Get S$55 off your JR Pass and other Japan travel essentials! Read on to find out how. 

In Japan, JR Passes are the ultimate cheat code for tourists — unlimited rides on the Shinkansen, free seat reservation and discounts on attractions (for certain passes).

We’re huge advocates of the regional passes like the Kansai-Hiroshima JR Pass which brought us from Osaka to Hiroshima for under S$900. But if you’re planning to cover Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka on the same trip, the only pass that covers all these cities is the Whole Japan JR Pass.

Heading to Japan in winter? Check out our 10-day winter itinerary.

Budget Breakdown for 10D9N trip

Transport: S$449.75 (excld. flight)
Accommodation: S$261.21
Activities: $149
Food: $218.06
TOTAL: $1,078.03

Click here for the detailed breakdown of trip expenses.

Pre-trip Essentials

1) JR Pass: Purchase your Whole Japan JR Pass from Klook at least 1 week before the trip. You will need to collect the exchange voucher from the Singapore office, then once you arrive in Japan, have the voucher exchanged at the JR Service Centre (there’s one at the airport) for the actual JR pass (pictured above).

2) Narita Airport to Tokyo Downtown: The JR Narita Express (¥3000) is covered by the JR Pass but if you’re planning to stay in Japan for more than 7 days, it would depend on when you’re planning to leave Tokyo. If you’re staying for a few nights in Tokyo, book a ticket for the Tokyo Skyliner (¥2200) which you can collect from Narita Airport once you arrive.

3) Internet Connectivity: Preorder SIM Cards that come sin 1GB (for 6 days), 3GB or unlimited (for 8 days). For more than 8 days or if you’re travelling in a group of 4, you could also order a portable WiFi device (collect in Singapore 1 day before your trip).

4) Tokyo Disneyland Tickets: If you read our Ultimate Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea Guide, you’ll know how crucial it is to get your tickets beforehand. Order the Tokyo Disney 1 Day or 2 Day pass at a discounted rate from Klook.

5) JR Pass Train Reservations: The Whole Japan JR Pass includes seat reservations which are especially useful for long distance rides e.g. Tokyo to Nagoya/ Nagoya to Kyoto. Most train reservations can be made on the day itself except for the Sunrise Izumo (from Osaka back to Tokyo) — do make reservations for this once you have collected your JR Pass as space is limited! Refer to this for the list of trains (click on the 2nd tab below).

*Accommodation options for each city are at the end of the post.

Day 1: 24 hours in Tokyo

From Narita Airport to Tokyo: Collect your pre-ordered Tokyo Skyliner tickets and have them exchanged at the Keisei Counter at the station. (41 minutes to Ueno station)
Getting Around in Tokyo: 
Tokyo Subway Ticket (24hr, 48hr, 72hr) — Purchase online and collect from Narita Airport.

Tokyo is bustling with things to do from as early as 5am till midnight. If we had the chance, we could easily spend an entire week in Tokyo itself. If time isn’t on your side, here are our top picks for 24 hours in the city.


Fishermen gathered around tunas at the Osaka Central Market for Tuna Auctioning

5am Tuna Auctioning — Extremely popular amongst travellers, get there as early 3am to reserve a spot. But since you’ll be visiting Osaka too, save your early mornings for the Osaka Fish Market instead. No reservations required there!

Tsukiji Sushi Dai Queue - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Though if you’re attempting to get a reservation for the Tuna auction and miss it, don’t just climb back into bed. Instead, start queuing for Sushi Dai — a really famous Omakase place with queues starting as early as 3am. We haven’t tried so if you do, let us know how if it’s worth the hype!

tsukiji-nakaya-5-Tokyo-famous-FoodFor us late risers, Tsukiji still has a lot to feast on! One of our favourite stores for a classic bowl of Kaisen Don is Nakaya 仲家. They’re especially known for having uni (sea urchin) on their menu at affordable prices.

Tsukiji Unagi Swekers - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

If there’s a queue at Nakaya, get a friend to save your spot in the queue (or vice versa) while you venture out to buy skewers found around the outer market. Must-trys are the tamago on a stick (¥300) from Tsukiji Yamacho 築地山長 — served with a dash of radish on top — and the unagi skewers (¥200) from Nisshin Tasuke.


Sensoji Tokyo - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Sensoji Temple — one of the older Buddhist temples built in the 7th century. Get your fortune reading (Omikuji おみくじ) for ¥100. Just drop your coin in and grab one of the metal containers containing wooden sticks with numbers on it. Shake until one of them falls out revealing a number which corresponds to a drawer containing your fortune reading. There are English versions available although quite poorly translated. If you receive a bad reading, tie it up on the metal stands to “leave the bad luck behind”.

Asakusa Suzukien Matcha Gelato - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Asakusa Suzukien — has one of the strongest matcha gelatos ever. The level 7 matcha (¥580 for a single scoop) is pretty intense and only recommended if you’re a huge fan of the bitterness of matcha. If not, the recommended levels are 5 & 6. I personally loved the Genmaicha and Hojicha ice cream (¥470 for double scoop).


Photo credit: Manish Prabhune

Tokyo Metropolitan Government building — catch a birds-eye view of the city for free. On clearer days, you might even spot a silhouette of Mt. Fuji.

Unatoto affordable Unagi - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Unatoto — For lunch, grab a bowl of quality unagi on rice (from ¥500) at this small store tucked in the ground floor of the Shinjuku Centre Building. Unagi is usually quite expensive so this is quite a value for money!


