questions & answers: itinerary check

help with itinerary & jrpass

Help with Itinerary & JRPass

Hi, my husband and I will be heading to Tokyo for 9 days in late June. I have a rough itinerary but no clue what to do with JRPass and desperately needing some inputs...

  • Day 1 - Arrive Tokyo Narita Airport (late evening) - Stay in Shinjuku area and move around there at night
  • Day 2 - Tokyo DisneyLand
  • Day 3 - Tokyo - Imperial Palace, Ginza, Roppongi (or any suggestions)
  • Day 4 - Head to Kyoto - hoping to stay at a ryokan (recommendation?) - visit the shrines/temples
  • Day 5 - Sightsee in Kyoto (should I go to Nara or Hakone or stay in Kyoto for another day?)
  • Day 6 - Kyoto/Nara/Hakone (hakone round trip?)
  • Day 7 - Hakone/Mt Fuji
  • Day 8 - Back to Tokyo (last minute shopping)
  • Day 9 - Tokyo - Narita Airport

If you have suggestions where I should sightsee and what I can do to maximise the JRPass and save some money, that will be great. It's just 2 of us.

Thank you very much.



I've done a bit of thinking (sorry for the delay), but I see this is going to be well in time for your trip.

Firstly, as you're planning on using the JRPass to do the Tokyo <=> Kyoto trip, you're already saving money, so you can view any other travel as a bonus.

General timing

You should plan on activating your pass on Day-3 to give you the full 7 days up until you are due to fly back home.

To cover Day 1-2, you can buy a combined one way narita express fare and metro charge card preloaded with ¥2000 at the airport as part of a deal for ¥3500. As the standard N'EX fare to Shinjuku is ¥3,110, you basically get underground travel for your first few days in Tokyo for free more here.

Possible detours

For day 3, I have a lot of love for naka-meguro/Daikanyama. It's full of cute little boutique shops relaxing bars and eateries in the evening. Really interesting areas to people watch, especially if you are already staying in Shinjuku (it's fairly close). The other highlight is the biggest fish market in the world at Tsukiji. You'll have to get up early to really see it in full flow (ideally be there before 7 - this may not be a problem depending on your jet lag), but you'll be rewarded with one of the most memorable experiences of your trip. You'll also be able to sample some of the freshest, and cheapest sushi/sashimi on your trip at the restaurants that cluster around the market.

You'll be going to Kyoto next, so I'd recommend you get as much experience of the modern side of Japan as you can!

For day 4 or 5, you should try and stay in Arashiyama. It's an area to the west of Kyoto, and is a really beautiful town, with some incredible temples and swaying bamboo groves. As Nara is so close, it would be a shame not to spend some of the day there.

Day 6-7 in and around Hakone sounds like a great idea. Try and stay at a Japanese Onsen in that area.

The curveball choice for day 6-7 is going to Takayama instead. Personally I'd prefer it to Hakone (which can be very touristy) as it's a little off the beaten track, but you'll have a great time in either place. You can get to Takayama in 3 hours by train from Kyoto(

Hope this helps!


Expert button 2

Thank you, Mari. Your feedback sounds really good and helpful indeed.

Since we have booked ourselves into Hotel Sunroute Plaza in Shinjuku and there is an airport transfer for 3000 Yen. We thought we will go with that and most likely for the return trip as well.

In this case, I will probably activate the JR Pass on Day 2 instead? And also, should I get the Hakone FreePass especially if I can get back to Shinjuku on JR and I only have time for the Open Air Museum, the pirate ship, Lake Ashi and ropeway?

Look forward to your advice. Thank you.



Totally understood - getting to and from the airport with luggage can be a test, especially after a long flight!

If you do go for the airport shuttle for both arrival and return, then you are right to activate on Day 2 to get maximum value.


The JR Pass will take you as far as Odawara. From there, you should transfer onto the Odakyu owned Hakone Tozan Railways. from here you'll need to buy separate tickets as the JR pass is not valid for non-JR lines.

Your choices for tickets are:

  1. Hakone 2-day free pass ticket from Odawara (¥3900)
  2. Separate tickets.

Assuming your plans are to do a loop up to the lake and back down, the total ticket costs will be:

  1. Odawara -> Gora (¥1,300 or ¥1,700 return depending on train -
  2. Gora -> Sounzan (¥300-¥400 return)
  3. Sounzan -> Togendai ropeway ( ¥ 2,340 return)

Total approximate cost of separate tickets: ~¥4,000.

As it's slightly cheaper and there are other benefits to the Hakone free pass (less time buying tickets, more freedom to change plans, and discounts to many sightseeing spots and museums), I'd recommend you buy the Hakone Pass at Odawara.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Mari, thank you so so much for the information. Wish I could bring a mobile - Mari around when I am in Japan next week.

You have been a great help.



:) Thanks! Have a great trip!

By the way, you can get mobile Wi-Fi units extremely cheaply at the Airport in Japan now. This gives you internet access accross the whole of Japan. I've found it invaluable when wondering where to go next, or when I wanted to check on a train time while on the move. It's even great for doing on the fly translations. We have a blog post on Mobile WiFi rental in Japan for you to learn more.

Expert button 2

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