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Questions re use of Japan Rail Pass and Kyoto itinerary

Questions re use of Japan Rail Pass and Kyoto itinerary

Old Oct 20th, 2016, 05:07 AM
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Questions re use of Japan Rail Pass and Kyoto itinerary

We are leaving for our Japan in 10days and I have 2 questions.

!- When using the Rail Pass, if I have a reserved seat on a train and I miss that train, can I board the next train to my destination (not Nozomi) without a reserved seat, and are the cars that have unreserved seats marked as such, or are they always the first five cars.

2-We have 3 full days in Kyoto and I'd like to know if this itinerary makes sense time wise. We saw the "A list temples" on our first trip, and I'd like to see some lesser visited and less crowded ones on this trip.

Day1- Train to Tofukuji. Train to Nanzen -ji. Visit Konch-in. Walk through Hagashyama and Gion district.

Day 2-Taxi or bus to Ninna-ji. Tram to Arashyama. Visit the villa and Daikoku-ji or another temple.

Day 3- Uji. Or any other suggestion for a less crowded temple or garden in Kyoto. If we had time I'd like to visit the temples in Nara that are not in Nara Park (Been there), but I think that would really be pushing it, timewise if we combined those temples with Uji.

Also, is it worth spending time going to the Imperial Palace Park in Kyoto. I read that you no longer need to make reservations to go there, but the guidebooks don't give it great reviews. Anyone been there?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
shelleyk is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2016, 07:13 AM
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For question 1:

http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/que....html?0+130422
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Old Oct 21st, 2016, 06:18 AM
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Thanks, Big Russ.

Does anyone have an suggestions/ideas re question 2.
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Old Oct 21st, 2016, 09:32 AM
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One of the replies in that forum thread mentioned getting shinkansen seat reservations even at small JR station. That means you can cancel a seat reservation at any JR ticket office.

Some stations have counters that deal with seat reservations. If you just miss a train you could go there and get a reservation on a later train after canceling the reservation that you missed. You could be freeing up that seat for someone boarding the same train at a station down the line.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2016, 12:14 AM
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Any JR Station should have a small ticket office than can handle cancellation of seat reservations and make new ones. The times we didn't make the train we'd planned, we knew a few hours in advance, so we popped in and asked them to cancel the one we wouldn't use, so those seats would show as available to anyone else looking to reserve seats. In some cases we asked for a new reservation, in others we just went unreserved. I agree with MrWunrfl that if you *just* miss a train, it's still worth popping into the office and letting them know you're not using that seat reservation, in case they can clear the res and make it available to those joining the train at a later station on the route.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2016, 01:31 AM
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It took me nearly 2 full days to visit the places I wanted to see in and around Higashiyama. YMMV.

FWIW, I'm not sure you will find the temples in Kyoto that you plan to visit less crowded than others -- many are high priorities for substantial numbers of visitors. I'm not sure how you came up with an "A" list (actually, I'm curious about that -- do tell!), but am reasonably sure that it doesn't include all of the most visited temples and shrines.

I found Uji, and especially Byodo-in, to be delightful. I was incredibly moved by Horyuji and Chuguji, both just outside of Nara in Ikaruga, and I would recommend them to ANYONE. I visited them on the same day that I visited Uji -- it was a very busy day. Your call.

I didn't visit the "Imperial Palace Park" -- the one within the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds -- but I did visit Katsura Rikyū (the Katsura Imperial Villa) and thought it exquisite. A reservation was required when I was there.

Good luck!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2016, 12:41 PM
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Thanks for the tip to cancel a seat reservation, even if the train has left my station, so someone else at a different station might be able to use that seat.

kja- By "A list" I meant the temples/ gardens that the guidebooks usually recommend for a first timer...Kyomizadera, Ginkaju, Kinkaju, ect. I did not mean to imply that they were better than others, just more well known and more visited. I posted a TR of our 2013 trip where I mention all of the temples in Kyoto and Nara that I visited, most of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

On this trip I'm trying to visit some of the less popular, though still interesting and beautiful temples. Glad to know that you fit into one day visting Uji and the 2 temples you mention in Nara. I'll try to do the same, though I think it's more probable that I won't be able to see all 3 in one day.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2016, 03:27 PM
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Thanks for clarifying, shelleyk -- it seems we use different guidebooks. ;-) But more to the point, I would not suggest thinking that temples NOT on that list are any less visited. IME, you have to go quite a bit off the beaten track in Kyoto to find a truly "less visited" temple. YMMV.

And just to be clear -- Horyuji and Chugu-ji are not in Nara itself, they are in Ikaruga, just outside of Nara, and they can be combined with Uji only if you are willing to spend a VERY busy VERY long day. There's plenty to see in Nara, though.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2016, 03:44 PM
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I'd be going to Ikaruga to see only those 2 temples as I visited Nara and its temples for one full day on my last trip.

I think I'll stop first in Uji, and when we are finished there, decide if we have enough time to continue on. I think it will take us about an hour by train and bus to get to Horyuji. If we don't have the time, I think we'll return to Kyoto and find something to do there. Thanks for your input, kja.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2016, 04:18 PM
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Not to belabor the issue, but again, IME, there's more to be seen in Nara itself than can be seen in a day even if you travel really hard, long, and without breaks, and that's really just things that some of us would consider "A list."

But you'll see some wonderful things no matter what you choose....
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