questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

15jan2013 to 26jan2013 - itinerary for tokyo > kanazawa > kyoto > tokyo

15Jan2013 to 26Jan2013 - Itinerary for Tokyo > Kanazawa > Kyoto > Tokyo


I intend to arrive in Haneda on 15 Jan 10.10pm and depart from Haneda on 26 Jan 10.30pm.

So in general, i plan to visit Tokyo-Kyoto-Kanazawa-Tokyo-Haneda. In between, i would like to go to Disneyland with my Japanese friend on 19 Jan.

So need your help to (1) advise on travel route - should i go to Tokyo first? Would a 7-day rail pass work for my trip? (2) number of days that you think i should stay in each city? (3) Any good hotel to recommend in each city? Hope to stay in "snowy city"'s hotel for at least 1 nights (5) any good itinerary to recommend for each city?

I would like your advise for an itinerary for the period 15Jan2013 to 26Jan2013 (25Jan's night back to Tokyo).Do I need a 7 days pass or 14 days pass? I'd like to take a 7 day JR Pass to go from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Kanazawa to Kyoto, Kyoto to Tokyo and then from Tokyo back to Haneda. Does this make sense?

Looking forward to your reply. Thanks in advance.



Hi there!

So it looks like you'll be in Japan for 12 days. I think I recommend the following plan for you:

  1. Day 15-19: spend in Tokyo with friends + Disneyland. (pick up cheap metro passes at Haneda!)
  2. Day 20-26: use 7 day JR Pass to explore outside of Tokyo.

To see if a 7 day pass is worthwhile for your planned travel outside Tokyo, lets breakdown your costs for you in their most basic form:

  1. Tokyo > Kyoto: ¥13,420 (164mins, 513km)
  2. Kyoto > Kanazawa: ¥6,910 (124mins, 224km)
  3. Kanazawa > Tokyo: ¥12,710 (247mins, 460km)

JR ticket cost: ¥33,040 for 3 legs

As you can see you stand to make savings straight away with the 7 day pass, and that is not taking into account other side trips.

Side trips

From Kyoto, I recommend you consider side trips to: Arashiyama, Nara, Koyasan, Kinosaki Onsen, Naoshima, Kurashiki, Himeji & Hiroshima/Miyajima. Each of these places will have something different to offer so it very much depends on your aims for your trip. Of them, Kinosaki, Koyasan, Naoshima and Miyajima will deserve an overnight stay, but the remainder can be done in a day trip I think if you want to base yourself in Kyoto.

From Kanazawa, I think you should certainly look into taking the non-JR Nohi bus to Shirakawago and then onto Takayama. From Takayama you should get the JR train back to Tokyo - it's a great route on the WideView.

Basic Itinerary

You certainly won't have time to do all of the things I list above, but rolling all of this up into an itinerary, you will have:

  1. 20th: Travel to Kyoto in morning. Explore Kyoto
  2. 21st: Free day (side trip?)
  3. 22nd: Free day (side trip?)
  4. 23rd: Free day (side trip?). Evening train to Kanazawa.
  5. 24th: Kanazawa
  6. 25th: Shirakawago morning, Takayama Evening
  7. 26th: Takayama morning, travel to Haneda for flight

I think this should be a good enough skeleton for you to plan days 2-4.

Hotel recommendations

Hotels are pretty tricky to recommend as it really does depend on budget, type and so on. I recommend you check tripadvisor for the cities you are visiting and try and locate hotels that are near to your stations to make things easier for you. Also, if you are on a budget I recommend checking out the Toyoko-Inn and Dormy-Inn chains of hotels. These chains offer good value accommodation and are a very good choice.

When you arrive into each city I really recommend you visit the tourist information center that you will find in Kyoto and Kanazawa stations. In addition to the sort of information you'll find on the internet and in guidebooks, they will keep an up to date list of all the special events that are happening while you are there - a highly recommended free resource.

Hope this helps!

Expert button 2

Hi !

Thanks for your advise ! It is very helpful ! :-)

By the way, I will be traveling alone the whole trip and my last stop i planned to reach Tokyo on 25 Jan to my friend's house first.

1) will Kanazawa snowing by the time?

2) any recommendation for side trips at Kyoto?

3) is JR pass not needed at all for trip in Tokyo?

4) are there any other places that have high chances of snowing around Tokyo?

5) any recommendation for skiing around Tokyo or places mentioned above?

6) anything to take note or precaution for solo trip?

Thank you very much!


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