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itineraries and JR pass (Fukuoka/Yufuin/Tokyo, 10 days)

Hi, I will fly to Fukuoka on 18 Nov (Sat), with husband and a 3-year old kid.
I would like to buy green car reserved 7-day JR pass for 2 adults and 1 child (want to let my boy occupy a seat) and will use the pass from 20 to 26 Nov.
*Would you please comment on my plan, whether it is possible / good plan:
*Question: is it too late to reserve seat on 18 Nov? (just two days before) can I reserve Yufuin no mori earlier, before I arrive Japan, but I will use JR pass? As people suggest to reserve the tickets of Yufuin no mori ASAP as it is always full.
*How to reserve the booth seats with a table, for Yufuin no mori? as the train takes 2 hours to arrive.
*does all green cars in Japan have booth seats? including Shinkansen?

18 Nov (sat) arrive hakata JR station to get JR pass, then reserve seat (for Yufuin no mori (20 and 21 Nov), shinkansen hikari/sakura (23 Nov))
20 Nov (Mon) morning, from Hakata to Yufuin, by Yufuin no mori
21 Nov (tue) night, from Yufuin to Hakata, by Yufuin no mori
23 Nov (THur, public holiday), shinkansen Hikari/Sakura to Tokyo (5.5 hr)
23-26 tokyo, will go Odaiba, Disney sea, etc
27 Nov (Mon), buy NEX express to Narita airport (pay single trip tickets for 2 adults 1 kid), fly to home country in the afternoon.

thanks a lot for your comment/ advice !


  • Hi,
    You can't reserve seats until you have a ticket or an activated pass. There is no way to tell if the train you want is filled up or not until you ask JR. There are 2 train departures a day, and due to a terrible earthquake last year as well as some recent flooding, the route has been changed.

    You should not miss seeing Fukuoka either - it has a number of good places to see, although not many people know of them and so make a lot of erroneous statements about the city. One of the best places is just outside Fukuoka - don't miss the Nanzoin Temple - one of the best in Japan and unknown to nearly everyone.
    This site has a lot of good places listed to see:
    Many of the best places are near a subway station, and you can get a cheap subway day pass to go all over.

    I'm not clear on what you mean by booths - I've been on the Yufuin no Mori and didn't see any. And you can turn seats to face either direction, so you can sit facing each other - both on the Yufuin no Mori and on the shinkansen.
    You can see the difference in ordinary and green shinkansen seats here:

    You'll be in Yufuin more than 1½ days - you'll either find it quite relaxing or dull. You could if you want go to see Beppu as well - there is the Hells Tour, and nearby the Takasakiyama Monkey Park and aquarium - one of Japan's better ones.
    You'll be in Japan during the autumn colors, which is one of the best times to be in Japan. You might want to go see some very nice places for them. You can find a list on:

    For most people, 3-4 days in Tokyo are quite enough. If you'd like to see some of Japan's awesome natural beauty, you could take a day trip to the Mt. Fuji area. Hakone is easy to access and there is a good discount ticket to see the whole area, the Hakone Free Pass. The Loop Course is a common way to see all the sights and takes a full day.

    To get to Narita, if you want to save a little money, you could use the 1000 yen bus from Tokyo Station or Ginza. It's one third the cost, and only takes about 15-20 minutes longer.

    You can see previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:

    Hope that helps.
  • Thank you for your great advice. It is very useful.
    Noted that the Yufuin no Mori starts the ticket sale of all reserved seats from 10am , 1 month before board date.
    *If I ride on it on 23 Nov morning (2 adults 1 kid), then should I buy ticket from Hakata to Yufuin via agent now to ensure better? As there is only two trains /day (8:45am and 11am).
    *I noted that on national holidays (including 23 Nov), Yufuin no mori 93: 11:08 applies. Does it means there will be total 3 trains: 8:45, 11, and 11:08am in the morning that I can choose to take? Or it means only 11:08am instead of 11am? Pls clarify.
    *Is the time length of travelling on Yufuin no mori lengthened after the change of schedule? I count that it takes more than 4 hr per single trip. If I take the second choice (sonic+local), just around 3 hr 40 min. is it worth to take the Yufuin no mori rather than sonic+local?
    In that case, I will use the 7 day pass from 21 to 27 Nov,
    (main usage:
    1. Yufuin no mori from Yufuin to Hakata (reserve at the Hakata JR station on 18 Nov after I get the JR pass (is that trip easier to reserve than when I go from Hakata to Yufuin? If I can’t get it, then I take the second choice: soci Nichirin Sea Gaia+Yufu/local train),
    2. shinkansen from Hakata to Tokyo,
    3. NEX express when I go to Tokyo Narita airport)
    As you suggested, I can go to Beppu, I am interested in the Takasakiyama monkey park and aquarium. ( I think my 3-year old boy may not like the Hell tour in Beppu, it might be boring to him.)
    *I can check out the hotel in Yufuin on 21 Nov noon, then take the local train and sonic 36 (around 1345) from Yufuin to Beppu (train time length 1 hour 10 min)
    *Is there any luggage storage/big locker at the Beppu train station? So that I can go to park/aquarium.
    *is 4 hours play enough for the park/aquarium or I need longer time? as I know they are not close to the train station) then I take Nichirin Seagala20 at 1851, for returning to Hakata (train time length around 2 hour).
    * does the 7day JP rail pass cover all the Sonic,Nichirin Sea Gaia, Yufu, Local Train?
    *(Subway day pass and Hakone Free Pass) as I already have the JR pass, do I still need to buy those passes? Or JR pass does not cover subway/Hakone Tozan Railway?
    Loop course of Hakone is really attractive. Especially, cablecar to see Mt Fuji and the sightseeing boat.
    *should i join some tour if I bring my kid along? I don’t think I can finish the whole round course with my kid together… and unfortunately I have booked and paid 4 nights of hotel in Keio Tokyo, so I can’t stay in Hakone.
    *You mention a day trip to Mt.Fuji area, do you mean it include Hakone or other places?

  • Hi,
    Nov 23 is a holiday and probably has a lot of autumn colors, so if you have the chance to reserve tickets ahead of time through an agent it would likely be a good idea to do so. They should be able to answer any questions about trains and schedules since I am not JR.
    If you can take the Yufuin no Mori at least once, it is worth it since you can use it with the pass at no extra charge. Whether you should take it or the Sonic is up to you of course - I can't answer if you'd like it more in spite of the additional time.
    Four hours should be plenty to see the monkey park/aquarium. They are only a very short bus ride from Beppu Station. You should easily find lockers in the station. Another choice if you don't want to carry them at all is to have them shipped for you - they'll arrive in a couple days to wherever you want.

    The JR Pass covers all JR routes. There is a small number of routes with a surcharge, which is listed on:
    Subways and the Hakone area are not covered however. For the Mt Fuji area, there are 2 places - Hakone, and on the other side, the Fuji 5 Lakes area.
    Going to Fuji itself, unless you are going to actually climb it in the summer, is basically a waste of time - there is no scenery, since you are actually standing on it.
    Using a tour company is really not needed. Besides, nothing beats the freedom of going where you want, when you want, and for how long you want. You can make it a fast or short tour - it is up to you.
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