Introduction to Japan - 2015: Itinerary

Our travel plan

Below is a table with the broad picture of our itinerary. Below that is a more detailed day-by-day description of the plan as of the date at the bottom of the page.

An itinerary is a plan as of a particular point in time of where to go, when, and how. But plans change, sometimes even from moment to moment. So our plans may change based on weather, surprise opportunities, changing interests, and factors beyond our control.

Takayama, Kyoto, Hakone, and Tokyo


Days, Dates, Cities and Notes
Day Date Itinerary
Sun 12 April Leave Denver in A.M. to LAX then to NRT
Mon 13 April Arrive Tokyo Narita (NRT); hotel shuttle bus to Hotel Nikko Narita
Tue 14 April To Takayama by train (JR Pass)
Wed 15 April Takayama
Thu 16 April Takayama
Fri 17 April To Kyoto by local train and shinkansen (JR Pass)
Sat 18 April Kyoto
Sun 19 April To Hakone / Mt. Fuji area by shinkansen (JR Pass)
Mon 20 April Hakone to Tokyo, by shinkansen (JR pass)
Tue 21 April Tokyo
Wed 22 April Tokyo
Thu 23 April Morning free, then shuttle bus to Narita
Depart for Denver; arrive evening of same day(!)


Flying Singapore Airlines (SQ)! Here is a promotional video


Sun., April 12

We're taking off
* Depart DIA on flight SW 847 at 12:05 a.m.
* Arrive Los Angeles at 1:40 p.m.
* Transfer to international terminal (Terminal B)
* Depart Los Angeles on flight SQ 11 at 3:45 p.m.

Mon., April 13

We arrive in Japan
* Arrive Narita International Airport, Terminal 1, at 7:15 p.m.
* Quarantine, Immigration (passport)
* Pick up bags, Customs
* Exchange currency
* Set JR passes to activate on Tuesday, April 14
* Shuttle bus to Hotel Nikko Narita
* Bus schedule (PDF document)
* Check in, explore neighborhood
* Dinner in local restaurant (or just crash!)

Tue., April 14

To Takayama
* Breakfast in hotel
* 7:05 Hotel shuttle bus to Narita Airport Terminal 1
* 7:44 Narita Express 4 to Shinagawa, arrive 9:15 (JR Pass)
* 9:40 Shinkansen Hikari 507 to Nagoya, arrive 11:17
* 11:43 Hida Express 9 to Takayama, arrive 2:08 p.m. (JR Pass)
   (lunch: bento on train, own expense)
* Everyone is taken to Open Heart Pension
* Dinner at Pension, included
* All driven into town for evening parade
* Shuttled back to pension

Wed., April 15

* Breakfast in pension
* Visit Hida Furukawa
* Lunch at Hida Hotel plaza (own expense)
* Visit Takayama Festival site
* Dinner at pension, included

Thu., April 16

* Breakfast in pension
* Visit Shirakawa-go
* Lunch at Yohei (on own)
* Kimono experience
* Dinner / reception by Takayama Denver Friendship Association
* Change hotel

Fri., April 17

To Kyoto:
* Breakfast in hotel, included
* Transportation to train station
* 8:00 Hida Express 4 to Nagoya, arrive 10:33 on track 4
* 10:49 Depart track 17, Shinkansen Kodama 637 to Kyoto
* 11:44 Arrive Kyoto, taxi to the Kyoto Itoya Hotel
* Check in to hotel
* Visit Kiyomizu-dera
* Dinner near hotel, included

Sat., April 18

* Breakfast on your own
* Morning: day trip to Nara
* Afternoon: wander Gion area, especially Pontocho
* Dinner near hotel, included

Sun., April 19

To Hakone:
* Breakfast in hotel
* Visit Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillion)
* 2:33 Depart Kyoto, track 12 on Shinkansen Hikari 524
* 4:36 Arrive Odawara
* 4:53 Depart Odawara on Odakyu Ltd. Exp. Hakone 37
* 5:11 Arrive Hakone-Yumoto station
* Shuttle to Hakone Hotel Kowaki-en
* Dinner at hotel (included)

Mon., April 20

Tour Hakone then on to Tokyo:
* Breakfast in hotel
* 8:30 Depart hotel to Gora by Mountain Railroad
* Gora to Owakudani By Cable Car
* Owakudani to Togendai by Rope Way
* Sightseeing Lake Ashi by a pirate ship (30 minutes course) to Hakone Machi; Lunch
* Sightseeing Hakone Machi
* Return to hotel
* Off to Tokyo (local train to shinkansen)
* Walk to the Shinagawa Prince Hotel
**** Note: it's only a block, but I seem to recall it's uphill; taking a short cab ride is OK here
* Recieve PASMO cards
* Dinner TBA; pool money

Tue., April 21

* Train / subway to Tsukiji market (PASMO card)
* Hour at Tsukiji, walk to Hama Rikyu Garden (PASMO card)
* Hour or two at Hama Rikyu Garden, board boat for trip up Sumida river (included)
* Get off boat at Asakusa (an old town area)
* Hour or two at Asakusa, subway to the Ginza (PASMO card)
* Hour or two at Ginza, train / subway back to hotel (PASMO card)
* Rest of day is free time
* Dinner on your own

Wed., April 22

* Breakfast in hotel
* Shinagawa to Yokohama on Keikyu Main Line (many choices; less than 30 minutes) (PASMO card)
* Free time along the Yokohama Yamashita waterfront park
* Visit and lunch at Ramen [noodle] museum
* Train from Yokohama to Naka-Meguro station (on Tokyu Toyoko/Minatomirai Line), then
* Train from Naka-Meguro station to Naka-Okichimachi (on Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)
   for discount shopping at Takeya
* Last night in Japan, dinner together (TBA); pool money
* Late night option: karaoke box

Thu., April 23

Homeward bound (JR Pass and airline ticket):
* Breakfast in hotel
* Airport shuttle bus from hotel to Narita, 3:00 (Charlene leaves at 1:00)
* Depart at 19:15 (7:15 p.m.) on flight SQ 12 to Los Angeles, terminal B
* Arrive at 1:30 p.m.; transfer to domestic terminal
* Depart at 4:10 p.m. on flight SW 980 to Denver
* Arrive Denver at 7:30 p.m.