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Itinerary and pass help, TY.

Couple in early 40s planning a 14-day trip to Japan from May 1 returning to LA on May 14 and this is rough itinerary so far.

Day 1: Land Haneda 3:30 p.m., staying 2 nights in Tokyo
Day 3 - 6: Leave to Hiroshima in the morning (what day trips do you suggest)
Day 6 - 8: Leave for Kyoto in the morning (side trip to Osaka)
Day 8: Take late train to return to Tokyo, meeting a friend on the 9th for the day so important to return to Tokyo
Day 9-13: Tokyo (day trips to Nikko and Mt Fuji, Hakone)
Day 14: Depart Tokyo from Haneda

What kind of pass should we be getting?
Can I make seat reservations
Can you please help me with the names of the stations I should book from and to?
What should we purchase for moving around Tokyo?
Any other suggestions are appreciated


  • Dear Alv,

    Thank you very much for contacting us.

    Since you will be travelling in-between several regions, the only pass that will cover your entire journey is the National Japan Rail Pass. You cannot go from one region to another with two regional passes.
    The Japan Rail Pass will also allow you to take the Shinkansen bullet train (except for the Nozomi and Mizuho).

    You can purchase this pass for 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days via our website :

    Hyperdia is very convenient to calculate if a Japan Rail Pass is worth buying in your case and to know which length is most cost-effective for your travel.

    Please visit hyperdia.com:

    - In search conditions, write the departure and arrival location (day and time does not really matter)
    - The search will provide you the fare for this travel (check "total price" under "take time")
    - Do the same for all your trips by train.
    - Just compare with the price of a Japan Rail Pass 7, 14 or 21 days by checking the price here : http://www.japan-rail-pass.com/jr-pass

    You want to be sure you can access to the trains for free with a Japan Rail Pass :
    - In “search details”, unclick “Nozomi, Mizuho, Hayabusa Shinkansen” and “private railway”.
    - The search result will show you all the trains you can access with a Japan Rail Pass.

    We stay at disposal if you have any further question.

    Best regards,

    Japan Experience
  • edited January 2017
    I will try and help you.

    The most cost effective pass for you would be the 14 day JR Pass.

    Be aware though that in Japan from the end of April through the first week of May is "Golden Week", a peak holiday season where all the good places will be jammed with people. If you take the bullet train (or others that allow it) you should make seat reservations - which are a free perk thrown in for the pass holders. You can make them in any JR station office.
    That said, the first week of May is typically the best time to see the wisteria, which if you haven't seen it before, is absolutely gorgeous. And you'd have a great chance to see it at the Ashikaga Flower Park north of Tokyo.

    The Chugoku Region with Hiroshima has a ton of great places to see, and many are not mobbed with tourist hordes like Tokyo and Kyoto. Hiroshima City has some good places - the Peace Park/Museum, Shukkeien Garden, castle, Mitakidera Temple, Mazda Museum, Okonomiyaki-mura, etc.
    The biggest draw in the area is Miyajima though, and you can take the train to Miyajimaguchi as well as use your pass on the JR ferry to the island. Aside from the Itsukushima Shrine with the giant "floating" torii, the Daishoin Temple is also a must-see place. There are several other pagodas and temples, and climbing Mt. Misen offers a fantastic view over the island and whole area.
    Just beyond Miyajima is Iwakuni, which is another picturesque place with its iconic bridge and mountaintop castle. And if you want to go further, there is the Akiyoshido Limestone Cave, which is a 300 million year old marvel 1km deep with an underground river rushing past you and giant caverns - the best in Japan and simply stunning.

    Onomichi is also nearby Hiroshima and famous for its temple tour and wildly ornate Kosanji Temple (some call it a "Buddhist Disneyland"). Kurashiki is a famous own city for its canals, and Okayama also has its own castle and one of Japan's other Top 3 gardens, Korakuen.

    Also close by is Kure with its Battleship Yamato Museum (one of the few WWII museums on the big island of Honshu), and there is Okunoshima (Bunny Island) where you can get mobbed by friendly rabbits and see the ruins of a WWII poison gas factory.

    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, take at least half a day and see Nara, which has some of Japan's very best sights.

    If you want to see Hakone, the JR Pass can only get you par way there. Take the bullet train to Odawara, and then buy a Hakone Free Pass.
    Since you'll miss cherry blossom season, you might want to go see the shibazakura in the Fuji 5 Lakes area too.
    Within Tokyo you can still use JR Yamanote Line which goes to many popular tourist places. Otherwise, you could just pay for regular subway tickets since they are not expensive.
    For your last days though, there is a combo subway pass and discounted transport to Haneda you could use.

    You can see regular fares, routes, station names, and schedules on Hyperdia.
    Under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train using the pass.

  • Thank you very much for your help, I have to assimilate a lot but I will get it.
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