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Need help with our itinerary please

almost 5 years ago
22 responses

we are a family of 4 adults who will be visiting Japan between 6th and 21st August 2013. We are trying to build up itinerary on our own but are unsure which is the best order of places to visit so we will have minimum travelling time and least stops/train change overs. We wish to purchase the 14 day JR pass. Our visit in Japan starts and ends in Tokyo.We wish to visit:
Tokyo 3 nights
Takayama 2 nights
Mount Koya 1 night
Hakone 2 nights
Osaka 1 night
Miyajima Island 2 nights
Kyoto 3 nights.
We are open to suggestion as to order and also duration of stay at each city. We would like to visit Matsumoto on way to Takayama as well.

Thank you, have a good day,

Godfrey Grima from tiny far away Malta.

12268 posts
almost 5 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi there,

Here is an example itinerary you could use, I have tried to keep travel times to a minimum.

Tokyo --> Hakone via Odawara
Hakone (from Odawara) --> Takayama
Takayama --> Osaka
Osaka --> Mount Koya
Mount Koya --> Miyajima
Miyajima--> Kyoto
Kyoto -> Tokyo
Tokyo --> Back home.

I think the amount of nights you plan to stay at these places is appropriate, maybe an extra night in Osaka may be nice but I don't see a good place to take it from.

For Matsumoto: It would be a bit hard to plan this in as a mid day stop before heading to Takayama as it it roughly takes 5 hours by express train from Takayama to Matsumoto, a better idea is to stay a night in Matsumoto if you plan to visit it. There is also a bus line that runs from Matsumoto to Takayama which takes 3h20minutes, however it is not covered by the JR Pass.

Hope this helps,

22 posts
almost 5 years ago

Thank so much for your prompt reply and for your valuable advice.

Would we be able to do Hakone at the end of our trip, on our way from Kyoto to Tokyo? We found that we can do Tokyo --> Matsumoto on the limited express super asuza, if we leave at 7:00a.m, we will be in Matsumoto at at around 9:30. Maybe then we get the bus later to Takayama? Is it easy to travel Kyoto --> Hakone --> Tokyo using JR pass?

Having the JR pass, do we just hop on to the train or do we still have to get tickets? How easy is it to change trains if this needs to be done when travelling between cities?

Your help is much appreciated, as we are used to travelling on our own, but we have never had to deal with such an extensive public transport system as the one in Japan! Really looking forward to our trip!!

12268 posts
almost 5 years ago
Expert button 2

Hi again,

Yes moving Hakone to the end of the trip is not problem at all. The Odawara Station from which you can access Hakone is on the Kyoto --> Tokyo line, so it makes for a good stop. Then for the trip back to Tokyo I would recommend using the Shinkansen from Odawara, the highway bus that runs from Hakone to Tokyo is unfortunately not covered by the JR Rail Pass.

While you are in Hakone a Hakone Free Pass may be of use to travel around in the area. You can use it on my kinds of transportation and comes with a nice set of discounts too.

For Takayama and Matsumoto:
If you don't mind taking an early train it is absolutely possible but please note that the last bus to Takayama leaves Matsumoto at 17:05 so be sure to keep that mind whilst planning the trip.

For Trains Reservations:
You can make free seat reservations on Shinkansen and limited express trains. This is not required to make a reservation as you can make use of the un-reserved seats as well but I would certainly recommend it. This way you will be sure to have a seat together and wont have to line up for a seat before the train arrives.

Have a great time in Japan!

For reference the last train leaves at 19:06 and arrives at 00:26 in Takayama (Route 3).

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