Japan Itinerary Help

Jan 31st, 2004, 03:18 PM
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Japan Itinerary Help

Hello! We are planning a trip to Japan and are a little confused about the transportation.

We are planning to spend 6 nights in Tokyo (possibly including a few day trips), then we wanted to go to Mt. Fuji, spend the night in Hakone, then on to Kyoto for 4 nights.

Right now we are scheduled to go into and out of Narita, but have the option of flying into Osaka and beginning our trip Kyoto.

Does anyone know the best way to work out the itinerary from one place to another? Should we buy a JAL pass? Or are we better off flying into Osaka and out of Tokyo and buying individual tickets from Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, Hakone?

Thanks for your advice!
Punkyl44 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 09:56 PM
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I don't know where you are coming from. Starting from the USA westcoast, I have to pay a premium to fly into KIX instead of NRT.

You will find out that travelling into Hakone and out involves backtracking toward Tokyo.

I presume you mean JRpass instead of JAL pass? If you travel west of Osaka, at least on Shinkansen line, there are so few Hikari trains to make the JRpass worthwhile. If you stay between Osaka and Tokyo, while most trains are Nozomis, there are still enough Hikari trains to make the JRpass usable.

You can find out the schedule and the point to point train ticket cost by going to:

nickn is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 10:09 PM
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Thanks Nic! Turns out that we have to fly in and out of Narita. We will prob fly in and activate our JR pass to go straight to Kyoto.

Do you (or anyone) know how to get from Hakone to Mt. Fuji or vice versa?

Punkyl44 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2004, 05:52 AM
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The basic tourist route in Hakone is covered by the Hakone Free Pass (or Weekday Pass).
This does not actually involve going up the mountain.

Going straight to Kyoto is a good plan. The JR Pass will cover the Narita Express which will get you to Tokyo station where you hop a shinkansen to Kyoto. You will be back in Tokyo when your 7-day pass expires. There, you can take the Odakyu train to Hakone and back.

Going between Hakone and Kyoto would involve taking a local train.

I think the JR Pass is more than just "usable" and that the shinkansen is a great trip all the way to Hakata.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 08:53 PM
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Just back from 2 weeks in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara). You might think about switching the time in Tokyo and Kyoto. If you want traditional Japanese culture and art, Kyoto is the center of it all. Almost all of Tokyo was lost in the war, it is a big neon jungle now, not much else (see Lost in Translation, very accurate depiction of the city and its atmosphere). We went into Kyoto and then left from Tokyo, and it saved a lot of travel time. We did not get the JR pass - most trips except Tokyo/Kyoto are cheap - did not justify the price, and JR is not usually the best line (Kintetsu is almost always better when available, except Tokyo/Kyoto). Tokyo isn't worth 6 days, you will only get a taste of Kyoto in 4 days, and you should try to visit Nara or Himeiji as a day trip from there. Kyoto is hard to get around - you can only really see 2 maybe 3 big sites a day, and there are about 50+ priceless sites that are worth seeing. We didn't go to Fuji, but 3 different friends of ours who went said it was a big dissapointment for all the hassle. The Rockies or the Alps are better mountains. Those 2 days are likely to be better spent in Kyoto/Nara/Himeiji/Horyu-ji etc. Also: buy a phrase book that lists the characters along with the english words, it will help alot, esp. outside Tokyo.
Jeffrey is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 05:35 PM
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Fuji-san is not just another mountain.

mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 18th, 2004, 02:49 PM
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Jeffrey -

For a 7 day 6 nigther I'm gathering you suggest 4 days in Kyoto and the other 3 in Tokyo? How long of a trip is it from Tokyo to Kyoto? Keep in mind that we would be flying into Narita and staying in Tokyo.
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 06:45 AM
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It's about 2hr 40min by Shinkansen (bullet train).
jaydreb5 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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Thanks for the response.. Does Tokyo have 24/7 transpo? In the event we go to Kyoto I was trying to figure out if we should get a hotel there or if we could simply take day trips there and get back to our Tokyo hotel late at night. We wouldn't mind traveling 3hrs to Kyoto from Tokyo in the morning and making it back after midnight (if transportation is still running). Does that seem feasible at all?
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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Frankly, that doesn't sound like a great idea to me. That's nearly 6 hours of travelling each day. Why not just stay in Kyoto, which has many wonderful ryokan?
jaydreb5 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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. I'm perplexed now. I guess it wasn't as easy as I thought. All of this resolves around getting a hotel. I haven't even looked into hotels in Kyoto. I was trying to purchase the hotel rooms ahead of time, but now I guess it wouldn't be a smart idea. By the way, I am thinking of extending my overall stay to 10 days. I guess 10 days in Tokyo would be overkill. Need better planning. I'll do some homework on Kyoto. Thank you for the help.
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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There's plenty of great places to stay in Kyoto. Post here if you need any recommendations. Depending on the time of year for your trip, it may be advisable to book in advance.

If you extend your trip to 10 days, you definitely want to get out of Tokyo. I would suggest 3 days in Tokyo; 3 or 4 days in Kyoto; and the remaining days taking side trips to either Kamakura (day trip from Tokyo), Nikko (day trip from Tokyo), Hakone (day trip from Tokyo), Nara (day trip from Kyoto), or Himeji (day trip from Kyoto).
jaydreb5 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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Hotel Kyoto Okura is sold out...

Here's what I've looked for:

Tokyo: Intercontinental Tokyo Bay
The Mansions at Popongi

Kyoto: The Princess Kyoto

There are not many centrally located hotels in Tokyo. Moreover, I'm having a difficult time understand where the centers of Tokyo and Kyoto is. They don't list them as "downtown" location. Especially Priceline. They have names that translate to jibberish to me. So, where are the nice hotels in the Tokyo and Kyoto downtown areas? If I were to stay at the Manions at Popongi would I be out of my way?
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 09:40 AM
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Tokyo is a massively huge city, and there's no one "downtown" area. Some considered the Ginza area the center, some the area around the Tokyo train station. But some areas in the West like Shinjuku and Ikebukoro are also very busy with many hotels.

Important thing is that the hotel is easily accessible by subway train. Roppongi (I think that's what you're referring to) is very centrally-located, with many hotels nearby.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 20th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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Right, there's really no "downtown" in Tokyo. Tokyo is comprised of a dozen or so neighborhoods, any of which would be good places to stay. Just make sure that the hotel you choose is close to a subway station and you'll be fine.

In Kyoto, I can recommend the Kyoto Royal hotel where we stayed last year. It's a nice, Western-style hotel that's well located. If you prefer Japanese style accomodations there are a lot of good ryokan.
jaydreb5 is offline  

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