Japan itinerary

Old Jan 6th, 2006, 11:02 AM
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Japan itinerary

I have set our plans for a trip to Japan and now am trying to flesh out the itinerary. Never have been there and have no specific plans, just want to absorb as much as can. Will be in Japan for 7 days (like to stay longer unfortunately not enough vacation days at work) and am planning the following itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in the mid-afternoon at NRT
Day 2: Tokyo
Day 3: Tokyo
Day 4: Tokyo
Day 5: Morning train to Kyoto
Day 6: Kyoto
Day 7: Kyoto
Day 8: Depart Osaka airport around noon

Is too much time being spent in either Tokyo or Kyoto?

Would I be better cutting a day off from Kyoto and seeing Osaka?

Are there any must-sees that I may be missing by just reading the guidebooks?

As the only train trips currently planned are from Tokyo to Kyoyo and Kyoto to Osaka airport, I do not believe the JR pass makes sense. Is my assumption correct?

Thanks for any assistance.

billsrulz is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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Your itenerary looks similar to my next trip in a few weeks, except I'm going to Hiroshima before Kyoto, then returning to Tokyo.

I'm a big proponent of the JR pass, especially for people who have never been to Japan. It looks like you have about $200 US in train fares without the pass, assuming about $28 for N'EX, $120 for Tokyo-Kyoto, and $40 for Kyoto-Osaka, not to mention a few short stops that you'll make just travelling around these cities.

My opinion - invest $65 in the peace of mind that all you have to do is flash the pass at the attendant and walk by the ticket counters. You won't be able to use the 7-day pass for the first or last day, though. I'd figure out the exact price of the tickets (or someone here will do it), and figure out if the extra cost covers your hassle.

amachen is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2006, 10:30 PM
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You've basically got a good plan for a first trip to Japan as Tokyo and Kyoto are the major stops. Very good that you will go into one and out of the other.

In regard to your questions:

1) Is too much time ...?
You could spend more time in Kyoto than Tokyo. Or v.v., but it is up to you and your interests. When will you be travelling?

2) Would you be better cutting ...?
No. No reason to visit Osaka on that short itinerary. Well, probably not. It depends on your interests and when you will be traveling. There are some attractions in Osaka. But the main stop is Kyoto.

3) Are there any must-sees ...?
Not really. Given the length of your trip any decent guidebook is going to cover the must-sees. But, again, it depends on what your interests are in visiting Japan. Check out the guidebook(s) some to see what interests you and we can help with some specific advice.

4) ... Is your assumption correct?
Yes. You don't need a JR Pass. Narita Airport to Tokyo is about 3100 yen. Tokyo to Kyoto is about 13600 yen on the shinkansen. Kyoto to Kansai Airport is about 3700 yen. As amachen pointed out you would be able to use a JR Pass for only one of your two airport transfers because you will be in Japan for EIGHT days, not seven.

You will save about 10000 yen by not getting the JR Pass and you will be able to use any of the shinkansen, including the fastest and most frequent Nozomi shinkansen that can't be used with the Pass.

In both Tokyo and Kyoto you will be able to use the airport limo bus to/from your hotel. Many people find this to be more convenient than the train and comparable or slightly lower cost.

It's really not that much of a hassle buying tickets. The people at the JR ticket counters all speak railroad English. You can get all three tickets at the same time, at Narita, if you want.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Old Jan 7th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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As far as must see's, I have to recommend some great Tokyo shopping for you!

Tokyu Hands - Creative lifestyle store
Kiddyland - the weirdest toy store you will ever visit
Loft - for intriguing homewares and more

I've posted addresses etc here for you:

luckykat is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2006, 09:11 AM
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We pretty much ignored the "must sees" and saw and did what interested us most. It made the trip "ours" and not some guide book idea of what it should be. We did end up seeing some things considered must-sees, but only because they interested us. Most of our time was spent on what we really wanted to do and see.

One sugestion: find out what special events are going on in Tokyo and Kyoto during the dates you are there. Is there a temple market you can go to on the way to another place? Is there a sumo tournament in Tokyo you might want to see? Baseball? A craft workshop in Kyoto? These are just some of the special things we chose to do once I did some research and was guided by people on here as to what special events were going on. I think that even just one event like that can help make the trip feel like it is "yours" and provide a special experience that is outside the box.
emd is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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"In both Tokyo and Kyoto you will be able to use the airport limo bus to/from your hotel. Many people find this to be more convenient than the train and comparable or slightly lower cost."
Where can I get some info on this? We arrive KIX and need to get to hotel in Kyoto.
daryleann is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2006, 04:39 PM
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Check above link for info for KIX transport.
Mara is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2006, 05:42 PM
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Just returned and we did the airport limosine (3,000 yen plus extra for more luggage than one per person). It was door to door and they knew exactly how much time to allot. Cost maybe $17.00 total more than the bus but so worth it. We came hotel to KIX and the hotel arranged for it. We applied for it as soon as we arrived in Kyoto and hotel confirmed it.
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Old Jan 12th, 2006, 06:37 PM
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At the kansai airport page that Mara gave it looks like it is 2300 yen to go to Kyoto station or New Miyako hotel. You can get a round-trip, valid for 14 days, for 3800 yen. I think that is what the website says.

If that is true then the door-to-door service that byronelaine got is more like $7 more.

(click the link under "For more information, go to the ..." and select "Kyoto Sta - ..." from the Time Table list.
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