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30 Day Trip in March/April 2014

over 4 years ago
4 responses


I'm heading to Japan for 30 days in March and April next year. My basic, preliminary itinerary is as below:

1- Tokyo
2- Tokyo
3- Tokyo (day trip to Nikko)
4- Tokyo
5- Tokyo (day trip to Kamakura)
6- Hakone
7- Nagoya
8- Nagoya (day trip to Ise peninsula)
9- Tsumago
10- Nagano
11- Nagano (day trip to Yamanouchi)
12- Nagano
13- Shirakawa-go
14- Kanazawa
15- Kanazawa
16- Kyoto
17- Kyoto
18- Kyoto (day trip to Nara)
19- Kyoto
20- Kyoto
21- Koyasan
22- Kinosaki
23- Hiroshima
24- Miyajima
25- Nagasaki
26- Nagasaki
27- Yakushima
28- Yakushima
29- Fly out of Fukuoka

At this stage I'm looking at a 21 day pass, but the hard part is deciding when I'm going to start the pass. Is this itinerary covered by the JR pass? Obviously I know Miyajima and Yakushima won't be. And what would be the most cost effective way to purchase tickets/use the JR pass?

Any help at all that you can give me would be hugely appreciated.

On a complete side-note - I may have an extra day or two. Personal recommendations of destinations that may be a little different?

12268 posts
over 4 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there!

Very nice plan you have there! Love the visit to Kyushu. The major part of your travel is covered by the JR Pass (including the ferry to Miyajima) but the real question is how to make the best of your 21 day JR Pass. Looking at ticket prices, I think that the best way to use the JR Pass would be from day 7 (Travel to Nagoya) until day 27. This because travel on the Shinkansen is by far the most expansive part of traveling by rail in Japan. The advantage doing it this way is that you can cover (all most) all of your Shinkansen travel with the JR Pass. I did assume you would set out for Yakushima on day 27, this means that you can take the Shinkansen all the way down to Kagoshima (which is a great city in itself) and travel on from there by ferry to Yakushima. You can simply fly back from Yakushima to Fukuoka and on...

Than the question, remains how to travel cost effectively around Tokyo in your first week.
There's a couple of options. First, consider the Keisei + Metro ticket, which will get your from Narita Airport to Tokyo in no time and also comes with a 2 day unlimited metro pass for the Tokyo metro.

Secondly traveling to Nikko can be very expansive with normal JR Tickets, however you can take the Tobu Railway from Asakusa in Tokyo for 1320 yen/one way. Alternatively you can consider an All Nikko Pass.

Travel to Kamakura, is not very expansive so you won't have to worry about prices there.

As for personal recommendations, I really like your stay in Kyushu, it's really the best part of Japan. If you have to change be sure to hang around Kagoshima before heading off to Yakushima and enjoy the view of Sakura Jima.. At the same time I do think that 3 days Nagano may be a little much, you can see the whole city and surrounding temples in a day. You may want to make a day trip to Matsumoto from there.

I hope this helps!

4 posts
over 4 years ago

G'day Daniel,

Thanks so much for the advice and fast response. It's really pleasing to know that I've put together a halfway decent itinerary, and that most of the trip will be easy to cover using the JR pass.

You've backed up a lot of my original opinions (I was already considering cutting a day from Nagano as it was) so Kagoshima might be a great way to use up the time I'd make by doing that. You're right in assuming my plans for Yakushima, and flying from there to Fukuoka then out of the country.

I'm also considering cutting Nagoya completely as at this stage I'm pretty much just using it as a staging point for a trip to the Ise peninsula...we'll see about that though. I do worry that I'm missing out on the northern parts of Honshu, but I suppose you can't see everything.

I was also concerned about getting in and out of Shirakawa-go with the JR pass, and whether or not this was practical.

Your advice has been extremely useful, thank you again!


12268 posts
over 4 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi Again!

Nagoya, is indeed not a city for tourists, somehow the business atmosphere is everywhere. Although I do think that shopping in Nagoya is great you can skip it, or shorten your stay there for sure, without missing anything.

As for Shirakawa-go, I am really sorry, I must have over looked that! There are no trains going all the way there, so the last part is always traveled by bus (either from Kanazawa or Takayama). However with your shorted stay in Nagoya, this does open a great opportunity to see Takayama, which is well worth a visit. Also the train ride from Nagoya - Takayama is one of the most beautiful in Japan. You board the wideview hide express at Nagoya, the train track follows a river that comes from the in land mountains and this results in some breathtaking panorama's. You could than take the bus from there to Shirakawago and on to Kanazawa (bus is not covered by the JR Pass).

Have a great trip!

4 posts
over 4 years ago

G'day again Daniel,

I think that might be the tipping point for my stay in Nagoya, although the train trip does sound spectacular. Takayama was another place that was already on my radar, so wiggling that in is now a priority.

Thank you again for all the advice and information, you've been extremely helpful.



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