Japan Free and Easy

Ok, I'm going to slowly update this page as a guide for those who are planning a F&E Japan trip on their own.

Going to start off with some links, and then will add sample itineraries later on as well.
*Please let me know if you happen to see any links that's not working

Here's my section on Tips and Sample Itineraries.
And my section on Japan on a Budget.

First off, here are the 3 main websites which I use when I plan/book for my own Japan trips.
http://japan-guide.com/ (a comprehensive online guide to Japan)
http://japanican.com/ (hotel bookings)
http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ (train schedules/duration/prices)

General helpful links:
http://japan-guide.com/ (a comprehensive online guide to Japan)
http://www.goodlucktrip.jp/new/new_english.html  (online e-Magazine guide on various parts of Japan)
http://www.dannychoo.com (Danny Choo's photoblog)
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/index.html (JNTO-Japan National Tourism Organisation)
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eq/eng/04_recovery.htm (General Radiation level guide)
http://www.ryokan.or.jp/english/what/index.html (Guide to Ryokan)
http://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/ (Hokkaido Tourism website)
http://www.welcomekyushu.com/ (Kyushu Tourism Information)
http://japantourist.jp/ (JapanTourist website)
http://www.japantravelinfo.com/top/index.php (Japan Tourism guide)
http://www.infomapjapan.com/ (Infomap Japan e-Book guide)
http://jp-hotnow.com/en/index.php (Japan Hot Now)
http://travelvolunteer.net/ (100+ days in Japan, a Travel Volunteer's journey in e-book form)
http://season.tenki.jp/season/sakura/springmeter (Sakura forecast)
http://muslimguide.jnto.go.jp/eng/facility/ (Guide for Musim visitors to Japan)

http://japanican.com/ (hotel bookings)
http://www.hankyu-hotel.com/english/index.html (Hankyu-Hanshin-Daiichi Hotel Group)
http://www.wh-rsv.com/english/index.html (Washingtons Hotel Group)
http://www.toyoko-inn.com/eng/ (Toyoko Inn chain)
http://www.superhoteljapan.com/en/ (Super Hotels chain)
http://www.cubehotel.jp/en/ (Cube Hotels chain)
http://www.solarehotels.com/english/ (Solare Hotels chain)
http://www.solarehotels.com/english/chisun/ (Chisun Hotels chain)
http://www.solarehotels.com/english/loisir/ (Loisir Hotels chain)
http://www.smile-hotels.com/english.php (Smile Hotels chain)
http://www.theb-hotels.com/en/ (the b Hotels chain)
http://www.tokyo-inn.co.jp/en/index.html (Tokyo Inn chain)
http://www.hotespa.net/business/en/index.html (Dormy Inn chain)
http://www.sunroute.jp/ (Sunroute Hotels chain)
http://www.itcj.jp/eng/index.php (Ryokans)
http://www.tokyustay.co.jp/e/ (Tokyu Stay chain)
http://kyoto-ryokan-en.com/index.html (Ryokans in Kyoto)
http://www.keikyu-exinn.co.jp/index.php (Keikyu EX Inn hotel chain in Tokyo)
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/ (Japanese guesthouses/ryokans all over Japan)

(Hostels/Capsule Inns)
http://www.khaosan-tokyo.com/en/index.html (Hostel chain)
http://inos-place.com/e/index.html (Hostel in Sapporo)
http://www.key-yh.jp/index.html (Hostel chain)
http://kyoto.j-hoppers.com/ (Hostels with branches at Kyoto, Osaka, Takayama, Hiroshima)
http://www.sakura-hotel.co.jp/ (Hostels in Tokyo)
http://www.kimiryokan.jp/index.php (Budget Ryokan in Tokyo)
http://www.capsule-ryokan-kyoto.com/ (Capsule Ryokan Kyoto - available to both males & females )
http://9hours.jp/details/index/ (9hours Capsule hotel Kyoto)
http://www.sakura-hotel-ikebukuro.com/ (Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro, Tokyo)
http://chuogroup.jp/en/ (Chuo Group, Osaka)
http://www.kyoto-jalan-do.com/?lang=en (Trendy capsule-like Inn at Kyoto - available to both males & females)
http://kobe-kua-house.com/index.html (Capsule Hotel in Kobe - available to both males & females )
-  http://www.asahiplaza.co.jp/ (Capsule Inn at Osaka - available to both males & females)

(Rooms/apartments for Extended stay)
http://www.japan-osakahotel.com/sunplaza/en/stay/index.html (weekly/monthly accommodation in Osaka)

(Air Transportation)
http://singaporeair.com/ (Singapore Airlines)
http://www.ana.co.jp (ANA Airlines)
http://www.jal.com/ (JAL Airlines)
http://www.delta.com/ (Delta Airlines: Singapore to Tokyo)
http://www.jetstar.com/sg/en/home (Jetstar Budget Airlines: Singapore to Osaka Kansai)
http://www.skymark.co.jp/en/ (Domestic flights: Skymark Airlines)
http://www.flypeach.com/route/routemap.aspx (Peach Aviation)
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2364.html (Guide to discount air tickets for domestic flights)

(Land Transportation)
http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ (train schedules/duration/prices)
http://www.japanrailpass.net/images/map_en.pdf (Map of Shinkansen's routes)
http://www.japanican.com/special/shinkansen/ (Shinkansen + Hotel short land packages)
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/rmap/route_map.pdf (JR Hokkaido route map)
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ttable/index.html (JR Hokkaido's train timetable)
http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/ (Airport limousine bus between Tokyo and Narita/Haneda Airports)
http://www.tokyo-monorail.co.jp/english/ (Tokyo monorail)
http://jreast-shinkansen-reservation.eki-net.com/pc/english/common/timetable/index.html (JR-East Shinkansen reservation)
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/suica_nex.html (Narita Express train + Suica combo package)
http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/index.html (Keisei Skyliner train: Narita to Nippori Tokyo)
http://www.haneda-tokyo-access.com/en/ (Keikyu Railway, access to Haneda Airport)
http://willerexpress.com (Long distance Express buses)
http://willerexpress.com/x/bus/dynamic/3/en/html/pc/buspass/ (Japan Bus Pass)
http://jprail.com/ (My fav Japan train guide)
http://www.jrbuskanto.co.jp/bus_route_e/ (JR Kanto Highway Bus)
http://www.bus-hikaku.com/ (Bus Hikaku)
- https://www.highwaybus.com/https://www.highwaybus.com/ (Highway Bus departing from Shinjuku)
http://www.japan-rail-pass.com/train-japon/ (Buying Japan Rail Passes)
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/index.html (JR Hokkaido Railway)
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ (JR East Railway)
http://english.jr-central.co.jp/index.html (JR Central Railway)
http://www.westjr.co.jp/english/ (JR West Railway)
http://www.jr-shikoku.co.jp/global/en/ (JR Shikoku Railway)
http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/ (JR Kyushu Railway)
http://www.jwfsn.com/twilight/ (Overnight train Twilight Express: Osaka to Sapporo)
http://www.japanican.com/en/tour/detail/VJOPENTK/ (Shinkansen round trip E-ticket between Tokyo to Kyoto within 7days period)
http://nihonshock.com/2010/02/puratto-kodama-cheap-shinkansen-tickets/ (Discounted Kodama Shinkansen tickets between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka)
http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/ (Somewhat cheap bus ride between Tokyo/Ginza station and Narita Airport)
http://www.jrhokkaido.co.jp/network/locker/ (number of coin lockers at each station within Hokkaido)
http://www.howto-osaka.com.e.iv.hp.transer.com/top/railway/kansai-airport/ (Nankai train schedules with access to Kansai Airport)
http://northern-road.jp/navi/eng/ (Driving in Hokkaido)
http://www.hokkaido-drive.jp/english/ (Driving in Hokkaido)
http://www.toyotarentacar.net/english/ (Car rental in Sapporo Hokkaido)
http://highway-buses.jp/ (Highway buses linking Shinjuku, Mt Fuji, Takayama, Hakuba, Nagano, Nagoya)

(Sea Transportation)
http://www.osaka-ferry.net/10eng/index.htm (Ferry between Kansai to Shikoku/Kyushu)
http://www.nankai-ferry.co.jp/index.html (Ferry between Wakayama and Shikoku)

http://krispykreme.jp/index.html (Krispy Kreme Donuts chain)
http://www.ekiben.or.jp/main/ (Ekiben sold at train stations)
http://www.benelic.com/moomin_cafe/ (Moomin cafe)
http://yacman.com/ (Hokkien Mee in Tokyo)
http://www.suiroh.jp/ (Chinese food at Yokohama Chinatown)
http://www.tenya.co.jp/menu/index.html (Tenya Tempura fast food chain in Tokyo)
http://douraku.co.jp.e.at.hp.transer.com/ (Kani Douraku: Chain of restaurants specialized in King Crabs cuisines, branches at Tokyo, Yokohama, Okayama, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Ehime)
http://www.chunagon.com/?page_id=3187 (Chain of restaurants specialized in lobster cuisine)
http://sweets-forest.com (Dessert shop at Jiyugaoka in Tokyo)
http://www.ichiran.co.jp/html/kin_douton.html (Ichiran Ramen's outlets)
http://www.arclandservice.co.jp/katsuya/index.html (Katsu-ya chain, Katsudon fast food chain)
http://www.gnavi.co.jp/en/ (Restaurants search)
http://www.gogocurry.com/index.html (Go Go curry)

http://www.yodobashi.com/ (Yodobashi Camera stores)
http://www.biccamera.co.jp/ir/index.html (Bic Camera stores)
http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html (Tokyu Hands stores)
http://www.lawson.co.jp/index.html (Lawson convenience stores)
http://shonenjump.com/e/jumpshop/ (JumpShop: selling Naruto/One Piece/Bleach stuffs)
http://www.dickbruna.jp/shop/index.html (Miffy stuffs)
http://www.kiddyland.co.jp/ (Kiddyland stores)
http://www.mugiwara-store.com/pc/index.html (Mugiwara One Piece store at Tokyo)

http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html (Japan Meteorological Agency)
http://nta.sg/ (Nippon Travel Agency)
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/exotic/JapanesQue/1203/journey.html (Swiss guy spent 5 months walking across Japan)
http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/57270810-post5.html (Guide on how to buy bMobile Data-SIM card)
http://tokyodeep.info/2010/02/16/144411.html (Crayon Shin-chan's hometown Kasukabe in Saitama)
http://japan-attractions.jp/ (List of festivals/events in Japan)
http://www.goldenjipangu.com/index.html (List of festivals/events in Japan)
http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/en/tourist/hotel/ (Sending your luggage bags to hotels)
http://japan-wireless.com/ (data-SIM card and wifi rental)
http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/ (data-SIM card)
https://t.iijmio.jp/ (IIJmio Japan Travel SIM)
http://www.pupuru.com/en/ (PuPuRu WiFi and mobile phone rental)
http://www.donki.com/index_en.php (Don Quijote store list)
http://www.coinlocker-navi.com/ (nationwide lockers-related info)
http://locker1.exblog.jp/i0/ (photos of coin lockers at various train stations across Japan)

