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Itinerary and Passes

I am in Japan for 10 days with a 7 day rail pass.
Day 1) Arrive in Japan (thinking of getting a return NEX pass to Shinjuku from airport and back again when I leave, as I don't want to activate my pass until day 2
Day 2) Activate Rail pass and take a day trip to the Snow Monkeys ( I am aware that I can only use the rail pass to Nagano and Nagano back to Tokyo)
Day 3) Purchase Hakone 2 day pass
Day 4) Hakone to Kyoto
Day 5) Kyoto
Day 6) Kyoto to Nara and back to Kyoto
Day 7) Kyoto to Hiroshima
Day 8) Hiroshima to Tokyo - Last Day of Rail Pass (Is this getting good use out of my rail pass and is this do-able?
Day 9) Tokyo
Day 10) Tokyo
Day 11) Shinjuki - Narita Airport and home

My questions are what other pass should I use to look around Tokyo and perhaps another day trip or 2 not far out of Tokyo and what other passes should I look at getting? Is the NEX pass good value for money or should I be looking at something else?


  • edited January 2017
    You would get tremendous savings using a 7 day pass as you write above, although it would be a very busy schedule.
    While you should absolutely include at least half a day for Nara, you are not doing Kyoto justice with just a couple of days. You can work around this a bit by seeing some places like Fushimi Inari Shrine (open 24/7) either in the early morning or evening and avoid the crowds. The Honganji Temples near Kyoto Stn are within walking distance and open at the crack of dawn - and are worthwhile as well. 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.

    You can see Hiroshima and Miyajima in a full day with an early morning start. If you can fit it in the next morning, you could also include Iwakuni which is a stone's throw south of Miyajima and famous for its iconic bridge.

    As for getting to/from Narita and other day trips, there are a number of options. The cheapest way would be the 1000 yen bus.
    Another option is the Keisei with a subway package thrown in:
    There are also good stand alone 2 or 3 day subway passes:
    The orange limousine bus is the most expensive, but even it has a discounted round trip ticket.

    The last option would be for seeing somewhere near Tokyo, and then using the Narita Express with the ticket. You could for example get a Tokyo Wide Pass.
    Use it to go to Nikko, which is a popular place north of Tokyo. You can take the bullet train with it most of the way. When you want to go to Narita (within 3 days), you can ride the N'Ex with it. You'd easily more than break even with the pass.

    Or, you could get a Tobu Nikko Free Pass for Nikko:
    and use some other way to return to Narita.

    Another popular day trip would be Kamakura/Enoshima, and there is a good regional pass for there as well:
    and then again, use some other way to return to Narita.

    So choose what combination works best for your plans.

    You can see previews of some of the best places to see on:
  • Thanks so much for your detailed information and suggestions. We are going to have a jam packed holiday and will see and do as much as we can. Thanks also for suggesting Fushimi Inari Shrine as being open 24/7 and for the temples that open at the crack of dawn. We are very early risers so will leave early on most days to make the most of the sights.
  • I am able to change my bookings for hotels. How many extra days would you recommend in Kyoto and should I spend less time in Tokyo?
    Should I not stay overnight in Hiroshima and just do a day trip and spend that extra night in Kyoto. I want to make the most of my stay in Japan and see and do as much as possible
  • Hi,
    Well you might be able to change the hotel reservations, but your schedule is so filled up it's hard to change anything. But I suggest on Day 4 you don't spend the whole day in Hakone, and you start off for Kyoto around noon or before.
    You could also return to Kyoto at night after seeing Hiroshima. Sitting on trains isn't doing any sightseeing, so the more travel you can do at night, the more daytime you have to see new places.
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