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11 day itinerary that includes Tokyo and Nagaoka

I am arriving in Tokyo on 12 November early in the morning and departing on 22 November in the morning. I have visited Tokyo several times and would like to know if someone could recommend an itinerary that brings me to the Nagano/Niigata region. I also intend to buy the JR East - Nagano Niigata Pass which allows me to travel on 5 flexible days over a period of 14 days. Is that advisable? How and where would you recommend that I spend the time given that I would like to spend at least 21 and 22 Nov in Tokyo and at least 3 days in Nagaoka (between 12th and 18th November).


  • Hello, Yvonne!

    This is the course I will be doing myself come September. I will be using the Nagano-Niigata Area Pass. You may find it useful.

    Limited Express from Tokyo to Matsumoto. Limited Express to Nagano.

    To Niigata via Takasaki on the Shinkansen.

    Shibata and Tsukioka Onsen. Not using the pass on this leg.

    On regular JR lines to Nagaoka for fireworks festival

    Shinkansen to Tokyo

    Day trip to Nikko

    Of course, there are many, many other places within coverage to consider looking into.

    Due to the nature of the flex pass, you can really go at any pace. It really is one of the better available passes. However, in your case you have less than 15 days to go through the region. That's perfectly fine, because 15 days is a slow pace. Just keep in mind that spending 3+ days in one location necessarily means spending less time elsewhere. I think you can get familiar with what the region has to offer (including my own picks) and then come up with your own idea of how to distribute your time.

  • It's all up to your interests of course. You might look at the major sites and stops on:
    You definitely should look at the further places; otherwise the Tokyo Wide Pass for 3 days might be the better choice.
    Nagano and Matsumoto are 2 of the big places; Dewa Sanzan is another but November is not the time to go.
    November is also typically the season of autumn colors - if you have the chance, you should go see some.

    Best of luck.
  • Thank you so much. I will do more research based on your advice.
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