questions & answers: itinerary check

sapporo -> tokyo -> kyoto

Sapporo -> Tokyo -> Kyoto


I've purchased a 7 day JR pass and will be arriving in Japan next week. I'm flying into Sapporo and flying out of Tokyo, so I'm planning on taking the train from Sapporo south to Tokyo. Then I was thinking of going from Tokyo to Kyoto/Nara for 3 days , and then concluding the trip by traveling back to Tokyo. A few questions I had were:

-is this the most efficient way of seeing these cities (is there an efficient way to get to Kyoto from the north without first going through Tokyo? )?

-do I need to make a reservation for the night train from Sapporo to Tokyo (and is this included with the JR pass?)

Thanks very much for your help!


Hi there!,

Sounds like a great trip! here are some answers for you:

  1. Yes - Kyoto is south of Tokyo on the main Tokaido bullet train line so you'll need to pass through Tokyo on your way down to Kyoto to change from the Tohoku Shinkansen to the Tokaido shinkansen bullets.

  2. You will need to make reservations for all sleepers you intend to use. Please note that reservations can only be made once you are in Japan for sleeper trains. As the JR Pass does not cover sleepers that travel all the way from Sapporo to Tokyo, I recommend you use the the sleeper Hamanasu to travel on the slow lines from Sapporo to Aomori overnight. Then in the morning I recommend you take the first bullet trains down to Tokyo arriving into Tokyo at 10am. Once you arrive in Tokyo you can visit one of the many Sento Spas in Tokyo to freshen up. This way you'll do your entire journey for free with the JR Pass and save on a nights accommodation too. Here is an itinerary for the Hamanasu Sapporo to Aomori sleeper. Both nobi nobi and reserved seats are free if you have a JR Pass, but you must book them as soon as you arrive as they can sell out.

Hope this helps!

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