8-Day Japan Itinerary

Old Feb 29th, 2016, 07:41 PM
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8-Day Japan Itinerary

I’m traveling to Japan for the first time. Below is my Itinerary:
Day 1:13 (Fri) – Arrive Haneda @ 10pm. Check-in in my Hotel in Shinjuku (Tokyo)
Day 2:14 (Sat) – Tokyo (Ginza & Odaiba)
Day 3:15 (Sun) – Tokyo (Shinjuku, Shibuya & Akihabara)
Day 4:16 (Mon) – travel to Hakone
Day 5:17 (Tue) – Hakone. Travel to Kyoto in the afternoon.
Day 6:18 (Wed) – Kyoto
Day 7:19 (Thur) – Osaka
Day 8:20 (Fri) – Nara
Day 9:21 (Sat) – Travel back to Tokyo. Depart Haneda in the late afternoon.

1) Is the above Itinerary ok?
2) Is it more practical to buy JR Pass (7-day) with my above Itinerary?
3) For 7-day JR Pass, I plan to exchange it on Sunday (day3) so that the 7-days starts on Sunday (day3) and ends on Saturday (day9), right? I want to use JR Pass to travel back from Kyoto to Tokyo (Haneda). So for my Saturday (day2), I will just use per-entry ticket in the train to tour Ginza & Odaiba. Is this approach practical?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 07:44 PM
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Sorry forgot to mention this is on MAY. so the dates are May 13 (Fri) all the way to May 21 (Sat).
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 08:05 PM
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Your itinerary is, of course, OK -- if it reflects what you want to do and experience! Many of us think that Kyoto and Nara (together) deserve at least 6 days on a first visit, and many of us would sacrifice time in Tokyo (and anywhere else) to make that happen. YMMV.

It all depends on what YOU want to see and experience!

If you haven't already done so, please scour -- and I mean SCOUR! - japan-guide.com, which provides a wealth of information about just about anything you could want to know about travel to Japan.

You can only decide what pass makes sense once you finalize an itinerary.

Have you already booked your flights? If not consider flying into / or out of Haneda (or Narita) and then flying out of / into one of Osaka's airports.

Hope that helps!
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 11:49 PM
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I agree that you need to worry about the JR pass LAST. First get your itinerary in order, and then do the math using the Hyperdia website. The Japanese love to offer foreigners all kinds of one day passes that may affect your decision. For example, we bought a one day Obaiba pass that allowed us to take the ferry over, and travel on the trains once we were there.

If it were me, I would change the itinerary to:

3 nights Tokyo
2 nights Hakone
3 nights Kyoto

My logic is that Osaka is not that interesting to warrant a visit for such a short a trip. Even so, it is misplaced between Kyoto and Nara. Did you know that Nara can be visited as a half day trip from Kyoto? We took an early morning train, walked the entire loop, and we were back by lunch time.

Also, it would be nicer to spend two nights in Hakone so that you have a full day to enjoy the scenery.
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 11:56 PM
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FWIW: I spent 2 full days in Nara and did not have time to see everything I wanted to see there. To each his/her own!
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 12:11 AM
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As so often, I agree with Kja.

My impression is that you've already started reading a lot about Tokyo and worked out what it is that you want to see there.

I don't know if you've yet done similar for Kyoto / Kansai?

Personally, I think I'd fold the Osaka night back into Kyoto, and visit their for half a day (including an evening so you can see the neon of Dotonbori if you like) via public transport. I didn't feel that Osaka merited remotely as much time as Kyoto, though I did enjoy the food market there, very different in style to Kyoto's Nishiki. Dotonbori for me was just a half hour stroll-around really, making sure to stroll through the narrower lanes that lead to Hozenji temple.

That would give you 3 nights Kyoto and 1 in Nara.

I'm visiting Hakone for the first time on my upcoming trip. I don't know whether the one nighter you've scheduled is worthwhile, whether it will give you much chance to see much by the time you've checked in and in order to move onwards to Kyoto without compromising your time there. That said, assuming you have booked a ryokan with onsen, that is definitely worth experiencing...

Japan-Guide is best resource for researching and focusing on what appeals to you, do dig in to that for your Kansai time too.
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 08:20 AM
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Yes and no. You can post-date the JR Pass when you exchange your voucher. So if the JR East office in Haneda is open when you arrive, you can exchange and tell them to start the pass on Sunday (May 15).

And if you're going in and out of Haneda so that you need to round-trip Tokyo-Kyoto, you need the JR Pass. It's 13K yen each way, and you'll use up the rest of the difference between the pass cost (29K yen) on other lines (especially if you take the Shinkansen to Odawara to change to Hakone).
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 11:17 AM
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Why is Osaka on your itinerary? Unless you have a compelling reason to visit there then you should drop it in favor of staying in Kyoto.

The easiest way (no transfer) of getting from Shinjuku to Odawara (for Hakone) would be on an Odakyu Railways train, not JR. You would pay ¥880 (95 minutes) for a regular train or an additional ¥890 (70 minutes) on an Odakyu limited express.

Assuming you drop Osaka, you have these options:

Option 1 - Odakyu Rail plus pay regular JR fares
¥12,080 Odawara to Kyoto (Hikari shinkansen)
¥710 Kyoto to Nara
¥14,450 Nara to Shinagawa (Nozomi shinkansen from Kyoto
plus the Odakyu train cost

Option 2 - JR
¥29,110 for a 7-day JR Pass.
from Shinjuku, take JR to Shinagawa, then shinkansen to Odawara. Total travel time as short as 51 minutes. You might also be able to use the pass for a few hundred yen of travel on Day 3 on JR in Tokyo.

Option 3 - Odakyu plus JR discount shinkansen tickets

It would be ¥21,600 for Shinagawa <-> Kyoto unreserved
Use Odakyu to get to Odawara.

On day 5, you would pay ¥1,320 to get from Odawara to Shinagawa in about 71 minutes with 0 or 1 transfer on JR regular train.

You'd also pay ¥710 each way between Kyoto and Nara. There is a non-JR option for this at slightly lower cost.

In any case, you will pay ¥410 for a non-JR train from Shinagawa to Haneda Airport.

Option 3 is least expensive. Options 1 and 3 include Nozomi shinkansen, option 2 does not. Options 1 and 2 include reserved seats, option 3 does not.

You asked about practicality, not cost. The JR Pass would be more convenient but not much more than option 1 at about the same cost.
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