Other links (Categorized by their areas):

Hokkaido region:
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/rmap/route_map.pdf (JR Hokkaido route map)
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/ttable/index.html (JR Hokkaido's train timetable)
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/railpass/index.html (JR Hokkaido's Rail Passes)
http://www.stv.ne.jp/webcam/list/index.html (Hokkaido Live webcam)
http://teikan.chuo-bus.co.jp/en/ (Chuo Bus Tours)
http://www.donanbus.co.jp/index.html (Donan Bus)
http://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/ (Hokkaido Tourism website)
http://www.new-chitose-airport.jp/en/ (Shin-Chitose Airport)
http://www.jrhokkaido.co.jp/network/locker/ (number of coin lockers at each station within Hokkaido)
http://northern-road.jp/navi/eng/ (Driving in Hokkaido)
http://www.hokkaido-drive.jp/english/ (Driving in Hokkaido)
http://www.toyotarentacar.net/english/ (Car rental in Sapporo Hokkaido)

http://www.welcome.city.sapporo.jp/english/index.html (Sapporo tourism website)
http://www.shiroikoibitopark.jp/english/index.html (Shiroi Koibito Park)
http://www.kani-honke.jp/e/ (Kani-Honke: Chain of restaurants specialized in King Crabs cuisines)
http://inos-place.com/e/index.html (Hostel in Sapporo)
http://www.bankei.co.jp/ski/english.html (Ski area at Sapporo)
http://www.ecorinvillage.com/index.html (Eco-rin Village at Eniwa to view Alpaco)
http://www.otaru.gr.jp/ (Otaru Tourist Association)
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/english/railpass/welcome.html (Sapporo-Otaru pass)
http://www.otaru-orgel.co.jp/ (Otaru Music Box museum)
http://www.asahikawa-tourism.com/ (Asahikawa Tourism website)
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6892.html (Guide for Asahiyama Zoo)
http://www.furano-kankou.com/english/home.htm (Furano Tourism Association)
http://www.furanotourism.com/en/ (Furano Tourism)
http://www.furano.ne.jp/furabi/english/index.htm (Furano and Biei Tourist Information)
http://www.farm-tomita.co.jp/ (Tomita Farm)
http://www.snowtomamu.jp/ (Tomamu resort)
http://www.noboribetsu-spa.jp/ (Noboribetsu tourism guide)
http://www.donanbus.co.jp/bus2/onsen3/index.html (Bus schedule: Noboribetsu station登別駅前-Noboribetsu Onsen登別温泉)
http://www.takimotokan.co.jp/english/index.html (Dai-ichi Takimotokan ryokan)
http://www.yumoto-noboribetu.com/ (Yumoto Noboribetsu ryokan)
http://www.sekisuitei.com/fl/english/index.html (Sekisuitei ryokan)
http://www.hanayura.com/en/index.html (Hotel Hanayura)
http://noboribetsu-onsen.blogspot.com/ (Noboribetsu onsen blog)
http://www.edo-trip.jp/ (Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura-Edo Period Themepark)
http://www.nixe.co.jp/main.htm (Nixe Marine Park)
http://www.bearpark.jp/english/general_guidance/index.htm (Noboribetsu Bear Park)
http://www.noboribetsu-spa.jp/?page_id=94&lang=en (Guide on how to take bus)
(Lake Toya)
http://www.laketoya.com/en/ (Lake Toya Tourist Association)
http://www.donanbus.co.jp/bus2/toya_onsen/index.html (Bus schedule: Toya station洞爺駅前-Lake Toya Onsen洞爺湖温泉)
http://www.hakodate-kankou.com/f/index_e.html (Hakodate Tourist guide)
http://www.hakodate-kanemori.com/en/ (Kanemori Red Bricks Warehouse shopping mall)
http://www.hako-eco.com/ (Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden: Monkeys in hotspring)
http://www.goryokaku-tower.co.jp/ (Goryokaku Tower)

Tohoku region:
http://www.tohokukanko.jp/english/ (Tohoku Tourism guide)
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ (JR East Railway)
http://www.kani-honke.jp/e/ (Kani-Honke: Chain of restaurants specialized in King Crabs cuisines)

http://en.aptinet.jp/ (Aomori Sightseeing guide)
http://www.sentabi.jp (Sendai Tourism site)
http://www.yamagatakanko.com/english/ (Yamagata Tourism site)

Kanto region:
http://www.kani-honke.jp/e/ (Kani-Honke: Chain of restaurants specialized in King Crabs cuisines)
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ (JR East Railway)
http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/ (Narita Airport)
http://www.haneda-airport.jp/inter/en/ (Haneda Airport)

http://www.nikko-jp.org/english/ (Nikko Tourist Association)
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_002.html (Tobu Nikko Free Pass)
http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/ (Tobu Railway discount passes for Nikko)
http://www.bankyu.co.jp/ (Bankyu ryokan at Yunishigawa onsen)
http://www.heikenosho.co.jp/index.shtml (Heiken no Sho ryokan at Yunishigawa onsen)
http://www.yunishigawa.co.jp/ (Hana to Hana ryokan at Yunishigawa onsen)
http://www.railway-museum.jp/en/index.html (Railway museum at Omiya)
- Bus schedule for Ikaho onsen to Mt Haruna
http://tcvb.or.jp/en/ (Tokyo guide)
http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/ (Airport limousine bus between Tokyo and Narita/Haneda Airports)
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/suica_nex.html (Narita Express train + Suica combo package)
http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/index.html (Keisei Skyliner train: Narita to Nippori
http://japan-articles.japanican.com/en/articles/20100628_skyliner.html (Keisei Skyliner article)
http://www.tokyo-monorail.co.jp/english/ (Tokyo monorail)
http://www.haneda-tokyo-access.com/en/ (Keikyu Railway, access to Haneda Airport)
http://www.akiba.or.jp/english/index.html (Akihabara town guide)
http://sylvanian-families.jp/store/kitchen/tokyobay/ (Sylvanian Families restaurant at Tokyo Bay)
http://www.puroland.co.jp/english/welcome.html (Sanrio Puroland)
http://www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/en/index.html (Tokyo Disneyland/Disneysea)
http://www.sakura-hotel.co.jp/ (Hostels in Tokyo)
http://www.cubehotel.jp/en/ (Cube Hotel)
http://www.kimiryokan.jp/index.php (Budget Ryokan in Tokyo)
http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/english/index.html (Edo Tokyo Museum)
http://www.yurikamome.co.jp/en/ (Yurikamome monorail to Odaiba)
http://www.aquacity.jp/en/top (Aquacity shopping mall in Odaiba)
http://tcvb.or.jp/en/arearoute/area/odaiba.html (Odaiba guide)
http://www.ooedoonsen.jp/higaeri/english/index.html (Onsen themepark in Odaiba)
http://www.suijobus.co.jp/index.html (Tokyo cruise)
http://ginza.bakuroichidai.co.jp/restaurant/ (Hida Beef, Yakiniku)
http://tokyocheapo.com/ (a guide to cheap attractions in Tokyo)
http://sweets-forest.com (Dessert shop at Jiyugaoka in Tokyo)
http://travel.cnn.com/tokyo/visit/sento-spectacular-tokyos-amazing-public-baths-199776 (Onsen guide)
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/info/map_a4ol.pdf (Map of JR train lines in Tokyo)
http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/pdf/routemap_en.pdf (Map of Metro subway lines in Tokyo)
http://www.keio.co.jp/english/riding/discount.html (Keio + Puroland discount ticket)
http://highway-buses.jp/ (Highway buses linking Shinjuku, Mt Fuji, Takayama, Hakuba, Nagano, Nagoya)
http://www.keiseibus.co.jp/global/en/nrt00.html (Bus linking Narita Airport and Tokyo)
http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/ (Bus linking Narita Airport and Tokyo station and Ginza station)
http://flets.com/freewifi/index.html (NTT East Free Wifi)
http://www.lawson.co.jp/ghibli/museum/ticket/english.html (English guide on how to buy Ghibli museum tickets from Lawson convenience stores)
http://sam.or.jp/ (Suginami Animation museum)
http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/tag/index.html (Toei Animation Gallery)
http://www.c2s.co.jp/biohazard/stars/index2-e.html (Biohazard themed cafe)
http://www.ninjaakasaka.com/ (Ninja themed restaurant)
http://alcatraz-er.net/ (Alcatraz E.R. themed restaurant)
http://www.welcome.city.yokohama.jp/eng/travel/ (Yokohama Visitors' guide)
http://www.raumen.co.jp/ramen/index.html (Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum)
http://www.cupnoodles-museum.jp/english/index.html (Nissin Cup Noodles Museum)
http://www.kanagawa-kankou.or.jp/index-e.html (Kanagawa Tourist guide)
http://fujiko-museum.com/english/ (Doraemon Fujiko Museum)
http://www.motherfarm.co.jp/en/ (Motherfarm)

Chubu region:
http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/new/shirakawago%20_kanazawa.html (Kanazawa-Shirakawago-Takayama bus timetable)
http://english.jr-central.co.jp/index.html (JR Central Railway)

