10days in Japan - JR 7-days worth it? + Itinerary questions
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Oct 9, 2013 12:46 AM Last Post By: bamse
Oct 5, 2013 10:25 PM
10days in Japan - JR 7-days worth it? + Itinerary questionsHi all!
I'm planning a trip to Japan (16-20 Oct) and this is the rough itinerary:
Tokyo (4 days):
16 - Arrive at 11am, I am meeting a friend but he will only reach at 5pm. Does anyone have suggestions on what to do/luggage lockers? I am meeting him at Sastsuka Station
17 - Fish market, perhaps imperial palace & gardens?
18 - Daytrip to Nikko to visit the park
19 - Harajuku/Shinjuku
20 - Probably leave in the morning to head to Kyoto
20 - Walk around Kyoto visiting shrines etc
21 - Daytrip Nara
22 - Matsuri Festival
23 - Leaving in the afternoon to reach Osaka in the evening
23 evening -
24 - Kobe?
25 - Himeiji ?
26 - Hiroshima?
This was an improptu trip so it's not very researched at the moment! I love nature so if there's any suggestions please let me know :)
I'm wondering if this justifies getting a Japan Rail Pass for the trip and which day I should start?
By the way, anyone knows if there is a morning train/bus etc in Osaka? I have a flight to Korea (PEACH airline) leaving at 7.50am on a Sunday morning, and I think I'll be staying near
Kitakagaya Station Exit 1 / A 10-minute walk from Sumiyoshi Taisha Station
and if anyone could give advise whether I should take this or Sat afternoon's flight, that would be great!
I am also scared of the cold - will cardigans be enough for Japan in mid-late october? I'm bringing a rather thick coat (for Korea) as well.
Thanks in advance!
Oct 6, 2013 5:06 AM
1I am puzzled by - Sastsuka. Are you sure you have the name right?
If you are into nature, you really have very little nature in your trip...
it's just a series of cities.
I'm not sure what you mean by the "park" in Nikko - the shrines?
Perhaps 2 days in Nikko to give you time to go up Senjogahara and stroll leisurely from Yumoto down to Chuzenji?
Otherwise this is a good hike in Kamakura
Oct 6, 2013 4:30 PM
2As for nature try to catch some autumn foliage. Nikko should have some, but to see it I'd allow two days for Nikko, one spend around the shrines/temples and one in Nikko NP.
I find the Tokyo Imperial Palace+Gardens rather boring.
Personally I'd allow a lot more time for Kyoto.
You could see two festivals on Oct 22: jidai matsuri during the day and the wild kurama fire festival in the evening.
Leaving in the afternoon to reach Osaka in the evening
sounds a lot further than it actually is...
himeji castle is under scaffolding
As for train connections to the airport (Kansai airport?) check hyperdia
Edited by: bamse
Oct 6, 2013 9:25 PM
Oct 7, 2013 1:37 AM
4If you only do Tokyo (and around) plus Kyoto (and around) a Japan Rail Pass will not pay off. If you also go to Hiroshima the rail pass will pay off. In that case arrange your trip such that you do the long distance (shinkansen) transportation within the one week validity of the pass.
You can also compare prices of the pass with prices of individual tickets using hyperdia.
Oct 7, 2013 4:26 PM
Do you mean Asakusa subway station?
The Imperial Palace sitting behind the little bridge is a very pretty sight to see, if it's the first thing you actually see in Japan. That and the general view towards Marunouchi and midtown in the distance. The first thing I did on entering Tokyo was to walk the ring road around the entire Imperial Palace area. The sounds of the beetles and the views you get along this walk are a very fascinating experience for a first time visitor. I then headed into Maranouchi for a look around, which is one of the nicest areas of Tokyo and has a lot of interesting sculptures scattered around near the Tokyo International Forum. Go into this for a look around and then up the Shin Marunouchi building for a great free view over the Marunouchi area.
If you like museums, then pop into the Idemitsu museum along the way with its great view over the Imperial Palace area and free cups of tea from the vending machine in the rest area :). The Idemitsu is a very beautiful museum and I'd recommend it for its charm and views as much as anything else.
