3rd Dec at 3.40pm
Osaka to Kyoto on the 3rd of Dec
Kyoto to Yamanaka on the 6th of Dec
Yamanaka to Hakuba on the 8th of Dec
Hakuba to Tokyo 12th Dec
Ending our visit Haneda Airport on thr 15th of Dec at 11.45pm

we would like to stay in a Ryokan somewhere, we were thinking of Gion, or around Fuji - do you have any other locations or even any particular Ryokan accommodation that you would recommend - as they are also seeming to be heavily booked out at this time of year?

For our trip, we would like to see the traditional and genuine side of japan, but we are not too sure about where to visit to achieve this, so we have put together a rough itinery below, can you suggest anything else?

Kyoto - we would like to go to Gion - to see something traditional, Kinakuji (Golden Pavilion), Fushimi Inari Sharine, Arashiyama, Nachi Tishaand

yamanaka/Mt Fuji - we would like to visit Mt Fuji, can you recommend any itinery ideas for this area?

Hakuba - snowboarding :) - we were also thinking it would be nice to go and see some snow monkeys, visit any temples or shrines in the area if there are any? and stop by at an Onsen in the snow? we would also like to visit matsumoto castle if it is nearby? would you recommend Nagano or Hakuba for the above?

Tokyo - can you recommend an itinery for the time that we have in tokyo? obviously we would like to visit Tokyo Tower, but we would also like to experience some of the night life. bars, etc. we were recommended to visit shinjuku?

Thank you for your help :)

Kind Regards
Rajnita

rajnita
rajnita

Hi Again!

With normal or regular tickets, I mean tickets for either both the Shinkansen and normal railways. So you would be making use of the Shinkansen too :)

Also my apologies for the late replay, I needed some time to research the route Yamanaka - Hakuba, it turns out that it is pretty hard to make this trip. Going to Yamanaka is not that hard from Kyoto, you can take the Shinkansen to Mishima and a local train from there to Gotemba. From Gotemba take the Fujikyu bus to Yamanaka.
The real adventure begins once you travel from Yamanaka - Hakuba. The best thing here would be to rent a car and just drive because there's no direct railway between both cities. By rail it takes over 5 hours with different transfers, here are a couple of examples.. It may be better to go to Tokyo for a night and take a direct train or bus from there the next morning.

Here is a little break down of ticket prices to give you an idea of the approximate cost.
Osaka - Kyoto 540 yen
Kyoto - Yamanaka ¥ 11,320 + Fujikyu bus to Yamanaka.
Yamanaka - Hakuba ¥ 6,850 (if you go there by rail from Fuji-san)
Hakuba - Tokyo ¥ 8,070

Japan very much is a land of tradition but also of the modern, you can find a 1000 year old temple right between a couple of skyscrapers and nobody will think that's somehow strange. Even now if you walk the streets of Japan there is a lot of culture to be seen and found, this is what I personally enjoy the most. You can of course visit temples and other cultural sights which are very impressive by themselves. One trip I would recommend making is a side visit from Kyoto - Nara where you can make view the Todaji temple which houses the big Buddha.
A visit to a Ryokan is also a very nice idea to experience some of Japanese culture and even zen. Both Kyoto, Hakone and the Fuji area are very popular places. I don't have any specific recommendations, what I would recommend doing is reading other people's reviews about places, such as on websites as tripadvisor.

For Jikokudani (the snow monkey park) I would not recommend traveling there from Hakuba, just getting there and back would take up your day. It's a 4H+ train ride to Yudanaka from there it would take at least an other 60-90 minutes to reach to park. A better day trip would be to visit Nagano and the temple there (its very beautiful).

Lastly for Tokyo, there's a lot there. Just spending a year there would not be enough to see it all. I would recommend reading this website to give you some ideas.

I know it's a lot of information to take in, my advice would be to look at travel involved (especially to Hakuba) and perhaps consider changes plans a little to avoid massive travel times.

Kind regards,
Daniel

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

Hi Daniel

All of that information has been very helpful thank you. We been looking at the Lonely Planet book as well at Tripadvisor.

If we take out Hakuba and go to Nagano to Snowboarding, will that be a more direct train line from Yamanaka?

Regards
Rajnita

rajnita
rajnita

If we hire a car, How long will it take from Yamanaka to Hakuba or Nagano? Can we hire a car from Yamanaka for one day and leave it in Hakuba or Nagano? Can you suggest a better Itinerary?

I was thinking

Osaka to Kyoto
Kyoto to Yamanaka
Yamanaka to Tokyo
Tokyo to Nagano
Nagano to Tokyo ariport (Our flight is at 11.45pm)

Regards
Rajnita

rajnita
rajnita

Hi Again,

That sounds like a much more doable itinerary! From Nagano, you can even head up to Nozowa and the close by winter-sport resort, this way you don't have to miss the snow fun.

The drive from Yamanaka to is about 300KM (you can find the exact route on Google maps) so I guess it would take 3-4. Some car rental companies do allow you to rent a car at one place and return it at an other, so that's possible something you could look into as well.

Regards,
Daniel

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

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