- http://furusatomura.pref.niigata.jp/index.php (Furusatomura)
http://www.satoyama-jujo.com/ (Satoyama Jujo hotel)
http://www.info-toyama.com/english/ (Toyama Tourism guide)
http://www.go-nagano.net/ (Nagano Tourism guide)
http://travelswith.zen-aida.com/2011/02/destinations/japan-how-to-get-to-the-snow-monkeys/ (an article on how to get to the Nagano Snow Monkeys)
http://www.alpico.co.jp/access/route_k/index_e.html (Nagano Bus operator)
http://www.heidihof.com/index.php (Lodge at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.hakuba-panorama.com/hotel.aspx (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.mominokihotel.com/index-e.html (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.happocabins.com/ (Cabin Lodge at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.hakuba-yamanohotel.com/english/e_index.html (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://hakuba-auberge.com/index.html (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.laforet.co.jp/lfhotels/hkb/index.html (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.hakuba-yamanohotel.com/english/e_index.html (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://laneige-honkan.com/en/index.html (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.hakuba-atarashiya.com/ (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.taigakukan.jp/e/index.html (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.tabitabihakuba.com/ (Lodge at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.hotel-hakuba.com/index.html (Hotel at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.epoch-hakuba.com/ (Log cottage at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.cottage123.com/en/index.html  (Log cottage at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.hakuba.org/tomato/room/index.html (Pension at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.hakuba.org/kunugi/room/index.html (Pension at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.funnyinn.com/English/ (Pension at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.winds-hakuba.com/index.html (Pension at Hakuba, Nagano)
http://www.yudanakaview.co.jp/ (Ryokan at Yudanaka)
http://www.yudanaka-shibuonsen.com/ (a website about Yudanaka)
http://www.kashiwayahonten.com/index.html (Luxurious ryokan with ensuite open-air bath, Bessho onsen)
http://www.asahikan.com/index.html (Ryokan with ensuite open-air bath, Bessho onsen)
http://www.ichizaemon.com/index.html (Ryokan with ensuite open-air bath, Shibu onsen at Yudanaka)
http://www.sibu-yumoto.jp/index.htm (Ryokan at Shibu onsen at Yudanaka)
http://www.avis.ne.jp/~koishiya/index.html (Ryokan at Shibu onsen at Yudanaka)
http://www.avis.ne.jp/~maruzen/ (Ryokan at Shibu onsen at Yudanaka)
http://www.wakakiya.burari.biz/index.html (Ryokan at Shibu onsen at Yudanaka)
http://www.torazo.net/english_top.html (Ryokan at Shibu onsen at Yudanaka)
http://www.rinsenro.com/ (Ryokan at Bessho onsen)
http://www.uematsuya.com/ (Ryokan at Bessho onsen)
http://www.nozawagrand.com/index.html (Ryokan with ensuite open-air bath, Nozawa onsen)
http://www.vill.nozawaonsen.nagano.jp/ (Bus shuttle timing between Togari Nozawa onsen station and Nozawa onsen-schedule on left nav bar)
http://highway-buses.jp/ (Highway buses linking Shinjuku, Mt Fuji, Takayama, Hakuba, Nagano, Nagoya)
http://www.kamikochi.or.jp/english/ (Kamikochi website)
http://www.alpico.co.jp/access/express/ (Nagano bus)
(Mt Fuji Five lakes)
http://www.odakyu.jp/english/sightsee/fuji5lakes/index.html (Odakyu sightseeing guide)
http://www.hakone.or.jp/english/index.html (Hakone Tourist Association)
http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/ (Bus operator for Fuji Five Lakes)
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html (Hakone Free Pass)
http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/ (Hakone Free Pass)
http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/fujihakone/ (Fuji Hakone Pass)
http://www.yamanashi-kankou.jp/english/index.html (Yamanashi Tourism guide)
http://www.mt-fuji.gr.jp/index_en.php (Fuji Five Lakes Area guide)
http://www.fujikyu-railway.jp (Fujikyu Railway, Kawaguchiko)
http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/retro_bus.html#pgm03 (Kawaguchi-ko retro bus)
http://bus.fujikyu.co.jp/transportation/retrobus_fujikko.html (Kawaguchiko bus)
http://transportation.fujikyu.co.jp/english/gettingaround/retro_bus.html#schedulesbox (Bus schedule for Kawaguchiko)
http://www.hakone-tozanbus.co.jp/english/index.html (Hakone Tozan Bus)
http://www.odakyu-hakonehighway.co.jp/common/pdf/english.pdf (Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus)
http://bus.fujikyu.co.jp/highw/jikokuhyo/02.html (Bus between Tokyo and Kawaguchiko)
http://bus.fujikyu.co.jp/highw/sh01.html (Fuji Five Lakes bus routes)
http://highway-buses.jp/fuji/ (Bus between Kawaguchiko and Shinjuku)
http://highway-buses.jp/ (Highway buses linking Shinjuku, Mt Fuji, Takayama, Hakuba, Nagano, Nagoya)
http://www.fujisan-climb.jp/en/index.html (Climbing Mt Fuji)
http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/en/gotemba/ (Gotemba Premium Outlets)
http://www.grinpa.com/ (Grinpa themepark- Sylvanian Families and Ultraman zone)
http://bus.fujikyu.co.jp/line/jikokuhyo/17.html (Bus timetable for bus between Gotemba station and Grinpa)
http://bus.fujikyu.co.jp/line/jikoku/jikoku3.pdf (Bus timetable and more info for bus between Gotemba station and Grinpa)
http://www.otainai-onsen.gr.jp/index.htm (Otainai onsen, 20mins by bus from Gotemba station)
http://www.oigawa-railway.co.jp/index.htm (Oigawa railway Steam Locomotive)
http://www.kani-honke.jp/e/ (Kani-Honke: Chain of restaurants specialized in King Crabs cuisines)
http://www.meijimura.com/ (Meiji Village themepark)
http://highway-buses.jp/ (Highway buses linking Shinjuku, Mt Fuji, Takayama, Hakuba, Nagano, Nagoya)
http://www.meitetsu.co.jp/eng/timetable/centrair.asp (Train timetable for Nagoya airport to Nagoya)
http://www.hida.jp/english/index.htm (Takayama Tourism guide)
http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/index.html (Takayama bus operator)
http://hidatakayama-yamanoiori.jp/sisetu/index.html (Hotakaso Yamanoiori Ryokan, Takayama)
http://www.nande.com/kanjiya/ (Minshuku accommodation)
http://www.shirakawa-go.gr.jp/search/?m=1 (accommodation around Shirakawa-go area)
http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/new/shirakawago%20_kanazawa.html (Kanazawa-Shirakawago-Takayama bus timetable)
http://isite.p2.bindsite.jp/tableware/pg101.html (Bus package from Takayama to Shirakawa-go)
http://www.shirakawa-go.gr.jp/ (Shirakawa-go website)
http://www.pension-yasuda.jp/en/english_top3.htm (Pension at Takayama)
http://highway-buses.jp/ (Highway buses linking Shinjuku, Mt Fuji, Takayama, Hakuba, Nagano, Nagoya)
(Ishikawa and Kanazawa)
http://www.kanazawa-tourism.com/ (Kanazawa Tourism)
http://www.kanazawa-tourism.com/eng/guide/guide3.php (Kanazawa Loop Bus guide)
http://tabimati.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/canbus_timetable_EN.pdf (CAN bus schedule for Kaga onsen, 2014 version)
http://tabimati.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/canbus_pamphlet_3kakokugo.14.11.4.pdf (CAN bus route for Kaga onsen, 2014 version)
http://www.tabimati.net/ (Kaga onsen tourism site)

Kansai region: 
http://www.first-cabin.jp/en/ (Capsule Cabin-Outlets at Kyoto and Osaka)
http://english.jr-central.co.jp/index.html (JR Central Railway)
http://www.westjr.co.jp/english/ (JR West Railway)
http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/index.asp (Kansai Airport)
http://www.howto-osaka.com.e.iv.hp.transer.com/top/railway/kansai-airport/ (Nankai airport train with access to Kansai Airport)

http://www.otsu.or.jp/en/index.htm (Otsu Tourism website)
http://www.hikoneshi.com/en/ (Hikone Tourism website)
http://www.biwakokisen.co.jp/english/index.html (Cruise at Lake Biwako)
http://www.biwako-valley.com/index.php (ski resort at Biwako valley)
http://www.hakodateyama.com/index.html (ski resort at Hakodateyama in Shiga)
http://kitabiwako.jp/nagahama/ (Nagahama)
http://www.iganinja.jp/en/about/index.html (Ninja Museum)
http://www.ise-bunkamura.co.jp/english.html (Ise Azuchi Momoyama themepark)
http://www.ise-kanko.jp/oise/oharai.html (Oharaimachi)
http://www.okageyokocho.co.jp/ (Okage Yokocho)
http://www.igatetsu.co.jp/ (Ninja train, Iga-Ueno)
http://www.kyoto.travel/ (Kyoto Travel Guide)
http://kyoto-ryokan-en.com/index.html (Ryokans in Kyoto)
http://www.capsule-ryokan-kyoto.com/ (Capsule Ryokan Kyoto)
http://www.yado-web.com/index.html (Ryokans in Kyoto)
http://9hours.jp/details/index/ (9hours Capsule hotel Kyoto)
http://www.kyoto-machiya.com/eng/machiyastay.html (Luxury Kyoto Townhouse stay)
http://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/ (Sagano Scenic Romantic Train)
http://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/eng/index.htm (Sagano Scenic Romantic Train)
http://www.toei-eigamura.com/ (Toei Kyoto Studio Park)
http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/ (Kiyomizudera website)
http://kyoto-ryokan-en.com/index.html (Ryokans directory in Kyoto)
http://kamuroan.jp/access/ (Ryokan near Kiyomizudera)
http://www.satomo.co.jp/english/roombath/index.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.hotel-iida.co.jp/en/room/ (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.kyoto-hatoya.jp/english/index.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~nisikiro/ (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.kyoto-hifumi.co.jp/us/ (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://tomiyaryokan.jp/english/index.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.sanoya.net/guestroom/index.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.yamadayaryokan.com/ (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.ryokankyoraku.jp/en.index.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.elinn-kyoto.com/ (Hotel near Kyoto station)
http://www.hotel-st-kyoto.com/eng/index-eng.html (Hotel near Kyoto station)
http://www.rakuchou.co.jp/ (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.kyo-yado.com/heianbo/eng-info.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.kyoto-ryokan-sakura.com/index_en.html (Ryokan in Kyoto)
http://www.kyoto-ranzan.jp/ (Ryokan in Arashiyama Kyoto)
http://www.ryokan-yamazaki.com/index.html (Ryokan in Kyoto)
http://www.oyado-niwa.com/index.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.kyoto-ohto.com/index.html (Ryokan in Kyoto)
http://www.matsubayainn.com/top_e.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~rikiya/english.html (Ryokan near Kiyomizudera in Kyoto)
http://www.yamato-inn.jp/ (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.kikokuso.com/ (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.kyotoinnandtour.com/en/index.html (Ryokan in Kyoto)
http://www.nagomi-kyoto.com/ (Ryokan in Kyoto)
http://www.ohanabo.com/ (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.kyoto-jalan-do.com/?lang=en (Trendy capsule-like Inn at Kyoto)
http://izuyasu.com/index.html (Ryokan near Kyoto station)
http://www.motonago.com/en/top.html (Ryokan in Kyoto)
http://www.kinmata.com/english/index.html (Ryokan in Kyoto)
http://www.amanohashidate.jp/ (Amanohashidate)
http://kyoto.travel/muslim/en/index.html (Muslim information in Kyoto)
http://www.pref.nara.jp/nara_e/ (Nara Tourism guide)
http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/ (Osaka Tourist guide)
http://www.chuogroup.jp/selene/en/index.html (Hotel Chuo)
http://hotelkinki.com/en/ (Hotel Kinki)
http://chuogroup.jp/en/ (Chuo Group, Osaka)
http://www.spaworld.co.jp/english/index.html (SpaWorld-Onsen themepark)
http://www.nissin-noodles.com/ (Nissin Instant Ramen Museum)
http://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/ (Osaka Aquarium)
http://www.usj.co.jp/e/ (Universal Studios Japan)
http://www.carpediem-osaka.jp/en/stay.html (Guesthouse in Osaka)
http://www.hokousou.com/index.html (Guesthouse in Osaka)
http://www.mtm.or.jp/eng/index.html (Modern Transportation Museum in Osaka)
http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/ (Osaka Unlimited Pass)
http://www.mmjp.or.jp/Capt-Line/english/eindexnew.html (ferry between Tempozan and Universal City)
http://www.kushikatu-daruma.com/ (Daruma Kushikatsu chain)
http://www.wakayama-kanko.or.jp/world/english/ (Wakayama Tourism guide)
http://www.wakayama-dentetsu.co.jp/ (Tama-chan Cat Stationmaster)
http://feel-kobe.jp/_en/ (Kobe Tourism site)
http://www.harborland.co.jp/en/index.html (Kobe Harborland)
http://www.arima-onsen.com/eng/ (Arima Onsen)
http://kobe-kua-house.com/index.html (Capsule Hotel in Kobe - available to females as well)
http://fruit-flowerpark.jp/ (Fruit & Flower Park)
http://www.rokkosan.com/en/ (Mt Rokko)
http://www.ucc.co.jp/museum/english/ (UCC Coffee museum)
http://www.kobe-ishidaya.com/index.html (1 of the restaurants which sells Kobe Steak)

