questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

tokyo-> fukuoka -> kyoto/osaka (not sure if i wanna go here or other prefectures) ->tokyo

Tokyo-> Fukuoka -> Kyoto/Osaka (Not sure if i wanna go here or other prefectures) ->Tokyo

Ok this is so gonna be an overwhelming question! Breathes

Hi everyone i really really need some JR Pass expert help here.. Basic info first:
- im travelling by myself (Alone) to Japan on 12~26/02. - Tentatively 12or13 to 17 in Fukuoka, 17 to 21 Kyoto/Osaka(Somewhere but not decided) and then the remaining days in Tokyo.

I'm really having a hard time to figure out transportation costs(W/W/O JR PASS), places to go etc.. I really need to start planning my journey (oh god help) if not i can foresee myself having a BIG PROBLEM in japan... PLS HELP !!!

I have some questions as below:

  1. Based on my simplified itinerary, I supposed getting the national JR Pass would be the best choice compared to getting different regional passes? Would it be possible that it would be cheaper getting regional passes instead? I heard there is a new pass 若トク早特きっぷ coming up soon? would it be much cheaper to get this to get from Tokyo via Shin Osaka to Hakata (as stated in the route of the pass)? and then i would go to Kyoto/osaka through a regional pass? Does anyone knows very well to do some comparison $ calculations for me (Comparing JR Pass/ Regional based on my schedule)? Thanks a BILLION to the kind hearted soul who would be helping me.... Kneeling down & bows 180°

  2. I'm going to visit my homestay family first, which is in Fukuoka. Hence, if im getting whatever pass recommended on Qn 1, How do i get the shinkansen timetable? I searched the timetable online but it's really confusing and i dont know which row or column and what number they stands for! what time is the first train and last train?
    was wondering Will i be able to travel somewhere nearby for sightseeing or shopping via the JR PASS before i meet my Homestay family at Hakata Station by Noon/Late Noon or evening?

2a. Just in case on days i might be alone (accomm. covered) in Fukuoka, is far to travel to Nagasaki or does anyone has other recommendations to visit near Omuta(My homestay family's place)? (I have been to Kumamoto before, intends to visit other nearby areas)
also, Can a day trip to Nagasaki be completed within a day? Is there any map or online website to calculate Shinkansen time taken from a place to another place (By a JR PASS)?**

  1. After Fukuoka, im really unsure of where to go.(Thats when i'm REALLY alone) I would like to make my japan trip a real fulfilling one so... Wondering if Kyoto and Osaka is actually close to each other? If so, i would need to get accommodation in either kyoto or Osaka, which would be better actually? Any other recommendations on where i should go after Fukuoka? (on the way towards Tokyo direction only) THANKS!

  2. And my last destination is Tokyo! My japanese BFF is there and i'm gonna be at her place so it should be okay as i have her as my tour guide YAY JUST THAT. I have a one night free accommodation (A gift from my Friend) at a hotel near Akabane station. How should I make use of this......? Is there any places to go by myself on the way back from kyoto/osaka(example) so that i can stay at the hotel on the same night, before finally meeting my japanese friend in Tokyo?

THATS ALL my MAIN questions that is driving me crazy these few days actually...
THANKS BILLION THANKS TO ANYONE THAT CAN ANSWER ALL MY BURNING QUESTIONS!

michy_24
michy_24

Hi there,

That's indeed a lot of information! Let's have a look at possible options.

1.) The JR Pass could be very helpful but is generally used best when making a couple of Shinkansen rides.
A one way Tokyo - Hakata (Fukuoka) alone is ¥ 22,950 and a 7 day JR Pass is ¥ 29,110 . The 若トク早特きっぷ or Wakatoku ticket is a good deal but only valid for Shin-Osaka - Hakata. A normal ticket Tokyo - Shin-Osaka is around 14,000, so this option would actually cost more! Add in travel to Nagasaki and Osaka/Kyoto and a JR Pass could be very helpful. I can certainly give you a ticketprice breakdown but it is best to do so once you've got a compete itinerary.

2.) It's a pretty long ride from Tokyo - Hakata, so I don't think that you'll have much time on the day of arrival to look around. However the station is very nice and I guess you could explore around there.

