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Japan-Itinerary and transport questions-Help kindly requested!

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Japan-Itinerary and transport questions-Help kindly requested!

Old May 5th, 2014, 09:01 PM
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Japan-Itinerary and transport questions-Help kindly requested!

Good Day everyone! I am about 3 weeks out from my travel to Japan and have been doing lots of researching. Unfortunately, I've been too worried to actually book something at this point because I think I may be missing some of the fine (important) details of transportation. I have purchases the Japan by Rail guidebook which should get here tomorrow! *fingers crossed*

1. Cost is a factor but then again so is time as we arrive on Friday evening (may 30) to NRT and leave on June 12th out of KIX.

30th-overnight in Tokyo (thinking of staying in Shinjuku)
31-tokyo
1-tokyo
2-tokyo (Nikko day trip)
3-tokyo
4 leave Tokyo early, overnight in hakone
5 Leave hakone--(if traveling on JR pass-Come back to tokyo and take a bullet to kyoto because it seems faster per Hyperdia.com than traveling from Hakkone directly to Kyoto(?), overnight Kyoto)
6 -kyoto
7-kyoto--uji-nara (I know this may be rushing things, but I'm okay with this for the moment)
8-kyoto
9-kyoto
10 Leave Kyoto early (5:45am train) for hiroshima day trip on bullet (Leave luggage at Shin-Osaka station or drop off at Skin-Osaka station hotel) , return to shin-osaka-overnight
11 wake up early and take train from shin-osaka to mt koya, overnight.
12- Wake up and take train to KIX,Fly out of KIX (4pm flight)

Having said all of this, does this seem reasonable? I am looking to save costs on transport--does anyone have any insight on which combination of rail passes would make sense? I am willing to change my itinerary if something makes more sense for ease of travel and cost.

Nikko day pass, worth it?
Hakkone area pass?
Tokyo subway pass?
JR pass( 7 day)? I am aware of the limitations (no Nonzomi, liner trains etc)
Kansai thru pass? If not then a kyoto metro pass?


Thank you to everyone taking their time out to help me and hopefully others with the same question!
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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:35 PM
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Yes.
Yes.
I don't know

No. You don't need a JR Pass at all. From Hakone you would go to Odawara. With a JR Pass (or not) you would get a Hikari shinkansen to Kyoto. Without the pass, your other option would do that or you could take a shinkansen to Shin-Yokohama and then get a Nozomi to Kyoto.

Your last three days are busy. Am not sure about the wisdom of Koyasan at that point. You very well might benefit from a JR Sanyo Area Pass for those 3 days.

You would get value from a 7-day JR Pass if you moved the itinerary around a bit. If you travel to Nikko, Kyoto, and Hiroshima all within 7 calendar days then it would produce a savings.

I don't know about any Kyoto pass. One of the Kansai passes might help. There is Koyasan pass offered by Nankai Railways that likely would be useful for you, including Koyasan and the airport. But no on the JR Pass with the itinerary you describe.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:40 PM
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>> No. ...

In that paragraph, it may not be clear that I meant that to get from the Hakone area to Kyoto your departure station will be JR Odawara station. From Odawara, Hikari to Kyoto. OR go to Shin-Yokohama (not Tokyo) and transfer to Nozomi for Kyoto - might save a few minutes, but it is backtracking and would require a train transfer.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 09:46 PM
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This timetable shows the Hikari departures from Odawara to Kyoto: http://tinyurl.com/puyskec

There are two early ones and then 8AM and every two hours after that.

There are some other good options that involves transfers besides Shin-Yokohama. Just don't get a Kodama that is headed south, toward Shizuoka, Nagoya, Kyoto.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 10:00 PM
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If I changed my itinerary to the following, how would it produce savings as I thought the Nikko and Hakone part of the itinerary would need some extra tickets not covered by JR pass? Hence I felt no need to lump them together because they need different passes anyway (or maybe I misread?)
Also, I thought planning Koyasan for that evening was workable due to ease of connections and less luggage drama. Again, all advise is appreciated!

30th-overnight in Tokyo (thinking of staying in Shinjuku)
31-tokyo
1-tokyo
2-tokyo
3-tokyo (Nikko day trip)
4 leave Tokyo early, overnight in hakone
5 Leave hakone--overnight kyoto
6 -kyoto
7-kyoto--uji-nara (JR pass covered?????)
8-kyoto
9-kyoto to hiroshima for day trip
10 wake up early and take train to mt koya, overnight. (where would I leave the luggage so it would be easily retrieved in Osaka? Shin-Osaka?)
11 leave koya for Osaka- overnight Osaka
12- Wake up and take train to KIX,Fly out of KIX (4pm flight)
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Old May 6th, 2014, 08:39 AM
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That works. You could use a 7-day pass starting on the 3rd and ending on the 9th.