Chugoku region:
http://chugoku-navi.jp/english/ (Chugoku Tourism site)
http://www.westjr.co.jp/english/ (JR West Railway)
http://www.tottorihanakairou.or.jp/ (Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park)
http://www.encho-en.com/ (Encho-en)
http://www.rakudaya.info/index.html (Camel rides)
http://www.sand-museum.jp/en/ (Tottori Sand museum)
http://www.city.kurashiki.okayama.jp/dd.aspx?menuid=9900 (Kurashiki tourism guide)
http://www.kibitujinja.com/ (Kibitsu Shrine)
http://www.okayama-korakuen.jp/ (Korakuen)
http://www.okayama-japan.jp/en/ (Okayama tourism)
http://www.hiroshima-navi.or.jp/en/ (Hiroshima Tourism site)
http://www.hiroden.co.jp/en/ (Hiroshima Electric Railway: Trams)
http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/ (Peace Memorial Museum)
http://www.miyajima.or.jp/english/ (Miyajima Tourist Association)
http://visit-miyajima-japan.com/flash/english/culture.html (Miyajima Tourism website)
http://www.miyarikyu.com/ (Miyarikyu Ryokan, Miyajima)
http://www.jr-miyajimaferry.co.jp/ (JR Ferry ride from opposite Miyajima-guchi station to Miyajima)
http://www.aqua-net-h.co.jp/modules/english_page/index.php?content_id=1/ (Ferry ride from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to Miyajima)
http://www.c571.jp/ (Yamaguchi Steam Locomotive)

Shikoku region:
http://www.tourismshikoku.org/ (Shikoku Tourism site)
http://www.jr-shikoku.co.jp/global/en/ (JR Shikoku Railway)

http://www.pref.tokushima.jp/english/ (Tokushima website)

Kyushu region:
http://www.welcomekyushu.com/ (Kyushu Tourism Information)
http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/ (JR Kyushu Railway)
http://www.nishitetsu.co.jp/bus/highway/gb/ (Bus operator for Kyushu)

http://www.crossroadfukuoka.jp/en/ (Fukuoka Tourist Information site)
http://www.canalcity.co.jp/eg/ (Canal City Hakata: Shopping Mall)
http://www.kani-honke.jp/e/ (Kani-Honke: Chain of restaurants specialized in King Crabs cuisines)
http://www.benelic.com/moomin_cafe/hakata/ (Moomin cafe at Canal City Hakata)
http://www.en.mojiko.info/ (Mojiko tourist guide)
http://visit-oita.jp/index.e.html (Oita Sightseeing Information guide)
http://yufuin.or.jp/global/ (Yufuin Tourism guide)
http://english.beppu-navi.jp/ (Beppu Tourism guide)
http://www.sanrio.co.jp/english/harmony/harmony.html (Sanrio Harmonyland)
http://english.huistenbosch.co.jp/index.html (Huis Ten Bosch themepark)
http://www.asobo-saga.jp/lang/english/ (Saga sightseeing Information guide)
http://www.visitkumamoto.com/ (Kumamoto Tourism site)
http://www.kagoshima-kankou.com/for/ (Kagoshima Travel guide)

Okinawa region:
http://www.okinawastory.jp/en/ (Okinawa Tourism guide)
http://www.yui-rail.co.jp/ (Yui Rail monorail)


  1. Hi I chance upon your blog while doing research of accomodation in Osaka n was wondering have u tried the apartment in Osaka (sunplaza rinkai) before? Is the accomodation good? Am intending to stay there...


  2. Nope sorry. Try looking it up on tripadvisor.com instead.

  3. Hi, saw some of your cool:) winter trip photos on hwz.I will be going to the Sapporo snow fes next year, wondering if you have any tips/advice on where to get winter clothings here or online. I don't think i can buy them there (coz i would freeze to death at chitose airport?) Thanks in advance.

  4. The winter clothes are cheaper and more variety at Japan.
    What I did was to buy the inner layer long john from Uniqlo (thin version which they sell at the end of the year, which i found it more comfortable than the usual thick type).

    I also bought 1 hoodie for hubby, 1 jumper & thick winter leggings for myself from gmarket.

    I bought my outer layer winter jacket from Esprit in Singapore.

    As for winter shoes, I bought mine from Osaka on a previous trip, costs only S$17.

    Hubby bought his gloves from Planet Traveller in singapore. Very impt to get a pair of good gloves, because once your fingers starts to get cold, your whole body will start to feel cold as well. So protect your fingers.

    Ear muffs, I bought S$2 from Daiso. :)

    I bought a couple of winter/autumn tops & shoes from Japan.

  5. Thanks for the info

  6. Hi do you take a wheeler luggage bag? Easy to take train with a 25"?

  7. I mean in Osaka/Kyoto area.

  8. Yeah, I have a 25" on wheels. It's do-able...unless you happen to go to stations without elevators/escalators...then it will be a pain lugging it up the stairs. Most popular train stations will have escalators and elevators.

  9. Hi ,planning to go japan in first 2 weeks of japan. 1 time for my family which included myself, my wife and 9 year old girl. I am catering for a 13 days trip? are you able to give good advise on the planning? i really confuse as i google more on japan trip. thanks

    1. Which parts of Japan are you planning to visit? It's a large country.
      Hokkaido? Tokyo? Kansai area? Kyushu?

      For 13 days, it would be good to explore Kansai region at a leisurely pace.
      Kansai region consists of Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Wakayama, Himeyi, and up to Okayama if you want.
      Day 1: Fly in to Kansai Airport, stay at Osaka
      Day 2: Osaka, stay at Osaka
      Day 3: Osaka, stay at Osaka
      Day 4: Day trip to Nara, stay at Osaka
      Day 5: Day trip to Wakayama, stay at Osaka
      Day 6: Day trip to Okayama and Kurashiki, stay at Osaka
      Day 7: Day trip to Himeji, stay at Osaka
      Day 8: Osaka to Arima onsen in Kobe, stay at Kobe
      Day 9: Kobe to Kyoto, stay at Kyoto
      Day 10: Kyoto, stay at Kyoto
      Day 11: Kyoto, stay at Kyoto
      Day 12: Kyoto, stay at Kyoto
      Day 13: Kyoto to Kansai Airport.
      (Day 4 to 7, use JR West Kansai Area Wide 4 day Pass 7000yen)

      However if you are open to the idea of taking domestic flight, then you can consider spending 5 days at Tokyo, and then 7 days at Hokkaido.
      Day 1: Fly in to Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 2: Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 3: Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 4: Day trip to Hakone, stay at Tokyo
      Day 5: Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 6: Tokyo to New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, stay at Sapporo
      Day 7: Sapporo
      Day 8: Day trip to Otaru, stay at Sapporo
      Day 9: (If it's winter) Day trip to Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa via Special Zoo train. Stay at Sapporo
      Day 9: (If it's summer) Day trip to Furano. Stay at Sapporo
      Day 10: Sapporo to Noboribetsu, stay at Noboribetsu
      Day 11: Noboribetsu to Hakodate, stay at Hakodate
      Day 12: Hakodate, stay at Hakodate
      Day 13: Hakodate Airport to Tokyo Haneda or Narita Airport, Tokyo Haneda or Narita Airport fly back to your country.
      (Day 9 to 11, use the 3 day JR Hokkaido Rail Pass at 15000yen. New Chitose Airport is short train ride to Sapporo for Day 6, and Otaru is also short train ride from Sapporo for Day 8, therefore not worthwhile to use JR Hokkaido pass for these 2 days solely for such short train trips.)

      I like to use japan-guide.com when researching on where to go for Japan, and then I also use hyperdia.com when researching train prices/schedules.
      Please note that most trains in Hokkaido are quite infrequent (except the more popular route between New Chitose Airport to Sapporo and Otaru) and often you only get 1 train every hourly or so. So I recommend STRONGLY that should you plan to go Hokkaido, please research your train timings well before you leave for Japan.

  10. Hi thanks for your prompt reply.

    I am giving hokkaido a miss. As i am with a young kid and travelling to japan first time. i am going slow and not far too so not taking the domestic flight.

    For a start i am think of reaching and leaving tokyo. I am looking areas of tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, As i am planning to go on the date of 1 to 13 dec. any chance in these area i would see and feel snow? want to let my girl on the feel of snowing.