Meiji Jingumae - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Meiji Jingu Shrine — this 90 year old shinto shrine is one of the most famous in Tokyo. Find shade from the afternoon sun by taking a stroll through the lush forest that surrounds it.

Omotesando Pablo Four Cheese Tart - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

Feeling a little peckish, grab a snack from Gindaco Takoyaki (¥650) or the Pablo Premium Cafe — cheese lovers should try the Omotesando exclusive 4 cheese tart (¥950).

Kurand Sake Market

Kurand Sake Market - quirky-tokyo-guideKurand Sake market  One of the best places to end the day is this “drink all you can” sake buffet bar. For S$40, you’ll have unlimited access to more than 100 over different types of sake flavours. Whether you love interesting flavours like milk, mango or yogurt or the clean crisp taste of draft sake, they probably have it. There are 4 outlets (Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Ueno) but the one in Shinjuku has 3 levels — each one dedicated to a different type of liquor (Sake, Sochu and fruit wines).

*Pro-tip: Maximise your time at the sake bar (starts at 5pm) by bringing your takeaway dinner there — don’t worry, it’s allowed!

Robot Restaurant - quirky-tokyo-guideIf you have more days to spare, check out all the other quirky things to do in Tokyo! From Robots dancing to go-karting on the streets, our Tokyo guide will keep you busy for at least 3 days.

For foodies looking to tick off all the famous food and restaurants in Tokyo, we have you covered too!

Day 2: Tokyo Disneyland or Disneysea

Tokyo Disneysea Mermaid Lagoon

Disneysea Mysterious island - Tokyo Disneyland GuideFor the Disney fans, Tokyo’s Disneyland/sea is a must!

Though because of its popularity (even with the locals), it’s best to avoid going on weekends and Japanese public holidays. Even on weekdays, a queue of 2 – 3 hours isn’t uncommon so you can imagine what a nightmare it would be on the weekends.

Disneysea Tokyo Story Mania in the day - Tokyo Disneyland GuideArriving an hour before the park opens isn’t uncommon either and will give you a good headstart to your favourite Fast Passes. Find out more about Fast Passes, days to avoid, and other helpful tips from our Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea guide.

ichiran-ramen-3-Tokyo-famous-FoodChances are, you’ll be staying there past the night parade (usually around 8:30pm). If you find yourself hungry after returning back to the city, have a nice, warm and savoury bowl of ramen at Ichiran 一蘭 (most outlets open 24 hours or at least past midnight).

Sukiya Cheese gyu don - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)We also love the cheese gyu-don from Sukiya すき家 — most outlets either open 24 hours or past midnight.

For adrenaline lovers, head to Fuji Q Highland instead! Check out our Fuji Q Highland guide for more info.

Day 3: Hakone via Odawara

From Tokyo to Hakone: From Shinjuku station, activate your Hakone Free Pass at the manned gantries. Take the train to Odawara before changing to another line (also covered by the pass) to Hakone Yumoto Station.
Getting Around in Hakone: Hakone Free Pass 2D/3D — unlimited rides on all the main transports in Hakone. Includes the ride from Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto.

Hakone Torii Gate - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Hakone Torii Gate — There are lots of Torii gates around Hakone but the most famous is the one seen on the edge of Lake Ashinoko. You can view it from 2 vantage points, on land and from a boat on the lake itself.

Hakone Old Checkpoint - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Hakone Old Checkpoint — In the olden days, there was a popular route people would walk along the Old Tokaido from Kyoto to Tokyo and Hakone was the last checkpoint before people could reach their destination. This section has been entirely remodelled but does a pretty good job at setting the scene for the Edo period.

Hakone Cedar Avenue - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Cedar Avenue — One of the best preserved sections of the Old Tokaido route is this scenic path, neatly lined with Cedar trees.

Hakone Lake Ashinoko Ship - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Lake Ashinoko — known for its view of the red torii gate as well as Mount Fuji, this iconic lake is the heart alone. You can explore it on a rented kayak, a swan paddle boat or a ride on the double deck pirate-themed ship (free for Hakone Free Pass holders).

Hakone Owakudani - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Owakudani — A picturesque volcanic valley that’s famous for its tasty black eggs which were boiled in sulphurous water.

Tamago soft serve from Owakudani - Hakone Day Trip From TokyoAlso try their tamago flavoured ice cream (¥350) which was absolutely delicious and Oden which is perfect on chilly days.

Odawara Kashiden Chirashi Don - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Odawara Kashiden 小田原鱼河岸でん — Before returning to Tokyo, have dinner at this Michelin Guide Chirashi place which serves very value for money bowls of Chirashi (~¥1200 – 1900). Turned out to be one of our favourite Chirashi bowls on the trip.

*Pro-tip: Ask for a bowl of Miso soup for ¥100 — comes in a medium sized bowl with a piece of fish in each and with a strong dashi taste. Great value for just ¥100!

Read more: Hakone Travel Guide — The Most Scenic Day Trip From Tokyo

Day 4: Kamakura and Yokohama

JR Pass: Get your JR Pass activated by walking through the manned counters at any JR station. You will receive a stamp that states the start and end dates of the JR Pass. For subsequent entries, just flash the back of the pass to a station staff when entering the gantries.

For more information on how to use and plan your trip with the JR Pass, check out our comprehensive JR Pass Guide.

