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NYPDRET Apr 21st, 2004 01:23 PM

Please Help
My son and I are planning a trip to Japan in late Sept. 4 days in Tokyo and 4 in Koyoto. We would like to take the bullit train from T to K and back as my flights will be from Tokyo. Now I have seen some posts about the bullit train but I'm confused.
You buy a JR pass in the US, that much I got, now how do you know what train you want the pass for? Is it good for all trains in Tokyo or must you buy a different pass?

I would also appreciate any suggestions as to hotels in both cities. I would like to budget about $100 to $150 per night, is that realistic?

laurieco Apr 21st, 2004 03:56 PM

If you're only planning on going round trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, a JR pass is probably not worth it. It will cost less to just buy the tickets in Japan. If you plan on going other places accessable by Shinkansen (bullet train) and you want to get a JR pass, you must purchase it outside of Japan. The Hakari SuperExpress goes from Tokyo to Kyoto in about 2 hours and a JR pass or regular Shinkansen ticket is good on that train. A JR pass or regular ticket is not good on the Nozomi, which is a little faster than the Hakari but I don't believe the difference you would pay for the Nozami is worth it.

laurieco Apr 21st, 2004 04:00 PM

I can't help with the hotels as the hotels we stayed in were more than $150 per night. In Tokyo, we stayed at The Mansions at Roppongi which is an apartment hotel and it was fabulous. A studio can be booked at for about $165 per night, give or take depending on how the yen goes. I have a post on this forum regarding it if you're interested. In Kyoto we were at the Granvia but I hear the price went up quite a bit from when we were there last month.

Peteralan Apr 21st, 2004 04:31 PM

Hi NYPDRET..Haven't been lately but when we went we stayed ay Shiba Park in Tokyo. I don't know current prices but it was a very good rate when we went. They get a lot of foreigners and there is no problem with the language, the service is top drawer, the hotel is nice , very clean and within walking distance of the ginza area.Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the hotel in lovely Kyoto as the Shiba Park rang the hotel to book us in and let them know when we were coming.Enjoy the Bullet train and Japan.

NYPDRET Apr 21st, 2004 05:17 PM

Thanks for the info. Is the JR pass also good for the local trains in Tokyo?
We will be taking some day trips from both Tokyo and Koyoto so I assume the JR pass would be best, is that correct?

mrwunrfl Apr 22nd, 2004 05:58 PM

For the JR Pass you buy a voucher in the US. When you get to Narita airport, you go to the JR station and exchange the voucher for the JR Pass. With the 7-day pass you can travel all over Japan.

JR does operate several rail lines in Tokyo and you can use your pass there. You can also use the pass to get from Narita airport to Tokyo on the Narita Express.

Here are prices in JPY for rail fare + reserved seats:
2940 one way Narita Express
13220 one way Tokyo to Kyoto on Hikari
13220 one way Kyoto to Tokyo on Hikari
2940 one way to Narita from Tokyo
32320 JPY

If you buy the 7-day JR Pass, then you would pay the following amounts for the same transportation:
28300 for 7 days travel
2940 Narita Express to airport on 8th day

mrwunrfl Apr 22nd, 2004 06:02 PM

You would also be able to use your JR Pass for day trips from Tokyo and Kyoto at no additional cost.

Babiron Apr 22nd, 2004 06:36 PM

Just a further note about rail pass and Tokyo trains. Yes, you can use the pass on JR lines on Tokyo. So the rail pass keeps you from spending money for travel within Tokyo, plus saves you the hassle of buying tickets each time you get on the trains.

However, a lot of sites in Tokyo are easier reached by subways, which don't accept the rail pass. But the costs will be relatively minumal. JPY160-190 a ride. Depending on where you are going outside Tokyo/Kyoto, the only access will be by non-JR lines, which don't accept the rail pass.

As far as hotels in Tokyo in your budget. Two chains I can suggest are the Sun Route or Washington Hotels (in Shinjuku and other areas.) These are called "business hotels" in Japan and the rooms are small--even for Japan--small. If you look for "business hotels", you'll maybe find something suitable in your price range, but don't expect luxury or space. They normally are all nice and clean, however.

tadaoji Apr 25th, 2004 11:22 PM

"Business hotels" in Japan are good choice when the budget is limited. Most single rooms are priced under $100 per night.

Besides the chains recommended above, Tokyu Inn and JR also operate business hotels.

Note that the bath room is designed Japanese; that is, the entire room is water proof so that you can clean yourself outside the tab.

Also make sure to ask for a non-smoking room if you do not smoke.

NYPDRET Apr 27th, 2004 06:40 AM

Thanks so much for all the information.

I have been looking at all the sites and came across one for GATE1 travel. Has anyone ever used them?
They have a 10 day Tokyo and Koyoto, including air from JFK, bullet train between T and K, buffet breakfast every morning and transfers from and to the airports in Japan. I was quoted a price of $2250 per person.
Now the air alone from JFK is about $1100 per, figure 8 nights hotel at $200 per and that is more than the tour, and that doesn't include whatever the train would cost. The tour price was NOT including any optional tours they offer, which I probably would not use anyway, as we want to discover things on our own.
So, my question is would you think this is a good deal?
I don't see a down side but would like to hear other oponions.


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