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15 day itinerary & rail pass questions

almost 4 years ago
9 responses

We will be traveling to Japan for the first time. Here is our itinerary. I am having a bit of trouble finding information on some of the routes and how to make the best use of the JR pass. Any information that anyone could provide to get the best out of our pass would be greatly appreciated.

I am assuming we will need a 14 day pass, but will take advice from others.

Day 1-4 Tokyo
Day 5 TRAVEL Tokyo to Takayama
Day 6 Takayama
Day 7 TRAVEL Takayama to Shirakawa-go
Day 8 TRAVEL Shirakawa-go to Kanazawa
Day 9 Kanazawa
Day 10 TRAVEL Kanazawa to Mount Koya
Day 11 TRAVEL Mount Koya to Kyoto
Day 12 & 13 Kyoto
Day 14 TRAVEL Kyoto to Hiroshima with a stop in Himeji
Day 15 TRAVEL Hiroshima to Tokyo

Here is the information that I have gathered so far, the rest I am very confused on and would love help (or corrections to anything below):

Tokyo to Takayama - JR Pass will cover Hikari train to Nagoya, then it looks like we have to take "Ltd. Express Hida" train - not sure if this is covered with the JR Pass or if there is another route we should take?

Takayama to Shirakawa-go - must take a bus (do I need reservations?)

Shirakawa-go to Kanazawa - This is where I am most confused and having a very hard time getting information

Kanazawa to Mount Koya - This is another that I could use help. I am not sure the best way to go using the JR pass. Also the least amount of changeovers would be appreciated.

Mount Koya to Kyoto - same issue found with the previous route.

Kyoto to Hiroshima - I see we can take Shinkasen Kodama to Shin-Osaka and change to the Sakura train to finish the route to Hiroshima. Questions - is the Kodama covered by the JR Rail pass? Does this route take us through Himeji.

Hiroshima to Tokyo - must use Hikari and Sakura trains for JR pass (no Nozomi trains)

Thank you very much for your help!

12232 posts
almost 4 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there!

Visiting Kanazawa, Shirakawago and Takayama is just great! I've made the trip myself last year and can certainly give you some pointers. Let's start with your first question, the route you found Tokyo - Nagoya - Takayama is the best route and the Wide View Hida Express is covered by the JR Pass and the route is very scenic.
From Takayama to Shirakawa-go travel is done by bus which you can reserve tickets at Takayama station.
From Shirakawago to Kanazawa is also traveled by bus and by the same bus company, you can make seat reservations for this route at the same time when you purchase tickets at Takayama station.

For mount Koya: you can use the JR to travel to either Osaka or Hashimoto and use the Nankai Express line to Gokurabashi, which is the station for mount Koya. The Wiki Travel page does a great job about explaining this.

For travel to Hiroshima: Yes the Kodama and Sakura Shinkansen are covered by the JR Pass and the Sakura makes a stop at Himeji, so you could make a visit there before traveling on.

You can use the Hikari and Sakura for travel between Hiroshima and Kyoto as you already know.

Hope this helps!

9 posts
almost 4 years ago

Thank you do much for the thoughtful and helpful response!!

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