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14 days Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-Tokyo

Hi

Planning a 14 day trip in Japan from end May to early June and this is our suggested itinerary so far. We have not booked any accommodation as yet

May 22: Land Narita evening, staying 3 nights in Tokyo
May 23 & 24: Tokyo (day trips to Nikko and Mt Fuji, Hakone)
May 25: Takayama (side trip to Shirikawago)
May 26: Takayama
May 27-May 30: Kyoto (day trips to Hiroshima, Miyajima?, Kobe,Kanazawa)
May 31-June 2: Osaka (day trip to Nara, Himeji)
June 3-4: Tokyo
June 5 Depart Tokyo

1.) is this a good itinerary that maximises the most of the 14 day trip? We dont want this trip to feel too rushed and hurried but also want to be able to see as much of the major cities as possible.

2.) not too certain about takayama trip whether it is better to place it between Tokyo and Kyoto? or is it better to place that between Kyoto and Osaka?

3.)not sure when we should do the day trips in Tokyo-the start of the trip? or the end of the trip?

4.) Would a 7-day JR pass suffice?


Thank you kindly for any suggestions and tips

Charity

Comments

  • edited February 2017
    You have a good itinerary that covers a lot of different places, although you do need to tweak it a bit to make it more efficient. A 14 day pass can pay off very well for you if you include all the side trips. A 7 day pass simply wouldn't work for your plans. You could activate your pass from Narita Airport to take the Narita Express, and that would get you into Tokyo, through all your travels and back to Tokyo. A cheap way to leave back to Narita would be the 1000 yen bus.
    http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/
    For Hakone, a JR Pass can get you only part way. You can take a bullet train to Odawara, then you can save some money on a Hakone Free Pass.
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5200.html
    http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/

    It would be far better though if you did Takayama/Shirakawago & Kanazawa in between Tokyo and Kansai either going there or on the return. For the Tokyo day trips, to maximize your savings it makes more sense to do them at the beginning. Your trip is in total more than 14 days, so it makes more sense to bundle as much long distance travel together as possible. That said, you'll likely arrive in Japan as a brain dead zombie after the long plane trip, so it'd be smarter to keep a lighter first day. Keep some eye drops and aspirin on you during the flight - you'll certainly need them.

    Please note that you cant get to Shirakawago by rail - you'll need to pay for the bus there. You can see the whole place in a few hours, but an overnight at a farmhouse there can be an unforgettable experience. From there you can take a bus straight to Kanazawa. Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. 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, perhaps on the way back from Himeji. Next to Himeji Castle, don't miss the Kokoen Garden - it is also very nice.

    Also you will be going to Japan at the start of the rainy season, so there will likely be some days with heavy rain. Be prepared to sweat your behind off with the sticky humid weather and don't forget to take your deodorant with you. However, it is also hydrangea season, which is extremely beautiful, and if you can fit in seeing Kamakura/Enoshima you can see some stunningly beautiful places like the Meigetsuin Temple.
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3118.html
    And the Great Buddha there, like Nara, is extremely famous.
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3100.html
    If you can't use your JR Pass to go there, you can also get a Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass.
    http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/enoshima_kamakura/
  • edited December 2016
    Hello, I can't work out how to post a question on this site. So I was wondering if either the J.R. East Pass (5 flexi days over 14 days) or the J.R. Pass (7 consecutive days) is the best pass for us. Can these passes be purchased from Shinjuku Railway Station after our arrival in Japan when we can speak face to face with an advisor? Thank you Lyn
  • It depends on where you are going, how long you are going, how far you are going, and many other important questions. The flex pass is a great way to leisurely see almost half the country - you can use the pass for long distance travel, and pay out of pocket for short distance places you want to see. Most people however concentrate on Tokyo and Kansai, and you can't use the East Pass for Kansai. The 7 day pass lets you go all over the country, but it must be 7 consecutive days. If you don't travel enough, you end up wasting money.

    Almost all regional passes you can buy in Japan, and currently the full JR Pass must be bought outside Japan. However, as a trial basis you will be able to buy the full JR Pass within Japan March 8, 2017 to March 31, 2018 at certain airports and major stations (yes including Shinjuku). However buying it in Japan is more expensive.
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html

    I strongly suggest you make a full itinerary and see if a pass is worth it. You can see regular fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
    http://www.hyperdia.com
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