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Transport logistics: Kyoto, Hiroshima/Miyajima, Kyushu

Transport logistics: Kyoto, Hiroshima/Miyajima, Kyushu

Jan 10th, 2014, 07:37 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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btw, the March grand sumo tournament in Osaka will be March 9 to 23 this year: http://sumo.or.jp/en/ticket/year_schedule
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Jan 10th, 2014, 07:56 PM
  #22  
kja
 
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"* Mar 27 drop car in Kumamoto, train to Hiroshima
* March 28 Hiroshima/Miyajima
* March 29 Hiroshima/Miyajima
* March 30 Hiroshima Miyajima to Osaka
* Mar 31 Osaka to Osaka Kansai Airport"

You might want to tweak this great suggestion just a bit: spend only 2 nights in Hiroshima/Miyajima, with arrival/departure times set to ensure that you have at least 1.5 days for this area. Then move on to Koyasan for your temple stay. Just be sure you can get from Koyasan to Kansai in time for your flight. Or rearrange the route as necessary.
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Jan 10th, 2014, 09:30 PM
  #23  
 
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Oh, yeah, I left Koyasan out of that example itin. Adding that would squeeze elsewhere. Am not sure how I would fit it in: I would not want to go Koyasan to Itami (before Kyushu) or Koyasan to Kansai Airport on the day I left Japan. Both are definitely doable, tho.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 08:23 PM
  #24  
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Thanks, mrwunrfl and kja, for the suggested routes. So, is it worth it to get a JR pass or just the Sanyo-Northern Kyushu rail pass? Transportation cost seems pretty expensive in Japan.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 09:35 AM
  #25  
 
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What rail pass you use, if you use one at all, depends on how you organize your trip. I am just giving you your options. The example I gave above uses the 5-day pass in combination with a cheap flight and renting a car.

The 5-day passes I suggested include use of any shinkansen, the Nozomi and a couple of other types. The 7-day pass excludes some shinkansen. That means the 5-day passes offer more frequent departures. With a 7-day pass if you miss the 9:50 train from Hiroshima to Shin-Osaka then you wait an hour for the next train. With the 5-day pass you wait 23 minutes for a Nozomi or another 9 minutes later there is a Mizuho shinkansen or another 15 min after that another Nozomi. Am using this as an example because of my idea of going from Hiroshima to Kansai Airport (which is just one option of many that you have).

Here is another example, this time with just a 7-day pass:
* Mar 16 - 21: Kyoto for conference
* Mar 22: Arashiyama, night in Kyoto
* Mar 23: go to Koyasan, night in Koyasan
* Mar 24 start use of 7-day JR Pass
...
* Mar 30 end of JR Pass, night in Osaka
* Mar 31 limo bus or train from Osaka hotel to Kansai Airport.

The Japan railway systems is of high quality and is in a modern prosperous country. Those passes are a bargain. You can get on a train in central Kumamoto and after 4 stops get off in Hiroshima 1 hr 45 min later, average speed of 142 mph, comfortably and safely.

Expensive? Compared to what? Just for fun I took a look at EuRail passes. Eurail Austria - Germany Pass Saver, good on 5 days within 2 months, 2nd class, the cost for two people traveling together: USD$ 692. An Austria-Czech saver pass for 4 days is $502 for two.
http://www.eurail.com/eurail-passes/regional-pass

Two 7-day JR passes cost $543 and include free reserved seats. The Sanyo-N.Kyushu pass is $422 for two.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 09:44 AM
  #26  
 
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That is at the current rate of 104 yen per dollar. A year ago it was below 90 yen per dollar and two 7-day passes would have been about $630.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 09:53 AM
  #27  
 
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One more thing. About that too hectic? question. It is not too hectic for me but it would be for some people.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 04:03 PM
  #28  
kja
 
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BTW, from what I read on this board, one's selection of a temple on Koyasan makes a HUGE difference to the experience. I thoroughly enjoyed Shojoshin-in and have seen many other favorable comments about it:
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/r...n=Shojoshin-in

and do consider visiting Okuno-in cemetery while there, particularly at dusk or dawn:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4901.html

I stayed on Miyajima at a small ryokan called Momiji-so that I really liked and that is a bit more affordable than most:
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/r...yokan=Momijiso

In the Arashiyama section of Kyoto, consider a visit to the Okochi Sanso Villa:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3912.html

Enjoy!
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Jan 13th, 2014, 10:47 AM
  #29  
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Thanks, mrwunrfl and kja, for more tips!

