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Advice on my itinerary please (7 day rail pass)

WE will be in Japan for 3 weeks (March 8-28) and we are a family with a 6 year old girl. I already have the vouchers and now I am deciding what to see. This will be my husband and I's second time to Japan. We were there for 2 weeks 7 years ago, but will be returning to some of the same places.

So, arrival in Tokyo (5 nights there)
then take a bus or local train to the 5 Lakes area near Mt. Fuji. Stay overnight, then take a bus to Hakone area and stay 2 nights. I don't want to activate the J-rail pass just from Tokyo to Hakone which would be wasting days because its so close.

Hakone to Kyoto (3 nights)
We are planning to be in Onomichi for day 6 of the JRail pass then leave on day 7, but I am having trouble deciding on another destination after Kyoto before Onomichi. I have never been to the Sea of Japan area and am considering Kinosaki onsen or Kanazawa for one night, but from there we'd have to get to Onomichi, so it probably would be better to either make Kanazawa a day trip from Kyoto. Going from Kinosaki to Onomichi seems long with too many changes, so probably not a good idea logistically.
Maybe you have some other suggestions of another place to go overnight after Kyoto?


  • Also since on DAY 7 we will be in Onomichi, we plan to go Northward that day, but not directly to Tokyo as we will still have 6 more nights in Japan. We thought we'd either go to Kamakura or somewhere nice on the Izu Penninsula since the distance is close enough to Tokyo that we won't become broke paying out of pocket for train tickets. Do you have any suggestions of where to go from Onomichi upwards? Even a destination where we could bus it back to Tokyo would be fine.
  • Hi,
    Well first, there are tons of good places south of Kansai. Onomichi is an often ignored place, so it's interesting you'd pick there. The temple tour is most famous, although in comparison not as good as some other places. There is also the Kosanji Temple on Ikuchijima (one of the smaller islands) which is simply mind blowing. You can also take the bullet train there to Shin-Onomichi Stn.
    At any rate, some other ideas are in Okayama - there is the castle, and Korakuen which is one of Japan's Top 3 traditional gardens.
    Nearby is also Kurashiki
    One other idea is going to Shikoku and seeing Kagawa and Takamatsu.
    The Ritsurin Garden is also one of the most beautiful in Japan, and if you'd like one of the most picturesque half day hikes of your life, there is going up to Konpirasan in the town of Kotohira.

    Regarding going to the Fuji area, you might look at a Fuji-Hakone Pass.
    They also have a good pass to see Kamakura & Enoshima.
    If you want to see someplace before Tokyo and pay the rest of the way, then I think your choices of Kamakura or Izu make sense. Or you could go up to Yokohama and see some places there. The Sankeien Garden in Yokohama is one of Japan's best also, and the Chinatown is quite renowned.

    If you want to take some day trips from Tokyo (Karuizawa, Takao, Kusatsu, the Hitachi Seaside Park, Ushiku Great Buddha, Kawagoe, Nikko, Kamakura, etc), then the Tokyo Wide Pass is one good money saver.

    Within Tokyo, a 2-3 day subway pass can save money too.

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

    You can see previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:

    There are also loads of other tips on

    Best wishes.
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