questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

japan trip may 2015

Japan trip may 2015

My husband and i will be traveling to japan in may this year. We will be purchasing a 2 week jr pass and our itinerary is as follows:

tokyo- 3rd may- 7th may (mandarin oriental hotel)
tokyo to hakone - 7th may to 9th may
hakone to kyoto - 9th may to 13th may
kyoto to osaka - 13th may to 16th may
osaka to hiroshima - 16th may to 18th may
hiroshima to tokyo - 18th may to 20th

-Please can you explain the Best route using the pass for each destination - when should we activate the pass? - is it worth purchasing first class jr passes and will there be seats during this busy time period? - can we book each journey in advance?

Thank you for your help in advance


As is your travel comes up a bit short for a 14 day JR Pass, but with a few minor but worthwhile side trips you can easily cover the cost and broaden your experience.
One possible solution is to get the 14 day pass, and activate it on May 5th, using it to the end of May 18. On May 6th you could take a day trip to see Nikko. Another half day could be spent at the Ashikaga Flower Park which should be in full bloom for you and is stunning.

Also near Kyoto is Japan's finest castle, [Himeji] ( "Himeji") and its multi-year renovation has just been completed.

Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. But at night the city comes alive and has some great places to see, such as Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are stunning:

I wouldn't worry about booking first class green seats - you can do fine as is. But Golden Week can be hectic and your idea of reserving seats first makes sense.


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