OK, I'm thinking of flying out from Kumamoto to Tokyo on the return trip instead of Fukuoka. So, buy a 7 days JR pass to go to Koyasan,, Hiroshima, Miyajima, and maybe to Yufuin and back to Kumamoto. Just max it out. And for remaining 2 days or so, rent a car from Kumamoto and go to Mt Aso and other harder to access places and drop the car back at Kumamoto and fly out.

I've been to Fukuoka before so I can skip it this time, and this route will get us to the heart of Kyushu that we want to see -- volcano and onsens.

Now the tricky part is to coordinate my business ticket with DH's ticket using miles. Let's see if we can do it.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions!
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Jan 13th, 2014, 12:59 PM
  #30  
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I'm trying to book the following itinerary:

* 3/15 (Sat): Fly into Osaka from US. Train from Osaka to Kyoto. Overnight in Kyoto
* 3/16 (Sun): Arashiyama day trip. Overnight in Kyoto.
* 3/17-21 (Mon-Fri): Kyoto for conference.
* 3/22 (Sat): Koyasan. Templestay.
* 3/23 (Sun): Koyasan --> Hiroshima-->Miyajima. Overnight in Miyajima.
* 3/24 (Mon): Miyajima full day. Overnight in Hiroshima.
* 3/25 (Tue): 1/2 day in Hiroshima. Train to Kumamoto or Yufuin (need to check if JR pass will go there)
* 3/26-29 (Wed-Sat): Go around Kumamoto area -- Kurosawa onsen, Mt Aso, etc. By car when JR passes run out.
* 3/29 (Sat): 8 p.m. flight to Tokyo and back home.

kja, I'll look into your suggestions for Koyasan and Miyajima.

Thanks again, all!
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Jan 13th, 2014, 06:50 PM
  #31  
kja
 
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Your plans for the areas with which I am familiar sound good to me! One small thing -- if you want to visit the A-Bomb Dome, Peace Park, and Peace Museum in Hiroshima, you will likely need at least 1/2 day. And you may want to make sure that your plans for the rest of the day allow you sufficient flexibility to deal with your reactions to these very powerful places.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 06:56 PM
  #32  
 
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I agree with kja that Momijiso on Miyajima is quite nice and affordable.

As far as Yufuin goes, I will refer you again to the following link:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_07.html

The map on that webpage shows Yufuin is on a JR line. So is Aso.

A 7-day JR Pass doesn't make much sense for that itinerary. Most of the travel to Koyasan is NOT on JR. The JR part of the trip would be less then 900 yen per person.

Here is what the Kyoto to Koyasan trip would be like: http://tinyurl.com/poyocak
and most of it is not on JR.

You would be much better off by getting the Sanyo- Northern Kyushu pass, starting it on the 23rd. It is much better because a) you will save 6300 JPY per person and b) you will be able to ride on more and better shinkansen, vs using the JR Pass. Another benefit is that you can buy that Sanyo-N.Kyushu pass when you are in Japan.

Koyasan to Hiroshima would be about a 4-hour trip:
http://tinyurl.com/q4z4sw4

Flying Kumamoto to Tokyo will probably mean flying to Tokyo Haneda Airport and not Narita. So you are planning to stay in Tokyo for a night or two before flying home?
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Jan 14th, 2014, 01:21 PM
  #34  
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mrwunfrfl, if without the JR pass, wouldn't going from Koyasan to Hiroshima / Miyajima and from Hiroshima to Kumamoto or Yufuin be quite expensive? Would the Sanyo- Northern Kyushu pass cover any of those legs?

Thanks
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Jan 14th, 2014, 02:04 PM
  #35  
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Also, the JR pass is not valid to go to Koyasan from Kyoto? Is there a website that allows you to figure out which route is valid on the JR pass? Their official website is so confusing.

