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Japan Itinerary & JR Schedule Timetable Help

Japan Itinerary & JR Schedule Timetable Help

Feb 28th, 2006, 02:01 AM
  #21  
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someotherguy,

Yeah I guess my schedule is pretty packed, and I didn't really allow for accidentally falling asleep on the train and waking up at the end of the line in the opposite direction, but what else is a tourist to do? No rest for the wicked tourist.

Yes I might be be at Itsukushima at low tide when I first arrive, but when I leave to go to Hiroshima, I'll be close to high tide predicted at 11:51. Is the best photo opportunity while on the ferry? Or is it when looking at it from the island?

Regarding Nara, I have been thinking of passing on the Kyoto walking tour on 31 March. Do you think it would be do a separate day for both Inari (and the Fushimi Inari Shrine)and Uji (Byodi-in Temple) and save Nara as it's own day? Of course that would reduce my Kyoto time.
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Feb 28th, 2006, 08:58 AM
  #22  
 
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I don't recall being able to see Itsukushima from the ferry--it lands about a quarter mile away and around a corner. The Quirky Japan guide says the famous picture of the giant Torii is taken from a rented boat, but I did ok on the path between the ferry and the shrine (while waiting for the tour groups with flag- and megaphone-wielding guides to pass).

I've not taken a walking tour in Kyoto, but I think it could be useful if it's your first time in Japan. Most Japanese cities, including Kyoto, are hideously ugly, and shrines and temples can look like undifferentiated wooden shacks. Imagination, study, and familiarity can get you past these hurdles, but I imagine a tour with a good guide would be a fast way to increase your appreciation and enjoyment.

The Fushimi Inari Taisha (whose appreciation requires no training) can be a short stop, but Uji has more than the Byodo-in: Ujigami is the oldest shrine building in Japan (but looks like another wooden shack), there are a couple of major temples, and the associations with Genji and historic battles can be evocative: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uji
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Feb 28th, 2006, 12:41 PM
  #23  
 
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Ok, that's a plan. After you wake up (early) in Nagoya you ought to just head straight for the JR station and get on the next train to Takayama. Seriously, I'm not going to offer any options on this.

I posted the bus schedule between Takayama and S-go on this forum some time ago. If I can find it then you would have some idea of the frequency.

From the list of places in S-go on the first link you gave you would want to choose a place that is in the "Ogimachi Gasho Colony" section, of course.

I highly recommend staying at Koemon. Otani-san speaks some English and his daughter is fluent (if she is there).
http://www.frommers.com/destinations...23_indacc.html

It is a small village and there is a tourist info center in the center of town. You really can't get lost. Not for long or far, anyway. The bus might go thru the village or across the bridge to the outdoor museum area. It is a short walk, 3 minutes from the visitor center to Koemon. Maybe four or 5 minutes from the museum, across a foot bridge. Koemon is the second or third building on the right side of the path coming from the footbridge.

On your way from Takayama to Tokyo you might, if you have time, stop at Gero Onsen for a soak.

You can definitely see Itsukushima Shrine from the JR Ferry boat.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 1st, 2006, 01:18 AM
  #24  
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Ok mrwunrfl the only thing I will do in Nagoya other than going to/from the hotel will be getting food for the train trip.

Is eating and drinking on Japanese buses and subways allowed? Where I live in California you are not allowed to eat or drink on buses or subways. Obviously that is allowed on trains esp. if you purchase the food onboard.

Thanks for the recommendation of Koemon in S-go. But it looks an unlikely choice for me as there is no english website or booking agency for it. I used Japan Guest Houses to get a reservation at Sumiyoshi Ryokan which has a river view. I tried to get a reservation at a minshuku in S-go, but all 3 that I wanted (because they had a cedar bath) were fully booked. They did offer me another option, but there aren't as many recommendations for it and they have an ordinary porcelain bath. I think I may take it as it is a small one (only 3 rooms) and it looks like rooms are filling up fast.

mrwunrfl do you agree with someotherguy that a walking tour might be a good idea in kyoto? I've never been and didn't think that all these temples and such might look like wooden shacks to my western eyes. The only downside is that my time to explore while shrines are open will be limited, but if I can't recognize them anyways...
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Mar 1st, 2006, 01:31 AM
  #25  
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Just got my confirmation for my Miyajima ryokan - Jukeiso. Now I just have to figure something out for Nagoya.

