Trip Report

Winter Japan by train

We spent about 2 weeks with a Japan Rail Pass exploring the highlights of Japan, from Tokyo to Hiroshima, Shibu Onsen to Disneysea.

by emma and david, teamthomastravelsAbout Me:We're a husband and wife travel blogging couple from the UK. Since we met in 2015, we have travelled as much as possible. Between us we have visited around 50 countries and 6 continents - just need to make it to Australia/New Zealand to hi... read more

AsiaJapan11 days / January 2020

Highs & Lows

Watching the sun go down over Mt Fuji in Kamakura

Credit cards aren't accepted as widely as possible, so we had to find ATMs very frequently

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    We'd have taken way more cash! Turns out cards aren't nearly as widely used as you'd expect in Japan, cash is still king!

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    We got on the wrong train to Fushimi Inari, make sure you take the slow train that stops everywhere, the Rapid skips Inari!

  • How was the food?

    Gion Yuki (Kyoto), Genki Sushi (Tokyo) and any street market!

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Buy a Japan Rail pass! It will literally save you a fortune. And reserve your bullet train seats the day before.

  • Packing tips?

    Japan in winter wasn't as cold as we'd expected, more like British weather.

  • Transportation Tips?

    Stick to JR line metro trains to save money as you can use your rail pass on them.

  • Any surprises?

    You will be sent an e ticket for Disneysea but you still have to physically print it off and take it to the park - you can't scan your phone at the barriers.

  • Booking details?

    We booked all our hotels with and flew with Air France who were excellent. Book the Tokyo Skytree on Expedia to save a few pounds.


  • Tokyo has many many hotels to choose from. We'd recommend somewhere central and near an underground station, like the Best Western, Akihabara.

  • We stayed in a real mix to explore the range of accomodations in Japan. We stayed our first night in a pod hotel and another night in a self catered apartment. We'd recommend 2 nights of luxury at Kyoto Yura MGallery.

  • There are plenty of budget friendly basic hotels in the centre.

  • Like any big city Osaka has a wide range of hotels to suit all budgets.

  • Back in our Best Western Akihabara

  • Stay in a traditional Ryokan like Senshinkan Matsuya which includes incredible dinner and breakfast and a transfer to see the snow monkeys.