You could then go into Ginza. Check out the Sony building here for a bit of fun.
Will take all day to do just this bit. But with an early start at Tsukiji you may wish to do this in reverse as you may wish to walk through Ginza, towards Maranouchi etc.
I presume you want to do Harajuku on the 19th because its a Saturday in order to see the street performers and fashion freaks? The free view from the Shinjuku Government towers is no doubt on your list, do this in the day, then after your visit to these areas in Tokyo head down to Yokohama and see a proper evening and night city view from the Landmark Tower and walk the entire Minato Mirai area for some real beauty.
Why do you wish to visit Kobe ? IMO It is dire, apart form the bay area and its little chinese temple. Yokohama's China town, chinese temple and bay area are a million times better. I'd say take the day off Kobe and use it to visit Yokohama whilst in the Tokyo area. You can do the Sankeiei En tea garden in Yokohama for your nature fix during the day with the city by evening/night. The tea garden is big and the best one in the entire region outside of Kyoto. Furthermore, you can get a view of Fujisan from here on a clear day.
If you don't want a castle under scaffolding then go see Hikone castle. It's the next best one to Himeji in the Kansai region. Great grounds here too.
Skip Osaka. You get better Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima ;P
As observed by others, your trip is very city centric. There are beautiful gardens in Yokohama, Himeji, HIkone and Kyoto, but not Tokyo. If you are looking for hiking however, you will need to think about extending your Kyoto time in order to take in its surrounding environs with its many hiking opportunities.
Mid-late October is warm. Cold will not be an issue. It gets cold in the higher elevations, such as Nikko, in the late evenings, but a cardigan will suffice. You can actually sleep out in the streets of Tokyo in October and be warm, except around 4am when its gets nippy. Kyoto being in a valley and surrounded on three sides by mountains makes for drastically cold evenings in December, but as you're in the warm period you don't have anything to worry about. :)))
As you are leaving pretty soon, I wouldn't worry about researching too much. Don't stress it. Just get your train times sorted out. The cities mentioned above are all good for a look around. You can get better nature elsewhere in the world if you want my no holds barred, honest opinion. Sometimes you need to go to a place like Japan in order to appreciate what you have in your own backyard...
Oct 7, 2013 5:15 PM
6Adding to my comment in #2 re Tokyo Imperial Palace being boring. This referred to the one hour free guided tour from the Imperial Household Agency (the only way for normal people to enter palace grounds).
The "Imperial Palace sitting behind the little bridge" = Nijubashi is worth a quick look. It is rather a watch-tower you see, as the actual palace buildings are modern buildings like this. I'd also have a look at some of the gates/moats, but on a short trip to Japan I would not go so far as to circle the whole palace.
Oct 7, 2013 9:26 PM
Oct 7, 2013 11:43 PM
Oct 8, 2013 1:46 AM
9re #7: Agree that hyperdia can be confusing.
does the Japan Rail Pass allow for all kinds of train transport?
read about validity here:
Basically (see above links for exceptions)
- it covers all JR line trains (these are almost all inter-city lines)
- it does not cover private railway lines (these are almost all inner-city lines, subways, commuter lines in metropolitan areas)
and then there are reserved seat fees - if i get a JR Pass, would I have to pay additional for reserved seats?
What hyperdia (and Japanese railway companies) call "seat fee" is really confusing. The "seat fee" is not a "seat reservation fee" as you can see for instance with the shinkansen lines where you also pay a "seat fee" for "unreserved seats" (meaning no sea reservation). Just ignore the seat fee. The "seat reservation fee" as most people would understand it is actually the difference between "reserved seat-seat fee" and "unreserved seat - seat fee". With the JR pass you don't have to worry about these as you can get seat reservations for free. To get a seat reservation you have to go to a ticket counter with your pass prior to boarding the train. However most of the time, you can find space in unreserved sections of the train, so you could as well travel without a seat reservation.
In order to see only trains which are covered by the rail pass in hyperdia uncheck the following:
airplane, airport shuttle bus, nozomi/mizuho/hayabusa, private railway.
This should work with 99% accuracy.
Oct 8, 2013 10:12 PM
Oct 9, 2013 12:46 AM
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