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Getting the most out of 7 day Japan Rail Pass

over 1 year ago
3 responses


A few words about me. I have been to Japan several times already, thus I visited a good chunk of the most popular sites. This time around I am mostly looking for more unique experience - perhaps going to less popular places and experiencing local side of Japan.

I will spend 9 days in Japan from middle of December:

Day 1 - Land in Tokyo and tour its streets for a day.
Day 2 - A day trip from Tokyo without using a Japan Rail Pass. Perhaps Mt. Fuji? I know it's not a climbing season, just visiting its surroundings if it's worth it. P.S. I have been to Nikko before and enjoyed it a lot.
Or stay in Tokyo and go to Ghibli Museum/Disneyland, but it's probably too cold for amusement parks in December?
Days 3 to 9 - Activate Japan Rail Pass.

During days 3 - 9 I am planning to go South of Tokyo. In have been to Miyajima, Hiroshima, Osaka, Nara and Kyoto, but I would like to stay in Kyoto again for a day. My plan is to stay only a day in each city, perhaps doing two cities in a day. I have done it before and it worked out pretty well.

To sum, any recommendations for days 3 - 9? So far I thought of Kyoto and Fukuoka only. By the way, the weather in December should be perfect for visiting an onsen. Any recommendations?

For leaving Japan I have Tokyo and Osaka as options. Possibly Fukuoka as well, but it's not a preference.

I know I am a bit vague, but hopefully you will come up with something.

Thanks a lot!

16621 posts
over 1 year ago

Hi there,

This is sort of the thing I like to do myself as well, I usually do 1-2 sight seeing trips around Japan each year and try to add new and unexplored places each year. So hopefully you find these suggestions useful:

On day two you could do Fuji if the weather is good, otherwise I would recommend doing the Hakone tour. Doing the Hakone circle can be done in one day and has some amazing views, even when the weather is not that good.

For day 3-9, there are many great 1-day stops around western and southern Japan. Just to list them: Onomichi, Tsuwano, Kurashiki, Tomonoura, Takamatsu, Naoshima, Teshima, Kumamoto and Kagoshima. I recommend reading up on each of them and let me know what you think, I could then tailor more suggestions to your own interests.

For onsen on the route: Hakone, Izu, Atami, Arima Onsen, Kinosaki Onsen, Beppu and Yufuin. All of these are well worth a visit, best again is to read up on each and then find a Ryokan or place you like to stay and fits your budgets.

Hope this helps :)

3 posts
over 1 year ago

That's a suggestion I was looking for. Awesome!

I'll do my homework and come back with something more concrete so we could flush out details.

Thanks a lot!

3 posts
about 1 year ago

This is what I came up with:

Day 1 - Landing in Tokyo. Night out.

Day 2 - First day of JR Pass. Kanazawa (staying)/Toyama/Takaoka/Kaga Onsen (visiting).

Day 3 - Hikone/Kyoto (staying)/Otsu(?). P.S. Since moving around in Kyoto is rather complicated, what would be the best sights to see in Kyoto in winter?

Day 4 - Himeji/Kobe (staying).

Day 5 - Okayama/Onomichi/Yamaguchi (staying). I'd like to add Iwakuni, but probably it will be too much even for me.

Day 6 - Akiyoshido Limestone Cave. Fukuoka (staying)/Nanzoin (Buddha)/Dazaifu (museum).

Day 7 - Nagasaki/Unzen (staying)/Shimbara.

Day 8 - The last day of JR Pass. Kagushima/Sakurajima/Osaka (staying).

Day 9 - Osaka. Light shopping, souvenirs, etc. Departing.

I was also considering Kumamoto/Aso, but the crater seems to be closed at the moment.

Obviously some days may seem a bit optimistic, but it's better to drop places rather than ran out of ideas.

Few concerns I have are traveling with big luggage and the weather. Both will slow me down more than I expect perhaps. There are stop-overs before I reach my stay for a night, thus I'll have to use lockers at the stations over and over again (what could get pricey) or I'll have to move around with a darn luggage.

By the way, any suggestions and modifications are more than welcome, as nothing is set in stone yet.


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