Japan Rail Pass Question

Jan 19th, 2007, 04:25 PM
  #1  
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Japan Rail Pass Question

I would like to buy a one week JR Pass but a reading of the JR site seems to say that if you want to use the Nozomi, you can't merely pay the difference in price, you have to outright purchase a full fare ticket, on top of what you already paid for the pass! Is this true? It seems silly since the difference in price (or time for that matter) is minimal between the Hikari and the Nozomi.

Since we plan on going straight to Kyoto when we get to Japan (landing at Narita), we can't be sure of the time we can catch a train. The Nozomi runs more frequently than the Hakari and if we don't catch the 5:06pm or 5:36pm Hikari, we'll be stuck waiting until after 8:00pm if we can't use the Nozomi and I don't want to wait that long. Our flight is scheduled to land at 2:30pm. We're flying non-stop from NY (on American) so delays are less likely than if we had a stop over. BUT, how likely is it that we can get from Narita to Tokyo station in time? We plan on taking the N'Ex Express train from the airport. HELP!
laurieco is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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Depends entirely on your flight landing time, if there is a delay, how long immigration, baggage claim and customs take...you'll probably make it, but no guarantees as air travel and airports don't always cooperate with our plans.

If you take the Nozomi, you will have to buy another entire ticket for it, as the JR Pass is invalid on it.

There are plenty of Hikari trains between 5:36 and 8:00 as well. If you use www.hyperdia.com and put Narita in the departure and Kyoto in the arrival, then on the next page use the drop down menu to choose Narita Airport and select NOT Nozomi trains you'll see plenty of options for you. You might consider changing at Shinagawa rather than Tokyo.
KimJapan is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 06:37 PM
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Thanks Kim, that's very helpful. I didn't realize we can leave straight from the airport and not have to go into Tokyo Station.

I'm just learning how to use hyperdia.com and by putting in different times, I'm getting loads more options.
laurieco is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 08:36 PM
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Well, you leave straight from the airport and change trains in Shinagawa or Tokyo station, so it's not a straight shot. I think emd mentioned that Shinagawa was a smaller station and an easier change from the Narita express to shinkansen.

KimJapan is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 08:50 PM
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I am guessing that laurieco was trying to schedule the legs seperately: Narita airport- Tokyo and Tokyo-Kyoto. So your suggestion to just specify origin (airport) and destination (Kyoto) was right on (of course). Looks like you can now enter "narita airport" as the Start Point and don't have to use the drop-down.

laurieco, what is your itinerary now? You may not need a JR Pass and/or it may not save you that much money, depending.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 19th, 2007, 09:02 PM
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you don't want to go to Tokyo station as you'll have to walk with your bags all the way up from basement level 5 all the way up and across the whole of Tokyo station to the Shinkansen gates. It's a long haul with bags and all the people. At least twenty minutes.

I have only passed thru the Shinagawa station but emd has used it to transfer shinkansens and loved it.

Here are the maps of the stations if your interested


http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/estation/i.../m_tokyo_e.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinaga...Station_Layout


Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 02:08 AM
  #7  
emd
 
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Yes, by all means, try to go through Shinagawa instead of Tokyo station. Much smaller station, much less hassle, and you can make a connection from Narita Express to the shinkansen in a few minutes if need be.

Gosh, hawaii and kim have good memories. And they actually listen to what I say (unlike my teenagers!)
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Jan 20th, 2007, 06:01 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the help. You guys are great!

mrwunrfl, I think a 7 day pass will save us some money as we plan on going back down to the Tokyo region from Nara or around there. We'll be doing some side trips, I'm thinking a night or two in Nara, after Kyoto. I've been doing some reading about it and it seems like a place I would like a lot. All the Undesco sights and the tame deer walking around appeal to me. Also, I think I'k like to stay at the Nara Hotel and if you have a JR pass, it's $50 per night cheaper! I would also like to get to Himeji this time around so all these side trips will put the pass to use. I guess it depends on how many days we spend before going down to Tokyo or surrounds since it only makes sense if we use the pass to get back there. I wish they had a 10 day pass! The 2 week pass is clearly not worth it this time around.
laurieco is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 06:03 AM
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Tha's Unesco!!
laurieco is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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I was familiar with your general plan from your earlier posts. Was concerned that you were considering a 14-day pass. If your itin was Narita Airport-Kyoto- Tokyo then you would save about 3000 yen but give up the more frequent schedule of the Nozomi. Add in Nara and it makes a better case for the 7-day. Add in Himeji or a visit to Kanazawa and it is a no-brainer. Good deal on the hotel discount. Nara can be a day trip from Kyoto and would not have to be on JR.
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Jan 20th, 2007, 08:56 PM
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I'm considering the 7 day pass. The 14 day would be overkill and a waste of money. My only concern, and it's a big one, is that in order to make the pass really worth it, we would need to use it to get back to Tokyo, or somewhere that would cost as much were we to buy separate tickets. On a 7 day pass, that would mean traveling to Tokyo, or out of the Kansai region, on April 1. Right now, we have 4 nights in Kyoto, which really gives us only 2 full days there. I want to go to Nara and Himeji, each will require full days so we need to put aside another two days for that. Is one night in Nara enough? Should we spend a night at Himeji or go back to Kyoto and do a day trip from there (and spend another night in Kyoto?) If we get to Tokyo on April 1, we can either spend 6 nights in Tokyo or, we can spend April 1 and 2 somewhere else, just not sure where yet but if we get the pass, it has to be somewhere to make the pass worth it. I long for the good old days of going to London or Paris, one city, one hotel, easy!
laurieco is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 10:54 PM
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You can do a day trip from Kyoto to Nara. If you want to stay overnight then one night is enough. Nara is only about 45 minutes away (up to an hour) and only costs about 700 yen each way.

