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Tokyo(2)Hakone(1)-Nagano(1)-Kanazawa-Kyoto-Himeji-Kyoto(5)-Osaka airport

Hello, I am planning to visit Japan in April, to see the famous Sakura and other famous sites. My itinery with (no. of night) is given in the discussion title. As it will be my first trip to Japan, any advice will be greatly appreciated. Does it make sense to buy a JR or regional pass for 7 days and for which 7 days would you suggest?

Thank you very much in advance

Comments

  • Hi,
    There are 2 ways you could do it, and it depends on how fast you want to get there or how much money you want to save.
    The first is the most straightforward - use a 7 day pass starting from the day of your trip to Hakone. You'd get good savings overall.

    The other way is the Hokuriku Arch Pass.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_arch.html
    It's quite cheaper.

    The differences are first of all with the 7 day pass you can take the bullet train to Odawara to see Hakone (and afterwards get a Hakone Free Pass from there), as well as use the bullet train to Himeji.

    If you use the Hokuriku Arch Pass you can get the Hakone Free Pass version that starts from Shinjuku, Tokyo.
    http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html
    To go to Himeji, you could use a Kansai Area Pass.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_03.html

    Either way, you can't see the sights of Hakone on JR.
    The Hakone Loop Course
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5210.html
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html
    is a common way to see the area and takes a full day.

    If you plan to see the cherry blossoms, you can find some popular places listed here:
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011.html
    Expect many of them, especially in Tokyo, to be jammed with people. Going early in the morning or evening might save your sanity - or get out of the big cities to see them.
    Nobody knows exactly when the season starts, though preliminary forecasts predict an average start. Late in February you might look at
    http://www.jnto.go.jp/sakura/eng/index.php
    https://s.n-kishou.co.jp/w/sp/sakura/sakura_top.html
    from time to time to check on the forecasts. Accuracy should improve from the end of February or early March. The peak is usually about 7-10 days after they first come out, but in higher elevations they'll come out later and there are several varieties that bloom differently.

    If you still have the energy, 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.

    I highly suggest you also take at least half a day and see 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.

    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.

    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/

    Best wishes.
  • Thank you so very much for the useful information, Tenjin. You are super responsive!
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