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shelleyk Feb 20th, 2013 03:47 PM

Travel from Shinjuku to Nikko using a JR pass
I want to use my JR pass to travel to Nikko. We will be staying in the Shinjuku area. When i check hyperdia for the scedule, it looks to me that the trains leave from Tokyo station. But when I checked the forum on japan guide, people have said that you can go to Nikko from Shinjuku. Do they mean take a regular train to Tokyo station and swithch to a Nikko bound train. Or is there a train bound for Nikko that leaves from Shinjuku station?

Mara Feb 20th, 2013 05:00 PM

Did you see this, shelleyk? It looks like, with a JR pass, you need to take the JR Tokoku Shinkansen from either Tokyo or Ueno stations and change at Utsunomiya for the JR Nikko train....

Evidently the train from Shinjuku is the special train that is only partially covered by the JR pass....

When I went I was coming from Kyoto so I changed at Tokyo station....

mrwunrfl Feb 20th, 2013 09:31 PM

Looks like the limited express is only once a day at 07:30. See Route1 on the link below.

Going via Omiya (in addition to Tokyo or Ueno) is another option. See Route2.

mrwunrfl Feb 20th, 2013 09:33 PM

<s>in addition to</s> instead of

shelleyk Feb 21st, 2013 06:15 AM

Thanks Mara and mrwunrfl. I think I will take the train from Tokyo station, as it is just 15 minutes by subway from my hotel, and Shinjuku station is a 15 minute walk from my hotel.

One more question...If I am using the JR pass and I make a reservation on a train that I miss, can I just get on the next train. How would I know if there are seats available on that next train?

hawaiiantraveler Feb 21st, 2013 06:50 AM

You would need to get a ticket again and seat reservation for the next train at the ticket counters. I know bummer. You could jump on the next train and get a seat from the conductor or sit in the no res section if the train has one....

Regarding Nikko, from Shinjuku station you can take the JR Chuo line or the Chuo Express direct to Tokyo Station in 13 minutes. Don't know where the subway is you are thinking of but would think it takes a little longer than 15 minutes by subway from Shinjuku to Tokyo station.


hawaiiantraveler Feb 21st, 2013 06:58 AM

Just a bit of advice. Get to the train station early if its your first time taking a train in Japan. Early even if it isn't,especially if its Shinjuku or Tokyo stations. The wow factor alone(you'll see when you get there} will cost precious minutes of time only magnified if your pressed for time. Then factor in the learning curve and I figure you need to be at the station entrance at least 45 minutes before your departure time more if you don't have your pass and tickets in your hands.

I have been to Japan many times now and I still get lost in Shinjuku station and avoid Tokyo station like the plague though the food options in both places have no rivals in all of Japan. Maybe Osaka comes close.....


shelleyk Feb 21st, 2013 09:39 AM

Thanks for the heads up HT. I will follow your advice to arrive early. In your reply did you mean that if I missed my train I would either have to get a new reserved seat ticket, OR alternatively jump on the next train and get a seat from the conductor (without a ticket). Or do I need to get a new ticket either way. As insurance, can you make a reservation for 2 trains leaving an hour apart to the same destination tomake sure you make one of them, or is this not allowed?

We will be at the Citadines Shinjuku (I think) and there are 2 subways within a short walk from there. One is on the Marunouchi Line that goes into Tokyo station.

With all the hassle of getting into and out of Tokyo, I keep asking myself why we are even going there. I do not like shopping. I grew up in NYC, so the neon signs don't really have a great fascination for me. I keep wondering if my 4 days in Tokyo would be better spent in the Japanese Alps?

mrwunrfl Feb 21st, 2013 09:43 AM

I would just get a seat reservation after arriving at Tokyo station for a train that I knew I could make. There are frequent departures.

ht, aren't there seat reservation counters where you can get a seat reservation without getting in a ticketing line? A separate counter that just sells/issues seat reservations. I thought that was what midori-no madoguchi, the green counter, was for but I've seen that referred to as a ticket counter.

I have a fuzzy memory of going to Nagoya station and seeing people lined up to buy tickets for travel but I just went to a separate counter with no line to get a reserved seat. By "ticket for travel", I mean the ticket that gets you through the gate and which a pass holder doesn't need.

hawaiiantraveler Feb 21st, 2013 09:55 AM

You would really want to get a new seat res and ticket. It is not smart to hop on the next train because the next train through could very well have a different destination. If you are sure of it's destination of the next train then you can hop on but I would always go back to the ticket office and get a ticket. Most of the time that entails going back into the train station proper so don't be late. No you cannot make reservations for two different trains. Reservations are free with the pass but if you didn't have one they would charge you for a seat reservation. Don't stress you'll make the train.....eventually ;)

IIRC the walk from the Tokyo subway to the JR trains in Tokyo station is a haul from the bottom of the station to the top levels so hope you are not carrying too much luggage.

