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Last questions (train pass!) on 19-day itinerary

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Whew! I have figured out my April itinerary and booked almost everything AND figured out the train schedules from place to place. Thanks for all the aid I found here. But I would be grateful for just a little more help:

1. Rail pass confusion: It looks to me like I might benefit from a 14-day JR rail pass. However, I find this very confusing and I know there are other passes. I have listed all my trains from place to place in this itinerary. Would anyone who is familiar with any of this care to give me an opinion?
2. Are there 2 levels of the Hakone Pass? Because I am not doing a round-trip there. See question in Hakone section.
3. I am currently spending two days going from Koyoto to Koyasan and then to Hiroshima. It’s busy and I wasn’t able to get into any of the few temples mentioned here in the forums, tho the temple I did get reservations for sounds OK via Tripadvisor. Is Koyasan a great time no matter what temple you stay in? If I didn’t do Koyasan, where would be most interesting to place 2 extra days?


April 8-11: Tokyo. Stay: ANA Intercontinental on points

April 11: Go to Hakone, stay Hakone at Ryokan Ichinoyu Honkan
Spend time at the Hakone Outdoor museum today.
Train scheme for getting there: I seem to have many choices out of Tokyo into Odawara and then onto Hakone. I could take the bullet train, the LTD Express or the JR Line. Hyperdia makes you pick a Hakone station so I picked Yumoto because I saw it on a Hakone attractions map.

Question: I’m confused by the Hakone Pass. Are there two levels of it? I am not going round-trip to Tokyo. But I do intend to do the whole circuit the next day with lake trip, etc.

April 12: Hakone exploration
Do the circuit with boat, etc. Using the pass?

April 13: Go to Kanazawa; stay at Hotel MyStays near station.

Train scheme:
1. Take Hakone Tozan Railway from Hakone-Yumoto station to Odawara
2. Then take the Shinkasen bullet train to Maibara (east of Kyoto)
3. Take the LTD Express Shirasagi 53 from Maibara to Kanazawa.
April 14: Kanazawa exploration
Do tea ceremony at Gyokusen-in?, visit famous garden.
April 15: Kanazawa: Noto
Rent car and drive Noto peninsula then back to Kanazawa

April 16: Train to Kyoto; stay at The B Kyoto Sanjo near Gion (I am on waiting list at Hotel Mume but probably don’t have a prayer! Town quite booked up.)
Train scheme:
Take LTD EXP Thunderbird 16 to Kyoto in a little over 2 hours.
April 17: Kyoto
April 18: Kyoto, day trip to Nara (and Fushimi?)
Train scheme: Take the JR Nara Rapid Service line to Nara. And back later that day.I could take the 7 pm and get in at 8. Too late? I could take the 5:22 and get back at 6:38.
April 19-20: Kyoto

April 21: Go to Osaka then to Koyosan. Stay in Temple Henjoson-in (the two mentioned in the fodor forums, Shijo-something and Eko-in, are full).
Train scheme:
1. At 9:30 am Take JR Special Rapid Service for HIMEJI to Osaka
2. In Osaka, I’ve got 7 minutes to travel 4 tracks to get to JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service for KANSAI AIRPORT
3. From Shinimamiya take Nankai Koya Line Exp. for GOKURAKUBASHI
4. From Gokrakubashi, take NANKAI KOYASAN CABLE for KOYASAN
5. This all gets me there at noon.

April 22: From Koyasan to Hiroshima; stay at Crown Plaza on points
Train scheme:
1. Take cable car to train station at Koyasan
2. At 11 am take Nankai Koya Line for HASHIMOTO
2. At Hashimoto take Nankai Koya Line Exp. for NAMBA
3. At SHINIMAMIYA walk 6 minutes to DOBUTSUEN-MAE
Where you get the Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line for SENRICHUO
4. At Shin-Osaka you take SHINKANSEN NOZOMI 107
And arrive at Hiroshima at 3.
You do 6 different things and you get there in 4 hours!

I am not sure how long it takes to have breakfast at the temple so I figured on leaving at 11. If we can leave earlier, we can get in earlier and see Peace Museum in the afternoon.

April 23: Go to and stay at Miyajima island at Sakuraya Inn
Train scheme:
From Hiroshima take the JR Sanyo Line for IWAKUNI
Then at MIYAJIMAGUCHI take the JR Miyajima Ferry for MIYAJIMA. Takes an hour.

April 24: Take ferry and train back to Hiroshima and stay at Crown Plaza on points or if cheap enough on a Sunday night, not on points. If we have already seen Peace Museum etc. we can stay later on island; if not, come back in time to do that.

April 25: Leave from Hiroshima to Osaka Airport
AT 10:25 take SHINKANSEN MIZUHO 602 to the Osaka station
Take the bus to the airport
Flight to US is at 5:30 so I could stay in Hiroshima for the morning.

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