It would be nice to stop at an onsen en route to Tokyo, but I have tattoos. Too many to be covered by bandages without looking more like a mummy than a bather. From what I've heard they aren't desired at onsens, but I might try taking a chance at the ones at the ryokans I'm staying at where they might be more used to use strange foreigners.
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Mar 1st, 2006, 08:35 AM
  #26  
 
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There are several Toyoko Inns (very good value business hotels) near Nagoya Station. I've stayed at the Nagoya-eki Sakuradori-guchi Shinkan one and it was fine. Their English website requires patience, but it works: http://www.toyoko-inn.com/eng/ (you need to know that Nagoya is in Chubu).
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Mar 1st, 2006, 10:39 AM
  #27  
 
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No on eating or drinking on the subways or buses. You can take food onto the JR train. It is common practice to take an ekiben (eki= train station, ben= obento, or box lunch).

Jukeiso has two common baths. The rooms have private baths. Expect the typical short/deep Japanese tub for soaking and a wash faucet/stool.

Yes on the Kyoto walks. One source of info is the "Kyoto Walks" pdf link on the following webpage:
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/RTG/PTG/index.html
I don't know about the Johnny H. tour. You've got a month to learn about what you will see in Kyoto. No, they aren't wooden shacks.

You should check out the S-go/Takayama guide too. It's on the same page.

It is going to be cherry blossom time when you are there. You are permitted to spend time in Nagoya if it is for cherry blossoms! Your timing might be perfect for Tokyo.

You can call Koemon directly. Before the trip I sign up with my long distance carrier for the low international rates and keep that service for a couple months then cancel after the trip. But you could just check to see what l.d. rate you would get. It is convenient enough to call in the evening in the U.S. since it is then daytime in Japan. Maybe JTB can help with the reservation.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 12:12 PM
  #28  
 
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This has been a most interesting exchange of information and highlights people's willingness to assist a total stranger. I haven't been back to Japan since 1989, but these exchanges brought back many happy memories of numerous visits to Japan during a 27-year naval career and two visits since retiring. I'm going back again in November and am brushing up on my Nihongo to make it easier to get around. Have a great trip, phantasm, and,if possible, look into stopping at Himeji, about half way between Hiroshima and Osaka, to visit the castle.
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 11:42 PM
  #29  
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Yes this has been an amazingly helpful forum for me. Domo arigato!

Thanks for the tip about Tokyo Inn. It looks much more reasonable than a $200+ room at the Marriott in the train station.

I am going to Himeji Castle on April 2 en route to Hiroshima. It sounds great.

I booked a room in Shirakawa-go at Shirakawa-Shimizu http://www.shimizuinn.com/ that Japaneseguesthouses.com found for me. It's a small inn of 3 rooms. With such strong recommendations for Koemon I decided to give them a call anyways and hope someone who knew english answered. One very awkward conversation later I learned that they are fully booked for my date.

My only dilemma now is to go from Nagoya to Takayama to catch the bus to S-go or go to Kanazawa to catch the bus to S-go. The advantage to Takayama is a more frequent bus schedule to S-go and I can leave my excess luggage at the Tak. JR station. There are lockers there, right? Advantage to Kanazawa is different road and thus view to S-go.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 12:32 AM
  #30  
 
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Wait a second. I am not sure the bus from Kanazawa will be running in March. The schedule I have from 2004 runs April 5 to November 30. When I was in Kanazawa January of last year, I had to go to Takaoka to get the bus to Shirakawago (you don't want to go via Takaoka). I think that the Takayama- Shirakawago bus runs all year.

IF the Kanazawa- S-go bus is running then it does the trip in 1 hr 25 min. S-go - Takayama is 1 hr 40 min PLUS the 2-hour train ride from Nagoya. (There is a bus from Nagoya to S-go but I think it is seasonal and not March).

And no eating/drinking when walking down the street.

November is a good time to go, hypnocop1, for the fall colors, as I suppose you know.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 12:45 AM
  #31  
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Lucky for me my trip to Shirakawa-go is on April 4.

Here's a link to the schedule for the bus to S-go from Tak and Kan. It's all in Japanese, but in the first table you see the symbol for Tak above the 9:30, S-go above 11:10 and Kan above 12:35. From the schedules I've consulted the total travel time to S-go is about the same from either city as the train time makes up the difference. At first I really wanted to go through Kanazawa just to see diff greenery or roads along the way. But I will probably hate my luggage by then even though I plan on packing light, so it seems like it might be best to go via Tak to save luggage lugging. Someone please confirm there are luggage lockers there. Thks!

