questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

travelling japan may 19-june18 and very nervous to use train/bus network

Travelling Japan May 19-June18 and very nervous to use train/bus network

Hello,

I have seen some amazing answers to questions on this site, so I thought I would ask my own.
I arrive in Toyko in the afternoon on May 19 . I will be staying there four nights with a day trip to Nikko on the 22nd.

May 23 - Tokyo to Kawaguchiko for 2 nights
May 25 - Kanazawa for 1 night
May 26 - Kamikochi for 2 nights
May 28 - need to arrive in Magome, Gifu Prefecture between 08:30 and 11:30 to drop off baggage to be forwarded to Tsumago while I complete the walk. Stay in Tsumago for 1 night.
May 29 - Tsumago to Kyoto for 4 nights with day trips to Uji and Nara (Can Uji and Nara be done on same day?)

June 2 - travel to Koya San to stay in Buddhist temple for 1 night
June 3 - Kaya San to Osaka for 3 nights with 1 day-trip to Kobe (mmm...beef)
June 6 - from Osaka to Hiroshima, stopping at Himeji on the way. Stay 1 night in Hiroshima
June 7 - travel to Miyajima and stay 1 night

From June 8, I would like to travel through Kyushu. I would like to visit Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Mt Aso, Beppu, Ibusuki (for the sand baths), and Yakushima (2 nights). Is there anything else you can recommend?

I was thinking maybe:
June 8 - Miyajima to Beppu. Overnight in Beppu
June 9 - trip to Mount Aso on the way to Ibusuki
June 10 - travel to Yakushima for two nights
June 12-14 - Nagasaki and Fukuoka

I would like to return to Tokyo on June 17th with one night (June 16?) at a Ryokan in Kinosaki on the way.

This gives me one extra day. Can you recommend somewhere? Either a new destination, or more time in one of the places I've already mentioned? I enjoy hiking and nature, cooking and eating, history, culture, festivals, anything really. I don't generally visit museums or art galleries in my travels.

Also, are there any festivals or events that I might be able to enjoy given my itinerary?

Finally, can you recommend the best JR pass and when to activate it for the greatest savings? Should I just get a 3-week pass and activate it when I'll see the best savings? Or get a 3-week pass and a Kyushu pass?

Thank you so very much for any help you may provide.

Virginia

Tinksahoy
Tinksahoy

Hello Virginia,

That's a nice and detailed trip.

Let's have a look at your questions:
Can Uji and Nara be done on same day? Yes, both are even on the same train line. Uji can be seen in 2H or so, leaving plenty of time for Nara.

*I would like to travel through Kyushu. I would like to visit Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Mt Aso, Beppu, Ibusuki (for the sand baths), and Yakushima (2 nights). Is there anything else you can recommend? Kyushu is great, its my favourite part of Japan. I also would recommend a visit to Kagoshima and SakuraJima. Also consider visiting Yufuin, this is a wonderful Onsen resort and somewhat higher class than Beppu.

This gives me one extra day. Can you recommend somewhere? You could visit the Izu peninsula there are beautiful beaches and hikes to be found there and a majestic view on Fuji as well (weather permitting).

Also, are there any festivals or events that I might be able to enjoy given my itinerary? Nothing big comes to mind, but you can find a list of festival here.

Finally, can you recommend the best JR pass and when to activate it for the greatest savings? Should I just get a 3-week pass and activate it when I'll see the best savings? Or get a 3-week pass and a Kyushu pass? This is actually a hard one. You'll be travelling a lot from May 25th to June 17th. The trip to Kanazawa is very costly, perhaps you could visit something closer to Tokyo, such as Matsumoto and buy normal tickets for the first couple of days and then use a 21 day JR Pass from around May 28th and use it for the remainder of your trip. You could visit Kanazawa on the way back coming from Kinosaki-onsen.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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

Arigato Daniel-san for the speedy and thorough response.

I've decided to spend a day/night in Takayama instead of Kanazawa and see Kanazawa while my train pass is active as you suggested. Rough Guides tells me that many good restaurants in Matsumoto are closed Wednesdays which is the day I would be there, so I've opted not to go.

Were you able to notice any other legs of my itinerary not covered by the pass that will also be expensive and warrant reconsoderetion?

I had anticipated spending a few hours in Kagoshima to see Sagurashima before taking the hydrofoil to Yakushima. Do you think that is sufficient? Or would you suggest I spend the night and take the first hydrofoil in the morning?

Finally, should I be worried about travel to Yufuin/Mt Also given the recent earthquake? Should I keep my plans flexible and alter with the warnings? And would you still recommend travelling down to southern Kyusha even if travel to the east is affected?

Thank yiu again?

Tinksahoy
Tinksahoy

Hi again,

There are a couple of trips where additional tickets are required, think of travel to Koya-san, and ferry to Yakushima. In addition local travel may be needed from time to time. However this is all very minor compared to the rest.

I had anticipated spending a few hours in Kagoshima to see Sagurashima before taking the hydrofoil to Yakushima. Do you think that is sufficient? Or would you suggest I spend the night and take the first hydrofoil in the morning? I think either is fine but there are some really nice places in Kagoshima for dinner ^^

Finally, should I be worried about travel to Yufuin/Mt Also given the recent earthquake? Should I keep my plans flexible and alter with the warnings? And would you still recommend travelling down to southern Kyusha even if travel to the east is affected? Most of the damaged railway have already been restored. However Aso still has limited access due to toxic gasses (not related to the earthquake).

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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

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