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Cheapo trip - Transportation advices


Hello cheapo community!

I am so happy to say that I am finally fulfilling one of my lifetime goals, which is, obviously, traveling to japan. But as I am still studying and stuff, my budget for this travel is really small, so this website has already helped me define a lot of things for my future trip. Anyways, here’s the deal:

I am going to spend 19 days in Japan (arriving in Narita at the 6th of july), my planned schedule is as it follows:

-From narita (July 6th) I intend to go to Kyoto
-(11th of july) from kyoto to Hiroshima
-(July 13th) from hiroshima to osaka
-(july 17th) osaka to tokyo, returning home via Narita airport by the 24th of july

It is important to say that I am interested in doing some daytrips as well, like miyajima, Kamakura and nara,

I’ve been doing some research on the various kinds of transportations, but I still didn’t find a way to get the final price cheaper than the 14d JR pass, starting to use as soon as I arrive in japan, am I missing something here?

Any tip will be of great help,

Thanks in advance!


Your trip just misses the window for the Seishun 18, which would be a lot cheaper but also slower since you can only use non-Shinkansen trains. There’s also the Willer Bus Pass, but again, it’s gonna eat into your sightseeing time unless you don’t mind sleeping on overnight vehicles.


I was having some trouble with understanding the willer bus pass actually, but I think now I’ve got the hang of it.
Yeah, it really seems to be cheaper, like, a lot, but I will need to get my schedule right for the long duration travels…and I am also not sure about my day trips, as I would need to plan in advance in case I buy the pass…

Is it easy to get tickets or should I book them as soon as they’re on the website?


This is a very general point (and I guess you may already have booked your flights), but since it looks like you’re planning to spend all your time in Western Japan, I wonder why you are flying into Narita? It’s going to be pretty time-consuming (and expensive) getting from there to Kyoto and Osaka and back. Don’t you have the option to fly into and out of Kansai International?


Yeah I know that :confused: , but I already bought a really cheap ticket with a good discount, so I cannot really make any changes to that…


this is pretty much what I did when I first visited Japan in 2003. For your itinerary this is just fine. Riding the JR trains is convenient and quick and all other option are more bothersome for where you want to do. And it’s not that you are getting other means of transport for free.
I have a couple of comments for you and if you have already made your reservations then they are useless for you. Any way here we go.
I would consider staying in Tokyo after you get here. Just make your Tokyo stay the first leg of your Japan experience. You can schedule 2 nights in Tokyo at the end of your stay. You’ll be tired from your flight and won’t be able to appreciate your Shinkansen ride to Kyoto. Of course you need to pay the train from Narita to Ueno or Tokyo because you do not want to convert your precious Rail Pass voucher on the first day. Cheap hotels abound in Tokyo and I know clean and simple no-frills places for US$30 in Asakusa.
Once you take off to Kyoto you can railpass yourself out. You can go to Fushimi Inari Shrine, Nara, Himeji, Osaka and even to Ise or Amanohashidate. These are just day trips. I would not stay in Osaka for 4 days but you may have reason to do so.
If you plan your trip well you can even go as far as Kagoshima in one day, particularly if you are in Hiroshima anyway.
All this may be a bit to much to take in. But if you come back to Tokyo a bit earlier you can have a relaxed time going to Shimoda on the Izu peninsula, Kamakura or Nikko to the North or even a day trip to Nagano. Most of it on your railpass.
And don’t forget to buy a bento box at the train station and a drink from a vending machine to have lunch on the train


Thank you so much for your answer, I am really considering doing one of the daytrips you recommended. My problem here is that I have already made the reservations for most of the places (I have already paid for kyoto :T), I am really considering not going to osaka or just making my stay there shorter…I wanted to understand a better combination for JR + willer bus idk… I am considering taking the 7 days JR pass + bus pass from willer for the rest of the trip, this will make my daytrips harder I guess, but it will be a lot cheaper, as I still dont know if I will have money at all for the 14 days JR pass…


We are going there on Nov. 29 until Dec 5. All 14 of us. We already booked jr pass, tickets to USJ and Disney, Our flight’s eta in narita is 8:10 pm and we are planning to travel to osaka that evening. What options do we have? I was searching for overnight trains but they don’t stop at osaka. My other concern is will we be able to catch the train if we will arrive at 8:10 pm, exchange our jr pass voucher and then travel to Tokyo? Please give us some advice and insights. Thanks so much.


Hi jeng
(ideally starting a new thread is recommended) the ticket exchange office in narita airport closes at 8pm, but according to website
you can go exchange pass at the ticket office until 9.45pm
Getting to Osaka in the same night would be challenging, alternatives are find a cheap flight from narita, or stay in Tokyo or narita for one night


Hi Jeng,
I agree with q10: because your ETA might be delayed and you want to use your JR pass, spending the night in Tokyo/Narita seems better.
If, like me, you cannot sleep anyway because of the Jet lag, you may consider refreshing at a bathhouse in the late evening, then eat at a “family restaurant” as many of them stay open overnight. Later you take a nap in the early Shinkansen for Osaka :slight_smile:


Sorry, posted in the wrong thread !


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