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Travel within Japan

I am traveling to Japan in April for 10 days. Following is my itinerary -
April 06 - 09 : Tokyo
April 09 - Tokyo - Otsu (I will be traveling to Kyoto, Nara, Osaka)
April 10 - Otsu-Kyoto Otsu
April 11 - Otsu-Kyoto Otsu
April 12 - Otsu-Nara-Osaka-Otsu
April 13 - Otsu - Tokyo
April 15 - Return

My question is, what is the cheapest and most convenient mode of transportation for the above itinerary. Considering I will be staying in Otsu and primarily the 4 days traveling to see Kyoto, Nara and Osaka.



  • Hello!

    The "cheapest" and "most convenient" options rarely overlap, but I would recommend the 7-day Japan Rail Pass as a passable solution from the perspective of convenience.

    The pass will cover your trips from Tokyo to Kyoto on your way to Otsu and back to Tokyo on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

    Use the JR Biwako Line for your trips between Otsu and Kyoto. Use the JR Nara Line for Nara (via Kyoto). Take the JR Yamatoji for Osaka and head back to Otsu on the JR Kyoto Line.

    At this point in your trip after returning to Tokyo, you'd have basically been traveling at the same expense as a local, with no significant savings from the 7-day JR Pass. If, however, you happen to be leaving from Narita, you could also stretch the value of the pass on its last day of validity, by using it to return all the way to the airport on the JR Narita Express.

    If you really want to do this on the cheap, the night buses are your best bet. Willer Express offer many services on the Tokyo-Kyoto route and you can reserve online in advance. The only really significant travel in your itinerary are the Tokyo-Otsu legs, so you can just buy individual tickets for all rail segments, or travel with an IC card.

    Willer Express site in English: https://willerexpress.com/en/
  • One more thing. I would also seriously consider flying on a low cost carrier to/from Osaka. This option can be considered a compromise between cost and convenience, with JR Pass being convenient but expensive, and the night buses being the opposite.
  • great information thank you Faiyez
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