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itinerary for backpacking in japan

Itinerary for backpacking in Japan


I'm planning a 14 days backpacking trip to japan. I am considering on getting the 7 days pass. I would like to ask for your opinion on the various places i could visit. I'll be landing in Tokyo (Narita), and I am thinking of visiting Kyoto, Osaka and Sapporo (for the winter festival). I wouldn't mind adding other must visit destinations to my current sketch as well but i am quite clueless of those unique and scenic places as this would be my first backpacking trip, the only ones i know so far is Mt Fuji and to visit hot springs. Would really appreciate any help i can get!

Thank you so much!


Hi there!

With a 7 day pass, I think I'd consider using it to travel in one direction only, stopping at as many nice spots along the way as I could.

If you're not too attached to the Sapporo idea (it is quite far out of your way), how about travelling down Japan and returning back to Tokyo at the end. A possible itinerary could be:

  • Tokyo for 7 days with an overnight return trip to Hakone/Mt Fuji using a Hakone FreePass
  • JRPass 1: Travel to Takayama
  • JRPass 2-4: Travel to Kyoto/Nara/Arashiyama/Osaka area. Travel to Kinosaki Onsen hotspring on evening of 4th day.
  • JRPass 5: Kinosaki Onsen
  • JRPass 6: Travel to Hiroshima, overnight on Miyajima Island
  • JRPass 7: Back to Tokyo

You could cut either Takayama or Kinosaki onsen out if you felt like giving yourself more time in the Kansai area, but travelling to these places will give you a good feel of the Japan Alps area and the western coast.

You should also certainly bring a small day bag and get used to leaving large luggage - rucksacks etc in a coin operated locker at the stations. These are incredibly safe, and a great way to free yourself up for the day (or night, in the case of Miyajima).

Hope this helps

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Thanks a lot for your recommendation! In terms of time factor, rushing to places since i have only 7 days to venture, and value, would it be better if i get a 14 day pass instead if i want to explore more of japan instead of spending 7 days in tokyo?



Hi Shane,

Yes - it would certainly be worth it - travel to the places I recommend above with tickets will still come in over the price of a 14 day rail pass. Here's the cost breakdown:

  1. Narita airport terminal 1 > Tokyo: ¥2940, (62mins, 79km)
  2. Tokyo > Odawara: ¥3640, (35mins, 83km)
  3. Odawara > Tokyo: ¥1450, (36mins, 83km)
  4. Tokyo > Takayama: ¥14300, (275mins, 532km)
  5. Takayama > Kyoto: ¥9680, (191mins, 314km)
  6. Kyoto > Nara: ¥690, (49mins, 41km)
  7. Nara > Osaka: ¥780, (55mins, 48km)
  8. Osaka > Kinosakionsen: ¥5450, (160mins, 183km)
  9. Kinosakionsen > Hiroshima: ¥13770, (295mins, 529km)
  10. Hiroshima > Tokyo: ¥18050, (292mins, 894km)
  11. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥2940, (58mins, 79km)

TOTAL: ¥73690 for 11 legs

As you can see - a 14 day pass (¥45,100) comes in well under the price of separate tickets and will let you spend more time in each location.

If it's your first time in Japan though, you may enjoy experiencing Tokyo a little - it's a great city with lots to do. It really depends if you are city person or not!

Hope this helps!

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