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7-day JR pass???


We are a group of 8. 4 teenagers, 3 adults and 1 senior. We'll be arriving at Haneda airport. Below is my draft itinerary. Can we please have your opinions/suggestions on it? Thanks much.

7/4 - from Haneda to Tokyo. (We haven't booked the place yet. Thinking of staying in Shinjuku but don't know any family-friendly hotel. Not sure if we should do airbnb). Train or limousine bus to Shinjuku area? We will have one luggage each person.
7/5 - Tokyo station (the kids love anime and shopping)
7/6 -Shibuya/Harajuku/Meiji Jingu Shrine.
7/7 - Mt. Fuji five lakes (not sure what transportation).
7/8 - Explore Shinjuku
7/9 - 7/12 - Don't know where to go
7/13 - Take Hikari shinkansen to Kyoto.
7/14 - Explore Kyoto - Kifune shrine
7/15 - Kyoto - Arashiyama/Bamboo Grove/Kimono forrest
7/16 - Gion festival/Izutsu Yatsuhashi Honkan
7/17 - Osaka day trip
7/18 - no plan yet
7/19 - Take Hikari shinkansen to Shinagawa station. Take Keikyu airport rapid limited express train to Haneda airport to go home.

Do you think the JR 7-day pass would be good if we activate the pass on 7/13 - 7/19. It should cover the trip back to Haneda airport, am I correct? Is it better to put money in the Suica/Pismo card to use while we're in Tokyo? What about Mt. Fuji? By bus or train? Do you think it would be possible for us to visit Hokkaido? Should we cancel the Kyoto/Osaka and replace it with Hokkaido? Please give us your ideas/suggestions and as much info as you could because this is our first trip to Japan. We're so excited and want to do as much as we could while we're there. Thank you in advance for your help.


  • edited March 2017
    I can give you a few observations. Given your plans, you would still come up short using a JR Pass. I suggest that you get a japanican discount ticket.
    It does not cover the travel between Kansai cities or to Haneda, but it'd still come up cheaper.
    As for getting from Haneda, given the number or you and your bags, plus one being a senior, it would be a lot easier on you to take the limousine bus if you can afford it.
    Some of your plans are hard to figure out. What will you do at Tokyo Stn? If you like anime, the place to go would be Akihabara or the Ghibli Museum. For the Fuji 5 Lakes, look at the various regional passes on:
    For 7/8, 'explore Shinjuku' is too vague. You need some concrete plans. And have a back up plan in case the weather sucks.

    July 9-12 would be an excellent chance to go see Hokkaido. Besides, you'll be in Japan in the latter part of the rainy season which is extremely muggy and has some sweltering heat and often heavy rain. Hokkaido is free of all that and a real breath of fresh air. And if you can see the lavender bloom in Furano, you'll see something you'll never forget for the rest of your life.
    The ramen there is also some of the best in Japan.
    It's very cheap to fly up there, and takes only about 90 minutes. Use a low cost carrier for dirt cheap air fares (even less than US$50 one way).
    You don't have to sacrifice Kansai to see Hokkaido.
    But your itinerary is still pretty empty. Kifune is a good idea to escape the Kyoto heat, but you can fit more in for the day.
    Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5PM, 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.
    Instead, you should use that daytime and go see Nara, which has some of Japan's best sights. On another day, you could also go see Himeji with Japan's finest castle.
    To get around Tokyo, I suggest a 2 or 3 day subway pass.
    IC cards are convenient, but offer no savings.
  • Thank you Tenjin for your assistance. Since we'll be in Tokyo for more than 3 days (which is the maximum days for Tokyo subway ticket, can we get 2 tickets for each person? Do you have any ideas where to go besides temples in Tokyo? The kids want to go go Tokyo station for Plarail train shop, Yaesu Chikagain, Ramen street, pokemon store, character street Tamiya plamodel.

    We heard that Shinjuku is a big place, so we thought that we should explore around the city. No particular place.

    Hokkaido sounds good, especially the lavender field. It's so beautiful! Once in Hokkado, what transportation would be best to go around town?

    Is Japanican ticket always cheaper than JR 7-day pass? or is it because of the special for this month only? What pass should we get to travel between Kyoto to Osaka and other places (Arashiyama, Kifune shrine/Kiyoumizu temple)? Thanks again for all your help.
  • Forgot to ask, can we fly from Tokyo to Hokkaido and from Hokkaido to Kyoto? We cannot see the option from the website. Thanks much.
  • You can get multiple subway passes if you wish, as long as the times of validity don't overlap. The 3 day pass is easy to make worthwhile, the 2 day is good with a fair amount of riding, but the 1 day pass is almost impossible to justify.
    Tokyo has something for nearly everyone. There are actually some very beautiful traditional gardens and parks going back centuries.

    There are also many good places for city views. The Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest and most famous, with a killer view, but also quite pricey. There are many others, including some that are free.

    There are many places you might like - the Ameyoko market street, Kappabashi to see all the plastic but nearly edible food models that many restaurants use in their front displays, Odaiba for a nice atmosphere, the Sumida River bus for a nice river ride... have a look at:
    for lots of ideas.
    For Hokkaido, you can still use trains, buses, and some even rent a car for more isolated areas. It's up to you. You can easily fly from Tokyo to Sapporo and fly down to Osaka (Kyoto has no airport). The low cost places all fly to KIX but Itami might be easier to get to Osaka or Kyoto. For that you might try ANA's Experience Japan Fare,
    but it is often significantly higher as well.
    The japanican ticket is always cheaper than the JR pass and for going the Tokyo-Kansai round trip often makes better sense. The differences are that you can't stop off in between or go beyond your ticket destination (the JR Pass is unlimited), and while you get one free day of local transport in your destination, you need to pay for going between Kansai cities. Fares are very low anyways and you still come out ahead. One other nice bonus with the japanican ticket is that you can ride the fastest Nozomi train (you can't with the JR Pass) and you get to your destination about 30 minutes faster.
    There are very few Kansai area regional passes that are worth it without a lot of riding, or a long distance trip. You can browse them though and see if any appeal to you.
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