The bus is s
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 12:48 AM
  #32  
 
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Yes, there are lockers at Takayama station. They fill up but there is a non-JR locker rental right there. If you had to, you could leave your bags at your lodging in Takayama for the 5th.

Actually, you might get lucky and find that the Kanazawa bus runs on April 4 this year.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 12:52 AM
  #33  
 
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You could use the baggage delivery service to send luggage from Hiroshima to Takayama.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 01:12 AM
  #34  
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Here's the link to the S-go schedule I forgot to include in my last post. It's the winter schedule good through March 18.

http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/a0_bus/tei...kawago_exp.htm

I did think about leaving it at the ryokan in Tak, but it might be easier to use the lockers as it would be simpler to remove 2 days worth of clothes from all of my luggage instead of dragging it all with me. Since I have to catch a bus, I'd rather not get lost on the way to the ryokan. But it is a good option should all the lockers be full or if I get there really early.

A luggage service is a good suggestion, but I'm not entirely comfortable with that method. I'll prolly just have a large duffel bag with souvenirs, books I've finished reading with my marathon train rides and dirty clothes so it won't be too monstrously heavy, but nonetheless cumbersome. It should be fine while on the train.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 03:46 PM
  #35  
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Would the no eating/drinking rule apply on long distance buses like the one from Tak to S-go?

someotherguy, you are very correct that the toyoko-inns webpage requires patience. i can only bring up the reservation screen for the Nagoya-eki Sakuradori-guchi Honkan. Looks like I'm going to stay there.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 04:31 PM
  #36  
 
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phantasm, Weird, I was able to get to the reservation screen of four of the five Toyoko Inns in Nagoya - all except the Sakuradori-guchi Shinkan. Some had no vacancy on 3/25 - not sure when you'll be there....
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 04:52 PM
  #37  
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Mara, so I tried it again and now I can get to the reservation screen of all Nagoya ones except Sakuradori-guchi Shinkan. The only 3 I was considering were the Shinkan, Honkan and Shinkansen-guchi as they are close to the JR station.

I've read that the station is really large, should I bother worrying about which hotel is closest to the Shinkansen lines? Just wondering if it's maze-like enough to be of concern. If I go with the Honkan I could save Y400 by getting the Single room A.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 05:45 PM
  #38  
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Yet another question from me... Is it possible to make reservations over the phone for the bus to S-go? I'd hate to get there and discover that the bus is full and I have no way to get there. Thanks again!
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 06:47 PM
  #39  
 
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Eating and drinking on buses...most people do not. They buy something at the rest stop and eat it at the rest stop. A few might eat candy or chips or snack type things. Drinks are fine. Bottles are better than cans because you can keep the cap on.

S-go bus schedule...it seems to me that the buses between Kanazawa and S-go are not running as it says the special marked routes (the mark beside the two that go to Kanazawa) are exceptions to the schedule, which implies they do not operate. I can't be sure...but that't my understanding.

At any rate, reservations can be made by phone, but not in English. You will need to have someone call for you in Japanese. You can ask one of your early hotels to do it for you. At the same time, you can confirm the schedule...can you get there from Kanazawa or not on your dates. The schedule is winter through March 31.

Nagoya station...it's large, but not that large. Any hotel nearby is fine. It's also very easy to stay anywhere in Nagoya and taxi to the station. We do it all the time from the Hilton, which is about 5 mintues and 800 yen from the station.

Finally, luggage service is flawless in our 11 years of using it. Nothing lost or broken or late, ever. Even frozen food, fine china, whatever. Being American where we tend to question honesty and reliability, it's been tough to get used to...but it's true, it's awesome, and I never NOT use it, meaning I never carry anything anywhere anymore...I just send it, unless I drove there myself.
KimJapan is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:07 PM
  #40  
 
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phantasm, Sorry I don't know anything about Nagoya - I was just surprised that you were having problems with the Toyoko website. I actually have a reservation for one of their Kyoto hotels - but I am pretty sure I am going to stay somewhere else....I will get to one of them eventually

BTW, not sure if this is your first trip to Japan but your itinerary is inspiring particularly with no Japanese!! I am spending my whole week in Kyoto with maybe two day trips - one to Himeji and one to the Miho Museum. Maybe we can have a quick GTG...Hope you take photos and post them somewhere online.
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