Here’s the travel diary of our Japan October 2019 trip. As promised, on this Japan Travel Guide we’re going to share COMPLETE TIPS about JR Pass: How to use JR Pass? What is Reserved & Non Reserved Seat of Shinkansen? How to maximize the use of JR Pass? Plus detailed ITINERARY of Fukuoka, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Sanrio Harmonyland, Huis Ten Bosch Nagasaki, Osaka, Nagoya, Shirakawa-go, Takayama, Hitachi National Seaside Park, & Tokyo: where to go, what do do, what & where to eat, how to go there.
Since our trip is long, we decided to divide blogpost about this trip into 2 parts:
This is Part 1 (Day 1 – 6): JR Pass Tips + Itinerary Fukuoka, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Sanrio Harmonyland, Huis Ten Bosch Nagasaki, Osaka
Next is Part 2 (Day 7 – 12): Itinerary Nagoya, Shirakawa-go, Takayama, Hitachi National Seaside Park, & Tokyo
Me and Mr. Jajan finally unlocked so many new destinations and many of our bucketlists on this trip. For your reference, our trip was on the 2nd week of October 2019, the weather was amazing since it’s the early of autumn, it’s not too cold yet you only need light jacket or sweater.
Again, for this trip, we planned our trip well by maximizing the activities and products that are available at Klook www.klook.com/id since it’s more cost efficient and hassle free, also because we don’t need to waste our time queuing at ticket booth, well who doesn’t love cheaper and easier option right?? Of course all Klook’s products that we share on this blog post are tried, tested and approved by us, we only share products or activities that we think worth recommending based on our experiences 🙂
From Fukuoka to Tokyo, our trip was 12 days in total, here’s the main list:
Day 1: Fukuoka
Day 2: Miyajima Island & Hiroshima
Day 3: Sanrio Harmonyland & night stroll at Fukuoka
Day 4: Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki
Day 5: Fukuoka – Osaka
Day 6: Universal Studios Japan, Osaka
Day 7: Nagoya
Day 8: Shirakawa-go & Takayama village
Day 9: Nagoya – Tokyo
Day 10: Tokyo
Day 11: Hitachi National Seaside Park
Day 12: Tokyo, flight back to Jakarta
We’ll try to share all information and itinerary detailed as possible so you can simply follow this blogpost as your trip reference. In case if you have any question, you can ask anything on comment section below.
Let’s start with JR Pass. We planned our trip Jakarta – Fukuoka, Tokyo – Jakarta, so from Fukuoka to Tokyo, we depends on Shinkansen, that’s why we decided to get JR Pass for this trip.
WHY JR PASS? IS IT WORTH IT? SHOULD I GET JR PASS?
Ok this is one of the most asked questions. But the answer is DEPENDS ON YOUR TRIP, if you only explore 1 or 2 cities and never take shinkansen ride, JR Pass would be too expensive. BUT JR Pass CAN BE A GOOD INVESTMENT if you plan explore many destinations and you’re going to take many train/ shinkansen rides.
If you follow our 12 days itinerary, you absolutely have to get JR Pass because we saved quite a lot of money on transportation by using JR Pass. We moved from one to another city with shinkansen, it’s convenient, quick and free with JR Pass.
On first 4 days of our trip, we have ridden JR trains, bus, ferry and shinkansen rides worth more than JPY 40,000/ person only in 4days (free with JR Pass of course). Yesss, that’s a proof that getting JR Pass is really worth it, you just have to know how to maximize it (see the tips below).
We chose JR Pass 14 Days Ordinary www.klook.com/id/activity/1420 for our trip. The Whole Japan Rail Pass is valid at any cities in Japan and can be used at all JR trains, buses, shinkansen and even Miyajima ferry.
HOW TO USE JR PASS?
JR Pass can be purchased only outside Japan so you have to do it before going to Japan. After ordering JR Pass at Klook www.klook.com/id/activity/1420 we had the Exchange Order delivered to our address (Free delivery fee).
Exchange Order is JR Pass purchase proof, you have to bring it to Japan. When you arrive in Japan, bring Exchange Order & Passport to JR Office, the officer will give you the JR Pass.
For every ride, simply bring your JR Pass and show it to the officer, they will open the gate and let you enter.
RESERVED SEAT/ NON RESERVED SEAT??
Each shinkansen/ train has many carriages, some carriages are for reserved seat, some are non-reserved seat. You can see the announcement display, it usually shows which carriage is non-reserved seat.
For example: 09:30 Sakura 544 Hakata to Kokura, Non-reserved seat car 1-5, that means you can freely walk into carriage 1 to 5 and sit anywhere empty, empty seat is usually available but on peak season it might be full and you may end up standing.
For reserved seat, you have to make reservation in advance at JR station office.
