Train questions for November Japan trip

Jun 17th, 2013, 02:26 PM
  #1  
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Train questions for November Japan trip

Here are the train segments we need. I have chosen on the basis of total travel time and fewest transfers. If there are other considerations I should know about, please let me know. For instance are some of these commuter lines that should be avoided at rush hour? If so, which ones, and what times are considered rush hour?

Shinjuku (JR) to Kanazawa leave 10:50 arrive 15:16
From Shinjuku, JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line (Via Takasaki Line) - 30 min,
transfer at OMIYA(SAITAMA) to
SHINKANSEN MAX TOKI 319 - 50 min,
transfer at ECHIGO-YUZAWA to
LTD. EXP HAKUTAKA 10 - 157 min, arriving at KANAZAWA
Question: Is this the correct station? I notice there are several other station names that start with Kanazawa.
Question: will we want reserved seats on the two last segments?

Kanazawa to Kyoto leave 10:55 arrive 13:09
LTD. EXP THUNDERBIRD 18 - 134 min, no transfers!
Question: Is it the Kyoto Station we want or one of the Kyoto stations with a suffix?
Question: Will we want a reserved seat?

Kyoto to Gora leave 10:29 arrive 13:49
SHINKANSEN HIKARI 516 - 126 min
Change trains at ODAWARA to
Odakyu Ltd. Exp. Hakone 19 - 13 min
Change trains at HAKONE-YUMOTO to
Hakone Tozan Railway - 37 min
Question: Will we want a reserved seat?

Gora to Narita terminal 2 leave 11:08, arrive 14:00
Travel time is about 3 hours, 3 transfers
Our flight leaves about 17:30, I want to allow plenty of time
Hakone Tozan Railway - 35 min
Change trains at HAKONE-YUMOTO to
Odakyu Ltd. Exp. Hakone 14 - 14 min
Change trains at ODAWARA to
SHINKANSEN KODAMA 642 - 36 min
Change trains at TOKYO to
LTD. EXP NARITA EXPRESS 27 - 50 min.
Question: Will we want a reserved seat?

General Question for all trains: We are currently planning to travel with one 21” rollie each and one small carry-on each. Will this be easy/doable on all of these trains, or will we want to send our luggage ahead on some of these segments?

Many thanks to all of the Japan experts here!
Kathie is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 03:33 PM
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For Kyoto to Gora, there are no reserved seats from Hakone Yumoto to Gora.

From Gora, you can take a taxi to the Hyatt, or you can also take the funicular. If you take the funicular, get off at Kami-Gora (3rd stop, IIRC), and exit on the right side of the cablecar. (If you get off on the left, you won't be able to cross the funicular channel.) After exiting from the cablecar, it's an easy 5 or 10 minute walk to the hotel: walk to the end of the street, then turn right and follow the road downhill until you reach the hotel.

When going from Gora to Narita, the Hyatt does offer a shuttle to Odawara station, which can save you time if the shuttle schedule jibes with your train. The train from Hakone-Yumoto to Gora is scenic, with plenty of switchbacks, but it is slow.

As for luggage on trains, you'll be ok with the luggage you mention. All trains I've seen have overhead racks that will accommodate 21" rollaboards.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 03:48 PM
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Thanks, Don, taking the cable car would be fun if the weather is good.

Since we will have seen the scenery between Hakone-Yumoto to Gora on the way in, the shuttle might make sense as we head to Narita.

And thanks for the info on luggage.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 03:57 PM
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I travel with a suitcase sized similar to yours as well as a carry-on which seems even heavier sometimes.... ;-)I wouldn't think you would have any problem....
Mara is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 06:36 PM
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Thanks, Mara. I appreciate the voice of experience.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 07:39 PM
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OMG Kathie it looks impossible but with these good instructions you will be fine...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 08:19 PM
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It has been years but I would recommend that you send your luggage ahead. The day before your departure just give your luggage to the concierge of your hotel and pay a small fee and when you arrived at your destination it will be waiting for you - either in the lobby or in your room!
Hanuman is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 07:02 AM
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Shinjuku to Kanazawa

Question: Is this the correct station? I notice there are several other station names that start with Kanazawa.