At just an hour away from Tokyo, there are 2 ways to explore Kamakura and Yokohama:
1) Bring your bags along and leave them at the respective JR station lockers (¥300 – 500) while exploring the cities. Spend the night in Nagoya (mid way between Tokyo and Osaka)
2) Leave your bags in Tokyo and take a day trip out


From Tokyo to Kamakura: Use the JR pass to ride on the JR Yokosuka line to Kamakura (slightly under an hour)

Filled with lots of temple, shrines, and scenic trekking paths ranging from 2-6 hours, Kamakura is a nice relaxing contrast from Tokyo. You’ll find many locals from Tokyo taking a day trip here during the weekends so pick a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Kenchoji - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)
Photo credit: Ponte Ryuurui

Kencho-ji (¥300) — Japan’s oldest monastery that’s still active today. In fact if you’re around on a Friday or Saturday, you can even join the beginner friendly Zazen (meditation) sessions held from 5:30pm – 6:30pm.

Kamakura Daibutsu - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Great Buddha Statue (¥200 entrance fee) — The other icon of Kamakura is this 13.35m tall Buddha Statue. From Kamakura station, either take a 20 minute walk take the Enoden train (¥190 one way).

Photo credit: Jessica A Page

Hokokuji Temple (¥200) — Escape the summer heat at this temple, famous for its own bamboo groove with over 2000 stalks lining a narrow pathway to a tea house.

Bonzo Kamakura — For lunch, have handmade soba noodles at the Michelin Guide before leaving for Yokohama.


From Kamakura to Yokohama: Use the JR Pass an take the JR Yokosuka line to Yokohama (25 minutes).

Cup Noodle Museum (¥500) — pick your own ingredients and design your own cup noodle for ¥300. It’s quite similar to the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka but a lot bigger and has a slightly different video shown in their mini cinema explaining the history behind the creator, Momofukuando.

Yokohama World Porter’s mall — If you skipped on lunch at Kamakura, this is a great place for more budget friendly options — there’s a food court, a Gindaco Takoyaki store, and even melon pan (although I suspect the best is still found in Osaka’s Dotonbori).

Yokohama Chinatown - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Yokohama Chinatown — One of the largest Chinatown in the world with over 200 Chinese-themed restaurants and shops. If you understand Mandarin, you could also get a palm reading done here as most of them speak Chinese.


Day 5: Nagoya

From Toyko or Shin-Yokohama to Nagoya: Reserve seats for a Hikari train to Nagoya with your JR Pass (105mins)
Getting around Nagoya: Purchase a 1 Day Nagoya Subway (¥740) or the Donichi Eco Kippu (¥600 — discounted ticket which covers both trains and buses; available on Weekends, public holidays and the 8th of each month)

Tucked right between Tokyo and Osaka, this charming city is just as modern as it’s neighbours but takes on a more laid back pace of life. It’s home to the Shinkansen Museum (SCMaglev) and Toyota Factories and great as a base for day trips to Nagashima Resort which has a roller coaster park, and a famous outdoor onsen. With just a day to spare, here are the Nagoya essentials that can be found in the heart of Nagoya.

Hitsumabushi in Nagoya - Creative CommonsHitsumabushi (Nagoya’s specialty) — Grilled eel on rice but eaten a little differently than the regular Unagi don. The dish is split into 4 portions: first section to be eaten on its own, 2nd to be mixed with wasabi and other condiments, 3rd with dashi broth or green tea and lastly, a repeat of your favourite style.

Eel isn’t cheap and being the city’s delicacy, you can expect a bowl of Hitsumbushi to cost at least ¥3000 except for a store we found located at the basement of the Shirakawa Sakae Gas Building which sells a bowl for ¥2450.

Nagoya Domatsuri - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Unfortunately we were there on a weekend and during the Nippon Domannaka Matsuri — one of Japan’s largest dance festival held annually at 20 different venues across Nagoya. By the time we arrived at 12pm, they were sold out for the day. Do come early to get your name on the list if you’re here during the weekends.

If you’re craving for something sweet, there’s also a famous soufflé pancake shop in the same building next to the Hitsumabushi restaurant. You’ll be able to see the chefs flipping the fluffy pancakes through the clear glass windows in front of the kitchen.

To be fair, the dance festival added a very cheerful vibe to the whole city where we could view the performances for free at the parks and the streets (which were closed for the weekend). Each dancer had so much enthusiasm in their eyes while performing, we couldn’t help but had our eyes peeled for at least 3 performances.

Nagoya Castle - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Nagoya jo (¥500) — one of the 3 most famous castles in Japan. Apart from accessing the main castle keep, the ¥500 entrance fee also includes access to the reconstructed palace which served as the residence to the royal family. It was entirely reconstructed with replicas of the intricate art work adorning each of the sliding doors.

Osu Kanon Temple - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

Osu Kanon — an iconic Buddhist temple in Nagoya that dates back to the 14th century. Next to the temple is the Osu shopping district where you can find cafes, street snacks as well as vintage stores.

From Nagoya to Kyoto: Before night falls, take the JR Hikari train to Kyoto (52 minutes). Reservation needed.

If you’d like a little more time in the city, stay the night at Nagoya Hostel Nishiasahi and leave for Kyoto the next morning instead.

Day 6: Kyoto

Getting around in Kyoto: Hire a bicycle from J-Cycle (¥800 from 10 – 6pm)

Torii Gates lining pavement Fushimi Inari Shrine - Kyoto Budget

Fushimi Inari Shrine — One of the most photographed places in Kyoto is definitely this. Come early to enjoy the cool air and even take on one of the hikes to the top.

