questions & answers: itinerary check

travel over christmas

Travel over Christmas


I am travelling over Christmas. Few questions.
I have purchased the JRP and plan to do the following;
1) Tokyo to Matsumoto on 23/12
2) Matsumoto to Nagano on 24/12
3) Nagano to Kyoto on 26/12
4) Kyoto to Tokyo on 29/12.

From what I have checked on line this seems OK. There are 4 of us in the party. Any suggestions or hints on making it work easily.

Will this period be busier than normal? Will we have trouble getting seats together?

Thanks in advance



Hi there,

In Japan Christmas is celebrated somewhat differently from how it is done in the west, for instance the First day of Christmas is not a national holiday but the day before is, because of the Emperors birthday. Also schools are free as of the 22nd so you will see more people travelling that during normal times.

Still I think you should have no problem finding seats to sit together with your party of four, if you reserve on time. The great thing about the JRPass is that you can start making reservations for your whole trip, the moment that you exchange it. So when you do this, I would suggest that you make your seat reservations then too.

Also if you plan to dine out on Christmas Eve make sure that you reserve a table in advance as this is the day that Couples take their loved one out for a romantic evening.

Hope you have a great trip in Japan and don't forget the check some of the light displays, they are very beautiful!

Expert button 2


Thanks for the great reply. Very helpful. One other question, any recommendation on what to do in Tokyo for New Year?

Any suggestion welcome!



Hi again,

Depending on your taste you could go to one of the many count-down parties in Tokyo at a bar or a temple.
Here is a really nice blog post with some ideas.

I would suggest the count down at Zojoji temple but sadly that was cancelled this year :(

Most Japanese people spend New Years Eve with their family at home and watch television. If you have Japanese friends, I would recommend if you can stay with them as that is possibly the best way to spend NYE in Japan.

As for new years day, visit a popular temple such as the Meji shrine! Many Japanese will go to a temple for the yearly good luck ceremonies and it is a great experience to see it for yourself!
Here is a nice post that can give you a bit of an idea what New Year is like in Japan

Enjoy your trip!

Expert button 2

One extra thing to add is that the train systems (including JR local trains - not bullets) will run through the night on NYE, so you should be able to get around with no problems.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Order your Japan Rail Pass Online

Starting from $257.00 for 7 days of unlimited Japan Rail travel

Please note: we are only able to handle order related enquiries via our online direct support. Commercial advertising is prohibited as per our website terms.