questions & answers: itinerary check




I need some help with an itinerary. I am actually living in Tokyo for 3 months on a working visa. tHowever, I plan on leaving Japan and coming back as a temporary visitor for a week with my boyfriend.

May 12- Arrive Narita 1:20 PM
May 13-
May 14-
May 15-
May 16-
May 17- Tokyo (Sumo Wrestling)
May 18- Depart Narita 11:30AM

Our plan is to purchase the 7 day JR pass and hopefully activate at Narita. We are wanting to visit at minimum Kyoto & Osaka but are hoping to squeeze in Hiroshima. Do you have suggestions as to what would be the best ordering of cities in order to accomplish the most in our 4 full days?



Hi there!

Personally I'd go to Kyoto right away after landing, you'll arrive at 1:20 PM which would not leave a lot time for sightseeing, so you may as well use it to get as much travel time as possible behind you. Then I'd spend one or two days in Kyoto and one for a day trip to Osaka. Then on the 16th you could either make a day visit to Hiroshima or return to Tokyo. Either way a JR Pass would be of great use.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for getting back with me so quickly. I had a feeling it might be a stretch to try and do Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Osaka/Nara in such a short period of time.

What do you think of the itinerary below?

May 12- Arrive Narita 1:20PM -> Head to Kyoto
May 13- Kyoto
May 14- Kyoto
May 15- Nara
May 16- Half-day Kyoto, head to Hakone
May 17- Hakone->Tokyo
May 18- Depart Narita 11:30 AM

I think with such a short amount of time we have decided we are okay with cutting out Hiroshima. We understand it holds a place in history but are really more interested in seeing the old capital.

I have seen your responses to other people and know you are the expert of all itineraries in Japan. Is there anything lesser known that we cannot miss in Kyoto or Nara? We really like getting acquainted with different town’s culture, customs, and food.

Also, if we are going to activate our JR passes on May 12, is it possible to reserve seats before then? From my understanding, it looks like we might be traveling at a busier time.

Thanks again for all of your help. We appreciate any and all advice you can provide us!



Hi Jocelyn,

Honestly that looks much better! Nara is small compared to Kyoto and I am sure that you'll be able to see everything of note there in a day, Nara park and Todaji temple are some of the best parts.

In Kyoto I'd certainly visit Kiyomizudera, Fushimi Inari and a visit to Arashiyama. Also don't forget the city center, the area around Kawaramachi, Shijijou and Nishiki market is an amazing atmosphere and there are hundreds of small stores that sell everything from traditional art to modern camera's. I've always felt that it's actually one of the best areas in Japan.

It's unfortunately not possible to make reservations beforehand, however I don't think that you'll have to worry about seats. Every Shinkansen train carries over a 1000 seats and you only need 2 :)

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Thank you so much for the help!! We will definitely make sure we build all of those sites into our itinerary.


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