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10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/15 09:19
We are trying to work out our itinerary for our trip scheduled for 2020. We are hoping to only order the 7 day JR pass to get us by as there are 5 of us. We are starting in Tokyo for 5 nights, the Osaka for 5 nights.

First, anyone have advice on best sites for planning day tours?

Second, How would you set up this itinerary to get the best bang out of our 7 day JR pass? These are the current sites we are hoping to visit (always looking for better suggestions):
Shibuya Crossing
Akihabara - downtown
Mt. Fuji
Nara Park
an Onsen (possibly)
Inari Shrine (up for better Shrines)
Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Up for better Temples)
Bamboo Forest (Up for best Forest within reasonable distance)
Himeji Castle (Up for best Castle)
by FunAdultFamilyTravel  

Re: Help w/ 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/15 10:21
Hi, what might be relevant for suggestions is how much heat you can tolerate. Tokyo and Osaka can get very, very hot in June and July - like high 30's celsius. If you come from (say) Singapore or Venus, you might be fine with that. If however you come from somewhere cooler it might be better to look at cooler towns to visit.

I would say that once or twice when I was there in June it was overcast and pretty mild - high 20's, so it can be the luck of the draw. But days over 30 celsius in Tokyo and Kyoto can be quite a drain on the energy levels, that's for sure.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Help w/ 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/15 11:27
Are both your flights in and out of Tokyo or are you flying into Tokyo and out of Osaka?

If you're doing the latter, you might not need a pass.

If you want to onsen, there is: Hakone or Atami or even Shuzenji, which are not too far out of your way from Tokyo to Osaka as a stop off point. I thought Hakone was quite pleasant in June 2016 when I visited.

June and July can be hot. I use to originally live in NYC and Tokyo (and Kansai) isn't really any warmer than NYC in July. The big difference is when I am at home, I am not out sightseeing. But if you can handle visiting say Disneyworld in the Summer you will be fine. I've gone to Japan June-July for the last 4 years. It can be bad, but it's manageable.

You are unlikely to see Mt. Fuji in June or July. I have during that time period, but it's not prime Fuji viewing season because of the humidity. The best view I got was actually flying from Narita to Itami this past Summer. If you're traveling back to Tokyo to leave you might want to consider flying just for the views.

For other temples and shrines it really depends on what you are looking for. I went to Toji one trip to Kyoto in June so that I could also go to the flea market. It was crowded, but mostly with shoppers. I also went to Tenmangu one June for a shrine flea market, the market was quieter than Toji, but still quite fun. I really liked Kodaiji and Ninnaji.

Good luck!

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Help w/ 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 01:11
Yea, we are familiar with the humidity and heat (California, Arizona, and North Carolina) so the weather wonft be to unusual for us.

Good to know about Mt. Fuji. Maybe I will just keep that excursion on the back burner until we get there to see what the weather is like.

We will be flying in to Tokyo and leaving from Osaka so the JR train option will be something I will definitely need to look into more. I wasnft sure how to get around to so many places without the JR pass.

Thank you for he Onsen options! I will look those up ASAP.
by FunAdultFamilyTravel rate this post as useful

Re: Help w/ 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 01:13
We are also wanting to go to Hiroshima but that excursion was left off my original thread accidentally.
by FunAdultFamilyTravel rate this post as useful

Re: Help w/ 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 04:35

I actually sort of like going to Japan June-July. I've gotten some decent hotel deals. We're going in February 2020 and will probably also go back in June-July as well. I have a child in school, so can only go when breaks are.

You should be able to manage it. It can be unpleasant but it's not completely unmanageable and while not as famous as the sakura, some of the hydrangea temples and gardens in Japan are just beautiful and June-July is their Season.

Buying train tickets in Japan if you don't have a pass is quite easy. Last trip, I paid out of pocket for my train ticket from Nagoya to Maihama and then used a JR East 5 day Flex pass for my travels in Tohoku. I bought my shinkansen ticket in Nagoya Station and just paid via credit card. The big plus of a pass is when you are doing a lot of expensive day trips or if you want a certain level of flexibility. The negative of a pass, is it doesn't include the Nozomi or the Mizuho and the majority of trains between Tokyo and Hiroshima are Nozomi. So having a pass, can be limiting. The shinkansen between Hiroshima and Shin-Osaka (the Sakura) can be pretty popular and last time we went to Miyajima as a day trip we couldn't book seats on the train back and had to go unreserved. Since we are a party of 2, we got seats, but if you are a larger party you might need to split up.