HOW TO RESERVE SHINKANSEN SEAT WITH JR PASS?
It’s 100% FREE to reserve seat with JR Pass. You can do it a few days before or a few hours before (if the seat is still available). Normally we make seat reservation 1 or 2 days before.
You simply need to bring your JR Pass and passport, then tell the station officer the station and date, they will help you to reserve the seat and print the seat reservation ticket. On your departure day, make sure to bring your seat reservation ticket as a proof because sometimes officer might check your seat ticket.
Fyi, in case if you need to charge your phone or laptop, you might want to reserve window seat because it usually has plus adaptor.
HOW TO MAXIMIZE THE USE OF JR PASS?
Ok, here’s a MUST INSTALL APP “Japan Official Travel App“. It has similar feature like google map, you can find transportation option to your destination and it has “Prioritize Japan Rail Pass Routes” option, it will show you which ride covers by JR Pass.
With this app you can see how much it costs for each ride and also know how much you can save by using JR Pass.
Before flying to Fukuoka, we booked 4G WiFi for Japan with ID Pick Up www.klook.com/id/activity/17717 and picked up the WiFi device at Soekarno Hatta airport. Upon arriving, we simply need to turn on the WiFi device and connect to internet easily without any problem, quick easy and hassle free.
The Wifi device performed great on our entire trip, the battery lasted all day with unlimited quota (fair usage is 3GB/day, which is huge).
DETAILED DAILY ITINERARY
DAY 1 – FUKUOKA
14.00 – Arrived in Fukuoka Airport + take luggage
14.30 – 14.45 Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Station via Airport Limousine Bus
15.00 Check-in at hotel
16.00 Exchange JR Pass at JR Office Hakata Station
17.00 Meal at Gansho Hakata Mentaiju
18.30 Hakata Canal City Mall
20.00 Dinner at Hakata Daruma Ramen
After visiting Japan for many times, we’re thrilled to finally visiting Kyushu area. The first destination is Fukuoka, one of 10 biggest cities in Japan (population). It is the BIRTH PLACE FOR HAKATA RAMEN, yuppsss the hometown of famous ramen like Ichiran and Ippudo.
Since there is no direct flight from Jakarta to Fukuoka, we opted for transit flight via Hong Kong. For Fukuoka actually there are many transit flight option via Taiwan, Bangkok, etc, you can find which one suits you the best.
Upon arriving, we took bus to the city center (Hakata Station) since our hotel located near Hakata Station. The Airport Limousine Bus from airport to Hakata Station costs JPY 250/ person, you can buy the bus ticket at Airport Limousine Bus counter at arrival area.
Fun fact: Fukuoka’s airport is located very close to the city center, it takes only 15 minutes of bus ride.
WHERE TO STAY IN FUKUOKA?
We stayed at Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel which was pretty nice, clean and neat room, typical business hotel, and very close to Hakata Station (walking distance), there are minimarts nearby too.
GANSHO HAKATA MENTAIJU
Besides ramen, Fukuoka is also famous with mentaiko or spicy cod roe. This restaurant is very famous with all mentaiko based dishes, we have watched so many tv shows featuring it and finally we can try it!! It totally lived up to our expectation.
We ordered Mentaiju Rice Box and Mentaiko Tsukemen. The rice box was so tasty with rice, seaweed, mentaiko and spicy sauce, kinda salty but we don’t mind it. Noodle was also AMAZINGLY delicious, springy noodle dipped into flavorful broth, tasty salty and full of umami (you can add clear broth provided on the table to the soup in case if it’s too salty for you). Approved! TOP MUST TRY IN FUKUOKA!
HAKATA CANAL CITY
It is an iconic shopping mall at Fukuoka. So many stores for shopaholic, foodie will also love it since they have Ramen Stadium, yupsss it’s like restaurant center with many ramen restaurants.
Don’t miss their iconic Fountain Show, it’s free for mall visitors.
Hakata Daruma is one of the popular ramen restaurant serving tonkotsu ramen since 1963. Their strong and unique point would be the aburi toro niki charsiu (torch grilled tender pork slices), very fragrant and tasty.
The ramen was good but not mindblowingly good for us. On the other side, their Charsiu rice was MINDBLOWING, nicely seasoned, beautifully charred, fragrant and tasteful.
DAY 2 – MIYAJIMA & HIROSHIMA
09.45 – 11.50 On the way to Miyajima Island (by Shinkansen + Ferry)
12.00 – 15.00 Lunch and explore Miyajima Island
15.00 – 16.00 Move from Miyajima to Hiroshima
16.00 – 17.00 Hiroshima Peace Park & Monument
17.00 – 19.30 Shopping at Hondori Street & dinner at Okonomimura
19.45 – 20.58 Back to Fukuoka (by Shinkansen)
How to go to Miyajima from Fukuoka?