    1. Tokyo is about 3 hours bullet train ride away from Kansai region (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe) so I'd recommend you get the 7day JR Pass (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html) which costs 28300yen for 1 adult if you are really planning to visit both Tokyo and Kansai region. Yes, it's expensive, because long distance bullet train rides costs nearly as much as, if not more, than the cost of a domestic flight.

      I don't think you will be able to get snow during that period in any of the places you listed since these places very rarely snow, even in the midst of winter season (Jan/Feb). I went to Sapporo (Hokkaido) in early Dec previously and even then I wasn't able to see any snow. So I can say with pretty much confidence that I don't think you will see snow in Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe in Dec. Even if you shift your trip to Jan/Feb, you have to understand that these areas are not prone to having snow so it really depends on your luck.

      As for itinerary, I'd probably recommend this:
      Day 1: Arrive at Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 2: Tokyo to Osaka, stay at Osaka
      Day 3: Osaka, stay at Osaka
      Day 4: Osaka to Kobe, stay at Kobe
      Day 5: Kobe to Kyoto, stay at Kyoto
      Day 6: Kyoto, stay at Kyoto
      Day 7: Kyoto to Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 8: Day trip to Yokohama, stay at Tokyo
      Day 9: Disneyland or Disneysea, stay at Tokyo
      Day 10: Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 11: Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 12: Tokyo, stay at Tokyo
      Day 13: Flight out from Tokyo
      (Use 7day JR Pass for Day 1 to 7)

      Remember to avoid going to themeparks (eg. Disneyland/Disneysea/Universal Studios) on weekends because it's going to be extremely crowded.

      Also, you might want to monitor the Autumn foliage season for Kyoto, and you might want to consider going Kyoto first instead of Osaka if autumn forecost for Kyoto is predicted to be in early Dec.

  11. hi Samantha, thank for your advise, pls allow me to ask more .If i were to pay a tour to mt fuji, can i go about? As recommended to stay the last few days in tokyo, any recommended places to tour?

    I was also think of making the last 3 days in disneyland and sea, any acommodation in the park and how to make way to the airport from disnry. thanks

    1. Sorry, I only just saw your comment here.

      Since I've not been to any Mt Fuji tour, so I'm sorry to say that I can't really advise much on it. You can probably try asking around on tripadvisor or japan-guide.com's forums.

      The accommodations near Disneyland is going to be extremely expensive.
      Some hotels will have bus to/from airport but it really depends on which hotel you will be staying since most won't.

      The 2 common ways of travelling from Narita Airport to Tokyo is either by the Airport Limousine bus, or by train (either Narita Express train or the Keisei Skyliner train). Once you are in Tokyo area, just take a train to Maihama station where Disneyland/Disneysea is located at.

  12. Hi, your blog is wonderful! But if you were to estimate, what would be the rough budget estimate for 4 female to travel to Japan? We hope to go places with a bit of shopping (Tokyo) and also for relaxation and sceneries. But my friend is quite particular in the cleanliness of our stay. We are all students but are clueless cause it is going to be our first trip to Japan. Hope that you can help us ^^

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Great Blog, i lived in Japan as an Expat in the past, it's an amazing place and good info there. I see you.sg? you live there or from there? I also lived there for 2 years another great place. But definately not as great as Japan, where managed capture a lot of beauty of Japan whilst there, and the people simply amazing.

    1. I'm from Singapore...and only travel to Japan occasionally every year since 2010 for vacation.

  15. Hello Samantha,
    I would like to get some advise from you. I am planning to travel to Tokyo in Nov 19 till Nov 26 with my family and sisters. Total 10 of us. We are aiming on Theme park for the children. Planning to in Tokyo and out Osaka. Do you think can give me some planning on the route and what transportation should we used?
    Thank you and have a nice day.

    1. Hi, sure, u can find my email listed on my sidebar.
      Just email me the details (travel dates, fly in/fly out which airport, hotels booked already? if so, near which station?)...

      I've also posted a list of suggested Tokyo itineraries on my blog:

  16. Hello samatha,

    please advise!
    Departs Singapore - 00:55, Tue, 24 Mar, 2015
    Arrives Tokyo - 10:35, Tue, 24 Mar, 2015

    Departs Tokyo - 11:45, Sat, 28 Mar, 2015
    Arrives Singapore - 20:15, Sat, 28 Mar, 2015

    This is my first time to japan.

    hotels and everything have not booked yet. please advise if possible. any recommendations?

    Do i need to buy JR rail pass? taking limo or N'EX to tokyo better?



    1. Hi,
      Since your trip is only 5 days, so I would assume you will be spending the 5 days within Tokyo and not really venturing out of Tokyo. If that's the case, no, you won't need the nationwide JR Pass since that pass is really expensive and is more for people who are planning to take long distance Shinkansen (bullet trains) in order for it to be worth getting.

      As for whether it would be better taking N'EX or Keisei Skyliner or Limo bus, it really depends on which hotel you will be staying at Tokyo. Also, I am assuming that you are arriving Tokyo via Narita airport and not Haneda airport?
      If you are staying near stations where N'EX stops (Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro), then go for N'EX.
      If you are staying near Ueno or Nippori station, then go for Keisei Skyliner.
      If you are staying at a hotel where the limo bus stops at, then go for the limo bus.

      If you are on not too tight a budget, then probably try staying near Shinjuku station.
      If budget is abit tight, then maybe stay near Ikebukuro or Ueno station.
      Hotels near Tokyo station is usually really pricey, so unless price is no issue for you, then avoid Tokyo station.

      Personally, for me, I usually like to stay near Shinagawa station.
      Because although there's really nothing much near Shinagawa station other than hotels, but I liked how there are many train lines at Shinagawa station, plus this station has Shinkansen trains and direct trains to both Narita and Haneda airports. I like to venture out of Tokyo and some times go to Kawasaki, Yokohama, Kamakura...so Shinagawa is 1 of the closest station within Tokyo to be near those areas.

      Assuming you are going to Disneysea or Disneyland, you should probably try finding a hotel that is also near 1 of the stops where you can take the Disney bus to Disneyland/Disneysea.

  17. hi Sam, saw your blog. your photo is colourful and attractive and your comments precise and clear. after your trip on each place, do you need to spend a lot of time arranging the photo and think of the comments? or you have thought the comments during the journey.

    like many first timer to Hokkaido, I too have many questions and would greatly appreciate if you can help me. thank you...

    Day 1: arrive sapporo
    Day 2: day trip to otaru
    Day 3 : Sapporo (Shiroi Koibito Park/Odori Park/Susukino)
    Day 4: Sapporo to niseko
    Day 5 to day 7 : Niseko (skiing)
    Day 8 : Niseko to Noboribetsu (stay 1night)
    Day 9: Noboribetsu to Lake Toya (stay 1night) ***
    please advise :
    not sure whether I shall stay 1night each at noboribetsu and lake toya (both also onsen hotel)
    or A) arrive at noboribetsu, deposit luggage at JR station, depart evening JR to Lake toay - 2days1night only
    or B) arrive lake toya and reverse with noboribetsu

    Day 10: Lake Toya to Hakodate
    Day 11 :Hakodate

    here I have 1extra day (2extra day if I chose only 1night either lake toya or noboribetsu),
    would you advise any places I can detour from the above itinerary on the extra day(s)

    I am thinking of getting the JR pass for 4flexible days, is it enough?

    Day 12: Hakodate to Tokyo
    Day 13 : Tokyo - Ghibli museum and doraemon museum
    Day 14 : Disney Sea
    Day 15 : pokemon center and Akihahara
    Day 16 : depart Japan

    after reading your blog, I though the extra 2days I can go to Kyoto but after checking the transport cost (hakodate to Osaka airport to Kyoto to Tokyo, I got a shock it's $300 per person (for 2days1night trip), so cannot go :(

    Or should I do the extra 1day/2days detour from Tokyo?

    Sam, thank you for your time for reading such a long journey, and looking forward to your kind reply.


    1. Hi. I usually take ALOT of photos on every trip...and only a small percentage usually ends up on this blog. lol. I have a small notebook (paper notebook...not laptop) with me on my Japan trips which I write down every day's itinerary, which is why for some trips, you see daily time breakdowns. If I have more time during the trip (eg, not an overly rushed trip), I even have time to jot down how much I spent every day. But nowadays, I don't really have the patience to do that. lol.

      Actually, not sure if it's because I visited Lake toya on weekdays, but both my visit during winter to Lake Toya was really quiet...almost all of the shops were closed in the town.
      You can try visiting just Noboribetsu, skip Lake Toya this time round, and maybe squeeze in someplace else?

      I'd recommend that you visit Tomamu if you have extra 1 night to spare. It's a ski resort that's really near to Tomamu station (they have resort shuttle buses from Tomamu station to the resort) and during winter, there's Ice Village in the evenings at Tomamu resort. You can see pics of it from somewhere in my blog. I've visited Tomamu in Feb 2012 and Jan/Feb 2014).

      For Hakodate, you can consider visiting Onumakoen (about 40mins train ride from Hakodate, trains run every couple hourly though...so check train timings before you go) for some ice-fishing (as seen on my Jan/Feb 2014 trip).

      4 days Hokkaido railpass might not be enough if you intend to visit Tomamu.

      I'm assuming you will be flying from Hakodate to Tokyo?

      Both Ghibli museum and Doraemon museum's tickets cannot be purchased at the museum (if I understood correctly, since i've never been to both places before). So make sure you know how to purchase the tickets before you visit both museums.

      Kyoto/Osaka is in Kansai region, about 3hrs bullet train ride from Tokyo and there are many other places worth visiting in Kansai region. I'd strongly recommend that you leave Kansai region for another trip, and just focus on Hokkaido and Tokyo this time round.

      Remember to use the hyperdia website to help you plan your train timings (esp for your Hokkaido portion).

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  19. Hi Sam,

    My family & I will be travelling to Japan (Tokyo-Yokohama-Kyoto-Osaka) in Dec. I would like to ask you for some advice:

    1) From Shinjuku, how do we go to Yokohama?
    2) From Shinjuku, how do we go to Kyoto? We would like to stay in a Ryokan with Kimono experience (Rental shop near the ryokan & Kyoto JR/train station). Is there any you will recommend?
    3) Based on my itinerary below, I don't have to buy the 7 days JR pass right? Just single JR pass (Tokyo-Kyoto) & (Kyoto to Osaka) will do?

