Japan in 12 days for comment please.

Aug 2nd, 2004, 03:11 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Japan in 12 days for comment please.

We are working on our itinerary and would appreciate your input on our plans.

Sunday - arrive Tokyo

Mon/TUes/Wed - Tokyo

Thursday - more Tokyo or day trip to Nikko or Kammakura.

If we can only do 1, which should we do. More Tokyo? Nikko? Kammakura?

Friday - Hakone - thinking to stay at Fujiya Hotel, Ichinoyu Honkan, Hatago Ichinoyu or other Ryokan? Any insight?

Saturday/Sunday/Monday - Kyoto - having a hard time figuring out where to stay. Westin Miyako? Yoshi-ima ryokan? Seikoro ryokan? We can't really afford the full ryokan experience for 3 days but maybe just do lodging and not the whole meal for 3 nights? Any ryokan to suggest at a reasonable price?

Tuesday - Hiroshima/Miyajima - stay at Iwaso ryokan to splurge for 1 night. If we can only splurge on 1 ryokan is this the one? Has anyone been there?

Wednesday - explore Miyajima/return to Tokyo

Thursday - depart Tokyo

We welcome any ideas on any and all of the above. We are also trying to figure out if we should buy a rail pass in the States first. We went to the website to try to figure out what it would cost to buy the individual tickets in Japan in order to compare the price to the 7 day rail pass and found it too confusing to figure out. Also, with a lot of ground to cover, we want to determine in advance the trains we'll take and would appreciate any guidance on how to do this.

Thanks for your help!
lisasbabysister is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 04:32 AM
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Typically, you will see ryokan prices for room only and for room + meal(s).

You should get a 7-day JR Pass. Here is how the fares work out:

Base fare + express surcharge (+- 200 yen depending on season):
Tokyo - Kyoto: 13220
Kyoto - Hiroshima: 10790
Hiroshima - Tokyo: 18050
Tokyo - Narita Ex: 3140

That's 45,200

Even looking at base fares only:
T-K: 7980
K-H: 6300
H-T: 11340
Nex: 3140
That's 28760.

The 7-day pass is 28,300 with free reserved seats. The pass will also cover the local train from Hiroshima to Miyajima. And Japan Rail operates a ferry to Miyajima and it is covered by the pass.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 04:35 AM
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When are you travelling?
What area of Tokyo are you staying in?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:23 AM
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I second the 7 day rail pass. It is more economical and the shinkasen trains are great. I was in Japan last month and the rail pass gives you great flexibility. If you want to spend more time in one place, or less time, or add destinations. Miyajima was very nice, very calm, but I would think you would only spend a few hours there. It would help if you gave the month you were traveling. Also, give us a range of how much you want to spend for a hotel or ryokan. Then, we could give you better information. Good luck.
TimNYC is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:55 AM
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For your first Thursday there - more Tokyo/Nikko/Kamakura - it really depends on what you prefer to see. There's tons to see and do in Tokyo, of course... Nikko has Lake Chuzenji, Kegon-no-taki Falls, trails, botanical gardens, beautiful and a lot of history (we used to mostly go there for skiing so I might be missing some of its attractions)... Kamakura has a lot of Temples and has a feeling of "Old Japan". While you are there, it might be nice to do one of the day trips out of Tokyo if you can but it depends on how much ground you can cover on your first days in Tokyo since there is SO much to see.
jacie413 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 07:47 PM
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Thanks for all your replies and sorry to be so stupid to leave out the key information about our dates. We'll be traveling to Japan at the end of August staying into September. We'll be staying at the Akasaka Prince hotel in Tokyo. Since our splurge ryokan might be in Miyajima, we wouldn't want to spend more than $150 - $200 per night in Kyoto. Is this doable inc. dinner?
Thanks again.
lisasbabysister is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 07:08 AM
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My two questions related to what days you would activate the JR Pass. That would depend on what you do on the first Thursday.