Japanese Alps are nice, Gunma is nice, Tohoku is also nice.


shelleyk Feb 21st, 2013 12:46 PM

We will each have a 21 inch rollie and a small carryon bag. It looks like there are elevators near the Marunouchi line exit to get up to the JR shinkensen trains. If we wind up taking bigger bags than this, then i will forward the bags from the Citadines to our next hotel. This can be done and paid for right at the hotel. Correct? (I am assuming that we do not have to bring the bags to a drop off place outside of the hotel. Correct?)

HT-Thanks for the diagram of Tokyo station. It was very helpful.

hawaiiantraveler Feb 21st, 2013 02:26 PM

Yes you would have the bell desk handle the details and the bag. Ask about how they handle it there at check-in as sometimes they want your bag the night before they ship in the mornings.

you want to travel as light as you can as I am imagining you will be leaving the Citadines bright and early in the morning bound for Nikko and smack dab in the middle of rush hour in Tokyo. Imagine carrying luggage in tow on the blue or green line subway in NYC at rush hour and times that by 12 for Tokyo at rush hour. They have professional "train stuffers" in the Tokyo metro. Imagine doing this in NYC and see the crowds reaction but no one complains in Japan.....amazing:

That's why I suggested taking the train from Shinjuku and not the subway to Tokyo station first ;)


hawaiiantraveler Feb 21st, 2013 03:11 PM

mrwunrfl, yes, you can also get tickets for any JR transportation's including buses at the midori-no madoguchi but they are usually only located in the bigger train stations and finding them when pressed for time is usually a lesson in frustration for me....except at the airports. Going back to the ticket office where you know(usually)where located is the fastest I find especially if panicking in a time pinch ;)


shelleyk Feb 21st, 2013 03:25 PM

HT-Can you tell if the morning trains from Shinjuko Station to Nikko are covered by the JR pass. I think they may require an additional payment because they use non JR tracks, but I am not sure. Very confusing...

In any case, we will be doing Nikko as a day trip on a Saturday and leaving Tokyo for Takayama on a Sunday morning. Are the subways, and Tokyo station, less crowded on weekend mornings, or should we expect crowds even on weekends?

hawaiiantraveler Feb 21st, 2013 03:52 PM

I haven't done it but the direct train from Shinjuku to Nikko would be charged a supplement probably no more than ¥600-900. The whole one-way fare is only ¥1890. You can also travel from Shinjuku on all JR tracks and transfer at Utsonomia on the JR Nikko line but takes a little longer.

No nightmare train rush hours in Tokyo on Saturdays or Sundays.


mrwunrfl Feb 21st, 2013 05:02 PM

For a Saturday morning trip on that L'ex from Shinjuku to Nikko, I would get reserved seats well in advance.

>>If I am using the JR pass and I make a reservation on a train that I miss, can I just get on the next train. How would I know if there are seats available on that next train?<<

Don't miss it. But, if you do, then you will need to know the departure time of the next train that goes to your destination. Not all of the Tohuku shinkansen stop at Utsunomiya. Get a timetable, or make your own, and then using the departure time you can locate the train and track number for the next train using the overhead departure boards. It may be listed on the board just above the track of the train you just missed. You wouldn't know about seat availability you would just get on the non-reserved car - which are available on the trains that stop at Utsunomiya.

If you have to have a reserved seat then follow this sign:
The worst that could happen is that they charge you 510 yen for another seat, if available. And maybe receive a frown for letting the first seat go empty.

rhkkmk Feb 21st, 2013 06:42 PM

this is all over the top... good thing i have my man to lead the way and make all the decisions..

shelly---tokyo seems an easy miss...

Mara Feb 21st, 2013 07:27 PM

It looks to me like the direct train from Shinjuku to Nikko, the LE Nikko 1 is ¥3900 according to hyperdia....but I can't find where it says what the extra amount for using the Tobu trackway costs....I agree with mrwunrfl that if you are there in peak autumn season time the trains will be crowded.

hawaiiantraveler Feb 21st, 2013 08:45 PM

3900 yen includes seat reservation fee. Train fare is 1890 + seat res fee

Mara Feb 22nd, 2013 08:05 AM

I believe that is the LE surcharge fee, ht - I don't think it's voluntary....
See explanation of Limited Express here:

Hyperdia doesn't categorize it correctly....

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