    Day 1 (Sat) - Reach NRT at 2pm (Odaiba & Tokyo Tower)
    Day 2 (Sun) – Shibuya/ Harajuku
    Day 3 (Mon) - DisneyLand
    Day 4 (Tues) - DisneySea
    Day 5 (Wed) – Yokohama/Tokyo Station/Shinjuku
    Day 6 (Thurs) – Tskuji Fish market/ Asaku Temple/ Ueno
    Day 7 (Fri) – Tokyo -> Kyoto (stay 1 night at Ryokan)
    Day 8 (Sat) – Kyoto -> Osaka (Shinsaibashi /Dotonbori/ Amerikamura/)
    Day 9 (Sun)- Universal Studios
    Day 10 (Mon) –Osaka Castle & Evening Flight from Osaka back to Singapore

    Thank you for your help in advance! :)

    1. Since you only need a 1 way trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, then no, you won't need to get the 7 days JR Pass.

      From JR Shinjuku station (the main and largest station in Shinjuku), take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku train line to Yokohama station. It takes 33mins and costs 550yen.

      From Shinjuku to Kyoto, you'd have to take a regular train line from JR Shinjuku station to either Tokyo or Shinagawa station, then transfer to a 3hrs Shinkansen bullet train ride to Kyoto. Nozomi Shinkansens takes about 2hrs train journey from Tokyo to Kyoto, whereas the Hikari and Kodama Shinkansens takes about 3hrs train journey from Tokyo to Kyoto since they stop at more stations along the way. A 1 way Nozomi Shinkansen train ride from Tokyo station to Kyoto station costs 13710yen for reserved seat. Yes, it's about the price of a domestic flight actually.

      From Kyoto to Osaka, just take a regular inexpensive JR train will do. It costs 560yen and travelling time takes about 35mins to 45mins. Regular JR trains that heads in the direction of Osaka/Kobe/Himeji should be able to get you to Osaka station. Ask the train staff for directions to the correct platform.

      Sorry, I've not stayed at ryokan whenever I go Kyoto...so can't really comment much there. You can probably find some ryokans on japanican's website.
      As for the dressing up experience, there are quite a few shops that caters to that for tourists, but the ones I know of are located in the Kiyomizudera area.

  20. Hi Samatha,

    We will be visiting Tokyo for the 1st time coming chinese new year and would like to spend 16 days in Tokyo only.

    Would you mind share some must visit places and "makan" itinerary purely for Tokyo with us.

    We love shopping and sightseeing.

    Any pass we needed to buy for the train or public transportation ?

    thank you and regards

    1. Hi!
      Wow, 16 days within Tokyo? That's a pretty long time to spend in just Tokyo. Why not consider venturing out of Tokyo to nearby prefectures? There's many options if you are willing to travel slightly out of Tokyo.

      For Shopping (within Tokyo), there's these few popular places:
      - Odaiba (there's a few shopping malls like Venus Fort, DiverCity...) Diver city is larger than Venus Fort in my opinion. If you guys like to spend your time strolling leisurely, then you could technically spend 1 entire day at Odaiba itself.

      - Shinjuku (quite a few departmental stores there, like Isetan and Takashimaya that's not too far from the JR Shinjuku station). There's also many smaller shops selling clothes and such too. Expect to spend at least half a day here.

      - Shibuya (also many shopping buildings here, you could spend an entire day here if you are into shopping. Also don't forget to check out the Tokyu Hands store here that's located about 7mins walk from Shibuya station).

      - Harajuku (Takeshita dori opposite Harajuku station) + Omodesando area in Harajuku

      - Ginza (for more high-end fashion labels)

      - Ikebukuro (a large shopping mall called Sunshine City near Ikebukuro station, as well as a number of other shopping malls in the vicinity too)

      - Tokyo station's basement character street (has many shops selling cute products like Snoopy, Miffy, Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Pokemon...etc)

      For food, well, I don't usually do research on where to eat before my trip...and just eat whenever we feel hungry and see what's nearby. Almost all of my meals in Japan were really good!! Even their convenience store's Katsu-don are pretty nice.

      But that said, here are some suggestions for meals:
      - Ten'ya (an inexpensive chain store outlets that specialises in Tendon, which is fried tempura prawns on top of a bowl of rice. They have 1 outlet in Harajuku that's located between Takeshita dori and Omotesando. )

      - Katsu-ya (an inexpensive chain store that specialises in Tonkatsu, which is fried pork cutlets on top of a bowl of rice. They have 1 outlet next to the large Yodobashi Camera store building at Akihabara, next to a Yoshinoya outlet).

      - Ichiran Ramen (they have many stores throughout Japan and they usually open 24hrs)

      - Maisen Tonkatsu (they have a few sit in restaurants, as well as some takeaway counters at various departmental store's supermarket food halls. )

      - Kani Doraku (a slightly higher-end restaurant that specialises in crab cuisines. I went to their outlet near Ueno station)

      You can try finding food/restaurants via this japanese website:

      If you only intend to travel within Tokyo, then don't overly worry about railpasses. Just get a SUICA or PASMO card with a stored value in it and use it to tap-in and tap-out of the gantries at the train stations instead of having to worry about buying single trip train tickets every time you need to take the subway. If you are from Singapore, the SUICA or PASMO card is kinda like our EZ-link card.

      I've posted some sample Japan guides and Tokyo itineraries here:

    2. Dear Samatha,

      Thank you for the information. Here is our itinerary for CNY Tokyo trip.

      Day 1 Haneda airport; check in hotel and ssrr hotel area
      Day 2 Odaiba
      Day 3 morning Meiji Shrine Yoyopark and noon Shinjuku area
      Day 4 late morning Yebisu garden place ; Shibuya
      Day 5 Mt Takao
      Day 6 Omodesando Stn area to Harajuku (Takeshita dori opposite Harajuku station)
      Day 7 Asakusa ; Tokyo tower
      Day 8 Tsukiji market ; Ginza
      Day 9 Imperial palace ; Tokyo station
      Day 10 day Trip to Mount Fuji
      Day 11 day trip to Kamakura and Yokohame
      Great Budda
      Kenchoji Temple
      Cup noodle museum
      Yokohama Chinatown
      Day 12 day trip to Nikko ?
      Day 13 Disneyland
      Day 14 day trip to Hakodate ?
      Day 15 R & R
      Day 16 morning flight to Singapore

      PS : Do I buy the SUICA or PASMO card at the Haneda airport station ?
      Seem like we have too many days for this trip. Any nearby places for day trip nice to visit ?

      We do not wish to travel to Osaka, Nara, Kyushu and Kyoto for this trip.

      Wishes you a nice weekend ahead.

      Kum Sia and Regards

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  22. Hi Samantha!

    Was searching on google for the places to visit in Japan and your blog came up. I love how useful the tips and links you have provided while planning for my upcoming trip to Japan next year May. I'll be visiting from 13 May - 25 May (13 days) and planning to visit Hokkaido and Tokyo. Do you know how the weather and temperature will be like during that time?

    We are also planning to self drive in Hokkaido and then down towards tokyo. Do you think it's possible to do it in 12 days? Do you have any itineraries to suggest for 12 days in Hokkaido and Tokyo for self drive?

    Looking forward to your reply. Thank you

    1. Although I've not been to Hokkaido and Tokyo in May, but I would probably estimate around 25 degrees celcius for Tokyo, and maybe around 15-20+ degrees celcius for Hokkaido (depending on which part of Hokkaido u are going).

      Sorry, I'm not sure about self-drive since I don't drive...plus you'd probably have to take the ferry with the car between Hakodate to Aomori for the crossing between Hokkaido island to Japan's main Honshu island to get to Tokyo.

      Not sure if it's possible within 12 days...since I've no idea. Sorry.

  23. Hi Samantha, my family and I are going to Kansai region and Hiroshima during June next year for 14 days. Can I have your advice on which kind of West Region Pass I should get? I will be at Kyoto for the first 5 nights, and I am covering Arashiyama and Armanohashidate areas.The next 5 nights I will be at Osaka, covering Nara, Himeji and Hiroshima ( Miyajima ) and I will be visiting Universal STudios as well. The 12th day, I will be travelling from Osaka to Wakayama and I will be staying there for 2 nights. On the last day, 14th of June, I will be travelling from Wakayama to Kansai airport. Thank you.

    1. Probably the 5 days JR Kansai Hiroshima Area pass.

      Bear in mind that part of the journey to Amanohashidate runs on non-JR tracks, so no matter which railpass u get, you'd still have to top-up extra to pay for your journey to Amanohashidate.

      As seen from this page: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2368.html
      You'd probably have to top up additional 1420yen (1 way, unreserved seat) for your journey to Amanohashidate.

      You'd have to adjust your itinerary to fit in your long train journey days (Hiroshima, Himeji, Amanohashidate, Wakayama) within a 5 day period for the railpass.

  24. Hi, Samantha, thankyou for your advice. Please do allow me to ask more questions. Since I am going to travel to Kyoto first from Kansai airport, I will be buying the Icoca and Haruka package for one way. Can I use the Icoca pass to travel from Kyoto to Osaka and Amanohashidate? I will activate the 5 days Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass when I reach Osaka and travel to Hiroshima, Himeji, Wakayamia and Nara. Thankyou.

    1. ICOCA is just a stored value card where you deposit money into it and then use it to tap in and out of train gantries where your train fares will be deducted from the card. There is no discount for using ICOCA, just that it saves u the hassle of buying single trip tickets from the ticketing machine every time you want to take a train.
      I'm not sure whether you can use ICOCA card in Amanohashidate though, since it is pretty far away from Osaka. Anyway, once u have to use a Ltd Exp train, you'd most probably have to buy a physical train ticket for either reserved seat or unreserved seat.

    2. People usually just use the ICOCA card when taking subways within Osaka and Kyoto, as well as taking local trains between Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe.

  25. Thankyou for your advice.

  26. Hi!

    I have booked for a 21 days trip in japan. Landing in haneda on 28th february, night time and leaving from narita on 19th march, night time.

    I am thinking of visiting tokyo, hokkaido, osaka/kyoto/nara region. Will it be too tight because hokkaido is quite far away....

    I have already booked my accomodation for tokyo for the first 5 days and osaka from 11th march to 16th march. But other than these dates, I have no plans yet because this my boyfriend's and my first time to japan and we are very confused and clueless about everything!

    1. You'd probably have to get:
      - domestic flight from Tokyo to Hokkaido
      - domestic flight from Hokkaido to Osaka
      - JR Hokkaido railpass (depends on where in Hokkaido you intend to visit to make the railpass worth getting)
      - 1 way single trip Shinkansen fare (about 14340yen, reserved seat) from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo.

      For 21 days trip, it should be fine visiting Tokyo + Hokkaido + Kansai (Osaka/Kyoto/Nara).