So if you are 100% sure you want to go to Hiroshima, then you probably do want a rail pass of some sort. Though whether it makes sense to get the full JR Pass for 7 days or to pay out of pocket for a train between Tokyo and Osaka and then get a JR West Pass (https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/ ) will sort of depend on what you want to do in Tokyo and how much flexibility you want there. Two pluses of the JR West pass are: 1) You can use Nozomi trains. Though you can't reserve seats, the fact there are so many more Nozomi trains means you are just more likely to get non-reserved seats. and 2) Though it costs more, you can actually buy it in Japan, so if it looks like you don't have time to go to Hiroshima and it needs to be cut from the trip, you won't have paid for a pass you're not using.

In terms of going to Kawaguchiko to see Mt. Fuji (assuming all transport has fully recovered from Typhoon Hagibis) the bus fare between Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko is only 800 or 900 yen more than the supplemental fee you would need to pay with a JR Pass because getting to Kawaguchiko involves taking some private train lines. You might be able to see Mt. Fuji in the Summer from Kawaguchiko, but you're also getting close to climbing season, so you're not going to get that famous snow capped view. I remember it looking sort of bare when we flew by. There is a chance you will see Mt. Fuji, I'm pretty lucky and have seen it each of my last 4 Summer trips at least once, 2x taking the train past it, 1x from the air and 2x from Tokyo itself. I admit, I've not been to Kawaguchiko yet because unless I am going to Fuji Q Highland or climbing Mt. Fuji, it seems like an awful long trip to take to just see Mt. Fuji up close.

I liked Hakone in the rain, it made the hydrangeas along the Tozan line look more beautiful. However the Tozan line is currently down but should hopefully be back up by June-July.

There is also Arima onsen you could visit for 1 night instead of staying in Osaka all 5 nights.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Help w/ 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 06:31
14 day pass is 46,XXX yen, 7 day pass is 29,XXX yen.

If I was flying into Tokyo and flying out of Osaka. I would get a one way shinkansen ticket for 14,XXX yen to Osaka/Kyoto. And use a 5 day Kansai-Hiroshima JR pass 13,500 yen for the Hiroshima section. IC card for everything else.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 15:17
If I get a one way shinkansen ticket, does this mean it is only as read, 'one way' or would it be 'unlimited'?
by FunAdultFamilyTravel rate this post as useful

Re: 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 15:52

It's one way only from point A to point B. So for example you would get a ticket from Ikebukuro Station to Osaka Station. If you need unlimited travel, like a round trip to Hiroshima and transport from Osaka to KIX, you would then use your 5 day JR West Hiroshima Pass, that gives you unlimited travel for 5 days within a specific area. Travel between Osaka and Kyoto is quite cheap. Planning to rely on shinkansen for the trip is not a great option. As mentioned before, the majority of shinkansen on the Tokkaido line are Nozomi which are not covered by the regular JR Pass and besides which, it is only about 10 minutes more to take the a Special Rapid from Osaka Station to Kyoto Station. That 10 minutes becomes even more negligible, to possibly disappearing when you include the fact you would probably need to get to Shin-Osaka station, change there for a shinkansen, wait for said shinkansen and then walk from the Kyoto shinkansen tracks over to the part of Kyoto where either the other train lines are or the buses are. Heck, depending on where you are staying and where you decide to go in Kyoto, you might be better off using the private Hankyu line or Keihan line, which are not covered by any JR Pass. Nara is also a relatively cheap trip from Osaka and again you might want to consider the private Kintetsu line as Kintetsu Nara Station is much closer to most tourist sights than JR Nara. Though with a 5 day Kansai Hiroshima Pass you could use JR to Kyoto and Nara (just not any shinkansen)

If you want the flexibility of being able to take expensive day trips from Tokyo, a 7 day pass might make sense, but you would need to seriously think about whether you are going to be making expensive day trips out of Tokyo. Hakone and Kawaguchiko (The Fuji Five Lakes area where people tend to go for Fuji views) are not expensive day trips out of Tokyo. Going up to Matsushima or Nagano, would be expensive day trips out of Tokyo and when it comes down to it you only have 10 nights and you already have quite a few locations you want to go to. I'm not sure how much more you can easily fit in.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 15:56
Just to make this clear the 5 day Kansai-Hiroshima pass would cover shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Himeji and Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima, including non-reserved Nozomis. It just won't cover the shinkansen between Kyoto and Shin-Osaka as Shin-Osaka is part of JR West and Kyoto is part of JR Central. However the pass does cover local and limited express trains between Osaka and Kyoto.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 16:04
Thank you so much for the explanation! Is there a way to price the individual fares now for the cities we are planning to go visit from Tokyo and Osaka to add up the individual cost and determine the overall fees versus the JR?
by FunAdultFamilyTravel rate this post as useful

Re: 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 16:24
Hyperdia will let you price the tickets you need, and do the sums from there.

by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/16 23:43
If you are going to Hiroshima, the Kansai-Hiroshima pass pays off. It is approximately 10,000 yen one way from Osaka to Hiroshima Station, so a 5 day 13,700 yen pass (or even if you buy it in Japan from a ticket agent at 14,700, will put you ahead.

