questions & answers: itinerary check

17 day itinerary check

17 day itinerary check


My girlfriend and I have the following itinerary in mind:

Day 1: Tokyo (arrival)
Day 2: Tokyo
Day 3: Tokyo
Day 4: Tokyo-Nikko
Day 5: Nikko - Takayama
Day 6: Takayama
Day 7: Takayama - Kanazawa
Day 8: Kanazawa
Day 9: Kanazawa - Kyoto
Day 10: Kyoto
Day 11: Kyoto - (daytrip Nara)
Day 12: Kyoto
Day 13: Kyoto- Mount Koya
Day 14: Mount Koya- Osaka
Day 15: Osaka
Day 16: Osaka - (daytrip Hiroshima)
Day 17: Osaka
(day 18 early flight, leaving from Osaka)

We are planning to buy a 14 day JR pass, would this pass cover all the different routes mentioned? Is it worth buying the 14 day pass?
Is it feasible to travel from Nikko to Takayama in one day?
Are we spending enough time at each of the different destinations, or are there any changes to the itinerary you would recommended?

Thanks in advance for your reply

Best Daan


Hello there,

Very nice itinerary! The JR Pass will also work very well with it. There's so much travel in there that you'll make very good savings.

The JR Pass covers by far the major part of your itinerary. However you will require to make use of non-jr rail from Osaka - Koya-san. This however is only a very small part. the details for getting to Koya can be found here.

Nikko to Takayama, is a bit long about 8 hours. Here is an example. You may be better off spending a night in between in Tokyo.

I think you are spending a fair amount of time in each place, that all looks good! There's a nice balance between days in cities and day trips. There's not really something I would change here.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Yes, since you are going to Takayama, Kanazawa, Nikko and especially Hiroshima, a 14 day pass would pay off quite well. You can activate it and use it Days 4-17. Going from Nikko to Takayama will be quite a journey though; with the best connections it will take about 5½ hours in total. While in Takayama, be sure to branch out a bit and see Shirakawago and Gokayama. For Kanazawa , be sure not to miss the Kenrokuen Garden which is widely regarded as the finest in Japan.
The Pass can take you everywhere you want to go except to the heart of Mt. Koya. To see access info and what to see/do, start browsing here. A day trip to Nara is also a great idea. Be sure to go to Nara Park to see the Todaiji Great Buddha, feed the deer, see Kasuga Shrine and visit the near by Isuien Garden and Yoshikien Garden.
For a day trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima, it is possible if you start very early - you can cover the best places in Hiroshima City (Peace Park/Museum, castle, Shukkeien Garden) and spend about ¾ of a day to see Miyajima.
Honestly though, since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. At night the city comes alive and has some great places to see, such as Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg, and Abeno Harukas Bldg are excellent. Instead, take a day and visit Japan's finest castle, Himeji.
For your arrival and transport into Tokyo, look into a cheap 1000 yen bus and subway pass or Keisei/Metro package.

Good Luck!


Thank you Daniel-San and Toraneko for you extensive feedback, very helpful!



We are pretty sure that we would like to order the 14-day rail pass, but I would like to do 1 final check on the finalized itinerary:

Day 1: Tokyo (arrival)
Day 2: Tokyo
Day 3: Tokyo
Day 4: Tokyo
Day 5: Tokyo (Nikko daytrip)
Day 6: Tokyo - Takayama
Day 7: Takayama
Day 8: Takayama - Kanazawa
Day 9: Kanazawa
Day 10: Kanazawa - Kyoto
Day 11: Kyoto
Day 12: Kyoto
Day 13: Kyoto - Hiroshima
Day 14: Hiroshima - Miyajima
Day 15: Hiroshima - Osaka
Day 16: Osaka - (daytrip Nara)
Day 17: Osaka - Mt Koya
Day 18: Mt Koya - Osaka
Day 19: Osaka (evening flight)

Could you please validate that the JR-pass allows me to travel all legs via train (without surcharges), except for the trip to Mt. Koya?

What would be the best day to activate the pass?

Thanks in advance for your reply!

Best Daan


Yes you can take JR on everything above except for Koyasan as you said. Look into getting a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket. Also for Takayama, one of the very best areas there is Shirakawago, but you'd need to pay the bus fare for that. If you overnight there, getting a place at a traditional farm house (gassho-zukkuri) will truly be an unforgettable experience.
Using the pass between Days 5-18 work best and yield the most savings. For your last day to get to the airport, look into getting a 1000 yen bus.

Enjoy your trip.


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