      Therefore, something like this perhaps?
      28/2 Arrival at Haneda airport. Stay at Tokyo
      29/2 If you don't mind spending more on train travels, you can consider taking early morning train from Tokyo to Kawazu to see Sakura (cherry blossoms). Stay at Tokyo
      1/3 Visit Tokyo Disneysea. Stay at Tokyo
      2/3 Visit Tokyo. Stay at Tokyo
      3/3 Visit Yokohama. Stay at Tokyo
      4/3 Domestic flight from Tokyo Haneda to Hokkaido's Hakodate airport. Stay at Hakodate.
      5/3 Visit Onuma-koen perhaps, if ice-fishing is still available (email Onuma-koen's tourist info to ask this). Stay at Hakodate.
      6/3 (3 day JR Hokkaido railpass) Hakodate to Noboribetsu. Stay at Noboribetsu onsen.
      7/3 (3 day JR Hokkaido railpass) Noboribetsu to Sapporo. Stay at Sapporo.
      8/3 (3 day JR Hokkaido railpass) Daytrip to Asahikawa to visit Asahiyama Zoo. Stay at Sapporo.
      9/3 Visit Otaru. Stay at Sapporo.
      10/3 Visit Sapporo. Stay Sapporo
      11/3 Fly from Sapporo New Chitose airport to Osaka Kansai airport. Stay at Osaka
      12/3 Visit Nara. Stay at Osaka
      13/3 Visit Osaka. Stay at Osaka
      14/3 Visit USJ. Stay at Osaka
      15/3 Visit Kyoto. Stay at Osaka
      16/3 Visit Kyoto. Stay at Osaka
      17/3 Shin-Osaka to Tokyo via Shinkansen. Stay Tokyo
      18/3 Visit Tokyo. Stay Tokyo.
      19/3 Visit Tokyo for some last minute shopping perhaps. Departure from Narita airport.

      For 17/3 and 18/3, preferably stay near Keisei-Ueno station, or Tokyo station, or Shinagawa station, or Shibuya station, or JR Shinjuku station so that it will be easier for you to take airport express train (either Narita Express or Keisei Skyliner) to Narita Airport on the last day of your trip without having to transfer trains with your luggage bags.

      See here more more info on Kawazu Sakura festival:

      For trains from Tokyo to Kawazu, if you only take local trains (travelling time about 3hrs for 1 way), it costs 3640yen for 1 way.
      But if you take a Ltd Exp train (about 2hrs for 1 way), it costs either 5390yen for unreserved seat or 6210yen for reserved seat.
      Since the Ltd Exp train is very popular during Kawazu cherry blossoms period, so it is highly possible that the tickets for the Ltd Exp train will be fully booked by the time u arrive at Japan.

      You can find some of my Japan guides here:

  27. Hi Samantha
    I'm flying to Sapporo via Tokyo Narita airport on 30th Jan, arriving at 11.55am. I have to get to Noboribetsu onsen by train as I cannot make it for the shuttle bus. Please tell me how much time I need from the flight landing to getting train tickets and reaching the train platform. I have searched the train time table and the earliest train leaves at 12.33pm. Is it possible to make it for this train? What happens if I miss the train after buying the tickets?

    1. Considering that you'd still have to clear immigration + collect luggage + go to JR Ticketing office + maybe queue-up to buy tickets...it is going to be really rushed to try to catch the 12:33pm train.

      It is still do-able, just that alot depends on how fast you clear immigration + collect your luggage + hopefully no queue at JR office.

      If buy the time you are queuing for your tickets and you realised that you'd miss the 12:33pm train, then you should just buy tickets for the next train timing...which would be something like this:
      1403-1406 New Chitose to Minami-Chitose via JR Rapid Airport (3mins)
      1420-1502 Minami-Chitose to Noboribetsu via Ltd Exp Suzuran (42mins)

      The reason why there's such a long wait if you were to miss the 1233hr train is that if you manage to catch the 1233hr train from New Chitose Airport, you'd be able to catch the 1245 Ltd Exp train from Minami-Chitose to Noboribetsu.
      But the problem is, if you miss the 1245hr Ltd Exp train from Minami-Chitose, the next train to Noboribetsu will be the 1420hr Ltd Exp train. That's why there's such a long gap.

  28. hi Sam,
    I'm heading Tokyo via Narita airport in Mid/Feb'16 for 5D/4N. I'm thinking of heading outside near of Tokyo for sight-seeing..
    This is my 3rd time to Tokyo and aside Tokyo I have also went to Hakone for a 2D/1N trip in 2014.
    I prefer more beautiful wintery scenery and thought of visiting Snow Monkey @ Nagano. but not sure if it's worth the visit. One concern is the expensive Shinkansen ticket actually....

    Could you please advise me if a visit to Nagano a good choice for 5D/4N or where else would you recommend?

    Looking forward to hear from you. Thanks, Peisan

    1. Hmm, 5D/4N is a short trip actually. Which month are you planning to visit Japan?
      It's actually quite a lot of planning to go to the Snow Monkey park from Tokyo actually, and you'd probably stay 1 night at Yudanaka too, so that's like 2D/1N gone.

      -Tokyo to Nagano via Shinkansen
      -Nagano to Yudanaka via Nagaden train (infrequent departure timings)
      -Yudanaka to the nearest bus stop to the start of the walking trail to the monkey park (infrequent departure timings)
      -Walk about 7mins from bus stop to the start of the walking trail.
      - Walk about 2-something kilometres (took my family about 40mins to walk actually) to reach the actual Monkey park.

      Found 2 websites with some guides on how to get to Yudanaka:

      If you just want some snow, and don't want to go thru the hassle (and $$) of going to Nagano, you can consider Gala-Yuzawa ski area in Niigata. It's just a direct Shinkansen ride from Tokyo (about 80mins journey I think) and u can use the 3 days JR Tokyo Wide Pass (used to be JR Kanto Area pass) for this Shinkansen ride.
      - http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/tokyowidepass/
      You can make it just a day trip from Tokyo to Gala-Yuzawa without spending a night there, and then for the other 2 days of the JR Tokyo Wide pass, u can use it to go elsewhere (Kawaguchiko perhaps? or Nikko?) or even use it for the Narita Express train from Tokyo to Narita Airport.

      Winter scenery...hmm...sorry, I didn't really travel much in Nagano during winter other than Matsumoto, Nagano, Yudanaka, and Nozawa onsen, so I'm not too sure where to find really nice winter scenery.

      Maybe u can consider Hakuba? But Hakuba is even further from Tokyo.
      Either take train or bus. Bus to Hakuba: http://highway-buses.jp/hakuba/

  29. Hi Samantha
    Need your kind advice. Is 4days 3nights enough to cover Osaka and Kyoto from Tokyo?

    1. Is this your 1st Japan trip?
      4D3N is a very short trip. Way too short to cover Tokyo + Osaka + Tokyo.

      If you are flying in and out via Tokyo, then my recommendation is to just focus on Tokyo for now. Even 4D3N might be a tad short for just Tokyo itself...let alone Tokyo + Osaka + Kyoto.

      Osaka and Kyoto are in Kansai region which is about 3hrs via bullet train (Shinkansen) away from Tokyo, and the Shinkansen fares aren't exactly cheap. There's many places to visit in Kansai region other than Kyoto and Osaka, so even if you spend the entire 4D3N at Osaka and Kyoto, it's still not enough, since there's places like Nara, Kobe too. Kyoto itself will probably take about 2 full days.

      Visit just Tokyo for now, and then Osaka/Kyoto on future trips.

  30. Im planning for the following:
    4 days hokkaido
    3 days tokyo
    miserable whether to get those few days traveller pass. please advise

    1. It depends on which part of Hokkaido you are planning to visit actually.
      If the places requires long train travels, then maybe you might need a 3 day JR Hokkaido railpass.
      But for your Tokyo portion, I usually don't use any railpass when I'm just travelling within Tokyo city. I just buy a SUICA or PASMO card, and just tap in and tap out of the train station's gate gantries when entering and exiting stations, so that I don't need to go thru the hassle of buying single trip train tickets every time I take a train/subway.

      However, if you feel that you will take multiple train journeys during your Tokyo days, then you might need 1 of the Tokyo subway/train railpasses. You'd have to see your itinerary and decide whether it's worthwhile getting that or not.

  31. Hi Samantha. I have enjoyed the post that you have published, it has help me quite a lot planning for my first free and easy japan trips. However I do have some inquiry on japan rail pass.
    As I having 10 days trips, arriving Narita and going back from Narita. 6 days tokyo, followed by 4 days of Osaka. Will it be worth it to purchase a Japan Rail pass to just to travel on the shinkansen to and back from tokyo?
    Also I planned to visit Kyoto as well, will it be better to visit kyoto during my Tokyo stay or Osaka Stay?
    Please advise me. Thank you so much

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I was in Japan and only just returned.

      Tokyo is about 3hrs by bullet train from Kyoto and Osaka. Kyoto is just about 30mins train ride from Osaka. So if you were to visit Kyoto, it is much nearer to Osaka than Tokyo.

      If you can squeeze your Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto, and then Osaka/Kyoto back to Tokyo again within a 7 days period, then the 7 days JR Pass is worth getting for your itinerary.
      Although most parts of Osaka and Kyoto are operated by non-JR subways, but still, you can use the railpass to cover JR trains within Osaka city (Eg. JR Osaka Loop line, or JR Yamatoji line to Nara, or JR Sagano line to Arashiyama in Kyoto...etc).
      Better yet, either use the railpass to cover the first 7 days of your trip, or the last 7 days of your trip, this way, the railpass can also help to cover 1 of your Narita Express train's costs.

    2. Thank you so much for your advice. Really appreciate it. =)

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  33. Hi Samantha!
    Thanks for the very informative information on Japan travels! I had lots of fun and got excited for my own trip to Japan! I am quite lost planning for my trip and is running out of time as well therefore I hope that you can help me and give me some advice on my trip.
    I am travelling to Japan from 26 May to 9 June for a 14 days trip. I will be landing in KIX airport and leaving from the Haneda airport. As my friend is currently in Fukuoka, I am thinking of visiting her for maybe a day or two. I am not very sure if I should do it to be honest as Fukuoka is really quite out of the way. For the Kansai area, I plan to visit to be in Osaka and Kyoto area, taking a day trip to Himeji and Nara. I also want to visit Kobe but unsure if I should make it a day trip or not. I plan to spend a day at the Universal Studios as well. I am thinking if I should get the JR 7 day pass or not because I might not be making full use of it and not sure if taking a domestic flight would be cheaper. I have yet to decide how long to stay within the Kansai area and Tokyo itself so I was hoping that you can give me some advice base on your experiences.
    Hope that I can receive a reply from you soon! Thanks so much!