You can visit Himeji as a day trip from Kyoto. It is only 55 minutes, or less with some of the Hikari through trains (other Hikari options require a change of trains at Shinosaka.

Important note: when you look at the fares for the shinkansen or limited express trains hyperdia shows a fare and a reserved seat charge. The reserved seat charge shown there is actually the reservation charge (an optional 500 yen or so) plus a "limited express supplement" that you have to pay. The price you should look at is the "total amount of money".

16000 Narita Airport-Kyoto
10000 Kyoto-Himeji-Kyoto
13500 Kyoto-Tokyo
1500 Kyoto-Nara-Kyoto
=====
41000

With a JR Pass you can save money but it is only a good bargain if you are willing to do all of that travel in 7 days.

A visit to Kanazawa for two nights is always a good idea. At about 10000 or more additional it would tip the scales toward a 14-day pass, then no rush.

All of your options are good ones, so you really can't go wrong no matter what you choose..
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 10:57 PM
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But if you kept it simple, NRT-Kyoto-Tokyo (with or without Nara) then you can pay as you go, take Nozomi, and not be constrained by the pass (and at not much more than the cost of the pass).
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Jan 21st, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Kanazawa looks like an interesting option for a couple of nights but when I put it into hyperdia, it says destination not found. I then put in Ishikawa, but from Nara or Osaka, it takes about 9 hours. Way too long to travel. I can't even find an option for it on the JR site. Am I missing something?
laurieco is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 12:37 PM
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you are doing something wrong. Nara to Kanazawa is about 3h 15m. First Nara to Kyoto on a local and then a limited express train to Kanazawa.

Don't use Ishikawa. Ishikawa is the prefecture where Kanazawa is. The Ishikawa that you find on hyperdia is a rail station for the town of Ishikawa up in Tohoku.
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Jan 21st, 2007, 12:50 PM
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Thanks so much for all of your help. I'm sorry I'm being such a pain in the butt! Whenever I put Kanazawa into Hyperdia, it doesn't come up. I don't understand why. Where can I find the schedule? 3hours 15 minutes is very doable.

Right now I'm looking at:

4 nights Kyoto (this will actually give us three full days there, not two so a day trip to Himeji is on)

1 night Nara (I still might consider 2, just to not feel rushed and not move around so much)

2 nights Kanazawa

5 nights Tokyo (or 4, depending on Nara)


If Kanazawa doesn't work out, perhaps 2 nights in Nikko instead. Does all this sound like a good plan? This would also allow us to put a 7 day rail pass to good use. We would just have to pay separately to get back to Tokyo from either Kanazawa or Nikko.
laurieco is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 01:10 PM
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no pain, happy to help

Go to www.hyperdia.com
click on: English
in Start Point, type: nara
in Destination, type: kanazawa
press the Search button

that doesn't work?

I was recommending Kanazawa only if you were to get a 14-day pass. It costs over 20,000 to go from Kanazawa to Tokyo. If you were to pay for one of the long hauls separately then it would be better to pay for NRT->Kyoto. Then you would be able to use Nozomi and the cost would be under 17000 for that leg. But adding Kanazawa means getting a 14-day pass which you can then use in Tokyo because JR operates trains in/across the city. And you would then be able to use it to get back to the airport on the Narita Express (about 3000 yen otherwise).
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Jan 21st, 2007, 01:15 PM
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Sorry, I made a mistake. It is 12000 to 15000 from Kanazawa to Tokyo.

Nara->Kanazawa is about 7200
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Well, it worked this time. I honestly don't know whey it did not work before, I did exactly the same thing! More than once too.

I didn't realize it would cost so much to get back to Tokyo from Kanazawa. I need to speak to Eric and see what he wants to do. At least now we have some options.

Thanks again for all your help.
laurieco is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 05:21 PM
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You can fly from Komatsu (Kanazawa's airport) to Narita Airport once a day at 8:25 AM, and you can fly to Haneda airport just about anytime throughout the day. There are discounts offered for early booking, travel around the time of your birthday, senior citizens...making the flight around $100.00 (cheaper and faster than the train). You can book online in English for both ANA and JAL. There is also some deal for foreign tourists...I think mrwnrfl knows about that though, I don't.

The airport is about 30 minutes from Kanazawa (or a bit more during morning and evening travel times. We could bring you there, or there is a door to door taxi service that makes the run for ¥1000 per person which is shared IF there are other riders but private if you are lucky (which we will use for the first time next month) or a bus service, which has scheduled stops and costs more than the door to door taxi. Regular taxi is way too expensive to consider.
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