Hakone instead of Toyko for 1 night?

Old Jan 17th, 2015, 02:28 PM
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Hakone instead of Toyko for 1 night?

Coming off of a 5 week trip in Asia, we've got 5 nights in Kyoto and only one night to spend in either Tokyo or Hakone on way to NRT. My initial plan was one night in Tokyo at the Palace, but the thought of trying to make a little sense of Tokyo in that short of time sounds daunting. Then, I realized i could take the bullet train from Kyoto to Odawara and the Hyatt in Hakone would pick us up. I'm picturing relaxing in an onsen and beautiful mountain views as perhaps a better alternative to Tokyo and a good precedent for a long flight back to US. Yet, my cursory reading about Hakone also sounds rather complicated. Plus, the fact it's a Friday night, April 17th, smack dab in the middle of cherry blossom time, might make the region extremely crowded. What would you do?
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 07:53 PM
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At the end of a long trip, I'd probably do something easy like stay in Narita (in town) that last night. Narita is a temple town.

We loved the Hyatt at Hakone, so it is hard for me to advise against it. It is do-able, depending on what time your flight leaves Narita. And getting the Hyatt to pick you up ay Odwara eliminates the very crowded little trains. You will still want to go on the ropeway from the Hyatt for the incredible views.
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 08:12 PM
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Hakone doesn't have to be complicated. YOUR Hakone visit can be simple: they pick you up, take you to the hotel, the next day you go to the airport. Then depending on your arrival/departure times you can enjoy some of the Hakone loop.

Staying in Tokyo has an advantage if you stay at a hotel where the airport bus stops. Step out of the hotel, board a bus, get off the bus at the airport.

From the Hyatt, you would go to Odawara then train to Narita Express station, then the N'Ex to the airport.

I've considered that for a future itinerary (arriving from somewhere west, like Kyoto) that I would stay at the Hilton at Odawara to soak and relax and then go to NRT the next day.
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Old Jan 17th, 2015, 08:18 PM
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>>What would you do?

One thing I would do is not worry about it being cb season if I had the reservation booked in advance.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 04:00 AM
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We agonized about whether to leave from Hakone or Tokyo for our trip last June. We had one night planned for Hakone and thought we might stay a second night and go to Narita from there. In the end, we had no choice because the ryokan didn't have a room for us on the last night, but we figured it out just in case. Our flight left at 11am and if it had left any earlier it would have been difficult to make connections. That said, I'm glad we left from Tokyo - - there were too many connections through the stations and we would have been dragging all our bags around from one track to another. We had a straight shot to Narita from Tokyo - - much less stressful for us.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 04:01 AM
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Thanks Kathie & mrwunrfl,
Our plane leaves NRT Sat. at 7pm and we could arrive in Odawara Fri. at 10:36am from Kyoto…..so I figure we'd be at the Hyatt by noon. I'd like to see the Open Air Museum, do the ropeway as you said, and maybe something else easy and soak. I've read the restaurant at the Hyatt isn't great, so if anyone has a dinner recom somewhere close I'd love to hear it.

On Sat, we could take the 14:11 train from Odawara and arrive at NRT at 16:03 which I believe would be enough time before our 19:15 flight. So, that gives us 24 hours in Hakone.

I'm also going to check into having our suitcases shipped to NRT from the Kyoto Hyatt, which I'm told takes 2 days. So then we'd just have an overnight bag to bring to Hakone.

I hadn't considered Narita, though, and will look into that town.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 06:05 AM
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I'd say that the Hyatt Hakone is a very good choice for a last night before leaving. It's a perfect place to chill out and relax -- the lounge area and the complimentary wine in the late afternoon is especially good for that -- and/or explore the sites that barefootbeach mentions. I thought that the in-house restaurant was very good; my only issue is that the range of selections is limited. Another alternative is an excellent ton-katsu place on a side street between Gora Park and the Gora station area.

mrwunrful, if you haven't been to the Hilton before, it's a very different type of place compared to the Hyatt -- Hilton is much bigger, more of a family-type resort, also with many more activities on-site.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 08:16 AM
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We had very good food at the Hyatt, though, as Don points out, the menu is limited. You will want to eat dinner at the hotel. There is an evening "happy hour" with a goodly variety of free drinks and wine. We had champagne then ordered a light dinner.

