Kyoto to Tokyo on December 31?

Old Aug 21st, 2016, 03:33 PM
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Kyoto to Tokyo on December 31?

Hello, we (2 adults) will be arriving in Tokyo on 12/25 in the afternoon, plan to stay for 3 nights, head to Kyoto on 12/28 and then head back to Tokyo on 12/31 to catch our flight from Narita on 1/1 (6:30 pm). I've read that traveling between Tokyo and Kyoto is very difficult during this time. Are we better off staying in Kyoto on 12/31 and traveling to Tokyo and on to Narita on 1/1? It will be a long trip but I understand the trains are pretty quiet on 1/1. I'm thinking of getting the green JR pass.

While we have our plane tickets (only week that would work for both of us), I'm open to other itineraries. I have hotels booked but they're all cancellable.

Thank you.
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Old Aug 21st, 2016, 06:20 PM
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If you can, consider going straight to Kyoto upon your arrival. You'll be tired, but you'll be tired whether you push on or not. Put all your time in Tokyo at the end of your trip. Just an idea....
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 02:08 AM
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Good point. Actually, a really good idea since we are arriving at 4:30 pm and that day is shot anyway, so might as well push on.

Thank you.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 07:34 AM
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If you're only going between Tokyo and Kyoto and back, you probably don't need the JR pass.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 03:07 PM
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BigRuss, I will also be using the JR pass for Narita to Tokyo. Since we'll be there for 8 days, I know I have to buy the return tickets to Narita. I will do some calculations, though, to ensure that the JR pass does indeed make sense.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 04:27 PM
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kja made an excellent suggestion about heading straight to Kyoto. Try to get some food at the train station to take with you on the train. There is always a wide selection, and that's what the Japanese do. Food on the train is expensive, and quite limited.

It's also safe to take a snooze on the train after you eat your dinner. So then, you'll arrived having eaten, and feeling refreshed.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 06:09 PM
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Depending on where you stay in Tokyo, you might not need the JR pass to get to Narita:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6402.html
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Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 09:46 PM
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If you want to keep your options open to get the widest availability of obtaining reserved seats and cost is not a big issue then that would be to pay-as-you-go and opt up for a Nozomi shinkansen Green Car if that is what it takes.

Otherwise, a JR Pass is almost covered in cost by a roundtrip between Tokyo and Kyoto at regular fares. It limits your train options to the less frequent Hikari shinkansen trains. That roundtrip, in green car or regular car, plus one way on the Narita Express, is about break even.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 02:20 AM
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If we decide to go to Kyoto the day we arrive, we will have to take the Nozomi since the last Hikari train leaves around 8 pm that day. That will be cutting it too close. The Nozomi has later departures. I am definitely considering on heading straight to Kyoto.

Lots of options to explore, thanks to all your recommendations.

kja, I will look into our hotel's website on transportation options from Narita. We're staying at Hotel Sunroute Plaza.

I've had a million layovers in Narita through the years but this is my first time to really visit. I'm quite excited.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 05:22 AM
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If you arrive at Narita at 4:30pm, you should be able to make the 17:44 Narita Express to Shinagawa.(Assuming you arrive at Terminal 1. Substitute with "Narita Airport Terminal 2" in your hyperdia search if T2 is where you arrive.)

Then from Shinagawa you'll change to SHINKANSEN NOZOMI 253, departing at 19:07, arriving Kyoto at 21:17.

Personally, I prefer to arrive at a new city when there is still day-light.
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 10:57 AM
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>

Two issues: (1) if you're going to be there for 8 days, then your 7-day JR pass will only cover 1/2 of your N'EX rides. (2) You can't take a Nozomi and use the JR pass - you'd need to pay full price.

You likely won't take another option for your hotel. Seems like it's in Shinjuku area and that means the N'EX is the best option to or from Narita - you can't take the Keisei Skyliner because you'll end up halfway across the city from your abode and the limo bus will take way longer.

>

This is right. You'd have to do it at Shinagawa or Tokyo station when you're transferring to the shin. You could stock up on Vie de France pastries for notsomuch and go wild for cheap (and they're not as sugary as comparable Au Bon Pain or Corner Bakery stuff), plus there are about 500 places (number may be overstated) per major train station selling bentos or snacks.
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 06:57 PM
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If you are traveling 8 days with a 7 day pass and need to deal with one airport transfer separately ... The limousine bus as detailed in my trip report twas just as quick as the NEX.
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Old Aug 25th, 2016, 04:18 PM
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Thank you for all the responses. We are definitely going straight to Kyoto and taking the Nozomi. I've changed all our hotel reservations.

I'll check out the video you posted, traveller. I haven't really done much planning on where to go once we're there.

I'll look into day trips from Kyoto, and a JR Pass might be worthwhile if we decide to do it.

Jill, I was actually thinking of taking the limousine bus back to Narita. Since we're flying home on January 1, traffic should be very light.
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Old Aug 25th, 2016, 05:48 PM
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While there are some wonderful day trips one might make from both Tokyo and Kyoto, with only 3 days in each, I'm not sure I would make them a priority. JMO.

Be sure to spend plenty of time with japan-guide.com as you plan.
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Old Aug 28th, 2016, 02:04 PM
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>

Not a chance - you'd have to spend 28000+ yen per person on day trips from Kyoto to make the JR pass worthwhile because you're taking Nozomi trains to and from Tokyo. Again, the Nozomi shinkansen trains are NOT included in the JR pass, you have to pay full freight for those.
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Old Aug 28th, 2016, 03:26 PM
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BigRuss,you're right. It doesn't make any sense to get the JR Pass based on our plans. Thank you.
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