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rachaelmnelson Oct 23rd, 2017 02:30 PM

Travel within Japan
Hello All,

Hoping you can provide some insight into travel while in Japan. I've been reading some information on the Japan Guide which is super helpful, but want to get confirmation on my readings as I think thats always a good idea and there is a lot of information! We are looking for the fasting transportation options for the following:

-Tokyo to Hakone
-Hakone to Kyoto
-Kyoto to Tokyo

Tokyo to Hakone:
From what I can tell, we will need to do the Odakyu ( - is this accurate?

Hakone to Kyoto:
*Still looking into this

Kyoto to Tokyo:
Shinkansen (bullet train)

A few questions:
1) Would you recommend purchasing online before we depart US for Japan? Or should we be fine waiting until we arrive in Japan to purchase?
2) Would you recommend reserved vs. non-reserved, and also any recommendation around ordinary car seating vs. green car seating?
3) Any other tips?

Thank you in advance!

mrwunrfl Oct 23rd, 2017 09:12 PM

The Odakyu train will get you to Hakone Yumoto, sure. Where in Tokyo are you departing from?

From Odawara to Kyoto you will be taking the shinkansen. Be careful to not take a Kodama shinkansen. They are the slowest and you would have to change trains.

With a JR Pass, or even without one, you would want a Hikari shinkansen from Odawara (the JR station near to Hakone) to Kyoto.

The other option is to take the shinkansen to Shin-Yokohama and then a Nozomi shinkansen to Kyoto. This would be an itinerary only if not using a JR Pass and a Hikari train didn't meet your schedule.

So, plan on this: Hikari shinkansen from Odawara to Kyoto.

I recommend getting reserved seats. The cost is low. I don't think the green car is worth it.

A few questions for you. When is your trip? How long is the trip? If Day 1 is the day you leave Tokyo for Hakone then on what Day are you going on to Kyoto and what Day are you returning to Tokyo. After you get back to Tokyo what happens? How long are you in Tokyo before you go to Hakone?

That is: what is your travel plan within Japan?

Adastra2200 Oct 25th, 2017 06:39 PM

You'd still be slightly short from making a 7 day pass pay off for Tokyo-Kyoto round trip. As was asked though, is that your whole itinerary?

For Hakone, look into getting a Hakone Free Pass. You can use it either from Tokyo (Shinjuku), or near Hakone from Odawara.
The Loop Course is a common way to see all the sights and takes a full day.

It's up to you if you want to get the reserved seats. If you have the JR Pass, they are a free perk thrown in. Otherwise, usually not necessary unless you are traveling in a peak period. Green seats are nicer but the ordinary ones are nothing to complain about. I found there are some pictures of both on:

Another option of going to Kyoto cheaply is the japanican ticket. You'd need to return to Tokyo from Hakone to go to Kyoto though, so it might be better to make it a day trip on a separate day on separate tickets. The savings in the end though are substantial.

If you get the JR Pass, it is about 15% cheaper buying it before arriving in Japan.

BigRuss Oct 26th, 2017 09:52 AM

<<If you get the JR Pass, it is about 15% cheaper buying it before arriving in Japan.>>

Uh, you don't buy it outside Japan. You buy the exchange vouchers and then turn them in once you're in Japan.

Green seats are unnecessary. The regular shinkansen seating is more roomy by far than a plane.

Adastra2200 Oct 26th, 2017 10:33 AM

That is technically true of course. I've done it myself. The point is that it is quite cheaper to get it before your trip. If you don't know if you'll get one and wait til you're in Japan, you're probably not planning your trip right.

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