Yes this is the main station in Kanazawa

Question: will we want reserved seats on the two last segments?

Yes

I think the Max Toki shinkansen is the double-decker one. This is a scenic ride after the shinkansen heads out of the cities and into the mountains. You will traveling through the Japan Alps then down on the other side through rice fields until the ocean....nice ride. IIRC correctly this route also incurs a small fee when the train rides a private line for a very short way, KimJapan would know for sure.

Kanazawa to Kyoto

Question: Is it the Kyoto Station we want or one of the Kyoto stations with a suffix?

Yes, your destination station is Kyoto

Question: Will we want a reserved seat?

Yes, I have not taken this route yet but will in November also. Getting seats on the right side of the train may be better to avoid sun and see the ocean along the way.

Kyoto to Gora

You will want a reserved seat on the Kyoto-Odawara section. Sit on the left side of the car to view Fujisan if she is showing herself this day. The Odawara to Gora and the Hyatt is run by a private company. No seat reservations on the trains or buses in Hakone region. In fact all transport in the Hakone region is run by this company(Odakyu). You will need a 3-day Hakone Free Pass which will cover your transport while in Hakone region and also gives discounted prices on restaurants, museum fees, etc. You can purchase when you get to Odawara station. See here for details:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html

Gora to Narita

Allow yourself more time for this route than you think. I don't remember if the Hyatt has a free shuttle to Odawara. I know they will take you to the train station in Gora but didn't know about to Odawara.
If taking the trains to Odawara leave earlier as lots of people are leaving the hill side towns and seem to converge on Moto-Hakone at once and you are not assured a space on the next train as I have seen it full when we arrived and had to wait15 or 20 minutes till the next train which totally screwed up our schedule. We have also taken a taxi from the Hyatt to Odawara station which is the easiest way to go and pretty stress free. The ride at about 10:00 am took close to half and hour and cost ¥75-85 iirc

I will be back later to finish

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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if you are able to reserve a seat on the train, get the last row so that you will be able to store your luggage in the space behind your seat instead of storing it in the overhead rack. lifting the 22" to the overhead rack, and retrieving it when the train stops may be challenging for two petite ladies.
kuranosuke is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 08:13 AM
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Thanks to all!

Peter, Don says the Hyatt does have a shuttle to Odawara, so we will plan to take that on our way to Narita (or use a taxi if the shuttle time doesn't work for us). We were going to arrive at Narita at 2 pm, how much more time should we allow -arrive at 1 pm or even earlier?

Thanks for all the suggestions about reserving seats, and Ken, thanks for the advice re: luggage and reserved seats.

Another question in regard to luggage - do all of these stations have escalators or elevators, or will we be hauling suitcases up and down the stairs at some?

Peter, I remember you said you buy tickets and make seat reservations at Narita. Does that make sense for us, since we know which trains we intend to take? And can we buy our Suica Pass at Narita or do we need to wait until we get into Tokyo?

Can we charge train tickets to a credit card or will we need cash? We plan to get cash at an ATM in Narita.

You noted that we will need to buy the Hakone 3 day pass at Odwara, are there any other passes we need to buy? What about for Kyoto?
Kathie is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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I know the Hyatt Gora has a shuttle I am just not sure it goes all the way to Odawara. When I was told by the front desk about the shuttle service, nothing was mentioned of a free ride all the way to Odawara. They only told me of the service to Gora station. Maybe Don can confirm this because we would love to use this service on our return trip to Odawara this fall.

kuranosuke brings up a good point about the overhead and if your bags are too heavy to lift up. There is space in the back row of every train car where you can fit a couple of bags. You don't have to be in the seat in front of them to use this space. See pics and luggage info here:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2274.html

Yes you can make all your JR train reservations at Narita while also picking up your N'EX/SUICA deal. I forgot how long you will be there but you may be able to take advantage of the round tgrip deal on the N'EX. I don't think you can buy a Hakone Free Pass there at Narita but it would be better to buy at Odakyu office when you arrive at Odawara station anyways. Just allow a few minutes in your schedule to do so.