From reading your post, I also get the feel that you could use a bit of help with timetables. For this we have a great blog post on how to plan with Hyperdia. www.hyperdia.com is a very good resource to look up travel times, route information, tickets prices and more! An other resource we have this is interactive map with all train lines covered in Japan. This can give you a good feel for distances involved. Be sure to use them both!

For other day trips from Omuta, you could either visit Mount Aso or Dazaifu both are very nice places to visit. Travel from Nagasaki - Hakata takes 112 Minutes.

After Fukuoka there are many places to visit. Kyoto and Osaka are some of the best, other visits worth considering are Kanazawa, Takayama, Kobe and maybe a stop at Nagoya. What kind of things are you interested in? This would give me a better idea of what to recommend.

Akebane, is north in Tokyo and there's not that much of touristy places there. At the same time, a free accommodation is always nice!

Hope this clears things up!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel! Appreciate your detailed reply! I have checked out Hyperdia, its awesome! (^ ^)
I have came up with an almost complete itinerary already, that is:

Total no. of days: 14 ( evening flight back home on the last day)
Period: 12th to 26th Feb

12th: Tokyo for the night
13th to 17th: Fukuoka area
18th to 21th: Was thinking of Kyoto/Osaka/Nara, but maybe u can recommend me other places based on my interests listed below?
22th: Would like to use my free 1night hotel @Akabane. anywhere (other cities?) i can visit in the day before this on my way here?
23th to 26th: Tokyo area

As for where i shall visit on the 18th to 21th (on the direction towards Tokyo)

These are some of the things im interested in:
1. Sightseeing, places to take nice pictures!! (or selfies hehe)
2. shopping at areas that are not overpriced or expensive
2a). Things like Clothes, Souvenirs, bags, shoes (for young adults) etc
3. Temples/Shrines and Castles! *
4. delicious, reasonable prices of food, something local, distinct of that town,... things like that

*would i be able to visit Himeji castle first on the 13th before i go to Hakata reaching about late noon/evening?

Hence, is regional JR passes or Nationwide JR passes much more worth it? would love to have a ticketprice breakdown comparing both! Thanks so much for your help!

michy_24
michy_24

Hi again!

Glad to see your itinerary coming together!

To give you a quick price breakdown. The 14 day JR Pass is 46,390 yen.

Normal tickets will cost.
Tokyo - Fukuoka ¥ 22,950
Fukuoka - Kyoto ¥ 15,860
Local travel within Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara) A return Kyoto - Osaka is 1,120yen and a return Kyoto - Nara 1,420yen.
Kyoto - Tokyo ¥ 13,070

This alone is ¥ 54,420, so you'll make great savings with the 14 day JR Pass. The JR Pass can also be used for local travel in Osaka and Tokyo and for travel to many other places. There are no regional pases which cover all places you wish to visit, so there was not possible to include them.

When reading your interests, the Gotemba Premium Outlets come to mind, this is a great way for budget shopping and offers an amazing view on Tokyo. The JR Pass can also be used to travel there. For the rest, you'll find all the things you like in all the places which you already have planned in. I would advise adding in a visit to Miyajima, on route between Fukuoka and Kansai (also a great place to shoot a couple of selfies).

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thanks Daniel for the information! it helped me a lot for my planning right now!

I was also wondering if, instead of getting accommodation in Kyoto area for the days where im alone,
would using the JR Pass to get on night trains on the 18th~21th (3nights) travelling east-wards, is it recommended and safe to do so? (for a girl)

Thanks!

michy_24
michy_24

Hi again!

Japan is a very safe country and personally never had a bad experience, nor any of my friends.

The real problem here is that there are very little night trains in Japan, the only train useful is the Sunrise Express, this one if often fully booked though.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

You can see train schedules on:

http://www.hyperdia.com/

There is good info seeing Fukuoka on:

http://www.thejapanfaq.com/fukpic.html

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7LcPcmoSg-j4RLa6iC7ayvBAbOn8-028

Aside from Nagasaki in your area, Yanagawa and Dazaifu are possibilities. Mt Aso is another but it has been closed for months due to high poison gas emissions. Takachiho is a beautiful gorge and worth seeing too (by bus - no rail access available).

Toraneko
Toraneko

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