What do you think of this plan?

Jun 21st, 2005, 07:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 219
What do you think of this plan?

We plan to visit Japan for two weeks next May and want to use some frequent flier miles and hotel points to do the trip. After looking at the posts here, I've booked the following and wondered if I have made good choices:

Tokyo - 5 days at the Renaissance Tokyo in the Shinjuku district (plan to day trip by rail to sites recommended here previously)

Nagoya - 2 days at the Hilton (not sure yet what we'll do from here)

Osaka - 4 days at the Hyatt Regency (day trips via rail to Kyoto and Hiroshima - I hope this is feasible)

My husband also wants to be sure we take the "bullet train" - any ideas on which route is best for this?

Since this trip will be relatively low cost, I thought I'd invest in "first class" rail tickets with JR (green car, no smoking) - what do you all think?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!
CleoB is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 09:56 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,546
Have you any special reason to stay in Osaka 4 nights? I would recommend to stay in Kyoto, and to make, if you want, a day trip to Osaka.
Kyoto has a lot of temples, old streets and it was not destroyed in the war.

I was not in Nagoya, so I can not say anything.

One more thing: we visited Japan this year, in April, and it was wonderful, because of cherry blossom. The weather was very good, not hot, neither cold. It is something special to walk there and to see hundred of different cherry types. So, maybe is better to travel to Japan in April, if you can.
valtor is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 12:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 574
Bonjour Cleo,

The "bullet train", or Shinkansen, is the main way of travelling between Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima. There is no real need to take 1st class, regular class is spotless, confortable and has no smoking cars. Depending on whether you fly in and out of Narita or open jaws Narita - Kansai, you might consider a 7 or 14 days railpass, although it is not valid for Nozomi (I've heard it might change, but I don't really count on it).

There's not much to see/do in Nagoya, you might consider visiting other parts (Inland sea coasts, Shikoku, Chubu) or spending more time in Kyoto. Daytrips from Osaka are doable, but unless you have specific reasons to stay there, I second Valtor's advice.

Finally, if April is cherry blossom time, May is festival time (Sanja matsuri in Tokyo, Aoi matsuri in Kyoto), weather is good, not too hot and dry, so it's up to you to decide when you'll go.

Happy planning !
Florence is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 04:29 AM
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Hyatt Regency Osaka to Kyoto is about an hour by train with two transfers and costs $10 to $15 each way. Part of the trip would be on a non-JR train but that would only cost about $2.

There is a Renaissance Hotel in Gifu. Gifu is 1h 20min or so from Kyoto. Gifu has some attractions including the cormorant fishing which, I think, starts in May.

Your easiest commute to Kyoto, though, would be from Nagoya. The Hikari shinkansen nonstops take only 36 minutes. The two-stop Hikari and Kodama trains take 45 to 50 minutes to travel between Nagoya and Kyoto.

If I had to stay in Nagoya, I would take a day trip to the Kiso valley and walk the Nakasendo road between Magome and Tsumago. Also, visit Nagoya castle and go to a baseball game. Nagoya has some interesting cuisine. There are interesting day trips around Nagoya, south of the city along the coast for example.

It is about 2 hours each way between Nagoya and Takayama. Also about 2 hours ew between Nagoya and Matsumoto.

You must mean the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku or the Renaissance Tokyo in Ginza. Since you apparently have Hyatt points, you may be able to use them at the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku. It is the hotel in the movie Lost in Translation.

The green car is unnecessary. I rode in a green car once. The only other people in the car were a couple of Brit soccer fans who were also not supposed to be there. I prefer the regular car where I can meet people.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The side trip to Hiroshima would cost about 20,000 yen (both ways) without the JR Pass. The Tokyo to Kyoto one-way cost is approx 13,500 yen. So, OP would save money using a 7-day JR Pass for that travel, not to mention all the commuting to Kyoto, some travel around Tokyo, and a possible return to Tokyo.

Instead of spending money for two upgrades to the green car you could spend it on two or three nights at an inexpensive hotel in Kyoto.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 04:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,402
The Osaka Hilton would be much more convenient, only 26 minutes nonstop to Kyoto. It would also be very convenient for travel to Hiroshima.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 04:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 219
Thanks for the speedy replies! I knew I'd find experts here (as always). We are unversity professors, so must travel after school ends in May (otherwise I would love to go in April). Osaka was chosen only because we can stay for free at the Hyatt Regency and I thought we might be able to easily take the train from there to Kyoto and other sites. Perhaps this is not a good plan? Based on your comments, I am thinking of reducing days in Osaka in favor of Kyoto. Does this make better sense? I do see now that the Renaissance in Tokyo is in Ginza (not Shinjuku as Marriott reservations desk told me). Is this an OK location? I have 5 days reserved in Tokyo - is this about right, too much? Again, thanks for your comments.
CleoB is offline  
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