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Japan Rail Pass - Tokyo Nikko Takayama Kyoto Osaka Hakone

Japan Rail Pass - Tokyo Nikko Takayama Kyoto Osaka Hakone

Old Aug 17th, 2016, 12:10 PM
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Japan Rail Pass - Tokyo Nikko Takayama Kyoto Osaka Hakone

I will be traveling in Japan end of December to early Jan

Tokyo 2 days
Nikko 1 day trip (or just spend 3 days in Toyko)
Takayama 2 days
Kyoto 4 days
Osaka 1 day
Hakone 1 day
Tokyo 1 day

I am uncertain if this is the best route to follow. Also, the train and rail pass seem confusing. Would it be best to purchase a JR rail pass? What trains do I take for each leg of our trip? Can you explain and advise about the website where I can do my research on trains in Japan? Thank you!
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Old Aug 17th, 2016, 06:37 PM
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If you must start and end in Tokyo, try to put all of your time in Tokyo at the end of your trip to cut down on one hotel change. If you haven't already booked your flights, try to fly into Tokyo and out of Kansai / Osaka or vice versa.

I was glad to spend a night in Nikko -- doing so meant that I had time to see its temples and shrines, and also Kegon-no-Taki, a bit of Lake Chuzenji, etc. But many people enjoy just a day trip from Tokyo. Depends on what you want to see / experience.

I, personally, would defer Takayama until you can add Kanazawa. Instead, I would add the time to Kyoto and Nara. JMO.

I should note that I haven't visited Japan during winter, and so defer to those with relevant experience.

If you haven't already done so, spend lots of time with japan-guide.com, the single best source of information about traveling in Japan. For information about train schedules, check hyperdia:
http://www.hyperdia.com/
and jorudan:
http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/
Here's info about how to use them:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2323.html

Hope that helps!
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 07:18 AM
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Considering that your flights from Tokyo to the US (if that's where you're returning) are usually late afternoon or early evening, you don't have to stay in Tokyo your last night. You can take the shinkansen from Kyoto and switch to the Narita Express at Shinagawa or Tokyo station (or take the shin to Shinagawa and tram to Haneda). If you do that, load Hakone onto the front end of your trip between Tokyo and Kyoto.

If your "day" means a night, you're wasting time getting a hotel in Osaka - it's 20 minutes from Kyoto (15 min on the shinkansen, 5 minutes from Shin-Osaka station to the more central Osaka station). Very easy to visit Osaka from Kyoto.

You need to get with the hyperdia.com website to deal with the trains.
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 10:30 AM
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Are you flying in/out of Narita or Haneda? Would be better if you flew into Tokyo and out of Osaka, or v.v.

Could use Tobu Railway for Nikko, Odakyu for Hakone, Keisei for Narita.

I read this as 7 nights, eight days:
Takayama 2 days
Kyoto 4 days
Osaka 1 day

To make a 7-day JR Pass work you would need to leave Takayama on the second day which is cutting that visit at least a bit too short. Your other option would be to travel to Hakone or Tokyo on the last day, the Osaka day as you have it.

Am not actually recommending that you change your itinerary to fit the pass. The saving might not be worth it.
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 03:09 PM
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Great tips!
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