Since we have JR Pass, we prefer to stay at the same hotel in Fukuoka and have day trip to other cities nearby. Yuppp the perks of having JR Pass is you can have unlimited shinkansen ride for free.
It takes 1hour of Shinkansen ride from Hakata Station (Fukuoka) to Hiroshima Station, and then train ride to Miyajimagushi Station, after that walk for around 250m to JR Miyajima Seaway station for ferry ride to Miyajima Island (The cost is JPY 9,610 in total for one way, but it’s FREE for us since the transportation is covered by JR Pass).
Hiroshima & Miyajima are located nearby so you can schedule one day visit to both destinations.
Upon arriving, you will be greeted by large number of deer.
Miyajima is famous for their Oyster and Momiji Manju so we decided to skip lunch and try as many snacks as possible.
Omotesando Arcade is the main street of Miyajima and literally the busiest area in Miyajima with so many restaurants, cafe, street food and souvenir shops.
We had so many delicious snacks: Oyster Curry Bun, Grilled Oyster (super fresh, huge and tasty, only JPY200 each), Momiji Croissant, Momiji Manju, Fried Momiji Manju, Fried Oyster Sandwich (the fried oyster was sooo juicy and plump yet crispy on the outside).
The floating torii gate of Itsukushima shrine was on renovation so we couldn’t see it unfortunately.
HIROSHIMA CASTLE, HIROSHIMA
On our afternoon walk, we stumbled upon Hiroshima Castle, it looks really majestic.
Hiroshima is famous for their okonomiyaki, their version has noodle in it. One of the most recommended places to find Hiroshima Okonomiyaki is Okonomimura, the building is filled with so many okonomiyaki stalls.
HIROSHIMA PEACE MEMORIAL PARK
The memorial park is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack, and to the memories of the bomb’s direct and indirect victims.
You can see Atomic Bomb Dome there, the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing.
HONDORI SHOPPING STREET, HIROSHIMA
For shopaholic, we highly recommend this shopping street. It kinda reminds us of Osaka’s Tenjinbashisuji shopping street, it is filled with many shops and there are a few shopping malls nearby too.
DAY 3 – SANRIO HARMONYLAND & NIGHT STROLL AT FUKUOKA
09.42 – 11.30 Depart from Hakata Station to Sanrio Harmonyland (by JR Train & Bus)
11.30 – 15.00 Play in Sanrio Harmonyland
15.00 – 15.24 Bus ride from Sanrio Harmonyland to Kitsuki Station
15.31 – 17.28 Depart from Kitsuki Station to Hakata Station
18.00 Explore Tenjin Underground Shopping Mall, dinner at Hakata Isso and explore Yatai food stand at Nakasu River
After Puroland Tokyo last month, we decided to check the other one in Oita. We took shinkansen ride from Hakata Station (Fukuoka) to Kokura Station (Fukuoka) and then to Kitsuki Station. After that we took local bus no.3 to Sanrio Harmonyland. Please note that the bus ride is only available every 1-2hours, it’s better to follow the timing of our route below for best timing.
Since we booked our Sanrio Harmonyland ticket via Klook www.klook.com/id/activity/2610 , we simply need to scan our QR Code voucher at ticketing counter (the price was IDR 300k cheaper in total for both of us compared to the counter price).
The theme park looks really kawaii with rainbow colored ferris wheel. The theme park is really cute, but honestly it is more suitable for family and children visitors, but if you love the cuteness of Sanrio characters, you’ll love it there.
Make sure not to miss the parade and also show (it was halloween parade during our visit on October 2019).
💡AJ Tips: for picture without photobombs, you can do it 5mins before the parade starts.
We spent half day at Sanrio Harmonyland and then head back to Fukuoka for dinner.
TENJIN CHUO PARK
This small park area is really nice for a night stroll with river view. There’s this small coffee shop specializes in soymilk called TOFFEE worth checking. The coffee with soymilk tastes really good, their soymilk really has unique characteristic.
YATAI FOOD STAND – NAKASU RIVER
Along Nakasu River, there are rows of Yatai or small street stalls. YESSS just like the one you see on comics or anime, Fukuoka is really famous for their yatai. Yatai usually opens at night.
RAMEN HAKATA ISSO
Another attempt to satisfy our ramen craving. Hakata Isso’s tonkotsu ramen has rich tonkotsu broth, thick and flavorful with strong pork aroma. It famously known as the Tonkatsu Cappuccino due to the frothy broth.
TENJIN CHIKAGAI/ TENJIN UNDERGROUND SHOPPING MALL
Another famous destination for shopaholic. Tenjin Chikagai has many store worth visiting. The underground shopping mall even has CHUN SHUI TANG, yazzzz the founder of Bubble Milk Tea from Taichung, Taiwan.
