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NEX to Shinagawa, then JR Sunrise Tour to Kyoto, when to get out of the cities

NEX to Shinagawa, then JR Sunrise Tour to Kyoto, when to get out of the cities

Old Mar 29th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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NEX to Shinagawa, then JR Sunrise Tour to Kyoto, when to get out of the cities

My husband and I will be flying into NRT on a Thursday in May, arriving around 2pm. We have to be in Tokyo Sunday night to be ready for the work week. Because last trip all I saw was Tokyo, I am planning for us to go to Kyoto for the weekend. (We could not book open jaw tickets as the flight needed to be RT to NRT for work.)
I've been reading here and on the JR rail sites about our travel options. I'd appreciate your experience. Budget is important.

One option is to get the NEX/Suica special deal, take NEX to either Tokyo or Shinagawa (understand this station is smaller, easier to navigate). Check into a hotel, get early dinner, and go to bed early.
Then next morning take the Sunrise/JR tour leaving Tokyo 10:30am, staying 2 nights, returning Sunday at 16:40.

The Sunrise tour info says start from Tokyo station. Would it be possible to catch the train from Shinagawa? The timetable seems to show the trains about that time stopping there. Anyone have any problems with the train tickets being delivered to your hotel on the day you are checking in?

The other choice is to get the Japan Rail Pass, take NEX to Tokyo, transfer, and go on to the Mt Fuji area for an overnight (we like to get out of the cities), then on to Kyoto. Or do the reverse--train to Kyoto on Thursday, then leave Kyoto early on Sunday to stop and spend some time around Mt Fuji.

Has anyone taken the train this far after arriving at NRT and felt alert enough to negotiate the train changes, taxi/bus to hotel upon arrival, etc.? (We're traveling coach nonstop from U.S. I used the NEX and JR line last trip, but always with a Japanese companion.) This option would cost us alot more than the Sunrise tour option, but give us more flexibility to stop at Mt Fuji.

Thanks for advice.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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I came from NY and went directly to Hakone - it was a long trip.

I'm not sure where you want to go for Mt. Fuji but that would require a few transfers if you went to Kawaguchiko.

If you went straight to Kyoto that would take four hours from NRT with one change to a Hikari that can be used with the JR pass..
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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I hope the long transit the day before wasn't the cause of your fall and broken foot.

As for Mt Fuji--I don't think it is necessarily reasonable with the trip to Kyoto. JP rail trip overnights at Odawara. I mainly would like to get out of the cities sometime on this trip. My husband and I are sometimes overwhelmed by people and traffic, need a little countryside to steel us for the cities.

He even suggested we just go from NRT to a hotel in Narita to rest, poke around that town, then take the train the next day through Tokyo to Kyoto. I hadn't thought of that. Some cheap deals near NRT, but would require a shuttle into the town of Narita. Maybe I'll look at that option too.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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KAy2, what is the difference in cost btwn doing the trip on your own vs. Sunrise tour?
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 01:44 PM
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I don't think that...but then again, who knows...

Here's a link about Narita City -
http://www.mgnewman.com/narita/#do

Actually I think going to Kyoto is not that difficult.

I was undecided when I went to Kyoto in '06. I had to go from LGA to DTW as there was no direct flight to KIX. That was about the same amount of traveling as if I had gone to NRT and taken the train.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 01:54 PM
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With technically about 3 full days, I'm more inclined to suggest you focus on Kyoto. BTW, May ia a popular season--you really do need to book things early, esp if you're going to be there during the bank holiday week in the first week of May.

Personally, I really don't think you'll need a guided tour if you do enough preparation (ie, plotting out which sites to visit in Kyoto). Things in Kyoto are quite well marked, the city is quite navigatable on buses and subways.

Agree going to Hakone after arriving IS a long way. Not sure exactly what you want to do w/Mt Fuji--you'll have an excellent view of the mountain from the bullet train (get the right hand seat heading west from Tokyo), you won't be able to climb the mountain anyway.

At the same time, I won't recommend spending the first night in Narita--this simply means you'll add 1-2hrs travel time the following day.

If you're only doing round-trip between Kyoto/Tokyo, I'm not sure JR pass is a good idea--you should compare the roundtrip shinkansen price, esp as you can use faster Nozomi trains that way. Another price comp you may want to do is an option from flying Narita (or Haneda)-Osaka (Itami is closer than KIX). JAL/ANA has discount fare (called Yokoso fare in case of JAL) if you're flying OneWorld (AA)/Star Alliance (UA) from overseas. I recall it was about JPY10,000 plus tax one way.

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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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Kay, I'd think that the Shinagawa option would be very workable. Shinagawa station is much easier than Tokyo, and there are a couple of good hotels adjacent to the station. I stayed at the InterContinental Strings -- extremely comfortable and pleasant. If you exit the other side of Shinagawa station, there's the Shinagawa Prince hotel. Lots of supper choices in the area. If you get the NEX/Suica there's no extra charge to go to Shinagawa (compared to Tokyo).

If it's the same train, there's no reason not to catch it from Shinagawa. Alternatively, there are 2 JR lines (Yamanote and at least one other) that go directly from Shinagawa to Tokyo.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 03:30 PM
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Thanks for the help. I had found the reference to the Welcome to Japan fares on this board and checked them out--13,000 yen per domestic flight--but husband wants to take train. In fact, the direct flight to NRT then getting out of the airport was the tipping factor to get him to tag along on this trip. He hates commercial airline travel.

We are coming after the May holidays--the folks I am meeting with made sure of that.

I price the tickets from Tokyo to Kyoto at approx 12,800 one-way (is there a RT discount?).

I see the railpass approx 28,300 (which would include ride from NRT).

It's not one of the Sunrise guided tour, but the Freeplan that included train and hotel (also discovered from discussions on this board).

If I am reading correctly, for RT rail plus 2 nights Karasuma Hotel in Kyoto it would cost approx 25,500 Yen per person on Hikari Shinkansen if leave Tokyo early riser (6:50-7:20), 30,000 pp Nozomi (10:10-12:20).

I've found a 13,000 room at the Shinagawa Prince and 15,500 at Grand Prince Takanawa, etc. if we overnight in Tokyo upon arrival.

I've no plans to climb Mt Fuji. We just really enjoy walking and nature, so parks and outdoors are a part of all our trips, not just cities.

I just think it will be too tiring to negotiate in this short time. And the only review I could find of the rail trip with the stop over at Odawara complained about how far it was to the Prince Hakone hotel where you must stay.

I also have to work on our accommodations back in Tokyo for the workweek--6 nights on a budget with access to Minato-ku area, Chiyoda-ku area, and other destinations not identified yet with a space my husband will feel comfortable in when he is on his own.

I'm looking at Kitano Arms that offers a superior studio apartment for 15,000, else the Chisun Grand Akasaka or Grand Prince Akasaka. We could take the bus to NRT when we leave on the Saturday.
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 05:37 AM
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Japanican has been very prompt in responding to my email.

They are booking our freeplan tickets to board at Shinagawa and return to Tokyo station. I have reserved the room at Prince Shinagawa annex for one night and given them that as the delivery address. They said "OK".

We will just have to look at Mt Fuji from the train (if clear). We have both seen it from the air on a clear day and it was an amazing sight.
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