Updated Japan itinerary with questions

Old Feb 4th, 2008, 09:07 AM
  #21  
kja
 
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Hi, Suzanne -

For a real splurge in Kyoto, you might consider Misogigawa:

http://www.misogui.jp/eng/misogigawa/index.html

GREAT French kaiseki cuisine!

And while in Takayama, make sure to try the mountain vegetables and ferns in addition to Hida beef. I had a great meal there - I think it was at Suzuya. Staff at the Rickshaw Inn can advise you.

Hope that helps!
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Old Feb 4th, 2008, 10:43 AM
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Thanks for the restaurant rec, the webiste looks wonderful. How will a kaiseki meal in a restaurant differ from what we will receive in a ryokan?

Also, I looked on Hyperdia for travel between Takayama and Nakatsugawa. It is a 3hr trip and involves a couple of changes but does not go through Nagoya. I would certainly be interested if there is a shorter bus route. I found out last night that the baseball games we are interested in are at 3 pm on the 4th and 2 pm on the 5th, rather than the 6pm I planned around. So, if we can get to Nakatsugawa in a timlier fashion from Takayama it would be helpful. I am not very confident in my ability to decifer the Hyperdia tables.

I really appreciate all the help and suggestions - now if April would just get here already!
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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Is it worth 8000 yen to save one hour on the train? That is how much a one way ticket Nagoya-> Kobe costs.

You get reserved seats at the reserved seat office/window (midori no madoguchi) not the ticket window, exactly. It is a separate line, at least at stations like Nagoya, and shorter.

I don't understand the timing of the Kiso Valley trip and what the bball game times have to do with it.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 02:00 PM
  #24  
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"I don't understand the timing of the Kiso Valley trip and what the bball game times have to do with it."

Here is my thought process which could easily be flawed when travel times are taken into consideration:
We will not be lodging in the Kiso Valley, it is just a day trip. The baseball game is at 2 pm at Nagoya stadium on May 5th. So the 5th, in honor of my dear husband, will be dedicated to baseball and post baseball activities (can anyone say birro - the Elephant's Nest is near our hotel) We are leaving Takayama on the 4th. I want to leave Nagoya early on the 6th heading south. As I see it, it would make the most sense to go to Kiso Valley from Takayama enroute to Nagoya on the 4th. I am using the posting by CleoB regarding their hiking trek from Magome to Tsumago. It took them about 8 hours round trip from Nagoya. The hike itself took 3 hrs. Ideally, I would like to arrive at Nakatsugawa Sta by 11:00 at the latest...
This is probaly TMI but that is my reasoning surrounding Kiso Valley and baseball.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 04:05 PM
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Thanks. I wasn't clear on your plan, but now understand that you want to leave Takayama in the morning, walk the Nakasendo that afternoon, spend the night in Nagoya. Next day, go to a yakyu game.

If you take the 7:17 AM train from Takayama then you can get to Nakatsugawa at 10:33 after two changes of train (at Mino Ota and Tajimi).

Your other option would be to go to Nagiso arriving there at 10:58 (transfer at Nagoya OR transfer at Mino Ota and Tajimi).

You can find out in Takayama if the bus is better but I bet it is not. Heading south from Takayama I am all but certain that the bus would take the road that parallels (and crosses) the rail line down a narrow river valley. There really aren't many options because of the mountains. At Mino Ota you'd take a train east(ish) to Kiso Valley and the road is probably parallel there too. I am guessing, but until you get a hold of a bus schedule I recommend planning on a train trip.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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Thank you - You have truly been WONDERFUL (or is that wunfrl)!
I realize I am totally wrapped up in this trip and extremely excited and gasping for information as if it were oxygen. I appreciate your patience and time in offering advice and welcome any more that comes my way.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 06:31 AM
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Someone in Tokyo found me the following bus timetable between Nakatsugawa-Magome.
N'gawa 09:40 10:20 11:10 11:50
Magome 10:08 10:48 11:38 12:18

Magome 14:45 16:00 16:40 17:30
N'gawa 15:14 16:29 17:09 17:59

He also recommended to hike from Matome to Tsumago (allegedly the other way around is mainly uphill), which is supposed to take 3-4hrs, then take a taxi back to Nakatsugawa.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 11:42 AM
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Ok, so train to Nakatsugawa, bus 30 min to Magome, walk to Tsumago. Then Tsumago to Nagiso is 10 minutes by bus according to japan-guide.