Temple hopping on a bicycle

K-Cycle Kyoto Bicycle Rental - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)J-Cycle — Rent a bicycle once the bike shop opens at 10am to explore the nearby shrines and temples around the Higayashi District. The law here for parking bicycles is pretty strict so make sure you park at the designated areas or risk having it taken away by the authorities. Some will require a bicycle day pass which allows you to park the bicycle at a couple of the other parking areas.

Recommended Cycling Route: J-Cycle – Imperial Palace – Philosopher’s Path – Nanzenji (Free Parking) – Gion Area – Kiyomizudera (Park at Kodaiji) – J Cycle (Approx. 1.5hrs cycling time)

Philosophers path Kyoto - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Philosopher’s Path — a pleasant stone path lined with sakura trees and roaming cats.

Nanzenji - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide ( Tokyo to Osaka)
Photo credit: Kosu

Nanzenji — One of the most important Zen temples in Japan containing multiple subtemples in the large complex.

Kiyomizu dera - Kyoto Budget

Kiyomizu-dera — on the list of UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for it’s 13m high wooden stage perched on the hillside.

Nishiki Market - Kyoto Budget

Nishiki Market — Nishiki market closes at 6pm so return your bicycles and have an early dinner here. Have your fill of matcha snacks, grilled skewers and large oysters.

Read more at 16 Foods you must not miss in Osaka and Kyoto.

Day 7:


Arashiyama Bamboo Forest - Japan JR Pass Budget GuideStart the day as early as first light! We’ve seen the place get crowded as early as 9am when the tour buses start arriving and the atmosphere is quite drastically different. Walk through the thick forest of bamboo stalks which and make a stop at the various gardens around the Arashiyama area. Each garden costs around ¥300 to enter.

Moss Garden at Gio-ji Temple - Kyoto Budget
Moss Garden at Gio-ji Temple


Day 8: Kyoto — Nara — Osaka

From Kyoto to Nara: Catch the JR Special Rapid Service which arrives in Nara in 45 minutes. No reservations needed for this train.

Getting around in Nara: Nara is pretty small and it’s attractions aren’t too far away to cover by foot although it’s also very bicycle friendly. Rent bicycles for ¥700 until sunset. You can leave your luggage at the JR Station lockers for ¥300-500 depending on the size of locker.

cherie surrounded by deers nara deer park - nara budget guideDeer Park — To be honest, there’s no need to stop by the deer park as the deers can be found everywhere and are free to roam even on the temple grounds. Buy a stack of biscuits for ¥150 which the deers will bow to you just be fed which is absolutely adorable although, be careful of your JR Pass as they will happily gobble that up too.

todaiji temple - nara budget guideTodai-ji (¥500) — Houses the a large Buddha statue and is possibly one of the largest wooden structures in the world. Though be warned, this is a famous sight for school excursions so Nara could in fact be better visited over the weekends.

Kasuga Taisha - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Kasuga Taisha (free) — Leading up to the shrine is a pathway lined with hundreds of lanterns where deers like to hide. They’ll happily trot out for a biscuit if you have one for them.

From Nara to Osaka: Once you’re done with Nara, collect your luggage from the lockers and take the JR Yamatoji Rapid Service to Osaka (Slightly under an hour). No reservations needed.

Day 9: Osaka

Getting around Osaka: If it’s your first time in Osaka, purchase an Osaka Amazing Pass which gives you free access to over 30 paid attractions and covers all your subway rides the day. Check out our previous Osaka itinerary which utilised the Osaka Amazing Pass over 2 days.

Minoo Park Waterfall - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Minoo Park — If you’re looking to escape the city life for a bit, take a quick train ride out to Minoo Park. It’s an easy 2.4km walk with a gorgeous waterfall to chill by.

Dotonbori - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Dotonbori — No matter how many times we’ve visited Osaka, I still find myself amazed at this street. Not just the food but the streets filled with neon lights, giant pufferfish and moving crabs kind of make you feel like you’re on an acid trip.

takoyaki covered in raw egg, bonito flakes and mayonaise

Our favourite food picks here are the Creo-ru takoyaki, the Kin-ryu ramen (chinese style ramen with free flow kimchi and leek), and to finish off with one of the best melon pans in Japan.

Day 10: Osaka — Tokyo — Catch Flight home

From Osaka to Tokyo: Take the Sunrise Izumo overnight train which leaves Osaka Station at 00:34 (Reserve tickets early!) and arrive in Tokyo at 07:08.

Sunrise Izumo train from Osaka to Tokyo - JR Pass Japan Budget GuideSunrise Izumo: The train has private bedrooms which you can pay a top up fee but the Nobi Nobi seats (below) are free for JR pass holders. These are a little more comfortable than coach seats as you get to lie down fully and there are partitions that give you enough privacy.

interior of the Sunrise Izumo train from Osaka to Tokyo - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide

We’re huge fans of taking overnight transport as it saves the time travelling (while you sleep). What’s more, you save a night of accommodation covered by the JR pass! Double-win.

Though, another highlight of this train is that it rides past Mount Fuji at sunrise around 5am so set your alarms if you want to catch this sight.

Narita Express to Narita Airport - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Back in Tokyo, if you have extra time to spare before catching your flight home, leave your luggage at Tokyo station so you can collect them before taking the Narita Express (JR train) to the airport.


