Info on Japanese port cities

Old Jun 30th, 2006, 05:49 AM
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Info on Japanese port cities

My husband and I will travel by ship (Sapphire Princess) in September from Vancouver to Alaska, Aleutian chain of Islands, to Petropavlosk, Russia and on to three Japanese Port cities:Muroran (Sapporo), Yokohama (Tokyo) and Nagasaki before ending in Beijing. We have been to Beijing several years ago for several days. We are thinking of extending the voyage on to Shanghai and other ports and ending the cruise in Osaka, Japan. We need information on train travel from Osaka to Tokyo so that we can return from Tokyo to Seattle. I understand that the train from Osaka also goes to Kyoto and we were wondering if we could stop over there and spend the night, then continue by train to Tokyo the next day to catch a late afternoon flight. We are senior citizens and are wondering if this would be too difficult. I have found in all of our travels that the best information comes from fellow travelers. HELP ! bARBARA
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Old Jun 30th, 2006, 06:12 AM
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You can find train schedules at

www.hyperdia.com

You'll have to take it from there. Can I ask why you're ending up in Osaka rather than Tokyo? It seems like you won't have time to sight see, and it would be easier (and cheaper) to just go right to Tokyo.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 05:15 AM
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Thanks for reply. We will be in Tokyo earlier on this cruise. What can you suggest to do in only one day?. The cruise ends in Beijing or Osaka and then returns back to other China ports, so we will have to disembark in Osaka at the end of the trip. We are thinking of taking the train to Kyoto for an overnight or more before going on to Tokyo airport from there. Would you suggest we go back to Tokyo direct from Osaka and spend more time there? We have friends who are climbing Mt Fuji this next month and hope to get some ideas about Tokyo from them, but would appreciate any information on Tokyo sightseeing! We are a bit older than they are !!! Thanks!
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 07:52 PM
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You are partly correct that the train from Osaka to Tokyo also goes to Kyoto. It is just a bit more complicated because Osaka is a big city.

The cruise ship port is near a subway stop, the Osakako stop, I think. From the port you could travel to Osaka station, or other train stations to catch a train to Kyoto. One of those other stations is called Shin Osaka and is used by the shinkansen (bullet train) that goes to Kyoto and Tokyo.

So, from the cruise ship port you have a few options for getting to Kyoto. Once in Kyoto, though, it is a simple matter of getting a bullet train to Tokyo. Some people travel from Kyoto straight to Tokyo Narita airport, which you apparently are considering doing.

Your itinerary sounds like this:
Day 1: Ship arrives Osaka port. Transfer to Kyoto. Spend night in Kyoto.
Day 2: Travel from Kyoto to Tokyo Narita airport for a late afternoon flight.

If that is your plan, then yes, it might be difficult for a couple of seniors who have not travelled in Japan. If you can add a day or three to this part of your trip then I recommend that you do so. I would spend the extra day(s) in Kyoto.

You could spend a day sightseeing Yokohama, or visit Kamakura, or take a tour bus to see Mt Fuji.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 07:56 PM
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Why not just fly from Osaka to Seattle?
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 08:03 PM
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The "simple" matter of getting from Kyoto to Tokyo Narita airport involves taking the shinkansen to Tokyo and then connecting to a train from Tokyo to the airport. It is not a straight shot from Kyoto to the Tokyo airport, it involves a change of trains.
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Old Jul 5th, 2006, 04:55 AM
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To go from Kyoto to Narita Airport, you can also tansfer from the Shinkansen (which you take from Kyoto) to the Narita Express train at Shinagawa station instead of at Tokyo Station. Shinagawa is MUCH easier to manage than Tokyo Station, and the Narita Express tracks are right downstairs from the Shinakansen tracks, making it not only eaiser to transfer but much quicker (allowing for tighter transfer time).
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Old Jul 7th, 2006, 06:26 AM
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I do thank all of you for your most helpful information. Gee, how helpful can fellow travelers be?!!We have traveled all over the world, but the people on this site amaze me with all their wonderful knowledge.
I think my husband will have a stroke if he has to drag luggage on trains ever again as we have done it so much. However, thanks for the suggestion of Osaka to Seattle. The only reason we had for going back to Tokyo was to possibly fly direct to Atlanta non stop via Delta. We have a son there that we would visit before going on home to Florida. Now we are thinking of a stopover in Seattle again, so Osaka would be a better choice, although I hate to miss Kyoto.