At Nagiso you can get a limited express train to Nagoya. Departure times are: 14:43, 15:44, and 16:44.

Between and after those times you can get a JR local (Chuo Line) train from Nagiso to Nakatsugawa and transfer to the limited express train. The limited express train stops more often and later at Nakatsugawa than at Nagiso.

But Nagiso to Nakatsugawa on the limited express train is 12 minutes vs something like 19 minutes on the local.

Probably better to go to from Tsumago to Nagiso to Nagoya than from Tsumago by bus to Nakatsugawa to Nagoya.

see this: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6079.html
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 09:57 AM
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Well, I came back from my Kiso/Takayama trip 2weeks ago and here are my findings.

1) Nagoya-Nakatsugawa was an easy ride on limited express. Nakatsugawa-Magome was similarly easy to get to on a local bus. Unfortunately, I totally misjudged the weather--it was raining relatively hard, which made the idea of hiking along old paths rather impractical. Also I saw lots of snow along the path. In the end, I ended up just walkig a bit of Magome, caught the bus to Tsumago, then walked a bit around Tsumago. On a weekday in mid-March, it was still off-season and many shops and restaurants were closed. A stall at Magome selling some kind of vegetable-filled flat dumpling saved me from cold and hunger! I ended up taking a taxi from Tsumago to Nagiso, JR backed to Nagoya before connecting to a separate train to Gero/Takayama.

2) I very much enjoyed Gero onsen, especially after a rather miserable rainy day. Stayed at Suimeikan, breakfast only option but ended up eating at the ryokan's modern Japanese restaurant. It's a big place, with three different baths to try. Gero town is quite small, but I enjoyed various "foot baths" dotted around downtown. Gassho house museum nearby was too commercial for my taste. Would probably have been better to try the real thing at S'go.

3) Gero to Takayama was an easy link. Takayama seems to be a popular destination, and I couldn't get a reserved seat on the way back. In the end, I manage to find an empty seat on unreserved car. I think there are still one or two smoking cars, so beware.

4) While I found historic downtown in Takayama to be a tad too commercialised, I enjoyed sake brewers. Several traditional houses open to public were rather dissapointing--very little information for JPY500charges. The old shogunate government office can also use more english explanation. Nothing to do with traditional Japanese culture, but I enjoyed Takayama Museum with excellent collection of Art Deco and Art Nouveau glassworks.

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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 04:23 PM
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London - Thanks for reporting back on your trip around Takayama/Kiso Valley. How unfortunate to have such miserable weather!
Our time in that area will be early May. Perhaps a "Plan B" would be on order.

I haven't monitoed this thread in a few weeks. I am getting ready to purchase my rail pass (wish I had done it when the exchange rate was better) and in reviewing I have a question. I thought the JR Rail Pass would not cover, at all, our trip from Tokyo to Toba. Amazinga indicated there would be a 500Y surcharge for JR Pass holders. Does anyone know how this works? It will make a difference on the pass I purchase. I did not consider the cost of the rail travel to Toba when calculating my with pass vs without pass rail cost.

Thanks everyone!
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 04:41 PM
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From Tokyo to Toba, your JR pass will cover the shinkansen portion to Nagoya. Then you change to Kintetsu line, which you will need to pay for, ¥2950.
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Old Mar 28th, 2008, 03:33 AM
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Is that Y2950 both ways? If so it seems more economical to purchase a Kintetsu rail pass (Y3500 I think). Does anyone have experience with this pass. We will travel to and from Toba and probably a bus as well to the shrines and such.
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