There is info about Nikko at the JNTO link below. It includes access info. See that you can get there on a Tobu rapid train for as little as Y1320 and no change of trains. So, roundtrip would be 2640 minimum on the rapid and 5480 on the limited express.

The JR options include a rapid train at 1890 or shinkansen at 4800 plus a connection to a local train that costs 740. Roundtrip would be 4520 or a whopping 11080 via the shinkansen.

The JR Narita Express (N'Ex) is 3140 from Tokyo to NRT. There are other options for getting to/from the airport that others prefer.

If you decide to go to Nikko on your first Thursday, then you could activate your JR Pass for that day and the following 6 days. Then pay to get to the airport. Your other option for Nikko is the Tobu train on Thursday. Then use JR Pass for Friday thru Thursday all the way to the airport on the N'Ex. OK, other options are day tour packages via bus and probably also by rail.

If not Nikko, then it would probably be most economical to activate the pass for Friday thru Thu.

ANOTHER option: on the first Thursday, take the Tobu train to Nikko. Stay overnight. On Friday, use your JR Pass to travel from Nikko to Hakone.

If you are staying at the same hotel on your last night then you could leave some of your stuff there when you head out to Kyoto, etc.

This pdf is about Nikko:

This pdf is about Hakone and Kamakura:
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 07:31 AM
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You can get train schedule info at www.hyperdia.com

The schedule for the JR ferry to Miyajima is on the following page along with a bunch of other info:
mrwunrfl is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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I would skip Nikko and go to Kamakura instead.

The Fujiya Hotel in Hakone is nice - get in touch with them directly and ask for the special rate for foreigners (just need to show a foreign passport) and try to get a room in the old original wing. I haven't heard of the other places you mentioned.

In Kyoto, I recommend the Kinmata Ryokan if you don't mind spending the money. 15,000 yen per person without meals and 25,000 with meals. It's worth a splurge. A good cheap option is the Kyoto Central Inn, a basic business hotel popular with tourists. It's in an excellent location and only 11,000 per night per room. Be sure to get a room in the new wing here.

I've heard Iwaso is nice. If I were you, I'd really try to splurge on a nice ryokan in Kyoto too if at all possible.
Mealea is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 05:16 PM
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mealea: i was planning a day trip to nikko in oct. why are you recommending kamakura over nikko? i've been to both places, but that was twenty years ago. i thought nikko was an interesting place.

also twenty years ago, i stayed at the kowakien ryokan in hakone. it was a very nice property. i enjoyed the grilled ika on the stick in motohakone, by the lake.
kuranosuke is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 11:22 PM
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mealea: no need to respond to my previous post. i found the answer tonite, so i know where i will be going. okini.
kuranosuke is offline  
Aug 7th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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If you are not taking any day tours (Hato Bus, Greyline), then the Rail Pass is the way to go. On one of my first trips to Japan I hardly got to use the pass because I did the 1-day tours which includes ground transport. On subsequent trips, I found that if I traveled on my own using the rail pass, it saved me quite a bit of money. I second going to Kamakura over Nikko. If weather is bad, you will not see much in Nikko. Not even the waterfall.
offlady is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 02:50 AM
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Choosing between more Tokyo/ Nikko/ Kammakura I would have to recomend Kammakura. Nikko was tremendous but the number of amazing cultural sights (temples, etc) in Kammakura was just brilliant. Plus Nikko is a stretch as a day trip for most people, even though I did it not sure if most people would think it wasn't a very long day
jrobards is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 06:03 AM
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I would decide about Tokyo once you get there. We had decided to go to Kamakura but once we got there we decided we'd rather do more in Tokyo. If once there you still want to take a day trip, I'd say Kamakura is more interesting.

I'd skip Hakone -- the weather probably won't be great and it's a place that really needs good weather. I'd add the day to Kyoto which needs a lot more than 3 days to do it justice.
glorialf is offline  
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