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pitanov Jun 30th, 2004 09:03 AM

Help getting around Japan
We are spending part of our honeymoon in Japan and staying in Kyoto, Fuji and Tokyo (in that order). We've never been to Japan and were wondering if anyone would be able to help us getting around to these places. We will be arriving at Narita airport then going straight to Kyoto. Spending about 4 days in Kyoto and Tokyo and 2 days in Fuji - we are going to attempt to climb Mt. Fuji. Any help is greatly appreciated!

mrwunrfl Jun 30th, 2004 10:00 AM

It's not clear how many days you will be in Japan. Sounds like 8 days:
Day 1 - arrival at Narita & transfer to Kyoto
Days 2,3,4,5 - Kyoto and Tokyo
Days 6,7 - Hakone (for Fuji-san)
Day 8 - departure from Narita

If you can, you should consider flying into Osaka (KIX) and out of Narita. It is an international airport and serves Kyoto.

You have the order correct, IMO, with Hakone after Tokyo instead of between Kyoto and Tokyo.

From Narita you could (I would) take the Narita Express to Tokyo station and then the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen line to Kyoto. The names of the shinkansen trains on that line are Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama. The Nozomi is fastest but you can't use it if you use a Japan Rail (JR) Pass. The Kodama is slowest and you would not want to use it between Tokyo and Kyoto.

To visit Fuji-san from Tokyo, you could take JR to Odawara (the Kodama shinkansen would be ok for this trip).

You can learn about the trains and the JR Pass at Schedule information and online seat reservations for your trip are available at/from that site.

The Odakyu Rail company offers a Romance Car service for visiting Hakone. You can also get a Hakone Free Pass (not free) for transport in the Fuji-Hakone area. Here is the JNTO guide to Hakone:

emd Jun 30th, 2004 10:02 AM

What kind of help are you asking for? Not sure what "help us getting around" means. I have been planning my own trip w/help of people on this board for the last few months. I find they give very good help when they are asked more specific questions.

pitanov Jun 30th, 2004 10:43 AM

I need help in finding out how to get to these 3 places (which train to use and how long each journey will take)
Narita - Kyoto (spending 4 days)
Kyoto-Fuji (2 days here)
Fuji-Tokyo (4 days here before we travel to Manila then back to US)

mrwunrfl Jun 30th, 2004 11:09 AM

Get a 7-day JR Pass. Take the Narita Express to Tokyo connecting to a Hikari shinkansen to Kyoto. The JR office at Narita airport can work this out for you when you pick up your pass. The trip will take about 4 hours. Kyoto to Fuji about 2.5 hours. All that travel for about 28000 yen with reserved seats using JR Pass.

Fuji to Tokyo about a half hour 1500 to 4000 yen. Tokyo to Narita about an hour and a half 2000 to 3000 yen.

Everything you need to know about the travelling is here:
and, optionally, here:

emd Jun 30th, 2004 11:27 AM

mrwunrfl: Could we just download that part of your brain that has this material stored? I'm saying that as a compliment. I'm printing this one too.

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to electronically store the posts and info I have printed out to take it with me on the trip. No one book will do the trick, and I don't want to carry around files and books w/me. I need the posts. Any ideas? Scan it into some small electronic gizmo to take w/me?

pitanov Jun 30th, 2004 11:51 AM

Thank you very much for your help!

mrwunrfl Jun 30th, 2004 01:49 PM

emd, you are pretty sharp. It is just that JR is not making it easy on us. KimJapan made a point on the other thread that it helps knowing the train routing when you use hyperdia. That is definitely true. It also helps if you know where places are at in Japan. In 2001 and 2002, I called JNTO and they sent me a timetable, in English, showing all of the shinkansen routes and most if not all of the L'Ex routes. Complete schedules and a small map. Forty-eight rail lines in all. Nowadays, maybe starting last year, if you call JNTO and ask for a JR timetable they refer you to hyperdia. Even in Japan, they only have Japanese timetables (except for JR-Hokkaido who has a handy English timetable). I think that, to some extent, hyperdia is an over-application of technology. They have this Yokoso! campaign in Japan to attract foreign visitors and at about the same time JR quits publishing paper schedules. It irritates me.

BigFeat used some electronic gizmo; downloaded a whole website, I think. I just took a book, printed out the info I have for reservations, and printed out some lodging info from frommers and that was it.

The book I took on my most recent trip was "New Japan Solo". I got it at amazon after Icuy recommended the original version here. What I liked about that book most are the small maps, esp. the ones of the towns and small cities that I visited.

Florence Jun 30th, 2004 10:55 PM

Bonjour Mrwunrfl,

You wrote "They have this Yokoso! campaign in Japan to attract foreign visitors and at about the same time JR quits publishing paper schedules."

This is not true, since I got one last May at the wellcome center in Kyoto (9th floor of Isetan dept store, south elevator, replaces the TIC at the base of Kyoto Tower) and one from the travel pass exchange center in Kyoto station. I also saw one at the tourist information center inside Keisei Ueno station in Tokyo.

You can also get all the information you need from the "Station information" counter inside Kyoto station (ground floor, main hall, left under the escalators leading to the Isetan dept store side).

I used the book "Japan by train" for planning parts of this trip (Shikoku and Kyoto -> Kiso valley/Matsumoto -> Tokyo, and found it very accurate.

mrwunrfl Jul 1st, 2004 08:30 AM

Bonjour, Florence! Please tell us about your trip. You were travelling with your mother, no? Was it her first time in Japan? Did you go to Naruto (is it Naruto, the place in eastern Shikoku with the tidal swirls)?

I asked for a schedule at a JR ticket office in Shinagawa and at another office in that station where I picked up my JR Pass. I also asked at the Hiroshima, Himeji, and Matsumoto stations for the timetable and all they had was Japanese. For my next trip, I certainly will look for the book that you mentioned.

Florence Jul 2nd, 2004 01:40 AM

Bonjour Mrwunrfl,

It's been already 3 weeks since I'm back, It was mom's second time, she loved it and so did I.

More is coming soon ...

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