questions & answers: itinerary check

jr applicable to my itinerary?

JR applicable to my itinerary?


I'm going to visit Japan this mid December 2013 for 11 days (arrive on 16 morning and leaving on 26 afternoon)

the plan so far is to cover tokyo-osaka-kyoto and possibly kobe and Mt. Fuji(still not sure about this considering that often the weather in Dec is not so good that we can't actually get through the levels of the mountain).

so the plan is:
arrive on 16 at narita - shibuya (stay 3 nights)
19 dec : shibuya - osaka (3 nights) - including our kyoto and possibly kobe trip
22 dec : back to Ginza,Tokyo (4 nights) tip 26 noon leaving from narita.

my questions are:
1. would it be better to just stay in osaka and go to kyoto on a return train ticket OR to keep moving from tokyo-kyoto then kyoto-osaka then osaka-tokyo?
2. should i buy the 7days JR pass OR is there any other JR Pass that is more applicable to my itinerary? since the main area for my trip is tokyo (shinjuku,shibuya,midtown,ginza,etc)
3. what's the difference with reserved seat and non-reserved seat? would it be okay if i don't reserve any seat?

I tried to browse online and read forums regarding the transportation but I'm still not sure about this.
just FYI, I know that JR PASS don't cover Nozomi train (the fastest) and I'm okay with using the Hikari which has about 20-30mins difference in travel time.

Thanks in advance, any advice/recommendation you can help me is really appreciated :)


also, Daniel-san, do you think i should purchase PASMO/SUICA/Tokyo Metro 1day ticket?



Hi there!

Sorry for the late follow up, I had a very busy day but that's all behind me.
Without further ado let's get started!

Staying in both Shibuya and Ginza is a great plan, these places are in different parts of Tokyo that are about 30min apart, so you can use both places to explore the surrounding area. Shibuya is close to Harajuku, Shinjuku and Ropongi and Ginza to Akihabara, Imperial palace and Ueno.

1.) When you travel between Osaka / Kyoto, I would recommend staying in one of the two. Travel between Kyoto and Osaka is very easy and only takes 30 minutes by express train. This way you can make your base in one of the cities and you don't have to carry your luggage around all the time.

2.) The 7 day JR Pass is the best option here, there's no other pass that covers travel between Kyoto/Osaka and Tokyo. Also the 7 day JR Pass offers great value as it is roughly the same price as a normal return ticket Tokyo - Kyoto/Osaka, so basically any additional travel is free!

3.) Yes you can reserve seats as you like, however this is not mandatory. You can just hop on the train with the JR Pass and travel as you like. Either way is fine, personally I prefer making seats because it makes for a more relaxed procedure when boarding the train.

You may also find a Suica + N'EX package useful if you don't start using your JR Pass right away.

One last tip, when you have your JR Pass and stay in Tokyo, consider making a day trip or two to surrounding places to really make the most of your JR Pass. My personal recommendation Nikko which is home to a many beautiful temples and can be a nice break from the metropolitan life.

Have a great trip!

Expert button 2

Thank you so much for your recommendation.
How long does it take to travel from tokyo to nikko?
I was thinking to visit Fukuoka for the floating tori gate, but I'm not sure what else I can see there.
Do you think I should just try my luck and visit Mt.Fuji/Lake Kawaguchi/Hakone area and hope to get close to Mt.Fuji?
I heard that it takes almost 3 hours to get there while there is no guarantee that people can get close to Mt.Fuji due to weather conditions (esp on a winter)

Yes, that's the reason why chose to stay in separate area.
the first 3 nights in Tokyo would cover shinjuku,shibuya,harajuku as well as Disneysea.
and the last 4 nights would cover the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Sky Tree, Asakusa, Roppongi, Ginza, etc. :)

So, you are saying that I should buy the 7day JR Pass and not use it on the day I planned to go to Osaka/Kyoto?
then i would only need the 1-way SUICA+N'EX card right?

Do you think it'll be better for me to stay in Osaka or Kyoto?
My main attraction in Osaka is Universal Studio, Osaka Castle and Shinsaibashi Area. I was planning to book CROSS Hotel in Shinsaibashi/Namba area since I heard that the area is really close to the main attraction.
For Kyoto, I would love to see the Kiyomizu, Fushimi Inari Shrine and hope to get the chance to take a picture with a Geisha around Gion. :)
Although I would also like to try to spend 1 night at a Ryokan and try the Onsen. Do you have any recommendation?

