questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

intinery recommendation for 7 day jr pass

Intinery Recommendation for 7 day JR pass

I will be in Japan for 2+ months. 1 month in Kyoto and 2-3 weeks in Tokyo. I would like to maximize my 7 day rail pass by visiting places that do not include Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hakone as I can visit them while staying nearby. What Itinerary would you recommend? I don't really want to stay in one place longer than 1 night if realistic. I will arrive in Osaka and ideally end in Tokyo.

many thank


Hello there,

If you feel like going a bit off the beaten path but still have plenty to do, consider hitting up Shikoku, lower Honshu and Kyushu. These places generally see a bit less tourists but offer a lot to do.

For instance, head to Naoshima or Takamatsu in Shikoku. From there you could go further to Hiroshima and head to Kyushu, visit Fukuoka or enjoy an onsen at Yufuin.

I can give you some more specific recommendations if you let me know what you are interested in.

Expert button 2

I think seeing southern Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu are all good ideas. If you'd like to get off the beaten trail for a while, the half day hike up to Konpirasan in Kotohira is stunning. Going to Takamatsu is also nice - it has one of Japan's finest gardens also, called Ritsurin.
Hiroshima also has a number of good places. Miyajima is the most famous, and aside from Hiroshima itself, Onomichi with its temple tour and Kosanji Temple is spectacular. Just beyond Miyajima also lies Iwakuni with its historical bridge and castle. Taikodani is also a beautiful shrine in Tsuwano, Shimane. One of the very best is the Akiyoshi Limestone Cave, a 300 million year old wonder with huge caverns and underground river running through it - you'd need to take a bus from Yamaguchi Station after the train, by the JR Pass covers that too.

Kyushu is a largely ignored jewel with many great places. Fukuoka is the biggest city with several places. There is a lot that could fill an entire day - see here. Kagoshima could fill up a whole day nicely too - Sakurajima is wonderful, plus the Senganen Garden is superb. Beppu is famous for its hot springs as is Yufuin, but the best place on the island is most likely Kurokawa in Kumamoto. You'd need to pay for a bus there but many people give it 5 stars.
Nagasaki is the most interesting city on the island and worth a couple of days. And if you still have time, Kitakyushu has a few good places to explore. Kokura castle is a very nice one, plus its Moji Retro Area will take you back in time and Sarakurayama has one of Japan's finest mountaintop views of the city and is nearly unknown to the rest of the world. If you want to do one place per day, it can be done but it may get hectic and tiring for you by the end. I'd suggest you take about 4 days down and 3 days back, and on the last day make the ride all the way back to Tokyo from near the Kansai area.

Best of luck.


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