Updated: Feb 24, 2019
On our most recent 5-Day trip to Japan, we had a pretty packed itinerary that allowed us to explore a lot of amazing places of interest at Nagano & Niigata!
Of course, this was only possible cause we bought the 5 day JR East Pass!
A JR Pass allows you unlimited rides for long distances within Japan, and is the most economical way to travel for tourists, especially for Free & Independent Travellers.
Also, we flew by ANA (All Nippon Airways), which is actually having DISCOUNTED prices for Domestic flights!! Some are only 72 USD?? :O
You can browse their website here:
What's the difference between JR Pass and JR East Pass? JR Pass covers everything offered by JR East pass and other JR groups.
JR East Pass is cheaper than JR Pass, so you should purchase the passes based on how you plan your trip!
This blogpost is very helpful in deciding which JR pass you should buy: https://tokyocheapo.com/travel/transport/which-jr-rail-pass-to-choose/
If you're planning to visit Niigata & Nagano and will be following closely to our itinerary, a JR East Pass would suffice!
You can buy the JR Pass online to be sent to your home before your trip, or to be delivered to your first hotel of residence (if your trip is coming up very soon).
Watch my IG stories for Nagano HERE!
Watch my IG stories for Niigata HERE!
Reach Narita Airport
JR East Travel Service Center @ Narita Airport
Take Shinkansen to Tokyo Station
Karuizawa Station @ Karuizawa
Shiraito Falls @ Karuizawa (Night Illumination)
Check in hotel Highland Inn Ease @ Karuizawa
Karuizawa Cafe @ Karuizawa (Hammock Cafe)
Onioshidashien @ Karuizawa (Mt Asama)
Shiraito Falls @ Karuizawa (Daytime View)
Outlet Shopping Mall @ Karuizawa
Take Shinkansen @ Karuizawa Station to Nagano
Snow Monkey Park @ Nagano (Snow Monkey in Hot Spring)
Check in hotel Hotel Metropolitan Nagano @ Nagano
Take JR Resortview Furusato to Matsomoto @ Nagano
Matsumoto City Museum of Art (Yayoi Kusama's art)
Matsumoto Castle @ Matsumoto
Matsumoto Shizuka @ Matsumoto (Lunch: Deep fried chicken!)
Zenkoji @ Nagano (Niomon, Nakamise Street, Okaidan Mawari) Temples
Take Shinkansen @ Nagano Station to Gunma
Check in hotel The Hotel METS Takasaki @ Gunma
Take Shinkansen @ Takasaki Station to Niigata Prefecture, Yuzawa Town
GALA Yuzawa @ Niigata Prefecture, Yuzawa Town (The only ski resort with a Shinkansen station in the world)
Muran Gozzo @ Niigata Prefecture, Yuzawa Town (Lunch, "Uonuma Course", Niigata is famous for their delicious rice!)
Ponshukan @ Niigata Prefecture, Yuzawa Town (Sake museum + tasting)
Take GENBI SHINKANSEN (World's fastest art experience) to Niigata City
Pia Bandai @ Niigata Prefecture, Niigata City (Seafood Market, super affordable uni!!)
Northern Culture Museum @ Niigata Prefecture, Niigata City (Watching the making of mochi!)
Check in hotel The Hotel METS Niigata @ Niigata City
Imayo Tsukasa (Sake Brewery) & Minemura Joszo (Miso Manufacturer) @ Niigata Prefecture, Niigata City
Sekaisushi @ Niigata Prefecture, Niigata City (The famous "Kiwami" Sushi Platter)
Reach Niigata Airport @ Niigata Prefecture, Niigata City
A super memorable trip which left us wanting to head back again soon!
So glad to have gone on this trip, and thankful for the kind and warm people we've met along the way!
We hope that our itinerary is helpful in helping you to plan yours as well!
Thank you for reading!