One flaw with Hyperdia is they are not always good with bus routes like taking the bus from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko. (Though currently the bus between Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko and the train to Otsuki is down, so you have to take a bus from another station or take a super super round about way via JR. ) They also don't tell you when there is a supplemental fee for JR Pass holders.

Also be aware "Seat Fee" does not mean what one would think purely from the English. It's a translation and I can't remember what the actual Japanese is, but it works out for all intents and purposes that the "seat fee" is the express free for taking a limited express or shinkansen train. You MUST pay it for all non-local trains. If you want to see the actual fee for a reserved seat, you need to use the drop down box It's usually around 500-600 yen more.

Hyperdia is also very exacting with station names. Make sure you have the right stations and know exactly where you want to go. Like do you want Nara or Kintetsu Nara? Do you want Saga Arashiyama or Arashiyama.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/17 00:49
Perfect! Thank you for the great suggestions! Definitely looking up hyperdia now.
by FunAdultFamilyTravel rate this post as useful

Re: 10 Day Itinerary June-July 2020 2019/10/17 04:01
Oh and one last thing, if you have booked your hotels or at least have some idea where you want to stay in Tokyo and Osaka use the specific station names. Tokyo and Osaka are specific stations which may or may not be convenient to where you are staying. If you're actually staying near Namba (vs. Nankai Namba and JR Namba) the route to a particular location might be different than from Osaka. The same holds true for Tokyo. The shinkansen only goes to certain stations. Staying near Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station in Tokyo is fine and there are lot of hotel choices, restaurants, cafes and shopping. Shin-Osaka is sort of... dull... it's mostly business hotels with small rooms and lots of convenience stores. It's not unsafe, but it's not somewhere I would ever pick to stay again.

Hyperdia also doesn't know about stop overs. I have personally never done this, but people on this forum have. So you could buy a ticket between Tokyo and your destination in Osaka and then have a stop over in Odawara (where if you go to Hakone you need to pay for private lines no matter what as JR only goes as far as Odawara) or have a stop over in Atami or Mishima (if you were to go to Shuzenji, just to give some other onsen destinations) This page gives a good explanation and explains how it works:

You will not save a ton of money, but you will save something vs. buying two separate tickets, but this is only important if you decide to stop off someplace on the Tokkaido line (Hakone, Atami, Mishima) to experience an onsen. If you go to Arima outside of Kobe, then you would either pay out of pocket or get as far as you can on your JR West Pass before needing to use a private line.

It will take a little longer, but you can also technically fly between Haneda and Itami airports. A lot of people who live in Japan do this because it tends to be cheaper. You also up your chances of a spectacular Mt. Fuji view. You must fly into Itami thought, KIX flights go further south.

Osaka Station to Kyoto Station is 570 yen by Special Rapid (a type of local train) and takes 29 minutes. They run every 15 minutes. With a JR West pass you could shave off 2 minutes from that time to 27 minutes if you catch a limited express which would cost 1230 yen without a reserved seat, or is covered by most JR West or the full JR Pass.

Even with a full JR Pass it is on average 32 minutes from Osaka Station to Kyoto Station via Hikari or Kodama shinkansen. Hyperdia is also giving a lot of 3-4 minute transfers in Shin-Osaka. I admit, I have done 3-4 minute transfers in Shin-Osaka Station, but I don't know if you will want to. I think it is harder in the shinkansen direction because it's all up stairs vs. down stairs.

When using Hyperdia and wanting to get some ideas for a full JR pass, make sure to go to "More Options" and click the exclude Nozomi button. Full JR Passes can not be used on Nozomi and Mizuho. They can be used on Hayabusas, but unless you are planning a trip from Tokyo to the north, it won't matter. If you get a JR West Pass, outside of the 1 day, you can take Nozomi and Mizuho between Shin-Osaka and whichever station is your destination station within the pass, like Himeji or Hiroshima.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

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