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Itinerary Check + Several questions

over 3 years ago
2 responses

Hello Daniel-san,

I am planning to travel in Japan from between August 18-27. I have already bought and received my 7-day JR pass, but I have several questions concerning itinerary choices and about how the train system works. I plan to stay in Osaka from August 18-24, and in Tokyo from August 24-27.

My itinerary is as follows:
8/18: Arrive in Osaka
8/19: Explore Osaka
8/20: Day trip to Kyoto
8/21: ???
8/22: Day trip to Hiroshima
8/23: Day trip to the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and Himeji Castle
8/24: Leave Osaka for Tokyo
8/25: Explore Tokyo
8/26: Explore Tokyo
8/27: Leave at Narita Airport (11:30am flight)

1. Can you please clarify the FAQ's response about the expiration date/time of the JR pass (the "midnight on the 7th" phrase confuses me)? If I want my last use of the JR pass to be for the train to Narita Airport on the 27th, is the earliest day I can activate the pass the 20th or the 21st? Regarding reserving tickets, how much time in advance can I reserve a train ticket, or can I reserve all of them when I activate the pass?
2. For day trips from Osaka to Kyoto and to the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge/Himeji, I would take the JR Kyoto and JR Kobe lines, leaving from Osaka Station, correct?
3. On 8/21, would you recommend that I go to Kyoto for a second day or go to Nara instead? If I choose to go to Nara, is there a way to go there directly from Osaka without having to transfer to the JR Nara Line in Kyoto?
4. On 8/24, would it be worthwhile to get off in Fuji City or somewhere for a couple of hours to see Mt. Fuji? It would be a bit difficult since I would be carrying a piece of luggage, and the weather would have to be good, but I'm not sure if I have time for a day trip to Mt. Fuji since I already don't have much time in Tokyo.
5. How can I use my JR pass for travel within Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo?

These are all the questions I have for now. Sorry for how many there are, but after reading about all the different railway companies, train types, and number of train stations in Osaka my head exploded! Thank you in advance for your time and help.


12232 posts
over 3 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi Frank1

Of course! I'd be more than happy to help you here :)

1.) This is referring to how usage days of the JR Pass are counted. You can activate the JR Pass at any moment of the day but that day is counted as a full day of usage, no matter what time you start using it. If you activate your JR Pass on the 20th, then it would be usable until the 26th. So be sure to activate it on the 21st, since you will use it on the 27th.

2.) Correct! This is a shinkaisoku service and is a very fast connection between Kyoto - Osaka - Kobe and Himeji.
However you can also use the Shinkansen to Himeji, which may be a better option if you have the JR Pass.

3.) I think an extra day for Kyoto would be very nice. The city has so much to offer and see that one day simply is not enough. There are trains running directly between Osaka and Nara so you would not have to travel via Kyoto.

4.) Fuji city is not worth visiting. There's not much there, expect for industrial stuff. A better stop on the way might be Shizuoka, Atami or Hakone/Odawara station. These are all nice places to visit and view Fuji from. You do need a little bit of luck with the weather though.

5.) Easy, just go to a station, show your pass at the ticket gate and get on the train. Show your pass again to exit the station once you arrive and that's it :)

PS: Don't worry about all the trains. I remember the first time I saw the Tokyo map and just felt overwhelmed. However once you actually start using the train system, it all falls into place quickly.

Hope this helps!

2 posts
over 3 years ago

Hi Daniel-san,

Thank you for your answers!

I have a couple of follow-up questions to what you've told me:

  1. In response to question 1, if this is the method by how the usage days are counted, then would my JR pass be better used if I activated it on the 20th for the day trip to Kyoto and bought a ticket for the train to Narita Airport on the 27th?

  2. Regarding question 2, will the Shinkanshen also stop at the station for the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge (Maiko Station)? I am taking the bridge tour in the morning, before going to Himeji for the afternoon.

  3. I think my question 5 was misinterpreted. I was wondering what ways I could use the JR pass for transportation between two points in the same city. I've read about the JR buses; are these the same thing as public buses?

Thank you,

12232 posts
over 3 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi Frank,

1.) I would start using it on the 20th as this is by far the more expansive route. About 13,000yen vs 3,000yen for travel to Narita Airport.

2.) It does not, however you could get out at Shin-Kobe and take a local train/bus from there to the bridge.

3.) Sorry, I may have gotten it wrong then. The local JR Network is in many cases more than enough to get you around the city. Buses is a bit of a different story. Some buses are run by JR, some by other companies and some by the local governments. Only those part of the JR are included. Basically if a local bus has JR sign on it, you know it's covered.

Does that help?

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