Itinerary for 7-Days Trip to Japan with Japan Rail Pass (May 2004) – Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Miyajima

I made my very first trip to Japan in May 2004.  We were there for 7 days, using the Japan Rail Pass throughout.  Japan Rail Pass was a pass that gave you unlimited train rides on JR lines through Japan (except a few shinkansen lines such as the fastest Nozomi trains joining Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka).  If it is the first time you’re using the Japan Rail Pass, I recommend reading this guide on japan-guide.com.

Back in 2004, getting the Japan Rail pass was quite a hassle.  The Japan Rail Pass had to be bought OUTSIDE Japan prior to your travel.  And back then, not many places in Singapore were selling it.  We had to go down to JTB office just to buy it.   But nowadays, you can easily purchase one online via travel booking platforms such as Klook.

Klook Travel

Our favourite travel booking platform

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This being my first trip to Japan, I don’t think it was the most well-planned trip.  Our main priority was to minimise movement with luggage, since we were not familiar with Japan’s transport system.  We stayed in the same hotel in Tokyo for the 1st night and 3rd to 6th night, and spent our 2nd night at Osaka.  By staying in the same hotel before and after our side-trip to Osaka, we were able to leave our big luggage at the hotel, bringing only a small bag when we travelled West.  This allowed us to be better able to navigate the many (confusing) train stations and shinkansen rides without having a big luggage case to lug around.

However on hindsight, I felt that we did not make good use of our Japan Rail Pass.   We had two full days in central Tokyo, in which we didn’t really utilise the Japan Rail Pass much.   So my advise is, if you are planning a trip with a 7-Days Japan Rail Pass, where you plan to spend say 2 days in central Tokyo, it would be better to do a 9-days trip.  Use the 7 days fully to explore more of other parts of Japan and return to Tokyo on the 7th day of your rail pass.   Then for those days back in central Tokyo, you can just buy single-trip train tickets.   And if you are flying back from Narita Airport, there is no need to take the expensive Narita Express.  Use the cheap Keisei Line instead.

In December 2007, we were back in Japan again on another trip with the Japan Rail Pass.  And I felt in that trip, we made much better use of the pass.

December 2007

7 Days Illuminations Travel using Japan Rail Pass

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If you need help in planning your Japan trip using the Japan Rail Pass, hop on over to our Travel Buzz discussion thread on “Japan Rail Pass Suggested Itinerary“.

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Day 1: Narita Airport – Tokyo via Narita Express (N’EX)

Day 2: Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka -> Click here for details


Heian Shrine:

Nishijin Textile Centre:


Day 3: Osaka – Miyajima – Tokyo -> Click here for details

Osaka Castle:


Day 4: Tokyo – Yokohama – Tokyo -> Click here for details

Yokohama Chinatown:

Minato Mirai 21:


Day 5: Tokyo – Nikko – Tokyo -> Click here for details


Asakusa Kannon Temple:



Day 6: Tokyo Disneyland

Day 7: Tokyo – Narita Airport  -> Click here for details

Imperial Palace:


Part 1

Kyoto to Osaka

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Part 2

Osaka to Miyajima

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Part 3

Yokohama & Tokyo

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Part 4

Nikko & Tokyo

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Part 5


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Find more Japan itineraries and travel guides on our Japan travel page!


  • Susan Galvin says:

    Nice photography! Wish to travel Japan. Thank you.

  • What a great itinerary! With such lovely photos to boot, thanks for sharing!

  • Vonz says:

    Hi bumblebeemum

    We plan to visit Japan this Dec for 12D11N with 2 kids. Want to purchase 7 days JR pass for our trip. Do you think our itinerary is workable?

    4 nights – Osaka
    2 nights – Kyoto
    1 night – Mt Fuji
    4 nights – Tokyo

    1 Wed, 6 Dec Osaka
    2 Thu, 7 Dec Osaka – Visit USJ
    3 Fri, 8 Dec Osaka
    4 Sat, 9 Dec Day Trip – Nara
    5 Sun, 10 Dec Osaka-Kyoto
    6 Mon, 11 Dec Kyoto
    7 Tue, 12 Dec Kyoto to Mt Fuji
    8 Wed, 13 Dec Mt Fuji – Tokyo
    9 Thu, 14 Dec Tokyo – Visit Disneyland/Sea
    10 Fri, 15Dec Tokyo
    11 Sat, 16 Dec Tokyo
    12 Sun, 17 Dec Tokyo to Narita Airport

    Thank you in advance for your advise 🙂

    • Queen Bee says:

      If you are doing a one-way trip, I don’t think you need the Japan Rail Pass. Check hyperdia again for the price of your train routes for the 7 days you plan to use the pass and add them up carefully to see if it’s worth it. It may not be.

      If you’re travelling with 2 kids, I suggest you don’t change hotel from Osaka to Kyoto. Too much of a hassle. You can just visit Kyoto from Osaka – they are near enough.

      And I feel the one day at Mount Fuji is a bit too short. How old are your kids? If they are young like mine, I think doing a one-day trip to Kyoto from Osaka is enough. Move that extra day in Kyoto to Mount Fuji instead. It is a lot more interesting for the kids compared to Kyoto I feel:

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