Has anyone been on a ship stopping at the ports of Sappora Muroran)and Yokohama (Tokyo) before? Suggestions regarding options for traveling independently those days and what to see in such a short time? Would appreciate,
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Old Jul 7th, 2006, 07:47 AM
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If you're flying out of Osaka, you don't have to miss Kyoto. It's a short train ride away.
If you have time you can make a quick trip there.
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Old Jul 7th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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No, you don't have to miss Kyoto. As angethereader points out it is a short trip away, only 20 minutes by train from Osaka.

I think that the main reason a cruise ship would stop at Osaka is so that the pax can visit Kyoto. The Osaka airports are the Kyoto airports too.

You should be able to fly from Osaka (using either the domestic airport Itami (ITM) or the international airport Kansai (KIX) which has some flights to Tokyo Narita airport). Then you probably can connect to the flight you wanted. Be careful about doing this, though, as Tokyo has two airports also and they are some distance apart.

Are you really only planning to stay one night in Japan? Can you add at least one more night?

Japan has a baggage delivery service at very reasonable rates. You can send all your bags to the airport (KIX or NRT) soon after you get off the ship. But I am not sure that the baggage deliverers can guarantee that the bags would get to NRT by the next afternoon. Though if your ship arrives in the morning that may help.


There is a Hyatt hotel close to the port. You could take a taxi there and leave your bags, go to Kyoto that day and come back to stay at the Hyatt that night. Next day, you can take the limo bus from that hotel to KIX airport.

If you had a second night you would have more options. For example, spend first night at the Hyatt. Next day leave your bags there and go to see Kyoto, staying at a hotel there. On final day, come back to Hyatt to get your bags and the limo bus to airport.

From Muroran I recommend going to Noboribetsu Onsen for a soak. Another option is to go to the lake area to the west, Toya-ko is the name, IIRC. You can visit both in the same day. Another fodorite hired a car and driver to do that, I think. You should search this forum for Muroran.
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Old Jul 7th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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Getting to Kyoto from the Hyatt would take longer than 20 minutes because you will first have to ride an Osaka subway (or two) to get to a train to Kyoto. Probably 45 minutes or an hour.
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Old Jul 25th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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Hi there,
A few years ago I worked as a tour guide meeting the Princess ships when they came into Muroran.
The ship offers a number of half-day or one-day tours to local sights, and there is a shuttle bus from the dock to Muroran town (10 mins).
Yes - another poster here found a taxi company that you can book in English by e mail and the driver will take you around local sights too - it sounded a good way to do things.
The tours are ok - but not great.
1. Showa-Shinzan is the local volcano, which eruped wartime out of a farmers field. But 5 years ago there was a new eruption in the same area and the tour DOESN't go to see that - which is sad - it's called Nishiyama Crater trail at Lake Toya, and it is only 15 minutes away from Showashinzan - and actually much more interesting that ShowaShinzan. Maybe the Princess' tours have changed now...it is worth checking.
2. Shiraoi - Ainu peopple tourist village/theme park....horrible tourist trap and a tiny park area...but the Ainu people are friendly and it's a way to see the non-Japanese side of life here. Good dance show and culture talk.
3. Day tour into Sapporo - a modern city, but attractive to walk around and with a few downtown sights.
4. Downtown Muroran...small town Japan...not much to see or do...once uipon a time a big steel city...

I suggest the personal taxi is a good idea - and yes - Noboribetsu Onsen village is a place to go...steaming volcanic area, cobbled small tourist town with lots of big hotels and souvenir shops...or go to Lake Toya/Nighiyama Crater trail.

It's a nice time to visit Hokkaido - the start of autumn! have a nice cruise!

amanda
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 07:12 AM
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I thank all of you for the excellent information you were wiling to share. We are now booked on from Beijing and will be in Shanghai for two days. We are booked on a tour to Suzhou for the first day, butwould appreciate ideas for the second day on our own in Shanghai.? Also, anyone been to Okinawa or Taipei and have suggestions. Also Pusan, Korea.
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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thanks for all info on Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo,. Also apprediate info on Muroran from former travel agent. Still looking for info for Taipei, Okinawa and Kugoshima, Japan, Would appreciate hearing from anyone who has been to Suzhou ?
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Why Kagoshima? It is a good four+ hours from Nagasaki.
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