Tokyo: Wise Owl Hostel

Even on our previous trip, Wise Owl hostel has been a favourite for it’s ultra comfortable beds (all Simmons btw!) and of excellent location! You can read our full review of Wise Owl Hostel here. But they also recently opened a new outlet near Shibuya in a quiet neighbourhood that’s also within walking distance to a street full of small cosy pubs and izakayas. A great option if you have more time to chill in Tokyo. If you’re headed to the airport the next day, the Tokyo outlet has the perfect location — right next to Hachabori station which is just 1 stop from Tokyo main station.

Tokyo OutletWise Owl Hostel - quirky-tokyo-guide

Wise Owl Hostel - quirky-tokyo-guide

Address: 3 Chome-22-9 Hatchobori, 中央区 Tokyo 104-0032, Japan
¥2600 (Seasonal rates)

Shibuya Outlet
Wise Owl Hostel Shibuya - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

Wise Owl Hostel Shibuya Cafe - Tokyo to Oskaka
Wise Owl’s very own cafe at the Shibuya Outlet

Address: 4 Chome-9-10 Aobadai, Meguro, Tokyo 153-0042, Japan
Cost for dorm bed: ¥2500 – 3600 (Seasonal rates. Check the Wise Owl Hostel Website for the best rates)

Odawara (Hakone): Plum Hostel

Address: Japan, 〒2500011 神奈川県小田原市 栄町3-4-17 相湘11栄町ビル 2F-B

Nagoya: Nagoya Hostel Nishiasahi

First started as a restaurant and bar, Nishiasashi extended it’s 2nd floor into cosy living space for its guests. The capsule style beds were super spacious (enough to fit your backpack), perfect for a stopover on the way from Tokyo to Osaka.Nagoya Nishiasahi Restaurant and Guesthouse - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka) Capsule bed at Nagoya Nishiasahi Restaurant and Guesthouse - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

Address: 1 Chome-6-13 Nagono, Nishi Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 451-0042, Japan
¥3,000 (Capsule style dorm beds)

Kyoto: Centurion Cabin & Spa

One of our favourite accommodations on this trip which matched just about everything a traveller could ask for. Located right outside the subway station (Shijo Station), stylish rooms and even a jacuzzi in the bathroom — one of the cheaper accommodations on the trip to boot!Kyoto Centurion Cabin & Spa - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka) beds at the Kyoto Centurion Cabin & Spa - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)Jacuzzi at the Kyoto Centurion Cabin & Spa - JR Pass Japan Budget Guide (Tokyo to Osaka)

Address: Japan, 〒600-8441 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, 四条通高倉西入立売西町68-2
¥2,125 (Capsule beds)

Osaka: Ark Hostel

bunk beds at the ark hostelAddress: 1 Chome-15-11 Edobori, Nishi Ward, 大阪市西区 Osaka Prefecture 550-0002, Japan
Cost: ¥2,900/night for a dorm bed

For more budget accommodation options in Osaka check out 10 Budget Accommodations in Osaka Under $50

Extra Pro-tips

1) Book your JR pass before arriving save up to $20 when you order your pass through Klook.

2) Start in Tokyo or Osaka?  the main deciding factor is, which theme park would you prefer? USJ in Osaka and Disneyland/Disneysea in Tokyo are both very famous attractions in Japan and chances are, you’d want to visit at least one of them. But since theme parks take up an entire day, it’s a day wasted on your JR pass. If you’re planning to cover USJ, plan to fly into Osaka so you can activate the JR Pass only when you decide to leave Osaka (same for Disneyland in Tokyo).

3) Visit Nagoya during the weekends — while we rarely recommend visiting places during the weekends, Nagoya is more alive over these days of the week. If you’re lucky you might even get to catch a festival like the Domatsuri we caught at the end of August. On top of that you’d also get to enjoy the discounted 1 day pass (Donichi Eco Kippu) which covers both bus and subway for ¥600 instead of the regular subway-only pass which costs ¥740.

4) Visit Nara during the weekends — surprise, surprise once again. Reason being, the Todai-ji is a common site for school excursions which typically happen on weekdays. You might be better off dealing with other travellers than an entire school of children.

5) Make reservations for the Sunrise Izumo once you arrive in Japan — one way to maximise the value of the JR pass is to take a round trip from Tokyo to Osaka. On top of that, score a night of free accommodation on the Sunrise Izumo (a 7 hour ride from Osaka to Tokyo). Though, these run out pretty quickly so book them as soon as you can.

Klook TTI Promo YESTTI

Heading to Japan for your year-end holidays? First-time Klook users can get S$55 off the JR Pass and more when booking via the Klook app! Just use our exclusive promo code <TTIYES> when you check out to enjoy the discount.

To meet the minimum spend of S$500, you can easily get S$55 off when you follow our itinerary above:

1) 7D Whole Japan JR Pass: $338
2) 7D Japan WiFi: $28 ($4/day unlimited)
3) Tokyo Skyliner: $25.90
4) 1D Tokyo Disneyland/sea Ticket: $86
5) All-You-Can-Drink Sake Buffet Bar: $40
Total: $517.90

For regular Klook users, you can also use <YESWAY50> for S$50 off!
Promo valid till 31st Dec 2018.

Hello/Greetings こんにちは Konnichiwa
Thank you ありがとうございます Arigato gozaimasu*
Cheers! (toasting) かんぱい Kanpai
Sorry/Excuse Me ごめなさい Gomenasai/ すみません Sumimasen
To show appreciation before eating  いただきます Itadakimasu*
Delicious おいしい Oishii
The meal was delicious
(appreciation for the meal)
ごちそうさまでした Gochisou sama deshita

*pronounced without the ‘u’ at the end.

