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Need advice on planning our trip

We would like to visit the following places for our two-week trip in April
Tokyo (start and end with Tokyo)
Nikko (day trip from Tokyo?)

1. What would you recommend in terms of order so it has the least amount of train travel time?
2. if we would like to take the Nozomi trains or the faster shkinkansan, does that mean we have to buy separate tickets for them since JR pass doesn't cover these?
3. Do you think the travel schedule would be too tight if Takayama is added?

Thank you for your help.


  • Hi,

    Sounds like you're in for quite an amazing trip! One of the best ways to go about it would be to travel in this order:

    Tokyo to Hakone - take the shinkansen Kodama to Odawara and then take the Hakone Tozan railway. This journey takes about 50 minutes.

    Hakone to Kyoto - take the tozan railway back to Odawara and then the shinkansen Kodama to Kyoto. This journey takes just over 2 hours.

    Kyoto and Osaka are very close to each other, and will take just 30 minutes to get to via the JR Special rapid Service.

    To access Koyasan from Osaka, it is best to take the Nanka Koya line from either Namba or Shin-Imamiya to Gokurakubashi. Some limited express trains will take you there directly, in just over an hour and a half, or you can take an express or rapid train which will add 20 minutes to your journey time, but will be cheaper. If you take the express train you will need to change at Hashimoto along the way.

    Osaka to Hiroshima - from Shin-Osaka station take the shinkansen Sakura to Hiroshima (just under an hour and half).

    Hiroshima to Tokyo - take the shinkansen Sakura to Shin-Kobe and then the shinkansen Hikari to Tokyo. This journey will take you just under 5 hours in total.

    The Nozomi trains are not included in the JR pass, so yes you would have to buy an upgrade in order to use those trains. For certain journeys there is sometimes just a 20 minute difference. Feel free to have a look at www.hyperdia.com from train schedules and journey times.

    As for Takayama, it is slightly out of the way. If you were to go from Tokyo you would have to change at Nagoya and the entire journey is just under 5 hours one way. Alternatively, if you really want to add Takayama to your itinerary you could do Kyoto on your way back instead (Hiroshima - Kyoto - Takayama - Tokyo)?

    Finally, Nikko can indeed be done as a day trip from Tokyo.

    I hope this helps. Good luck planning your trip!


    Japan Experience
  • Thank you for your advice. What kind of rail pass do we need for this trip?
  • Hi,

    For this type of trip, we would suggest purchasing the 14 day Japan Rail Pass to cover all your journeys.

    Kind regards,

    Japan Experience
  • 'The Nozomi trains are not included in the JR pass, so yes you would have to buy an upgrade in order to use those trains'

    There are more Nozomi trains between Hiroshima an Kyoto, for example, how and where do we buy the upgrade?

    Also, the fastest bullet trains are not included in the JR pass, can an upgrade be purchased for that also?

    Is there luggage storage service (not lockers) at Osaka and Kyoto stations?

    Please advise. Thanks.
  • Two more things, (1)can i buy tickets from Osaka to Koyasan through you? If not, where to buy it? (2) how to make reservation for the trains with JR green pass? Thanks.
  • Hi would like advise on planning my 2-3 weeks trip to tokyo in May . Would like to cover sapporo, osaka and hakone . How should I travel in order to save train time and is a 7 days JR pass sufficient? I'm planning to stay 2 nights in osaka and 2 nights in hakone. Would also like to visit sapporo for cherry blossom during May 6-10. Pls advise. Thanks
  • Koobear,

    Upgrades would be purchased at JR ticket offices in Japan. And yes, there are baggage checks in these two major stations.

    Regarding your other questions:
    (1)can i buy tickets from Osaka to Koyasan through you? If not, where to buy it?
    Unfortunately, we do not sell individual tickets, only rail passes. Tickets can be purchased in Japan at ticket offices.
    (2) how to make reservation for the trains with JR green pass? Thanks.
    Simply bring your rail pass to a ticket office.
  • Wow, you're planning to put a lot into you holiday. Good luck. Nikko is certainly doable as a day trip from Tokyo. Tokyo to Hiroshima and Osaka and Kyoto, in-between are all covered by a JR rail pass. As is Nikko and Takayama. Again, you are packing a lot into two weeks.
  • Hi all,

    I am so excited to spend 2 weeks in japan at the end of April 28 to May 10. Can you give me advice on the following:
    1. what is the best route to take if I land and depart from Tokyo and I am planning to go to Kyoto, Osaka, and Fukuoka? Will i still get cherry blossom viewing in any of the city?
    2. Will a 14 days JR pass be sufficient enough for me to travel to those places above?
    3. Is there a place to check my luggage so I may travel light?
    4. I read the JR pass covers airport transfer from haneda airport, will it cover narita airport as well?

    Thank you so much for your help
  • Hi JTSAN

    I think lockers are found in the stations all over Japan, I can suggest you to use ‘Tebura’ for keeping your luggage on the way in Tokyo. In Roppongi and Kobe also.

    Take care.
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