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17 day Itinerary help

Hi there,

Just after some advice on the most efficient way to complete the following itinerary (ie in which order and using which trains!). Also happy to receive any advice regarding the itinerary itself!

-Tokyo 4 days with day trip to Nikko 22-25th May
-Matsumoto 1 day 26th May
-Takayama/Shirakawa-go 1 day 27th May
- Alpine route 1 day 28th May
- Kanazawa 2 days 29-30th May
- Magome 1 day 31st May
- Kyoto 3 days 1-3rd June
- Nara 1 day or day trip from Kyoto 4th June
- Hakone 1 day 5th June
- Return to Tokyo 6th June and fly out 8th June.

Thanks so much for any helps!



  • Hi,
    That is a lot of places for your trip - it is doable but it will be very fast paced. You could use a 14 day pass for it all. But I question the order of the way you are doing things. There is a lot of backtracking and wasting time. You go from Matsuyama over to Takayama, then back by the Alpine Route, then over to Kanazawa, then back to Magome??
    If the dates are not so important to you, you could make Hakone a day trip from Tokyo at the beginning. And go to Magome before you go to Takayama.
    Also while you can use rail nearly the whole way, from Matsumoto to Takayama it will take you a minimum of about 4½ hours - there is a direct bus you can pay for if you like, and it will save you a couple of hours of time.
    Please be aware also that there is no rail access to Shirakawago - you must pay for a bus to go there. Also the Alpine Route is not one way only - you can go through it from either side.

    If you like, 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.

    You can find regular rail fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
    Under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box if on a JR Pass 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:

    There are also loads of other tips on

    Best regards.
  • Thanks so much for the information.
    I've had a look at train connections etc and have re arranged the itinerary. Does this look better?

    -tokyo (day trips to nikko and hakone)
    -alpine route
    -kyoto (day trips to nara and osaka)

    I guess I'll be using the hakone free area pass and the kurobe alpine ticket for those sections. Would you still say the 14 day jr pass is the best option for the remainder?


  • Hi,
    I think it looks much better, as far as the routing. When I do the fare calculations, including everything you list, you do get some decent savings from a 14 day pass.
  • This is one of the possible routes that includes all the destinations you have mentioned. Magome is placed between Nagoya and Matsumoto in the below.

    22 May Narita 900-(Kanto Bus)-1238 Nikko
    23 May Nikko 729-(JR)-959 Nagano 1030-(Alpico Bus)-1215 Ogizawa 1230-(various)-1355 Murodo
    24 May Murodo 1000-(various)-1107 Tateyama 1131-(Chitetsu)-1235 Toyama 1302-(JR)-1432 Takayama
    25 May Tateyama 1050-(Nouhi Bus)-1140 Shirakawago
    26 May Shirakawago 850-(Nouhi Bus)-1005 Kanazawa
    27 May Kanazawa 954-(JR)-1209 Kyoto(3)
    30 May Kyoto 839-(Kintetsu)-926 Kintetsu-Nara
    31 May Kintetsu-Nara 835-(Kintetsu)-916 Osaka-Namba
    1 Jun Osaka-Namba 830-(Kintetsu)-1052 Nagoya 1024-(JR)-1046 Nakatsugawa 1212-(Kita-Ena Bus)-1237 Magome
    2 Jun Magome 1050-(Ontake Bus)-1125 Nagiso 1219-(JR)-1415 Matsumoto
    3 Jun Matsumoto 851-(JR)-1133 Shinjuku(4)
    7 Jun Shinjuku 900-(Odakyu Limited Express Romancecar)-1014 Hakone-Yumoto
    8 Jun Hakone-Yumoto 1630-(Odakyu Bus: Hakone-Yumoto Airliner)-1837 Haneda

    Your choice of flights and hotels should have a significant impact on the itinerary, especially for the ones of fast-paced. Apparently, so many options could exit.

    Haneda 945-(Keikyu Bus)-1305 Nikko
    Keikyu Limousine + Nikko Pass

    Haneda 834-(Keikyu)-920 Asakusa 930-(Tobu)-1116 Nikko

    Hakone-Yumoto 1745-(Odakyu)-1759 Odawara 1812-(JR)-2003 Narita

    30 May Kyoto 900-(JR)-928 Osaka
    31 May Osaka 938-(JR)-1033 Nara
    1 Jun Nara 835-(Kintetsu)-1010 Nagoya 1024-(JR)-1139 Nakatsugawa 1212-(Kita-Ena Bus)-1237 Magome

    Another chain of -Toyama-Kanazawa-Shirakawago-Takayama-Osaka-Nara-Kyoto-Nagoya-Nakatsugawa-Magome-? Drop some destinations to make more time, especially for Kanazawa? Finish Shirakawago on the way from Takayama to Kanazawa? Similarly, pass either night at Magome or Murodo? To cover Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka, stay only one place; Kyoto or Osaka? Stay twice in Tokyo; one in Asakusa and the other in Shinjuku? For Osaka, Namba or Umeda? For Kyoto, Shijo or JR Kyoto? Instead of Magome, stay at Tsumago???

    I would allocate more time in Nikko, especially for Oku-Nikko. The waterfalls there would be more dynamic with the melting snow. The flowers in Oku-Nikko would be in a peak in June. I might consider going there at a later stage, possibly by reversing the order of the destinations.
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