Thanks
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Jan 14th, 2014, 02:53 PM
  #36  
kja
 
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I found the japan-guide website very helpful for understanding the passes -
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html
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Jan 14th, 2014, 07:38 PM
  #37  
 
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You need to look at the links I gave. You can figure it out from there, but I will explain a bit more. It is complicated.

Japan Rail does not go to/from Koyasan. JR will get you to Osaka. To get to Koyasan you would take Nankai Electric Railway.

Look at Route2 on this link: http://tinyurl.com/poyocak
It shows:
- JR Kyoto 9:29 AM gets to JR Osaka station at 9:58, cost ¥540
- walk from JR Osaka station to Umeda subway station
- subway from Umeda to Namba subway station ¥230
- walk from Namba subway station to Nankai Namba station
- travel on Nankai rail to the Nankai station GOKURAKUBASHI
- take the Nankai cable car up to Koyasan.

On the 23rd, you would take Nankai train to Nankai Namba station, then the subway from Namba to Umeda and walk over to the JR. Now at JR Osaka station you start using your 5-day JR Sanyo-N.Kyushu pass.

Route3 on the hyperdia link in this post shows an alternate way that you can get from Kyoto to Koyasan. It uses JR to Shinamamiya and then Nankai from there to Koyasan.

This link that I gave: www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_012.html describes a pass that you could use to get from Namba(Nankai) to Koyasan on the 22nd and back to Namba (or Shinamamiya) on the 23rd.

You actually could use the 5-day pass starting on the 22nd.


22nd - You go to JR Kyoto station and buy a 5-day JR Sanyo-N.Kyushu pass. You use that pass to take JR to Osaka station. Then either JR (with the pass) or subway to get to a Nankai station (e.g. Namba). At the Nankai statiion, you buy the Nankai Koyasan World Heritage Ticket and use it to get to Koyasan.

23rd - Use the Nankai pass to get back to Osaka. Then take JR, using your 5-day pass to go to Miyajima.

Still on the 23rd, the 5-day pass covers the local train from Osaka station to Shin-Osaka, the shinkansen (any shinkansen) to Hiroshima, the local train to Miyajimaguchi and the JR ferry to Miyajima.

24th - the 5-day pass covers the JR ferry and local train to get to Hiroshima.

25th - day 4 of the 5-day pass, you use it on the shinkansen to Kumamoto. Or you use it to go to Yufuin

26th - you still have one day left on the pass.

If you spent the night of the 25th in Kumamoto then you could use the pass to go to Aso that day. Or just start your car rental that day.

If you went to Yufuin on the 25th then you could use the pass to get to Kumamoto on the 26th where you will rent a car.

Note:
train travel between Kumamoto and Yufuin is about 2 hr 15 min (one connection)
train travel between Kumamoto and Aso is 69 minues, no connection

Yufuin to Aso takes a surprisingly long time - basically go via Kumamoto.

Good luck.
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Jan 20th, 2014, 10:17 AM
  #38  
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Thanks, all, again for very helpful responses!

In Kyushu, if I have 2 days on JR pass and 2 days of driving, which areas should I go to on train and which by car? Interested in central area surrounding Mt Aso.

Some places of interest:
* Mt Aso, Kurokawa, Yufuin/Beppu, the Gorge and Buddha, the place with traditional Japanese mythology (forgot what it's caled). Pick up and drop off car at Kumamoto.

Maybe not all of them, but whichever we can do in 4 days by train and car, and what wou recommend? Anything else? We like beautiful scenery, traditional culture.

Thanks!
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Jan 24th, 2014, 11:38 AM
  #39  
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Is Kyoasan really worth going there? I'm thinking of maybe dropping it, so we'll have more time in Kyushu. It's a UNESCO world heritage site but we've done templestay in Korea before and after all the temples in Kyoto, we'll probably be templed-out. Is Koyasan very scenic?

Thanks
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Jan 24th, 2014, 03:08 PM
  #40  
 
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The trip up to Koyasan is very scenic, but walking along the main road (along which the temples are located) is not particularly so. However, the famous graveyard at Okunuin is something I am very glad to have visited.

I haven't been to Korea or experienced other temple stays, so can't compare on that front.
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