Thank you Daniel-san for your advices


Hi Again!

Travel from Tokyo - Nikko takes about 2 hours depending on where you are staying in Kyoto.

With the floating tori I suppose that you mean Miyajima which is actually close to Hiroshima (but never the less a great stop if you travel to Fukuoka). When you are around Fukuoka, I would certainly recommend a visit to Dazaifu and Fukuoka Tower, also the city centre is great for shopping and Channel City is one of the main shopping malls.

Going to Fuji is a hard call to make. Fuji likes to hide itself in clouds, especially during winter. That again, Fuji is never as beautiful as on a clear winter day because it is the time of year that Fuji is covers by the greatest amount of snow. Ideally I would recommend making a visit to an attraction or sightseeing point around Fuji and have a good day ahead even if you don't spot Fuji.

Actually, I do recommend getting a JR Pass for your travel from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto. As I mentioned before, it offers great value a normal return ticket Tokyo/Osaka is the same price as the 7 day JR Pass, now you get 7 days of unlimited travel for the same price!

Personally I always stay in Kyoto and make day trips from there to Osaka, although I am not exactly sure why. Maybe it's because Kyoto has a more relaxed atmosphere. Osaka is more like a metropolis but I think staying is either place is fine.

If you wish to visit and onsen and combine it with a stay at a Ryokan, consider a nights stay at Kinosaki Onsen which is a lovely Onsen town to the north of Kyoto. You can take a direct train from Kyoto station, which is also covered by the JR Pass. There are many beautiful Ryokans in Kinosaki with private onsen.

I hope this helps too!

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Hi Daniel-san, thank you so much, it helps a lott… :)

I'm sorry i typed wrong earlier. I meant I should buy the 7days JR Pass and not use it directly (on the 16) right?
Because if I don't miscalculate, I wouldn't ran out of my JR Pass time before I come back to Tokyo if I use it from my 1st day.
(I will be leaving Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto on the 19 and come back to Tokyo on 22)

Yes, I got mixed up before. I really would love to see the Floating Tori. Will it take a long time to make a day trip there from Tokyo?

I'm an Indonesian, can I purchase the JR Pass through this website?


Hi again :)

That's exactly what I mean, the most important thing is to use the JR Pass for your return Tokyo - Kyoto/Osaka. After, try to cover as much with it as you can.

For visiting Miyajima (the Tori island), going there as a day trip from Tokyo would simply be too much. What you can do is make a day trip there from Kyoto or Osaka, travel time there is about 2H and you can combine it with a visit to Hiroshima at the same time!

You can certainly buy the JRPass online via us here we ship to many countries worldwide including Indonesia. Shipping to your country takes 2 days and is dispatched using FedEx.

All the best!

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Hi again, Daniel..

one more thing I need to ask you.
I read in the about transportation between kyoto and osaka.
It said :
By Japan Railways (JR)

The JR Tokaido Shinkansen requires 15 minutes and costs 1380 yen (by unreserved seat) from not so centrally located Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station.

Almost equally fast are the rapid and special rapid trains on the JR Kyoto Line, which require about 30 minutes and cost 540 yen from more centrally located Osaka Station to Kyoto Station.

Is this true?
Should I stay in PIECE HOSTEL Kyoto for 2 nights and 1 night in the Ryokan you've recommended, which route is better for me?
Or, if I decided to stay in CROSS HOTEL Osaka for all 3 nights, which route is better?

thanks for your help


Hi Again!

Yes taking the Shinkansen from Kyoto - Osaka is not always the quickest route because the Shinkansen travels part Shin-Osaka station and not Osaka station itself. You can instead take the Shinkaisoku (JR Special service) between Kyoto and Osaka station, this train is very quick and only takes 29min to travel directly from Kyoto - Osaka station. This service only takes 540 yen as it is considered a local line, it is also covered by the JR Pass.

To get to Kinosaki go to Kyoto station, then simply tell the JR Staff that you wish to travel to Kinosaki Onsen and they will book the right tickets for you.

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