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JR Pass - 15 day trip

Hey everyone! New here and trying to figure out the best itinerary for a first time travel to Japan for about 2 weeks in mid-late October 2018. The current list I have is as follows

October
Day 15-16 - Flight
Day 16 - Tokyo
Day 17 - Tokyo
Day 18 - Tokyo-Nyuto travel
Day 19 - Nyuto-Kyoto
Day 20 - Kyoto
Day 21 - Kyoto
Day 22 - Kyoto-Himeji Travel
Day 23 - Himeji-Osaka Travel
Day 24 - Osaka
Day 25 - Osaka
Day 26 - Osaka-Fujiyoshida(Yamanashi)
Day 27 - Fujiyoshida
Day 28 - Fujiyoshida-Tokyo
Day 29 - Tokyo
Day 30/31 - Tokyo/travel home

Trying to figure out the passes and everything just to see what'd be worthwhile for us. I was thinking of mainly taking Shinkansen's as much as possible. The whole ordeal is kinda up in the air really but I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to go to Hiroshima (which is on every single listing) and would probably want to spend more time in the more northern regions. Hokkaido doesn't seem likely this go around either.

Any thoughts on this would be super helpful!

Comments

  • edited December 2017
    Hi,
    You would get great savings from a 14 day JR pass, although you could not use it to the airport for both landing and departure. If you are flying through Haneda, it is no big deal either way, but if Narita you could use the pass for Oct 16-29, or Oct 18-31. Without the pass the cheapest way to/from Narita is the 1000 yen bus.
    http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/

    Some of your days look like they'll be very gruelling. Tokyo to Nyuto is about 4 hours (3 hours by train, and about one hour by bus from Tazako Stn - the bus is not covered by the pass and costs about 820 yen; 1X/hour). The real killer is Nyuto to Kyoto - that will take you over 7 hours in total.
    If you wish to make a full day out of Himeji, there is the castle (Japan's finest), Kokoen Garden next door, and the huge temple atop Mt. Shosha.
    Of course you don't have to go to Hiroshima if you don't want to, but if you think that because of the War Museum, actually Hiroshima has far more to offer - the beautiful Shukkeien Garden, castle, Mitakidera Temple, Mazda museum, and the real gem outside the city which is Miyajima. Plus Iwakuni just beyond it is a total delight.
    One place you are sorely lacking though is Nara - it was also a former capital and has some of Japan's best sights. Missing the Todaiji Great Buddha would be a tragedy. Nara Park has a lot of other great places, such as Kasuga Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, the Isuien and Yoshikien Gardens, and feeding the many deer in the area.

    Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5 PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. 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 wonderful.
    On another evening, you could also go and see Kobe.

    And if you'd like to see a more spiritual and unforgettable side to Japan, go for an overnight at Koyasan. It is truly one of the most surreal places in Japan, and you can stay overnight at a monastery there - don't worry, you won't be sleeping on a slab of cement or anything.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4900.html
    http://eng.shukubo.net/temple-lodging.html
    A Koyasan World Heritage Ticket can save money on transport.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_012.html

    Getting from Osaka to the Fuji 5 Lakes is going to be another hard day.
    To use your JR pass the most, you can take the bullet train from Shin-Osaka to Mishima, then take the local JR train to Gotemba, then pay for a bus the rest of the way (1510 yen, about 1X/hour).
    https://www.japan-guide.com/bus/gotemba.html

    For getting around Tokyo, look into getting a 2-3 day subway pass to save money.
    http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/travel/index.html#anc03
    You could use your JR Pass too in Tokyo on the Yamanote Line, but it may not go everywhere you would like to.

    You can see regular fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
    http://www.hyperdia.com
    Under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass. However, you can ride the Hayabusa from north of Tokyo, so you may have to check it twice - to Tokyo, and then from Tokyo to Kyoto if you're really going to do the whole leg in one shot.

    You can see previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/thejapanfaq/videos

    There are also loads of other tips on
    http://www.thejapanfaq.com/the-best-japan-travel-tips/

    Hope that helps.

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