Time zone of Taiwan GMT +9 hours (1 hour ahead of Singapore)
Telephone code +81
Currency ¥ – Japan Yen (JPY)
Power plug & socket outlet Types A & B – 110V 50Hz, 60Hz.Taiwan Power Plug

Hope you found our Japan Budget Guide useful. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other recommendations!

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This post was brought to you by Klook.

ENFP and Co-founder of The Travel Intern. Fuelled by yoga, the outdoors, and anything that spells adventure, she quit her 4 year marketing job to explore yoga for 3 months in India. Back with a little more flexibility, zest for adventures and stories to tell, follow her adventures on Instagram @cheriesyw :)


  1. Great article. But the $1.1k does’t include flight (as per your breakdown) – still a good article! I spent under S$2k (ALL IN, including SHOPPING and food even) for 15D14N, from Tokyo to Osaka as well. If properly planned it will not break the bank. My budget also included michelin Bib place, kobe beef tasting, and oamakase.

    There is a ¥1560 kaisen don in a nice small Japanese speaking only shop around the corner (with the HUGE tuna statue) with overflowing amount of seafood (more than 8 types). Sushi Dai is about ¥4000 for 9+1 course and wait is 3-5 hours depending when you start queueing. I’d say skip the queue and go for other places. I went to Tokyo station for ManTen Oamakase lunch for 16 courses for only ¥3000 per person, and Manten is one of the most affordable omakase in the many articles that recommended places for omakase. The 16 courses included fatty tuna, abalone, uni, etc. The prices are accurate as of 1 Nov as I just returned from Tokyo. I also shared about it in my instagram @celineliew on some of the best finds with great affordability and with limited time there, on how to avoid the crazy queues!

    • Hi Celine! Thanks for your suggestions! Really quite good!

      P.S. the article was meant not to include flight prices. We included them previously, but people also complained that prices fluctuate. I guess it’s not possible to please everybody.

  2. hi, do i have to purchase tokyo skyliner when i alr purchased whole JR pass? i am staying in tokyo for about 3-4 days and return to sg from kansai airport. thanks

    • If you’ve already purchased the 7 day JR pass and only planning to use it within 7 days then you can just book the Narita Express (NEX) at no extra cost. Just remember to make reservations at the JR office.

  3. Hi Cherie,

    I need your advise on the pass I use, is it worth?

    Day 1 to 4
    Reach tokyo and travel to Osaka –> activate the JR Pass
    Purchase the 2 days Osaka Amazing Pass
    If I would like to go to Kyoto for day trip on the 3rd day, can i still use my JR full pass to go there?

    Day 4 to 6
    Go to Hakone in the afternoon via Odawara, use my JR full pass.
    Purchase hakone free pass (this can only travel around hakone right?)
    If I would like to travel to lake kawaguchiko, i have to purchase the Fiji Hakone Pass?

    Day 6 to 9
    Go to Tokyo in the afternoon from Hakone, use JR full pass
    Travelling around Tokyo using the regular pass

    Day 9
    Go to Haneda Airport from Tokyo – I have to purchase normal pass?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Elvin, if you’re getting the Hakone Free Pass/Fuji Hakone Pass, I would recommend doing those before activating the JR Pass. Reason being, these passes cover the journey from Shinjuku to Odawara (Hakone)/Kawaguchiko and it’s a day wasted on the JR Pass.

      Here’s what I would do:
      – Explore Tokyo to your hearts content (this was useful for travelling within Tokyo:
      – Use the Hakone Free Pass ( or Hakone Fuji Pass to explore Hakone and Kawaguchiko
      – When you’re done with Hakone, take the Hikari Shinkansen from Odawara (no need to return to Shinjuku) to Kyoto (it’s nearer than Osaka)
      – Use the JR pass to get to Osaka/Nara/Kobe (both are only ~30 minutes away)
      – Use the JR pass to travel from Osaka back to Tokyo (Since you’re pushing the last 7 days to the end, you’ll even be able to take the Narita Express to the airport with the JR Pass too)

      Hope this helps!

  4. Hi there, I will be taking the Sunrise Izumo overnight train from Osaka to Tokyo same as your itinerary but just wondering what did you guys do after you check out from the hotel/hostel/dorm? because checking out is usually at 11am, so what can you do for roughly 12 hours with you carrying your luggage around?

    • Hi Yan, you can usually leave your bags at the accommodation even after check out. Alternatively, you could bring your bags to the station and keep them in the lockers for ¥400 – ¥700 (depending on size of locker). We actually took the Sunrise Izumo on the night of day 9 so day 9 is what we did that day 🙂

  5. Hi,
    From your itinerary, you are staying in different places every night. So do you just travel with a backpack? If so what happen to the luggage then?

    Any other recommendation to stay other than hostel?

    • Hi Stephanie! It’s possible to travel with a luggage as well and we alternate depending on the activities we do. Unfortunately we travel budget so mainly look at hostels. They can be quite comfortable really!

  6. hi, we are staying on Yokohama and heading to Nagoya the next day instead of returning to Tokyo. What is the best way to get to Nagoya from Yokohama using the JR pass? Thank you!!

    • Unfortunately yes as you will need a valid JR Pass before making reservations. The Japanese system is a little strict.

