Back to Itinerary check

3 week Kyushu-Honshu-Hokkaido travel

almost 5 years ago
7 responses

Hi guys, me and 2 friends are doing a 3 week trip North bound this year Dec-Jan, and would love to know what you think of the itinerary:

Dec 26th JRbeetle Busan (KOR) --> Fukuoka
Dec 27th Day trip Nagasaki, then depart via Fukuoka to Hiroshima (stay 2 nights)
Dec 29th Hiroshima to Osaka (stay 2 nights)
Dec 30th Day trip to Kobe
Dec 31st Leave Osaka; arrive Kyoto (4 nights)
Jan 2nd Day trip Nara
Jan 4th Kyoto to Nagoya (overnight)
Jan 5th Nagoya to Tokyo (5 nights)
Jan 8th Day trip to Fuji (best way to do this?)
Jan 9th Tokyo to Fukushima (overnight stay)
Jan 10th Leave Fukushima at night --> Sapporo (3 nights)
Jan 14th Leave Sapporo overnight; arrive 15th Tokyo (overnight stay)
Jan 16th Tokyo to Narita; depart for AUS.

Is this itinerary humanly possible? It's pretty packed but we're on such a tight schedule. Is there anything we're going to miss that's really worth the stopover during this time? Most departures are in the morning so that we can utilise the day.
I was wondering if internal transport in Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo is covered by JR, and also, would you recommend us using Green passes over standard? We'll need sleepers in Fukushima to Sapporo travel, so do you think it's worth the extra money for the green 21day pass in this itinerary?

Thank you so much for your help!

12232 posts
almost 5 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there!

Cool itinarary! Personally I really love this kind of thing! It is certainly possible! The only real long trip is from Fukushima to Sapporo 503 minutes (!) and the way back. You can use an overnight option with the Hotokusei night train but it requires an extra fee, even with the JR-Pass. The way back is what I am a little concerned about. There is no Night trains from Sapporro to Tokyo that is fully covered by the JR-Pass, did you already have something in mind?
What you could do is take the Hamanasu night train from Sapporo to Aomori and take the Shinkansen in the Morning to Tokyo (227 Minutes).

Travel in Kansai:
You can travel with the JR-Pass between Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara without extra cost and also use the local JR-Lines in Osaka to get around there. What is not covered are most busses and the Metro. In Kyoto especially you may want to use busses to get around as the metro is limited. This website offers great information on how to get around in Kyoto, you can buy an all day bus pas for only 500Yen!

For the Greenpass and 21-day pass:
Since you will be traveling so much it may be worth it but I don't think it offers anything extra on the local trains in the Kansai Area and night trains. The 21 day pass is 12.500Yen more than the 14 day pass. So if you do more travel that that amount it becomes worth it. The journey between Aomori and Tokyo alone is ¥ 16,980 so I think going for the 21-day pass is an easy choice.

Hope this helps,

7 posts
almost 5 years ago

So do you think we should sleep in Aomori that night and then train direct to Narita in the morning on the way back? I didn't have anything in mind besides catching whatever lines would be fast and covered by JR. Thank you for your info on that front!

As for travel in Kansai, thank you so much for your information! I wasn't sure how we were going to internally travel and naively assumed that everything like metro train lines would be covered by JR. Would you recommend New Year's in Kyoto or in Osaka? What's normally the best option? We didn't mind moving days to Osaka, and were honestly staying in Kyoto a little more than Osaka because we had heard more about it.

Yep, I was set on issuing us the 21 day passes but we weighing up whether Green pass would be so much better. we don't need first class travel. so I'm happy with ordinary passes. I wanted to ask if there's enough space for luggage transportation via the trains? I was honestly worried the most about not being able to transport luggage and I can already see us carrying it being the biggest burden of the trip.

Visiting Hakone for Fuji, or Lake Kawaguchiko. Is travel there for Fuji covered by JR. If not, how much extra will that cost us?

Finally and a little unrelated, my 2 friends have already been to Disney theme parks in america. I on the other hand would love to go, but I know Tokyo's parks are incredibly crowded pretty much all the time. Would you still recommend the day trip or do you think it would be a waste of a day in Tokyo?

Thank you so much for your help!! This forum is awesome by the way and I have a lot of respect for your work! Fighting!!
- Johnny.

12232 posts
almost 5 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi Again,

First, on the way back from Hokkaido you can take the night train Hamanasu (see my post above) to Aomori, you will then arrive around 5.40 in the morning (I know, it's really too early) but then you can take the Shinkansen around 6 a.m. to Tokyo and be there just a little past 10 a.m. Here is the time table for reference. I hope this part is clear, let me know if it is not!

Celebrating new year in Osaka or Kyoto?
This one is a little tough, it depends what kind of celebration you are looking for. If you want to go for drinks and the like I would definitely recommend Osaka also in the past years the Universal countdown @ Universal city was a great blast! If you are looking for something more traditional stay in Kyoto and visit Fushimi Inari the next day to see people ringing the new years bell and participate in the new years rituals.

Is not a problem when you travel by Bullet train, or limited express train. They both come equipped with special places to put your suitcase and there is more than enough space. The local train is a bit different though, especially during rush hour! Then they can be very crowed and you may have to squeeze somewhat to get everything in the train, so try to avoid them during rush hour if you can.

Hakone by JR?
Travel in the Area is not covered by the JR-Pass but you use it to get there partially and save some money. The best option to access Hakone by JR is to take the Shinkansen to the station called Odawara and from there transfer to the local private lines. For those you can buy a Hakone Freepass that allows for unlimited travel in the area and generally is quickly worth its value, it also makes for easy budgeting.

If you will enjoy it does depend on the person, I myself have never been to Disneyland in the states but did visit the one in Paris a couple of times before I visited Tokyo and still really enjoyed it. This also because the Disney complex in Tokyo really consists of two parks, Disneyland and Disney sea. Both are worth a day visit and I personally love them. It is also a great way to see how people go about Disneyland in Japan (as compared to the west). If you go during the off-season, it is not very crowed and there may not even be queues at all.

Glad to be able to help out, have a great time in Japan!

Looking for more information? Search the forum

Instant Quote

Starting from $259.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Can’t find the answer?

Learn from over 10946 questions about the Japan Rail Pass, or ask our Japan Rail travel experts

Ask Question

Get pocket Wifi in Japan

Get pocket Wifi in Japan

Visit us on Facebook

Get inspired for your visit to Japan by following us on Instagram and don't forget your own shots once you are there.

Order your JRPass Now!

We have special prices for children and great first class options. See all tickets.
Or see our range of Regional Passes