JR Train/Rush Hour/Osaka

Jan 16th, 2006, 03:50 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 86
JR Train/Rush Hour/Osaka

I would like to take the train from Osaka to Hiroshima on a weekday, but I don't want to get caught up in the heart of rush hour, since I will have my luggage with me. Most of this trip is on the shinkansen, where I will have a reserved seat, so it's just the part about getting from Osaka to Shinosaka that gives me pause. Are commuters as jammed in on this line at that time of the day as they are in Tokyo, and if so, what would be the better time to go?

Thanks!
SlinkyDog is offline  
Jan 16th, 2006, 04:29 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Take one of the express trains to shin Osaka rather than a local train and you should be OK. You would be able to reserve seats on the express trains too.
KimJapan is offline  
Jan 16th, 2006, 07:36 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 86
Thanks, KimJapan! I wasn't even thinking about the express trains, just the local ones. Do you know if I would be able to use my JR Sanyo Pass on this part of the trip as well?
SlinkyDog is offline  
Jan 16th, 2006, 09:07 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
I would think yes...I tried to check the terms but the JR page with that information wouldn't load for me. The general info page that I could see seems like you'd be fine using it though.
KimJapan is offline  
Jan 16th, 2006, 09:54 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642
The web page says that you can use the Sanyo Area Pass only on the Haruka Limited Express and you would have pay the fare on other LEX trains. hyperdia.com shows that the Haruka doesn't stop at Osaka station. The Haruka is the one that goes to the airport.

But it is only a 3 minute trip from Osaka to Shin Osaka. You'll be spending more time than that changing trains. It will be packed at rush hour but you will manage. A better time to go would be middle of the day.

The Sanyo Area Pass doesn't cover travel to/from Kyoto. It can be purchased in Japan by foreign tourists. I am pretty sure that it covers Nozomi.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 16th, 2006, 10:16 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
OK...I got to the info page. It covers shinkansens including Nozomi on the JR west routes (meaning you can't go to Tokyo, which is east), Haruka - the airport train for KIX, and local trains in the specified area. It does not say it includes express trains or limited express trains, and does say if you ride express trains/limited express trains other than the Haruka you have to buy a ticket.

Mrwnrfl is right about the Osaka-ShinOsaka connection...it is very near, like 3 minutes. You will likely be able to manage your luggage on a local train, or you could spend a bit of money for the Thunderbird ltd express train if you wanted to.

I wonder if you might be better off with a 7 day Japan Rail pass?
KimJapan is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 09:33 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 86
Thanks, KimJapan and mrwunrfl. This is so much more confusing than I originally thought. I did finally find the JR West page that I think you are referring to, and it's even more confusing because it includes a map of the lines covered, and it shows Osaka to Shin Osaka (which, according to hyperdia, is the Kyoto line, which, according to the JR West page, is not covered!). Is there some other way to get from Osaka to Shin Osaka using the JR West pass that I'm not seeing? (Is this 3-minute hop considerd part of the local trains allowed within the covered area, even though it is on the Kyoto line?)

I wanted to get the Sanyo pass because of the Nozomi coverage. (The time range where I need to get from Miyajima to KIX seem to all be on the Nozomi.) If I did get the Sanyo pass, I'm assuming it will cover the local JR line (not Express) from Hiroshima to Miyajima and back?

Lastly, is it possible to walk from the area by the Osaka station to Shin Osaka, from the standpoint of being a walkable route and not more than a couple of miles?

Thanks!!!


SlinkyDog is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 01:32 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Walkable...no. With luggage, no way. You could take a taxi if you are so concerned about luggage on a local.

It seems that you can go anywhere included on their coverage map, with the restriction that it is shinkansen, Haruka (airport) or local. The only problem I see is that locals take a looong time to go from place to place, as they are not only slow, but stop at every station. Just between Osaka and shin Osaka...no problem. Longer distance and you are looking at some time and comfort issues.

The Sanyo Pass did say, I think, that it would cover the Miyajima boat...maybe the local as well. Even if not, it's quite cheap.
KimJapan is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 04:34 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642
With the Sanyo Area Pass, you will be able to take the Miyajima ferry from the island to Miyajimaguchi, connect to a JR local train (on the Sanyo main line) to Hiroshima, connect to a Nozomi shinkansen to Shin Osaka, and connect to the Haruka limited express to Kansai airport.

The portion of your trip from Osaka to Shin Osaka on the local train is covered by that pass. That train is on the Sanyo main line. I am 98% sure of this. They don't have a train that goes the distance from Shin Osaka to Shimonoseki on the Sanyo line (because they have the shinkansen line for that). To make that trip on the main line requires a sequence of local trains. One of these is the Kyoto Line (which is also partly on the Tokaido line). I think it is, in fact if not by name, the Kyoto local train on the Sanyo main line. Plug Shinosaka to Shimonoseki into hyperdia and on the "Line to usequot; line toggle off the four options. That is shows the sequence of local trains to take and it is the solid blue line on the route map between Shinosaka and Shimonoseki. The dashed line on that map is the shinkansen.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 04:40 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642
But you won't take that sequence of locals. You'll go local- shinkansen- local- JR ferry.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:55 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 86
Thanks, KimJapan, for the additional info, plus the info on Osaka - Shin Osaka walkability. I think I will time it either before or after rush hour just to make it easier.

mrwunrfl, I really appreciate the detailed info re Miyajima - KIX. It makes sense to me that the Osaka - Shin Osaka portion would be covered with this pass. And I see what you mean about plugging in Shinosaka to Shimonoseki, unchecking the line options. The only thing I don't see is the route map. (I just see the text info, with links to more text regarding the lines.) Is there something else I should be doing to see this?