    1. Usually if you only require a 1 way journey from Osaka to Tokyo (and not returning back to Osaka again), it is not worth getting the 7 days JR Pass.

      But if you are planning to visit Fukuoka + Himeji + Osaka + Kyoto + Tokyo, then get the 7 days JR pass.

      Remember, you cannot buy the 7 days JR Pass within Japan. You have to buy the voucher from 1 of the travel agencies in your country or online websites first, then bring the voucher to the JR office at Japan to exchange for the actual 7 days JR railpass.

    2. Well, even if you skip Fukuoka, but still visiting Himeji, you can still consider getting the 7 days JR railpass, for convenience.

      You'd be able to use the 7 days JR railpass to cover these:
      Shin-Osaka to Himeji via Shinkansen: 3740yen
      Himeji to Shin-Osaka via Shinkansen: 3740yen
      Shin-Osaka to Tokyo via Shinkansen: 14140yen
      either Haruka Express or Narita Express
      Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka station via Haruka Express: 2850yen
      Tokyo to Narita Airport via Narita EXpress: 3020yen
      various miscellaneous train journeys on JR trains (eg. JR Osaka Loop line, JR Kyoto line or Shinkansen between Osaka and Kyoto, JR Kobe line to go Kobe from Osaka, the many JR lines within Tokyo)

  34. Hi Sam, very informative blog, in fact too much to read dunno where to start!
    I've an upcoming trip to JP for 15 nights from 2-18 Nov and I will arrive in Osaka and depart Tokyo. My broad idea is to spend 4-6 nights in Osaka (incl 1-2 nights at Universal Studios), 3 nights Kyoto and before going to Tokyo, visit other cities but not sure where? So where would you recommend to visit in between Kyoto to Tokyo? I think there's tourist coach to visit Mt Fuji? Lastly looking at this route, I have to buy the 21 day JR Pass?

    1. depending on where exactly you intend to stopover between Kyoto to Tokyo, you might not even need to get the 7 days JR pass...let alone the 14 days or 21 days version.

      Firstly, you don't really need any sort of railpass for your Osaka segment of your trip, even if you intend to visit Kyoto/Nara/Kobe, since those 4 places are not too far from each other and train fares aren't really too expensive.

      The only portion of your trip which you should consider getting a JR railpass for is for your journey from Kyoto to Tokyo. But since you will only be requiring a 1 way journey from Kyoto to Tokyo, and not really needing to travel back to Osaka from Tokyo, so I don't really think the 7 days JR pass is worth getting in your case.

      You can take the bus from Tokyo's Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko/Mt Fuji 5th station if you want. http://highway-buses.jp/fuji/

      But if you intend to stopover a few other cities between Kyoto to Tokyo, then there are 2 railpasses you can consider.
      1) The 7 days JR Pass http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html
      2) The 7 days Hokuriku Arch Pass http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_arch.html

      Depending on which route you take from Kyoto to Tokyo, there are a few different sets of places you can consider to stopover for your journey from Kyoto to Tokyo.
      1) Kyoto to Tokyo via the Tokaido Shinkansen route. You can probably stop by Nagoya for a day or 2, and also maybe Atami onsen, or Hakone, or Yokohama.

      2) Kyoto to Tokyo via the longer route via Kanazawa. You can consider stopover at Kanazawa for a night or 2, and then from Kanazawa make a daytrip visit to Shirakawago via bus, and then take Shinkansen from Kanazawa to Karuizawa, stop by for a half day or 1 day visit at Karuizawa, and then end up at Tokyo.

      You can use hyperdia website to check to see how much the train fares for your train journeys will cost, to see if any railpass is worthwhile getting.

    2. Hi Sam, well noted of this piece of advice. Though you mention the Osaka segment might not need the JR Pass, but if I use it for the JR Osaka loop line, and also to JR sakurajima (USJ), then I think this pass is quite handy within Osaka isn't it? What do you think?

    3. train fares on JR Osaka loop line and JR Sakurajima are inexpensive, just a few hundred yen per train. Whereas the 7 days JR railpass costs 29110yen.
      It's like buying a railpass that costs $300 to take a subway take costs a few dollars per ride. That's why, the expensive JR pass is only worthwhile getting if you are taking a few trips on the more expensive Ltd Exp trains and/or Shinkansen trains.

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  36. Hi Sam. I arrived 9.30pm at KIX airport. I wanted to stay a night at nearby hotel then travel to Osaka on second day - as I think it could be midnight if I choose to go to Osaka upon arrival. That Nikko hotel at KIX is too expensive, so I thought if you know of or can recommend any cheap accommodation near KIX that I can sleep for a night?

    1. 9:30pm is not too late in the night actually to take the train into Osaka city area from the airport. Sorry I've not really stayed near Kansai airport before, so am not sure if there's any cheap hotels there.

  37. Wow, this is amazing. Thanks!:)

  38. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for all your valuable sharing here. My family and i will be going to Hokkaido & Tokyo on 18/12/2016. We will touch down at New Chitose aiport on 18/12 morning. Will need to go to Noboribetsu ( 1st destnation) but dont how to put my big luggages in the train. Can please advice me ?

    1. I usually travel with my 24 inch sized luggage (medium sized luggage back, 1 step up from cabin sized luggage) and I can fit tat onto the overhead luggage racks.
      If your luggage back is too big for the overhead luggage racks, try slotting it behind the seats on the last row of the carriage on the floor.

  39. A bit challenging for our 12days trip. As we are along with 2 childrens.

  40. Hi Sam,

    Can i know when arrived at Tomamu station from Chitose airport, we need to climb the staircase to the opposite side for bus to resort? or vice versa?


    1. By the time your train arrives at Tomamu station, there should already be a Tomamu resort shuttle bus waiting just next to the train platform (they usually time the shuttle bus with the train timings).
      If I remembered correctly, there's only a few steps from the platform to reach the bus.

      On your return trip, you will have to carry your bag up a stairs, walk across the bridge, and then down the stairs to reach the train platform. There wasnt any escalator/elevator that I know of.

  41. Hi Sam, my family of 2A+2C is planning to visit Tokyo + Hokkaido from 26Nov to 8Dec 17. wondering if 7days Hokkaido (1st leg) and 6days Tokyo (2nd leg) will be enough and what places should we visit. Do you have any recommendation for us?
    so far, we only know we want to go Disneyland and a fish market in Tokyo and I hope to go Asahiyama Zoo. not sure if there will be penguin parade end Nov though.

    1. the length of your visit should be alright.
      For Hokkaido, I recommend visiting Otaru, Sapporo, and maybe a onsen (hotspring) town like Noboribetsu. The penguin parade usually begins somewhere in mid Dec, based on previous years' weather conditions, so I'm not too sure if end Nov will be cold enough for the penguins parade though.

      For Tokyo, I have posted a few itineraries on my blog which u can consider. http://goawaysam.blogspot.sg/2014/03/suggested-tokyo-itineraries-for-groups.html

  42. Hello Sam,
    i plan to go to the following places from Osaka on the 12th April
    1) Okayama & Kurashiki
    2) Hiroshima & Miyajima
    3) Kobe
    Then proceed back to Osaka on the 16th April evening (4pm) I am flying out from there.
    Which pass do you recommend? and can this be done within 4 days 3 nights ?


    1. To be honest, I'd probably recommend that u skip Hiroshima and Miyajima this time. Cuz you'd have to get a more expensive railpass that will cover the train between Osaka and Hiroshima. If you are ok with just visiting Kurashiki, Okayama, and Kobe, then u can consider getting the JR Kansai Area Wide railpass http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_08.html

    2. Oh alright...Actually i will be in Japan from 29/3 (Reach Haneda airport) until 16/4 (Depart from Osaka), which is around 16 full days... So i will be staying at Tokyo for the first 7 nights. My plan is:
      Day 1
      - Nikko
      Day 2
      Day 3
      Mount Fuji
      Day 4
      Day 5 and 6
      Explore the city (Shibuya, Shinjuku etc)
      Day 7- 9
      Depart to Kyoto
      Day 10
      Uji and Nara
      Day 11
      Mount Yoshino and Osaka
      Day 12
      Day 13
      Universal Studio
      Day 14
      Day 15
      Himeiji and Okayama
      Day 16
      Kurashiki and Hiroshima
      Day 17
      Miyajima and back to Osaka
      Day 18
      Depart to Kansai airport (around 4pm flight)

      Which pass do you recommend? Should i buy JR pass? Or which part of my plan need to be changed? Thanks.

  43. Hi Sam,

    This is my first time free and easy to Hokkaido with my family this June holiday.Plan for 8 days.touch down at New Chitose Airport. First stop Otaru (2 nights) Furano (3 nights) and lastly Sapporo (2 nights).
    There is a Express train from airport to Otaru and Seasonal Economical Tickets for travel to Furano/Biei in Summer or Asahiyama Zoo.

    Need your advice, if I buy the JR pass for 7 days can it be used for the express train and where can I buy the seasonal ticket to Furano?
    Would greatly appreciate if you can help me with my plan and recommend some attractions to cover. thank you..

    1. I won't advise you to get the 7 days JR railpass if you are only using it to take trains within Hokkaido. There's a cheaper version of the railpass for use within just Hokkaido called the JR Hokkaido railpass.

  44. Hi Samantha
    Good day to you, this is my 1st time to visit Japan and quite confuse the tranportation and the pass which need to purcharse, below is my itinerary hope you can give me an advice
    Day 20/12: Osaka stay osaka
    Day 21/12: USJ. Stay Osaka
    Day 22/12: Kyoto. Stay Kyoto
    Day 23/12 Visit Hakodateyama or Biwako Valley stay kyoto
    Day 24/12 Kyoto to Kanazawa Stay at Kanazawa. (optional tour if not proceed to takayama)
    Day 25/12 Visit Kanazawa. Stay Kanazawa
    Day 26/12 Kanazawa to Toyama, Toyama to Takayamav Visit Takayama. Stay at Takayama.
    Day 27/12 Takayama to Shirakawa-go (if can stay at shirawaka-go for a day)
    Day 28/12 Shin-Osaka to Kansai Airport

    hope you can advice the above itinerary

    Thank you

    1. Consider the Takayama-Hokuriku railpass perhaps?

  45. Hi Sam

    Can I know the name of the ryokan that you stayed in Yufuin, Kyushu?