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7-Day Rail Pass & Itinerary

Hi!

My friend and I are traveling to Japan for 11 days and I was hoping you could help me with our itinerary and schedule.
We are planning on purchasing a 72-hour Tokyo Metro card for our local travel in Tokyo and a 7 day pass for the remainder of the travel to other regions.

Our itinerary so far is;

4/26 - Arrive at HND
4/27 - Tokyo
4/28 - Day trip to Nikko
4/29 - Evening train to Kyoto (Activate JR Pass)
4/30 - Day trip to Nara or Hiroshima/Miyajima
5/1 - Kyoto
5/2 - Evening Train to Osaka
5/3 - Osaka
5/4 - Day trip to Nara or Hiroshima/Miyajima
5/5 - Afternoon train to Kawaguchiko
5/6 - Return to HND

I've only just found this forum and now am concerned I may have undertaken too ambitious of a schedule. I'm also unsure how late we should stay in Nikko, Nara, Hiroshima/Miyajima.

I'm concerned about the day trips to Nara and Hiroshima/Miyajima. Which is best traveled from Kyoto and which from Osaka?
Also, What is the best way to get back to HND from Kawaguchiko?

Any insight you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!! :)

Comments

  • Hi,
    It depends a lot on your travel pace, but it looks doable. I'll get to the biggest issue later.
    For Nikko, 2 days would be better, but if your time is limited, you can fit in a lot of the best into one day with an early morning start. A Nikko Pass can save you some money on transport.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_002.html
    As for your other side trips, Nara is much better as a trip from Kyoto.
    https://goo.gl/LfvWnL
    Also, you will be in Japan during the wisteria season, so if you can include the Manyoshu Garden in Nara Park, you can see some beautiful scenery.
    Hiroshima & Miyajima are much easier from Osaka.
    https://goo.gl/fAz4ax
    If you wish to see even more and get even better savings from your rail pass, on May 3 you could take half a day and see Himeji. It has the country's finest surviving original castle, and the Kokoen Garden near it is exquisite.
    https://goo.gl/65ZtRi
    As for Osaka, it is better in the evenings anyway. There are some great night spots like Dotonbori and Shinsekai, and the city views from atop the Abeno Harukas Bldg, Umeda Sky Bldg and Cosmo Tower are all top notch.
    http://goo.gl/XE5R94
    Your biggest issue will be getting to Kawaguchiko - from Osaka it will be at least 6 hours by train (and the last hour is not JR, so you need to pay the 1140 yen fare. The other choice is going to Mishima or Odawara, and paying for a bus the rest of the way. Either way, that leaves you with little time for the Fuji 5 Lakes. Unless you can devote a number of hours there the following morning, I'd say pick Hakone instead or skip it.
    If you won't have your pass returning from the Fuji 5 Lakes, then it will take nearly 3 hours and cost 4000-4500 yen. A cheaper option would be by highway bus.
    http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp
    Please note also that you will be traveling during Golden Week, so some places may be crowded. If your dates are set, I highly recommend you activate your pass as soon as you are in Japan (you can set a future date as your 1st day) and make as many seat reservations as you can (they are free with the pass).
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2282.html
    You also have the enviable position of seeing the wisteria at the Ashikaga Flower Park, if you wish, which is breathtaking.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3850.html
    https://is.gd/hFPAOP

    You can use a site like Hyperdia to see regular fares, routes, and schedules.
    http://www.hyperdia.com
    Under "More Options", for your full JR pass be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.

    Also, you can look at some 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 regards.
  • @Tenjin Thank you so much for your assistance!! I can't wait to get to Japan! :smiley:
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