8 Day Itinerary Check
Just after some confirmation that what I'm talking about here is all eligible under a JRPass and there are no obvious issues.
Day 1 - Saturday - Arrive (Narita). Catch bus
Day 2 - Sunday - Activate JR Pass. Travel around Tokyo using JR and Pasmo card.
Day 3 - Monday - Tokyo to Hakone (Romance car) + Hakone Free Pass
Shinagawa Station to Shinjuku Station (Yamanote Line - 20 minutes))
Odakyu Railway - Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto (Romance Car).
Hakone-Yumoto to Gora (Tozan Railway - 40 minutes).
Gora to Souun-Zan (Hakone Tozan Cablecar - 10 minutes)
Day 4 - Tuesday - Hakone to Kyoto - Hakone Free Pass / JR Pass
Sounzan to Togendai (Hakone Ropeway - 30 minutes)
Togendai to Hakone-Machi (Hakone Sightseeing Boat - 30 minutes)
Hakone-Machi to Moto-Hakone (Walking - 30 minutes)
Moto-Hakone to (Hakone Tozan Bus - H or K(pref) - 35 minutes)
Hakone-Yumoto to Odawara (Tozan Railway - 15 minutes)
Odawara Station to Kyoto (Odakyu Shinkansen - 2 hours 15 minutes)
Day 5 - Wednesday - Kyoto
Day 6 - Thursday - Day trip to Nara (use JR Pass)
Day 7 - Friday - Kyoto. Trip to Arashiyama (Sanin Line - use JR Pass)
Day 8 - Kyoto - Tokyo - Narita
I hope there's no crazy errors. We should get some good value out of our JR pass with this itinerary I think.
No, there are no crazy errors. But as far as "good value" goes, to be honest you are barely breaking even. If you want, you can add some trips to enhance your value - 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 wonderful.
You can also take half a day and go see Himeji - it is Japan's finest castle and newly renovated. You can take the bullet train there quickly.
For Arashiyama, there is a good full day itinerary you can read. But be sure not to miss the Otagi Nenbutsu Temple - it is one of the most unusual and whimsical places you will see in Japan, and there's nowhere else in Kyoto like it.
You don't say what time your flight leaves from Narita, and it is certainly possible to go from Kyoto to Narita, but make sure you have scheduled enough time to get there and through the security checkpoints.
OK, thanks, I'll think about Osaka and Himeji...just conscience about how much time we'll be travelling around rather than exploring the local area. We are only there for a short time.
Otagi Nenbutsuji, loois great!
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