  7. Hello i will visit japan for 8 nights and 9 days is it practical to buy JR Pass if i will stay 3 night in Tokyo ang 3 nights in Osaka and arriving in Narita departure in Osaka and plan to visit Mt. Fuji Hakone, Kyoto, Nara , Osaka and etc. I need Advice Thanks

  8. Hi! I’m planning to take the overnight train from Osaka to Tokyo! how do you make reservations for the Sunrise Izumo once you arrive in Japan? Do I need to activate my JR pass before I can book?

    • You can get it reserved at any JR Travel service centre at the stations. That’s also where you can get your JR passes validated. You can get the pass validated once you arrive and ask for it to begin at a later date if you wish so I suppose you should be able to make reservations when you’re at the counter!

  9. Hi Cherrie!
    This is my first time planning to Japan (on budget) and would need your advise!
    My plan is 11D10N to Tokyo (3 days) -Kyoto (4 days include 1 day in nara)-Osaka (3 days)-Tokyo.

    1. Which transport pass can i buy for all to go all these places? (There’s JR, Japan Rail pass etc)
    2. Can i use the suica pass for all these places? Or is it more advisable to buy some 3-day pass etc?

    Appreciate if you can drop me an email 🙂
    Thank you!

    • Hello! If you’re going from Tokyo to Osaka and back to Tokyo again, it definitely makes sense to purchase the 7 day Whole Japan Pass. You can activate it on the day you leave Tokyo and make sure you take the Osaka – Tokyo train on Day 7 of the pass. This will cover all your JR trains including the local ones when you’re in Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Previously, I wrote a guide on the JR Pass you can check out here:

      For IC cards like Suica, you can use this for everything — on for the bus, subways and JR trains throughout Japan. It’s super convenient. While on the JR pass, you probably won’t need it unless you’re taking the non-JR trains like the subway. In Tokyo before your pass gets activated, I’d recommend the Tokyo 24, 48 or 72 hour subway ticket. If you preorder them, you can collect it from the airport when you arrive in Tokyo.

      • Thanks for the prompt reply.
        What about if i go from Tokyo to Kyoto to Osaka (not going back to Tokyo), do i still purchase the 7 day whole jap pass?

        What’s the diff between subway tix and JR pass?
        Thank you!

        • If it’s just one way and you’re not covering any other cities other than these 4, you can just get an IC card and top up accordingly. Are you planning for a winter trip? If so, you might want to consider exploring more cities which would make sense to get a JR pass. We have a Japan winter itinerary too:

          The JR trains and subway run under different companies so the subway ticket only allows you unlimited access on the subway trains. Each city has a different subway company so they run on different passes. The JR pass will only be valid at JR stations.

          • Nope, not winter trip (going on 8-17nov) 🙂
            So the better transportation way is just get the IC card to go from tokyo-kyoto-nara-osaka? Not to get any Rail passes/JR passes.

  10. Hi,

    I am going to Japan in Oct. I decided to purchase the 7 days JR pass to travel to Osaka and Kyoto..

    Day 1 to 3
    Will use JR pass to take train from Narita airport to Osaka. Travelling around Osaka with the JR pass. Do I still need to purchase anymore pass to travel around Osaka?

    Day 3 to 5
    Going down to Kyoto from Osaka. Same as what I’m doing in Osaka. Will travel around Kyoto with the JR pass.

    Day 5 to 9
    From Kyoto, travel down to Tokyo. Last 2 days will use normal card from Tokyo back to Narita airport.

  11. Hi! Thanks for the amazing itinerary! My friend and I will be following closely to this! 🙂

    i noticed your day 10 is actually day 8 of the JR pass. Can we still use the JR pass if we were to activate it on Day 3 like this itinerary?

  12. Hi, Me and my wife like your website so much ! After reading your Tokyo to Osaka’s experience, we decided to go there in mid November to End November. We plan 11 day trip from Hiroshima. And this is our first time going to Japan. Here is our plan :
    Day 1 -2 Singapore to Hiroshima and walk around Hiroshima
    Day 3 Hiroshima to Osaka (Start to use JR Pass – Day 1)
    Day 4. Osaka to Kyoto (JR Pass – Day 2)
    Day 5. Osaka to Nagoya (JR Pass – Day 3)
    Day 6. Nagoya (JR Pass – Day 4)
    Day 7. Nagoya – Tokyo (JR Pass – Day 5)
    Day 8 – Day 10. Tokyo (JR Pass – Day 6)
    Day 11. Tokyo back to Hiroshima and back to Singapore (JR Pass – Day 7)

    Question – questions :
    – Can you suggest if we can make good use of the time there ? We will go there with our boy 11 year old. Please kindly advise if you can suggest any other idea as this is our first time there. Is the agenda there too rush ?
    – Do you think we use the JR Pass correctly ? with 7 Day JR Pass
    – How to know which train / bus we can use with JR Pass ?
    – Can suggest what is the good place to visit on the cities I plan to visit there 🙂
    – Please kindly advise if you have any thoughts 🙂 …

    Thank you so much.

    • Hi Madrex! Happy that the articles have been useful 🙂

      Note on the 7-day Whole Japan JR Pass is that Day 1 begins on the first day you use it. The means on Day 11, your JR Pass will no longer be valid. Have you confirmed your flights? You might save more if you fly in from Hiroshima and fly out from Tokyo.

