Planning an itinerary for Japan trip is definitely one of the most headache, before you start planning, what you really need to understand is the massive railway route. I really have a love-hate relationship with their railway system.
Japan has four major islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku which are perfectly covered by an extensive and reliable network of railways. Trains are really one of the best way for visitors to travel around Japan, especially in conjunction with the Japan Rail Pass.
Visit this site, as you can see most of the railway network is owned and operated by Japan Railway (JR). The JR Pass which is available for 7, 14, 21 consecutive days is only valid for trains operated by JR, which means you CAN’T board any train which is not under JR Company (e.g. metro/subway), or if you wrongly boarded you’ll have to pay for the ticket (which is extremely expensive).
So if you’re planning on travelling to several cities, getting the JR Pass is probably one of your best shot. Though the JR Pass is worth it, but I’m not using the JR Pass as I’m visiting only 3 major cities – Osaka, Kanazawa & Tokyo. Further on, I’ll introduce another JR Pass which is valid only on Kansai Area (関西, literally “west of the border”) that amazingly covers all the city that you’ll want to visit.
Before that, let me give a brief on my itinerary, I’m flying in to Osaka (Kansai Airport) from KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and flying out from Tokyo (Narita Airport). Therefore, my itinerary will be exploring from Osaka (Kansai Area) to Kanazawa and then to Tokyo.
As you can see from the Map, Kanazawa (金沢) is on the west side of Kansai Area and the railway is operated by JR West. If you’re planning on visiting Nagoya, you can make it before Kanazawa or if you don’t want to visit Kanazawa, you can skip Kanazawa after Nagoya and head to Tokyo.
Osaka – J-Hoppers (available in Osaka & Kyoto)
Kanazawa – Pongyi Guesthouse, a very traditional style of guesthouse!
Tokyo – Toyoko Inn, this is a hotel chain which available in most of the cities in Japan.
Japan Rail Pass – http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en003.html
Japan West Rail Pass – http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/travel-information/pass/
14 days itinerary:
Day 1: Kansai Airport – Rinku Premium Outlet – Kansai Airport – Osaka Town
Day 2: Osaka – Nara – Uji – Osaka
Day 3: Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka
Day 4: Osaka – BIGBANG Concert – Osaka Namba Districts
Day 5: Osaka – Kobe – Osaka
Day 6: Osaka – Kanazawa
Day 7: Kanazawa – Tokyo – Explore Shinjuku
Day 8: Tokyo Disney Sea
Day 9: Tokyo – Kamakura 1 day trip – Tokyo
Day 10: Explore Asakusa & Odaiba & Ginza
Day 11: Mt. Fuji 1 day trip
Day 12: Explore Shibuya & Harajuku
Day 13: Ueno Park & Ameyoko Shopping Street
Day 14: Last round of shopping & fly back to Kuala Lumpur
Click on the day to find out more details about the day tour.