questions & answers: itinerary check

2 week japan trip for the fifa club world cup

2 week Japan Trip for the FIFA Club World Cup

Hello, my name is Fernando, I'm a soccer fan, photographer, and of course, traveler. I will be in Japan from December 6th to December 21st. The reason for this trip is because I will see the SemiFinal and Final games of the FIFA Club World Cup. The Semifinal takes place on the 16th of December in Osaka, and the Final in Yokohama on the 20th of December. The other days I want to go see as much of Japan as humanly possible, while getting the best out of the JPRail Pass.

I arrive in Tokyo on the 6th, and I want to spend the first two days there, getting to know the city and the Japanese way of life (and adapting to the time change of course), meaning that starting on the 8th, I want to start going out of Tokyo and seeing different cities. I don't mind a 4 hour train ride (5 would be kind of pushing it).

Should I book a hotel in Tokyo for the ENTIRE time? Or should I stay in other cities as well considering that ALL of the 16th I will spend in Osaka for the Semifinal game, and ALL of the 20th in Yokohama for the Final, and the games will be over at around 10pm. The rest of the time is just travel travel travel.

What cities are recommended?
Where should I stay and on what days?
If I get the 2-weeks JPRail Pass, how do I move inside the actual cities once I arrive?
What's the best itinerary considering how many days I'll be staying in Tokyo (15 nights) to see the best sights, take some great pictures, learn about the Japanese way of life both rural and urban?

This is going to be the trip of my life, but only if I plan it right, and I will appreciate any help I can get. I want to see the best temples, shrines, monuments. I want to see samurai stuff, geisha stuff, Classical Japanese architecture, maybe some good hikes. I want to see villages and small towns and not just huge metropolises like Tokyo and Osaka.

Thank you in advance for any information you can shoot my way, I want to start booking things right away :))

Sincerely, Fernando.


Hello Fernando,

Seeing as the football matches are all over Japan, this is a great excuse to travel around and explore different cities in Japan. I do think it would be a good idea to stay in different cities as well. This way you can experience the local atmosphere and just get get a more relaxed trip. Also think about this, Tokyo - Osaka does take about 4 hours but you would also have to travel back 4 hours on the same day if you stay in Tokyo for the night.

When 2 weeks in Japan, you can get a good feel of the country and visit different cities. A nice base itinerary could Tokyo - Kyoto - Hiroshima - Osaka - Yokohama - Tokyo before going home. All these places are directly on the bullet train line and it is easy to travel between them or plan additional side trips. Including Nara, Kobe, Himeji or many other cities would be very easy. We also have a full 14 day sample itinerary that you could use for additional inspiration.

Now for some more specific recommendations, for Temples and Shrines, visit Kyoto. Here you will find some of the best and more iconic temples of Japan. Think about Kiyomizu-dera, the Golden Pavilion and Fushimi Inari it is also easy to add in a visit to Nara from Kyoto. To visit the Daibutsu or big buddha and many other sights of cultural importance. I also recommend visiting Hiroshima, both for the peace memorial park and museum but also for a visit to the close by Miyajima. Kamakura near Tokyo is also an amazing visit, there is a great outdoor Buddha but there are also very good hiking trains in the area.

Lastly, if you want to visit a traditional Japanese onsen and combine it with a Ryokan (Japanese inn) stay. Consider adding in a visit to Kinosaki Onsen.

The JR Pass will also cover travel between all these places.

Hope this helps you!

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Thanks! Of course this helps a lot and will help me plan my trip better. The only things I'm left wondering are:

1) Once I get to Tokyo or any city I decide to travel to, in the city, how do I move around? Does the JR Pass cover other methods of travel inside the actual cities or do I need to prepare to pay extra for transport?

2) I heard that Kyoto is like the Bicycle Capital of Japan, how do I rent a bike? This sounds like an interesting experience.

3) Can I get around with just speaking English or do I need to learn some basic Japanese?

4) I'm coming from USA, when and where should I change my currency? How much cash should I carry around, considering some places take Credit Card and some don't?

5) What are the benefits of the 2-week pass for this itinerary?

Thanks so much for helping me plan this trip.


Hi Again!

1.) The JR Pass covers local JR lines within Tokyo and also the Tokyo Mono Rail, other transport does require normal tickets. In Tokyo, most can be visited using the JR Pass, although some areas still may require use of the metro or other transport.

2.) Yes! renting a bicycle is a wonderful way to explore Kyoto. There are plenty of bike shops around Kyoto where you can rent one. Some accommodations also have bicycles to use.

3.) English is fine, the first couple of times when I was in Tokyo using English was fine. Although making Japan is more accessible if you know some words.

4.) I take my money directly out of the ATM in Japan, this is generally the cheapest way to get cash. It is not strange in Japan to carry around a couple of 10,000yens.

5.) Flexibility mainly, this you'll be traveling a lot it is great to be able to take the train on any day and anywhere when you like. At the same time, a 7 day JR Pass would also be sufficient if you use it for Tokyo - Osaka - Tokyo and stay around Tokyo for the rest of the time.

Hope this helps too :)

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