DAY4 – HUIS TEN BOSCH, NAGASAKI
09.00 – 11.00 Depart to Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki (by Shinkansen)
11.20 Explore Huis Ten Bosch
19.30 – 21.40 Back to Fukuoka (by Shinkansen)
While planning our trip, we were thrilled to find out that Klook also has Huis Ten Bosch www.klook.com/id/activity/7254 , we immediately put it on our itinerary. It takes 2 hours of shinkansen ride from Hakata Station to Saga Station to Huis Ten Bosch Station (again, FREE with JR Pass).
Known as mini Europe in Japan, Huis Ten Bosch has been on our bucket list for long time. Saw it so many times on tv shows, we were extremely happy to finally visiting it.
The pretty amusement park has unique vibes because it doesn’t look like any place in Japan. It brings the feeling of Netherlands. Huis Ten Bosch is very spacious with different theme on different area, there are many fun rides to try from indoor to outdoor rides.
It has this magical feeling, during the night the amusement park will transform into magical land of lights illumination. TOO PRETTY YOU HAVE TO PUT IT ON YOUR TOP BUCKETLIST!!🌈🌟
DAY5 – OSAKA
08.00 Check-out Hotel, proceed to Hakata Station
08.40 – 11.30 Go to Osaka (by Shinkansen)
11.30 – 12.00 Drop luggage at Hotel
12.00 – 13.30 Lunch
14.00 – 15.30 Osaka Castle
16.00 – 18.00 Shinsekai
18.30 – 19.45 Dinner at Ikkaku
After checking out, we headed to Osaka Station from Hakata Station via shinkansen ride.
WHERE TO STAY IN OSAKA?
In Osaka we usually love to stay at Dotonbori or Namba area, but since we are going to travel a lot with shinkansen, our main focus on searching hotel is to find nearest hotel available within our budget near shinkansen station. So on this trip, we stayed at Hotel Androoms Shin-Osaka, the room was nice with complete amenities, as for location, it’s not the closest option but still easy to reach (around 600-700m walking distance to station).
This is one of our reasons to visit Osaka, BUTAMAN or pork steamed bun from Horai 551. The steamed bun dough is really fluffy and bouncy with delicious juicy minced pork filling. SO GOOD, IT’S A MUST TRY IN OSAKA!!
CANELE DU JAPON
Been wanting to their specialty canele for quite some time, finally we managed to try it on this trip. We visited the store in the afternoon, some flavors were already sold out. The canele was so tasty, as good as expected, the hojicha canele with caramel topping is our top fav!
Known as one of the most important landmarks in Osaka, an afternoon walk to Osaka Castle is always fun.
Shinsekai is an interesting area to visit with nostalgic vibes, it’s basically a market filled with so many restaurants. The iconic Tsutenkaku Tower and also colorful night lights make it prettier at night.
This roast chicken restaurant is very famous among locals so we decided to check it out for dinner. Their roasted chicken comes in two options: tender young chicken or chewy old chicken. Both were tasteful, kinda salty but that’s the addictive part!
DAY6 – UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
09.00 – 10.00 On the way to Universal Studios Japan
10.00 – 19.30 Play at Universal Studios Japan
19.30 Back to Osaka and dinner
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
Universal Studios Japan is always fun to visit. As smart traveler, we couldn’t miss the chance to choose better option that can save our time and money. Since we booked our USJ ticket via Klook www.klook.com/id/activity/835 we can skip the long queue at ticket booth, the price at Klook is cheaper than counter price too. Simply scan the QR Code to enter the theme park.
On October they have Halloween Horror Nights, yupssss many special halloween attractions (all USJ visitors can enjoy Halloween attractions, no need extra ticket needed). The scariest attraction for us would be the horror maze at Cult of Chucky, we screamed a lot!! 😀
The Parade was also on Halloween theme too! So much fun!!
During Halloween Horror Nights, monster are out on the street on night time. Yupsss, now you have new reason to visit USJ during halloween.
Back to Osaka we had this amazing dinner at steak specialty restaurant called Gembei near Namba station. We ordered their Yukke Don, rice bowl with chunks of lightly grilled beef with egg yolk and sweet savory sauce. OISHI!!😋👍🏻🍖🍚
It costs ¥880/bowl, the restaurant has english menu and the staff speaks english too but this new menu is not printed on their english menu yet, so the easiest way to order is by showing them this picture.
Thank you for reading, you can continue reading Part2 for Day 7 until Day 12 itinerary at Nagoya, Shirakawa-go, Takayama, Hitachi National Seaside Park, & Tokyo.
Teaser photo for PART 2
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