Yes you can charge your train tickets to your cc. VISA or AMEX seems to work best for me in a train station. I have had MC cc's not read but they are always having problems with MC especially at ATM's in Japan

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2208.html

Knowing you two, in Kyoto you will probably want to buy a bus transport pass of some sort though the buses are very crowded during peak hours especially during peak fall color season which you may be in. See for details and your options under the orientation section:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2363.html

http://www.city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/access/transport.html

Taxis are plentiful in Kyoto and will be our main mode of transport throughout the city when we get there this fall. Bob has mentioned picking up the taxi bill....or was that the croissant bill, I forget.

Picture of your Max Toki shinkansen. It is the double decker which will mean three steps up or down inside the train cars so be prepared.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2018_joetsu.html

and your Hikari shinkansen

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2018_tokaido.html

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 09:38 AM
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Kathie asked:

"Another question in regard to luggage - do all of these stations have escalators or elevators, or will we be hauling suitcases up and down the stairs at some?"

I am curious to know the answer...
Craig is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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craig---I will send my man to help you..
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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So much great info - thanks!

Peter, read Don's first reply to this thread re: shuttle from Hyatt to Odawara station.

Since we will be taking the limo bus from Narita to the Hyatt, does the N'EX/SUICA deal still make sense?

As much as I like to take local public transport, I'm wondering if we will be better off taking taxis in Kyoto... especially since Bob is picking up the taxi bills (for all of us, right?).

I'm feeling much better about being prepared for this trip!
Kathie is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 10:52 AM
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Kathie, the N'EX/SUICA deal includes either a one-way or two-way train ride to Tokyo from Narita. If you are not using the train at all to/from the airport, the deal won't be of much use...

It's awfully nice of Bob to pay for all of our Kyoto taxis...
Craig is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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That was my thought, Craig, but now I see that we are taking the Narita Express on our way back to the airport - I forgot that we are routed though Tokyo to Narita.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 11:09 AM
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Kathie-When I wanted to know if a certain train station has escalators I Google the name of the station and i got a diagram of the station showing the location of the escalators, storage lockers, etc.

Hope we'll be able to meet for dinner, or just a chat after dinner, when we're in Tokyo. I know that we both have agendas while we are there, but some of our days overlap and it would be nice if we could talk in person rather than in cyberspace.
shelleyk is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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re Hyatt shuttle to/from Odawara:

The shuttle is on a fixed schedule. I was able to use it going to the hotel, but not on departure as I had an early train from Odawara. According to the hotel web site (http://hakone.regency.hyatt.com/en/h...rtation.html):

"The shuttle bus leaves Odawara station at 12:15 pm, 1:15 pm and 2:15 pm, and departs from the hotel at 11:30 am and 12:15 pm.
* Prior reservations for the shuttle bus are required at least one (1) hour prior to departure.

"For reservations, please call: +81 460 82 2000 and provide us the following information; your name, number of people and reachable cellular phone number. Please make a note of provided confirmation number for your reservation.

"To use this service, please proceed to the West Exit parking area of Odawara station behind the bronze statue of Hojo Soun, where a bus featuring the hotel logo will pick-up guests."

(I reserved by email.)

re escalators: All of the NEx stations that I've used have escalators from the train tracks and street level. Many/most subway stations in Tokyo and Kyoto have elevator service to the street as well, though the locations aren't always obvious. Many smaller JR stations (the one serving the Hilton near Odawara, for example) do not have elevators.

In Kyoto, taxis are especially useful when your hotel isn't near a subway stop -- for example, the Hyatt. The buses cover a wide area, but the ones I used were always crowded.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 11:45 AM
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Shelly, I also hope we can meet for dinner or a drink or something. As we get closer, we can make a firm plan.

Don, very useful information, thanks! It looks like we will want to take a taxi from the hotel to Odawara, as I think we will leave earlier. We may want to right the scenic train to the top on our way in - maybe even try the funicular.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 18th, 2013, 03:09 PM
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Kathie, fyi, the N'Ex/Suica package is one way only from NRT to Tokyo stations so if you are taking the Limo Bus you won't need it -
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/suica_nex.html

The Limo Bus does have some sort of pass deal of its own with the Tokyo Metro lines....don't know much about that, sorry...
Mara is offline  

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