      For your itinerary, you might want to consider the 5-Day Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass ( instead. I previously wrote an 8-day Kansai itinerary you can check out: I think your son will love the Bunny island 🙂

      If you’d still like to cover Tokyo, I’d highly recommend booking your flight out from Tokyo and getting a one-way ticket from Osaka – Tokyo or Osaka – Nagoya – Tokyo. But if your flights have been confirmed, the round trip from Osaka – Nagoya – Tokyo – Hiroshima will be cheaper, although I would highly recommend more days for the trip. For more info about the JR Pass, I think you’ll find our JR Pass Guide useful!

        • If you need a return ticket, getting another 7 day Whole Japan JR Pass is cheaper, even if you’re only using it for 2 days.

          If it’s only one way, you can purchase single tickets from the JR Pass station — ideally the night before your train ride.

  13. Hi, I read many sites online that it is hard to book the Sunrise Izumo especially during the New Year holiday season (
    28Dec – 3rd Jan), they are available for reservation one month advance for local but as foreigner we can only buy it when arrived Japan.
    I really want to experience the overnight train experience, please advise is it high chance that I will not get a ticket for that ?

    • Unfortunately yes, I’d think there’s a high chance you might not get a seat during that period. When we travelled in August, we couldn’t get our original date either despite booking a whole week in advance. We ended up having to change a fair bit of plans to fit the ride in.

  14. Hello!

    Our stay in Japan would only be for 7 days but technically 5 as we will be arriving in Tokyo dinner time and leaving Japan around the same time.

    Based on your itinerary above, I wanted to skip Nagoya and head straight to Osaka for USJ. Would it still be worth it if we skip a few above?

  15. Hi! This site is amazing webssite.. I have read your 3 japan itinerary

    I will travelling 14 days on February 2019 (winter) and will combine your 3 japan itinerary.
    This is Plan A:
    DAY 1-3 Tokyo
    DAY 4 Hakone . Hakone Free Pass .. (back to Tokyo)
    DAY 5 Kawaguchi (7 day JR pass)
    DAY 6 Nagano (snow monkey)
    DAY 7 Takayama
    DAY 8 Shirakawa-go
    DAY 9-10 Kyoto
    DAY 11-13 Osaka
    DAY 14 Tokyo

    question is: from Kawaguchi to Nagano have to back to Shinjuku according to hyperdia. There is also no bus according to willer bus.. The only way is back to shinjuku..

    or Plan B is :
    DAY 1-3 Tokyo
    DAY 4 Hakone . Hakone Free Pass .. (back to Tokyo)
    DAY 5 Kawaguchi
    DAY 6-8 Kyoto
    DAY 8-10 Osaka
    DAY 10 Nagoya
    DAY 11 Takayama
    DAY 12 Shirakawa-go and Nagano (snow monkey)
    DAY 13 Tokyo
    DAY 14 Tokyo

    It is ok?
    Please kindly advise if you have any thoughts
    Thank you very much..

    • Yup, the only way from the Fuji area to Nagano is via Tokyo. Both itineraries work well but since you need to return to Tokyo, how about starting the trip right away in Kawaguchi? There is an express bus you can take straight from Haneda airport:

      Around the fuji area, you can purchase the Fuji Pass, it works as an e-ticket you don’t need to collect the physical ticket. If you’re only visiting Kawaguchiko, you can just purchase single tickets for the day, I can’t rmb exactly but it wasn’t a lot.

      From there, you can continue on to Hakone before exploring Tokyo from day 3-5 (don’t forget to purchase the Tokyo subway pass!)

      Activate your 7-day JR Pass on Day 6 so that it covers the 2 most expensive train rides from Tokyo – Kyoto & Nagano – Tokyo.

      Hope that helps!

  16. Hi Cherie,

    Thanks for the useful article. I will be travelling to Japan on this November and have planned my itinerary.. however I have yet to purchase the train tickets to travel from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto. Hope you are able to advise which train passes to get.

    Here’s my plan:

    Day 1 – Tokyo (explore Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku)
    Day 2 – Tokyo (explore Asakusa, Ueno and Akihabara)
    Day 3- Tokyo – Osaka
    Day 4- Day trip to Kyoto
    Day 5- Osaka
    Day 6- Osaka – Tokyo (Hakone / Kawaguchiko)
    Day 7- Tokyo (Ginza)
    Day 8- Tokyo (Leaving Tokyo in the morning)

    Would appreciate if you could advise on the rail passes to purchase. Do you think I should go for the 7 days JR pass?

    Thanks in advance!

  17. Hi Cherie,

    Based on your itinerary above, I wanted add on Mt fuji trip and head straight to Osaka for USJ. Would it possible to add on since me and partner is first time travel to japan. I will travelling to japan on 7 March 2019 (morning reach narita airport) to 18 March 2019(morning flight).

    What is your advise on the itinery?

    How about the JR Pass? Would appreciate if you could advise on the rail passes to purchase. Do you think I should go for the 7 days JR pass?

    Thanks in advance.

  18. HI Cherie,
    I would like to enquire is it better to fly out from KIx airport than Narita i had trouble planning for that kind of stuck .
    Well i am kind of worried that kix airport close again due to typhoon just like this yerar

    • Hi Christopher, no one can predict the weather and the typhoon can always hit any other airport or city too. Typhoon season is generally from May to October, with the peak in August and September. Perhaps you can avoid travelling there during that period!

      • Thank you for your reply if there is the case please ignore my previous post is it better to fly out from Kix or narita . I will most likely be traveling during August for my anime event in Tokyo then i will travel down to Osaka but which choices will be my best choice fly out from kix or take shinkansen back to narita airport from there fly out .