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Looking for Japan itinerary inspiration?

Autumn Mt Fuji in Japan
Autumn Mt Fuji in Japan

At Rail Plus we pride ourselves on being rail experts. Our expertise and years of experience has taught us many things but the most important thing is that there is never a ‘one type fits all’ approach to travel.

That’s why a little research on how best to tackle your journey is always wise and can go a long way in ensuring that you have a smooth, hassle free holiday.


Nachi Seigantoji Pagoda and Nachi Falls
Nachi Seigantoji Pagoda

Take Japan for example 

There are a range of rail passes that are available that will allow you to criss-cross your way across the country. Do you go for the Japan Rail Pass that covers the most network options? Do you go for the more concentrated JR Kansai Wide Area Pass or the JR Hokkaido Pass? Or, do you wing it and buy single tickets when you get there? (Spoiler alert – this last option can be extremely expensive!)

Take the time to breakdown what you really want to get out of your holiday. What are the ‘must see’ destinations, how are they connected and what is the likely amount of time you’d want to spend in different areas?

One of the most popular routes of travel among Australian travellers revolves around the ‘big three’ Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.


What pass? 

streets of Hida Furukawa Hida City onpage 380 Japan
Streets of Hida Furukawa Hida City

For first time travellers to Japan, the Japan Rail Pass is recommended, this pass will allow you to get a taste of what Japan has to offer and access the most iconic areas of the country. The Japan Rail Pass entitles you to unlimited travel across the JR rail network (including almost all of the high speed Shinkansen trains) and is valid nationwide. Not only does it cover the big three but you will also get to explore beautiful regional areas such as Nagano, Chubu, Kansai and Fuji Five Lakes.

Still at a loss as to the best way to utilise the Japan Rail Pass?

Check out these popular suggested itineraries for inspiration.


  • Tokyo – Nikko – Hakone – Takayama – Osaka – Nara - Kyoto

  • Tokyo – Tsumago - Kanazawa – Hiroshima – Kyoto

  • Kyoto – Onomichi – Hiroshima – Tokyo

  • Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka – Tokyo


Ginza by night Tokyo Japan 380
Ginza by night, Tokyo

The Shinkensen 

It’s the inclusion of most Shinkensen (except for the Nozomi and Mizuho trains) that makes the pass more cost effective than booking point to point tickets in Japan. If you are planning on visiting a few destinations via these amazingly impressive trains then the pass becomes a necessity.

The Shinkansen routes run all over Japan's main island, and also provides you with access to most of the key southern islands in conjunction with ferry connections. Hop on a Shinkansen and take yourself from the tranquil shores of Kagoshima, the 'Hawaii of Japan' in the far south, all the way up to the city of Aomori on the northernmost tip of the country.

The passes are available in 7, 14 and 21 day options, in either ordinary or green class. For more information head to our Japan by Rail pages.

Happy travelling!

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