Thanks!
SlinkyDog is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 08:34 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642
I was referring to the rout map at the bottom of the following page:
http://www.westjr.co.jp/english/travel/jrp/index.html

I may have confused the issue when I mentioned that Kyoto is not covered by the Sanyo Area Pass. You can see that on the map. Since most tourists travel to/from Kyoto I just wanted to make it clear that the Sanyo Pass didn't go there (you asked a v. good specific question but figured there was more and it came out that it wasn't just an Osaka- Hiroshima trip but that and also a Miyajima trip and then to Kansai airport station). A traveller with Sanyo Pass might be unhappy to find out that they would have to spend 1500 yen more to get to Shin Osaka. But for you, if we are wrong, it will only be 160 yen to get from Osaka to S.O. Not worth the walk.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 08:40 PM
  #13  
emd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,267
I am sorry, but I am going to vent here, as I have just spent two days myself trying to figure out what another regional rail pass covers and what it doesn't cover. I find these multiple passes that are offered in Japan so darned confusing! I see so many posts on them on this and on another forum and it seems to take so long to figure them out and what they are good for and not good for - that by the time you figure out whether it is good for you you have spent hours already and it becomes a matter of how much time your planning time is worth...

Am I the only one who feels like that? These passes are so complicated and tedious! Not the JR passes, but the regional ones. Maybe I am just dense on this.

OK, I am done venting now. Sorry.
emd is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 05:41 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,117
emd - I had a similar experience when I was trying to decide which Swiss pass, if any, to buy when i went to Switzerland in October. I did a spreadsheet to show all the possibilities. The good thing is you can buy the pass there as against some of the Japan railpasses for which you must purchase the voucher here.

Re: Japan, I was looking at the Kyoto city website last nite and there is a pretty big variety of bus and subway passes. Did you and your son use any of them?
Mara is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 06:34 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 86
Thanks for the route map info, mrwunrfl. And you're right that even if the pass ends up not covering that portion, it is at least cheap if I have to pay for it myself.

emd, I completely agree with you! (Although, as you can see, I'm also having trouble understanding the JR passes! ) It does take too long to figure them out, and while I want to save money as much as the next person, I find myself overwhelmed and not likely to buy any of them. (And I especially felt like that looking at all the Kyoto passes that Mara mentioned.)

At this point, I'll just stick with trying to understand the ins and outs of the Sanyo pass!

SlinkyDog is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 09:55 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 94
emd - AMEN on the confusion! After reading these boards for months and getting so much information (overloaded, actually!) I think I will just bite the bullet and pony up the yen! Even if I get detailed instructions from someone - ie. "take #- to --- then walk to ---...." in the crowds, it will all dissipate faster than train steam I'm as cheap as they come, but sometimes it just isn't worth it and this may be the time.
daryleann is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 03:43 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642
It is complicated but the homework that SlinkDog did will pay off. For the itinerary Osaka- Miyajima- Kansai Airport in 4 days or less, SlinkyDog will pay 20,000. It would be 15% more, about 23,000, for individual tickets. It's 40% more for a 7-day JR Pass at 28,300 and that would be an inferior product (no Nozomi) for this itinerary.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 04:32 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,537
The bus pass in Kyoto is a great deal if you plan to use the buses. We often do in Kyoto as they go everywhere, and we usually stay near the corner where they all pass( by Hankyo and Takashimaya Dept stores). The subway doesn't go to as many places, but can be useful getting yo/from the train station to the area I mentioned above.
lcuy is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 09:42 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 511
I agree too that the passes require you to know way too much about limited and the names of shik. =O

It took me hours to find a non-nozomi train from Kyoto to Hiroshima. But for me that is part of the fun and in a geeky way I like it...
moxie is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2006, 03:57 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 86
I just returned from my trip, and I have to say that while the rail passes are a pain to figure out (and I never did figure out some), the JR West Sanyo Pass ended up saving me a ton of money.

As mrwunrfl pointed out, the pass saved me about 15% alone on the Osaka-Miyajima-Kansai airport run. But it saved me even more, because I ended up doing a run from Osaka to Miyajima and back, and then repeating that on another day, with the airport run thrown in on the back end.

(As to why I would plan something as crazy as this, I'll be the first to admit this isn't the most efficient way to travel. But I ended up having a free hotel room in Osaka (stay 3 nights, get 1 free), and I wanted to hike Mt. Misen on Miyajima. The way I had originally set my trip up, I would have had only late afternoon and early morning in Miyajima, and the early morning was on my travel day -- I didn't want to hike and get all sweaty, then have to make it back to Kansai for the 14+-hour plane ride home! So I shaved a day off of Kyoto/Osaka, and spent it hiking in Miyajima instead. I know that wouldn't be everybody's choice, but it worked out well for me, I had an absolutely wonderful time on Miyajima, and I saved on a night's lodging as well.)

I almost passed on the Sanyo pass because I wasn't sure if it would really be of use or not. But with a little research, including searches on the Internet and talking with travel reps of this pass in my area, I figured it would work out the way I needed it to. And in the end, it did, plus I got to use the Nozomi as well.

On another note, this pass worked fine from Osaka to Shin Osaka and vice-versa. No problems showing it to the JR manned entrances and exits, and then just hopping on the local train one stop from Osaka to Shin Osaka, or getting on the Shinkansen once I passed through the Shin Osaka exit.
SlinkyDog is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:17 AM.