questions & answers: itinerary check

spur of the moment 13 day trip, first time to japan

Spur of the moment 13 day trip, first time to Japan

Hi Daniel,

We are going to Japan in a little over a week (it was a spur of the moment decision as we had the airline miles to pay for flights) and we are very excited! However, we don't speak a word of Japanese (we're from New York) and we haven't had a lot of time to research details of traveling around Japan by train (though I did purchase Japan by Rail and am hoping that will clear up some of my confusion as will your help here).

  1. We would like to know if a 7 or 14 day rail pass would be best for the following itinerary: On Days 2-5 in Tokyo and Days 8-11 in Kyoto, we don't have strong preference as to which days to go on the day trips, so if it would be worthwhile to rearrange the days to better fit a 7 days pass, we'd be happy to do that.

Day 1: Arrive Tokyo, plan to use Narita Express to get to Tokyo
Day 2: Tokyo
Day 3: Tokyo w/ day trip to Nikko
Day 4: Tokyo w/ day trip to Kamakura
Day 5: Tokyo
Day 6: Tokyo to Takayama
Day 7: Takayama to Kyoto
Day 8: Kyoto
Day 9: Kyoto w/ day trip to Nara
Day 10: Kyoto (w/ possible day trip to Osaka or Mount Koya)
Day 11: Kyoto
Day 12:Kyoto to Miyajima (the itinerary I consulted said to stop in Hiroshima first, but we would prefer to skip it in the interest of time)
Day 13: Miyajima to Tokyo to Narita (flight back home is around 1:30 pm - is this feasible if we leave Miyajima early in the morning?)

  1. How do you tell if a trip is covered by the JR Rail Pass or not? I've been reading the forum and it seems like certain trips will require an extra fee, etc.

Thank you very much in advance!


Hi there,

Japan is a great place to visit, good choice there!

Let's have a look at your itinerary. I think the 7 day JR Pass would work great. Only I would recommend a little rescheduling. Right now your more expencive travel is spread out over 8 days. Beeing day 6 to 13 (count in full days). Both Tokyo - Takayama and Miyajima - Tokyo/Narita are rather expencive trips, so I would recommend trying to do this in 7 days. I guess it would make sense to leave out one day in Kyoto.

The 14 day JR Pass would also help you make savings, so that would work too and give you a little extra flexibility. So that would be a good option too.

The JR Pass covers pretty much all of your travel. Only travel to Koya (between Osaka and Gokurabashi) is not included.

If you make a trip to Nikko without the JR Pass, be sure to either use local JR lines or the Tobu line. As travel there without a JR Pass can be pricey when not planned right.

Lastly for travel from Miyajima - Narita Airport is a good 430 Minutes (that's more than 7 hours). It would not be possible to do this if you fly out at 1:30 PM, I would recommend returning to Tokyo on day 12 or travel to Narita City, enjoy the local temples the following morning and go on to the Airport. [Here is an example route Miyajima - Narita Airport this is excluding the ferry.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Thank you Daniel! Your answer is very helpful, especially about the feasibility of getting from Miyajima to Marita. We plan to return to Tokyo for one more night so that we do not miss our flight home (although that probably wouldn't be too terrible).

I have a follow up question: it seems that one of the pluses of a green car ticket is the ability to reserve seats ahead of time - how does one do this (online? Or must be in person once I get to Japan?). If I were to get a regular car pass, is it possible to pay extra money on certain trips to be able to reserve a seat? Would that also happen online? In person? I'm just confused because I thought the virtue of the pass was to permit you to travel without needing to decide too far ahead of time when you want to go, but that there are peak times in which I should definitely try to reserve seats ahead of time. Thanks again for all your help!


Hi Again!

You can reserve seats with both the ordinary and green pass. BOTH include free seat reservations.

Seat reservations can be made in person at any JR station in Japan. Trains rarely sell out and making seat reservations 10minutes before departure should not pose a problem.

We have the whole procedure explained in our blog post:

Expert button 2

Thank you very much for your help Daniel!


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