questions & answers: itinerary check

3 week itinerary - is this doable and what passes make the most sense?

3 week itinerary - is this doable and what passes make the most sense?

My husband and I are coming to Japan late September/early October and have the follow as our tentative itinerary:

Arrive Osaka (ITM), limousine bus to Nara
Nara - 2 nights
Kyoto - 4 nights

This is where I need help. From Kyoto, we want to head to the Alps. We're looking at Kanazawa, Takayama, Gujo-Hachiman and Matsumoto as our destinations before heading to Hakone. We have a potential of seven nights in the Alps, but need to be able to get from one place to another in a manner than makes sense. Could you help?

Hakone - 2 nights
Tokyo - 6 nights
Depart NRT

In addition to the logistical questions, what passes make the most sense? I'm not sure a 21 day pass would be to our advantage because I don't think it works on the buses.

Please help me firm up my schedule. Thank you!


Here is a sequence suggestion :

Side trips to Takayama (2nights)
Shirakawa-go (1 night)
Back to Tokyo


Hello there,

Assuming you would want to go into the Alps right after Kyoto, my advise would be to travel to Kanazawa, from there go to Takayama, or alternatively swing by Shirakawag by bus. From Takayama/Shirakawago buses travel to Guji Hachiman.From there is would make most sense to travel to Nagoya and take a train from there to Matsumoto but fore going to Hakone and Tokyo.

Please be aware that you'll spend a good amount of traveling and I would advise a minimum of 8 days for this part.
For this itinerary it would be better to buy normal tickets, you could also look at a Hokuriku Pass.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Daniel, michvoo, Thank you for your answers.

Assuming that I do want to go from Kyoto to the Alps and end that portion of our trip in Hakone, besides Kanazawa and Takayama, what other places do you recommend visiting? I'm not tied to Guji Hachiman, especially since it seems complicated to get there. We do have about 7-8 days to spend in this region.

Please advise!

Thank you in advance.


Hi again!

Well there is much more you could visit. Gero-Onsen (onsen town near Takayama), Kamikochi, the Kurobe Alpine route and my previously mentioned Shirakawago all come to mind and make for very nice visits. Alternatively you could spend a day in Nagoya between traveling from Takayama to Matsumoto.

Kamikochi is easy to visit from Matsumoto by bus and is easy to fit in as a day trip.

There's a lot to explore and visit!

Expert button 2

Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $255.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.