You will have a good amount to time to enjoy Hakone - I'd do it!

We had our luggage shipped from Kyoto to Hakone, then took the luggage with us from Odwara to Narita. We booked her green car so there would be plenty of space for our luggage.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 12:52 PM
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FromDC, sorry I missed your comment whenI was writing at the same time. Since our flight leaves at 7pm, it does give us more time to get there. Don & Kathie, glad to hear you liked the dinner at the resort…don't care if there are few choices as long as they are good ones and for convenience, I don't mind eating at the hotel. Some TA reviews weren't positive about the food.

Kathie, what's the green car? Is it a special service of the Hyatt?
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 01:06 PM
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Green car is a nicer rail car on JR. Call it first class. There are green cars on both trains you would use to get from Odawara to NRT.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 01:21 PM
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The green car costs a bit more, but if you are hauling luggage, I think it is worth it. Wherever you buy your train tickets, do ask that they print them in English.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 02:58 PM
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If you just travel on a Shinkasen, is there room at your seat for a carry-on sized suitcase?
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 03:13 PM
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Not necessarily. The various Shinkasen cars are configured differently from each other. We were convinced of the utility of the Green car after riding on a Shinkasen from Tokyo to Kanazawa. It was double decker, two seats on one side, three on the other. Fortunately, we only had our airplane carry-ons (we'd sent our luggage ahead) but ti was still a tight fit. I saw a Japanese women sitting with her large suitcase between her legs and the seat in front of her.
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Old Jan 18th, 2015, 03:55 PM
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Big difference if the flight is at 7pm but I would really urge you to send your bags ahead to the airport. We travelled to Hakone with only a backpack with overnight change of clothes, would have been a real pain with even a small suitcase. At our ryokan, they even commented on what a good thing it was that we could travel so lightly.
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Old Jan 19th, 2015, 04:27 PM
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We are going to send our luggage ahead from Kyoto to NRT but they have to be shipped 3 days before departure! (since April is a busy month) That's a lot! Perhaps we can still book a green car to Odowara from Kyoto….I still am trying to figure out this JR stuff…so complicated…so many types of passes!

From Osaka's Kansai airport, I'm going to forego the recommended Haruka express to Kyoto because if we ship our luggage to the Hyatt after landing…they don't arrive until the next day and coming off a long flight from India, don't think I want to do that. Instead, we're going to book the door-to-door Shuttle Service that takes a bit longer, but at least we'll have our luggage with us without trying to wrestle them onto a train. Think the cost is about the same.

Here I thought a quick stopover in Japan would be easy…instead, this is taking much more investigation and planning than I originally thought.
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Old Jan 19th, 2015, 07:05 PM
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I can't imagine that you need a rail pass. Given your simple itinerary, individual tickets would be cheaper.
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Old Jan 19th, 2015, 08:19 PM
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Plenty of room for luggage on the Haruka train from KIX to Kyoto. It's not at all a fast train, tho.
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Old Jan 19th, 2015, 08:56 PM
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We spent a night in Hakone, and had to be at Narita by 2:30 for a 5PM flight. We left after breakfast at our inn and had no problem getting to the airport with plenty of time, even though a typhoon was on its way through and we had to take a limo bus instead of the train form Tokyo station.

I don't know how much luggage you plan to take, but I have traveled on many shinkansen and I have never had to carry my bags on my lap. There is usually a space at the back/front of each car and decent overhead racks that fit our 21" wheeled bags and backpacks (school style, not a camping backpacks).

Last month we took two shinkansen, two subways, and two regular trains. We put all our things overhead, except on one where we put the suitcases in the back.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 08:50 AM
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Just take one rollaboard each, or less. If you have more than that then just ship it from KIX to NRT.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 01:43 PM
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I'm definitely only taking one roll aboard and shipping the rest. I get too stressed out trying to find my platform/car without trying to deal with several pieces of luggage, Is there anyone at train stations that would help us find the correct platform/ train…especially if we get reserved seats we'd have to find the right car. I guess we could pay a porter to help even though we won't need help with luggage. I've figured out that the pass won't work for us….especially now that I don't want to use Haruka to get to Kyoto.
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