Hotel and another JR question

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Apr 16th, 2005, 04:32 PM
  #1
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Hotel and another JR question

I have booked the last 3 days of my stay in the Cerulean Tower in Tokyo. I can't find many reviews on it so was wondering if any of you have stayed there and your thoughts on it.

Also is it worth it getting a JR pass to go to Kyoto and back? I read that it's not worth getting unless you are going to more than one city. I was looking at the Nozomi (not good with JR I know) and the price looked slightly less than the JR for the 7 day period. I don't think I will go or stop elsewhere in Japan, but I want the option to use JR Yamanote line for getting around in Tokyo.
So I guess my dilemma is thrill of a fast bullet train or practical convenience of a rail pass?

And I thought London's rail system was badass.


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Apr 17th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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If you get the right Nozomi train, making stops only at Shin Yokohama and Nagoya, you can ride the 513.6 km from Tokyo to Kyoto in 137 minutes, typically 140 minutes. On the Hikari train it would be 157 minutes with 5 stops. The Hikari train might take 15 or 20 min. longer, but it is no slouch.

Your hotel is in Shibuya (there is a relatively new Noh theatre there, btw) and if you wanted to go to Ueno you would have two choices. Pay 190Y on the JR Yamanote Line and take 32 min or pay 190Y and take a subway line for 27 min. Fares to other places are about the same. So, it would require several rides on the Yamanote before you would break even on the JR Pass.

From Shibuya, you would probably take the JR Yamanote Line to Shinagawa station to catch your Nozomi (or Hikari) train. There are some Nozomi that get to Kyoto from there with only one stop, in Nagoya. The cost of the Nozomi ticket would include the cost of getting to the Nozomi station (that is, Shibuya- Shinagawa- Kyoto costs the same as Shinagawa- Kyoto).

But the JR Pass can give you some savings if you use it for your airport transfer. Hotel bus would probably cost about 3000 yen. You could take a train/subway for about 2100. The Narita Express between the airport and Shibuya is probably about 3000. Using the pass one-way gets you past the break-even point.
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Apr 18th, 2005, 06:39 AM
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Doomo arigatoo gozaimasu. I think I will go ahead and bypass the JR pass and just take the Nozomi. I was planning on taking the limo bus to and from Narita anyway. I will be alone with luggage and hear that the steps in and out of the subways are brutal.

I plan on using a luggage forwarding service to get it to the ryokan in Kyoto and then back to Tokyo so I can be luggage free when riding the train.
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Apr 18th, 2005, 07:25 AM
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Do itashimasu. That sounds like a good plan, esp. the door-to-door (so to speak) service of the limo bus.

I would like to mention, though, that you would not have to contend with steps when taking the Narita Express. It is not the subway. There are escalators (and erabata, I am pretty sure) at the Narita station. Even though I haven't used the N'Ex to Shibuya station I can be pretty sure that there are escalators there, too, to/from the N'Ex platform. And there is room at the end of the cars for luggage storage. You can roll your bags all the way from the luggage carousel to the porter's cart, if you wanted.
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Apr 18th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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I have one more question and I feel silly asking but when you take the train how can you tell what direction you're going in?
Are the platforms labelled 'North', 'West', etc..? Or is it marked by the end of the line train station?
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Apr 18th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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For your shinkansen trips you will want to get reserved seats. The ticket will list the track number and boarding time. There are signs in the station and on the platform that you can refer to, also. The destination of the train will be in a little display window on each car so that when your train arrives on time at the expected platform you will get one last bit of reassurance. The only tricky part then is being in the correct spot for boarding the rail car where your seat is. The car number is on your ticket and on signs above the waiting spot. If you get on the wrong car it is no problem to move between cars.

I don't remember how I navigated the Tokyo subway system. There are signs in English. Also, on board the train there will be a display showing the station you are at. As far as getting on board the subway in the right direction, you should figure out what the terminal stations are at each end of the line and then know which terminal is in your direction of travel. Then look for that station name on the train or signs leading to the tracks. That works on every subway system I've been on, I think, all over the world. Don't know about the loop line. Somebody on this board has a better answer than this for the subway.
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Apr 19th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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I have not stayed at the Cerulean Tower but have been there for functions and dining. It is a very pleasant hotel with nice interior decor (lobby area) and I assume the rooms are quite good for Tokyo. It's an easy walk to Shibuya Station (a few pedestrian overpasses along the way, though, so don't recommend you carry luggage. Sounds like you got that already.)In fact, for Tokyo standards it's too close for a taxi ride.

As far as which way the trains go. End of the line is the standard. The Yamanote loop line in Tokyo lists several stations along the direction the train is traveling: clockwise and counter-clockwise.
But all stations in Japan have overhead signs that list (1) the staion you are at in the middle of the sign in big letters, (2) the next station where the train is going is written in smaller letters to the right, and (3) the station the training is coming from, in small letters on the left. Some even have arrows to show the direction. So having a route map that shows the names of stations before or after your stop, will give you some idea of the direction and train you need to take.
I hope this makes sense.
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Apr 19th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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emd
 
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Skyhopper, my two cents is don't worry too much about the train directions. It will make very clear sense to you when you get there. It will be easier to understand it when you get there and see how easy it is than it is trying to figure it out now.
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Apr 19th, 2005, 03:51 PM
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Yes, I see the light! Thank u all for clearing it up for me. I only asked because I read this travel blog how this lady wound up on the Yamanote line going in a circle a couple times until some people took pity and told her where to stop. Getting lost on the street is one thing...getting lost on a big subway system is something else!
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Apr 20th, 2005, 05:24 AM
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This really gave me a laugh. That lady must have had her eyes closed. I can't imagine going around that loop several times without realizing what is happening. Keep your eyes open (and have a Tokyo good subway/JR line map in hand) and you'll be fine.
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Apr 20th, 2005, 04:01 PM
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LOL..I'll try You know I heard Tokyo can be so boring..hahaha!
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