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Pass for local sightseeing in Tokyo, Kyoto

My wife and I will be in Japan from 10/21 – 11/4/2019; 7-N in Tokyo and 7-N in Kyoto, round-trip from Naritia Airport. Hotel Gracery Shinjuku is our base in Tokyo visiting local sights.

We then travel to Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shijo, spending 5-D local sightseeing and 2-D trips to Osaka. Our Tokyo Itinerary is as follows:

D-1: HamaRikyu Garden…Tokyo Tower…Shibuya
D-2: Sensoji Temple…Ueno Parl…Akihabara…Nat’l Museum
D-3: Tokyo Skytree…Imperial Palace & East garden…Tokyo Solamachi
D-4: Meiji Jingu Shrine…Harajuku…Ginza…Nat’l Art Center
D5: Tokyo Gov’t Office…Shinjuku Gyoen…Shinjuku…Yasukuni Shrine
D6-D7: Travel days, shopping, etc.

Our Kyoto Itinerary will be 5-D local sightseeing plus 2-D- trips to Osaka or split with 1-day to Nara.

Google Maps has us taking the following Lines, Metros, and Buses in Tokyo: Juku 41 Bus; Chiyoda-C; Oeda-E; Hibiya-H Tokyu-Toyoko; Fukutoshin; Shibuya Sta.; Marunouchi-M; Namboku-N; Oedo; Ginza; Yamanote; Tozai-Asakusa; Chuo-sobu; and Shinjuku.

I am confused as to what Pass I need for which type of transportation. I have no idea of what Pass to use in Kyoto to get around. Any help will be well appreciated! And thanks in advance!


  • For Kyoto there is no real pass that can help you. You can get a 600 yen bus day pass, but at rush hour it can get extremely crowded and not easy to get around.
    For Tokyo, the only pass that would make sense is a 2 or 3 day subway pass. If you can average 500 yen a day in fares using the subways, then it would pay off.
    If you're not traveling that much, then just get a Pasmo or Suica IC card. There is next to no savings in one, but you don't have to compute fares or carry change - they are extremely convenient - plus you can use them at some attractions and convenience stores. You can use it both in Tokyo and Kansai.
    I highly recommend at least half a day to see Nara - it has some excellent sights.

    But if you are already seeing Tokyo, there is far less need to see Osaka in the day. At night though Osaka comes alive and there are some very good places, Dotonbori, Shinsekai, and some places for great city views.

    If you like you could see Himeji for a day or half day. The castle is the best in Japan and the Kokoen Garden is very nice.

    You could also see Himeji for half a day and Kobe for half a day. A one day Kansai Area Pass could save you some money. Or a 2 day pass if you go to Nara the following day.

    If you're going to the Tokyo Skytree, I suggest you go on a weekday when there are fewer crowds. Just before sunset is a great time to watch the city turn to night.

    Going to the Tokyo Tower as well is a bit redundant, but up to you. You might add more on your first Day if your pace is not too slow. You could see the Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Garden as well; it is just 10 minutes on foot from Hamarikyu. You might like to take the water bus as well - it is a nice experience.

    Personally I found Yasukuni to be one of the most lackluster, dullest shrines I've ever seen. Plus all the cops and guards everywhere leads to a really oppressive atmosphere. It's up to you, but there are better places. Tokyo has numerous other traditional gardens (IMHO even better than Hamarikyu, like Koishikawa Korakuen and Rikugien or Shinjuku Gyoen)

    For your Day 4, in addition to Meiji Shrine, be sure to see the shrine garden (Meiji Jingu Gyoen) along the way - most people don't even knows it's there and they really cheat themselves.
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