If buying tickets it would be less expensive to take Tobu Railways to Nikko than taking JR. But you can use JR which is more convenient and better service, I think (more routing options and use of shinkansen). From the 4th to the 9th you have enough JR travel for a JR Pass, so you get Nikko on JR for no extra cost.

JR Nara Line connects Kyoto-Uji-Nara and you would want the Rapid Service trains instead of the locals.

I think I would plan to stay the night of the 9th in Osaka. Leave luggage there for the 10th. Return on the 11th. Use takkyubin to send luggage from Kyoto to Osaka hotel. Or just take it with me and leave in a coin locker at Hiroshima station.

Am not sure, but you might be able to ship luggage same-day from Kyoto to Osaka, but it could be overnight. If next-day delivery then I would take what I needed for that overnight in Osaka in a small backpack and stash it at Hiroshima station. Better than a backpack would be one of those compact fold-up bags, or just pack a plastic shopping bag. There are coin lockers just below th shinkansen tracks at Hiroshima station.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 03:00 AM
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Hi, I went on my first trip to Japan in October last year and I perfectly understand how overwhelming it can get sorting all the details and schedules out! I did some of the main cities you mentioned and perhaps I can share some details of my itinerary so you have an idea. I learnt a lot from the very generous sharing of advice from forum members and hope, in turn, this helps you.

As mrwunrfl says activate the JR Pass on day 3 Tokyo - Nikko.
Once you activate your pass, try to use it for long haul journeys to maximise it. So perhaps it could be like this?

JR Pass Day 1 Tokyo to Nikko day trip
JR Pass Day 2 Tokyo to Hakone. Overnight in Hakone.
JR Pass Day 3 Hakone to Kyoto.
JR Pass Day 4 Kyoto
JR Pass Day 5 Kyoto -Uji-Nara
JR Pass Day 6
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Old May 12th, 2014, 03:46 AM
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Sorry sorry, something wrong with my computer. To continue.

JR Pass Day 6 Kyoto to Hiroshima
JR Pass Day 7 Kyoto to Mt Koya

1. Nikko
There is a Chuzenji and Kegon-No-Taki bus pass that takes you to the besutiful scenic Lake Chuzenji and the Kegon Waterfall. It costs 2200 yen round trip fare. It takes about one hour to Chuzenji by bus. Both Chuzenji Lake and Kegon Waterfall are only a few minutes walk from the bus stop.

2. Hakone
I took the train from Ueno station, Tokyo at 06.36 and after one transfer, arrived at Odawara at 07.31. At Odawara station, I bought the Hakone 2 day pass for 3,900 yen which includes the sights along the famous Hakone loop (but entrance fees apply at some of the spots) and use of the local buses. (Please do check full details at their website www.odakyu.jp). It also includes the fare from Odawara to Hakone Yumoto station and back. Note that you are only entitled to 2 transfers ie they give you a stamp on your Hakone pass Odawara to Hakone Yumoto and another stamp when you leave ie Hakone Yumoto to Odawara.

btw the Hakone pass is just like a train ticket and you need to show it when you are taking the loop so keep it safe!

3. Hakone to Kyoto
Since you are staying overnight, you will still have time the next morning to continue to use your Hakone pass. I checked out, left my luggage at the hotel, and went back to some of the spots I missed.

My train schedule from Hakone to Kyoto
15.40 depart Hakoneyumoto
15.54 arrive Odawara

16.08 depart Odawara
18.14 arrive Kyoto

If I had the chance to do it again, I would come out from Hakone Yumoto earlier and spend 2 hours in Odawara. I love castles and I only had a quick look at the regal Odawara Castle.

I haven't been to Mt Koya and beyond so sorry can't comment on that. Perhaps after you have been, you could share.
Enjoy your trip!
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Old May 13th, 2014, 07:22 AM
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We just came back from Japan last week and spent a night at Koyasan (our last stop from the Shikoku 88 temples!). It is possible from Osaka to get a one day ticket to Mt Koya http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_012.html if there is little time. It would also be possible to do as you have planned, setting off early from Osaka (we went from Namba on a direct train)& then to stay overnight (we stayed at Ichijoin temple, but if you don't have to do a temple stay then the Koysan Guesthouse looks great and the guy there helped us with something, was very nice and speaks great English (he lived in London for a while)). Just to mention we did use the Takkyubin service to send out luggage to KIX & were really pleased with that, but otherwise there were luggage lockers that at Namba (there is also a wonderful tourist information service there that is very helpful indeed). We took the train from Namba to KIX and that was great - we were straight into the airport and spent our final night at the Nikko hotel there, wonderfully easy access.

mrwunrfl - you helped us on our first visit to Japan some years ago now (we have visited three more times since then), thank you.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 07:41 PM
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yw Happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much that you returned for more.
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