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Will I need a JR pass?

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Aug 6th, 2013, 01:37 PM
  #1
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Will I need a JR pass?

Finally starting to piece together my itinerary for our November trip to Japan. One of the things that I am finding confusing is the Japan railway ( names especially) but also whether I should buy a JR pass, would one of you be able to advise?
We will go from Tokyo to Hakone ( then use the train to do the "loop" before settling in our Ryokan. The next day go by train to Kyoto then a few days later go to Osaka. I am unsure if we shoul stake the train from Osaka to the Airport??

So, looking at the above itinerary do you think it would be wise to buy a JR pass? ( not sure if this makes a difference we will be in Japan for 9 days.)

The next problem I have is what stations to use ( but I will leave that for another day) oh and of course I would like to use the bullet train where possible!

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Aug 6th, 2013, 01:39 PM
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Arghh I hate this keypad..that should say "unsure if we should take the train from Osaka to the airport."
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Aug 6th, 2013, 02:51 PM
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HI has it all down pat.. he will answer I am sure..

we are having the 7 day 1st class pass using it for T to hakone (I think) then to kanzawa, then to Hiroshima and finally to Kyoto. our trip is 14 days in all so we don't activate it until we are in toyko and don't need it in Kyoto.

we will limo, I think, to airport from Kyoto.
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Aug 6th, 2013, 03:21 PM
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Why Osaka with just 9 days? - it's a short train ride from Kyoto. MK taxi from Kyoto to airport. We are not using JR pass at all. As Bob says, HT is your man, though...
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Aug 6th, 2013, 05:08 PM
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I have been trying to get into Hakone Ginyu for years now and am totally jealous.

No you do not need a JR Pass for your itinerary. Tokyo to Odawara you would be better off using the Odakyu trains and buying the Hakone Free Pass with the train(Romance) from Shinjuku station(I think you are staying at the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku right). Don't know how many days you are in Hakone but the two or three day version of the pass would work out for you.

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/romancecar/

From Hakone you would catch the shinkansen from Odawara to Kyoto station buying tickets at Odawara station or Shinjuku station if you like. The ride to Osaka from Kyoto can also be purchased just ahead of you leaving Kyoto station on the day of your departure. Depending on where your Osaka hotel is you can take a JR train or Kintetsu, Keihan or Hankyu lines(sounds complicated but really not and only a short 30-40 minute ride either way).

Although Osaka gets no love on here on the Fodor's site it is on of my favorite cities in Japan and a foodies/shoppers heaven. Depending again on which hotel you stay in there is either the limo bus, MK Taxi service or rail lines that will take you to KIX from Osaka....again real easy.
Hope this helps!

If you ask specific questions and I can give you specific answers to help lessen the confusion factor

Aloha!
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Aug 6th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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Forgot to add the ride from Odawara to Kyoto ¥11750 via Hikari shinkansen (no nozomi stops in Odawara). The ride from Kyoto to Osaka is as little as ¥540 on the JR rapid service trains(30 minutes) up to ¥2750 on the shinkansen (14 minutes)
The 7-day JR regular pass would set you back ¥28300
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Aug 6th, 2013, 08:40 PM
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Most of your options for getting from Odawara to Kyoto involve a change of trains (at Nagoya or Shin-Yokohama or other).

But there are six Hikari shinkansen trains per day that will get you there without a change of trains.

Here is the timetable: http://tinyurl.com/lm4nge4

If none of those Hikari work for you then changing trains is not a big deal. Kodama trains make too many stops - it would be better to make a change of trains on Hikari shinkansen that to take the Kodama on the timetable.
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Aug 6th, 2013, 10:50 PM
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This is our itinerary
3 nights Tokyo ( only 2 days really as we don't arrive till around 5 pm) Park Hyatt
1 night Hakone - Ryokan Ginyu
3 nights Kyoto - Hyatt
1 night Osaka ( probably St Regis but open to suggestions) this will also be 2 days as we do not leave KIX till around 23:00

I chose Osaka to visit as I thought it would be easier for the airport and thought it would be nice place to visit. ( HT - food and shoppers paradise is right up our street )

So would I be better staying an extra night at the Hyatt Kyoto ( assuming I can get an extra night)and maybe doing a day trip to Osaka ? We could then go to KIX from Kyoto ( how long would it be to the airport from there?

HT I got the last room at Hakone Ginyu - I booked back in Feb!!!! It was only after comments made on this board that November is busy that galvanised me into action, I kind of panic booked nearly all the hotels ( all cancelable) D is unsure about the Ryokan stay but I have insisted it stays in the itinerary. ( we then head off to Thailand for ( hopefully) some sunshine for a week!)

Thanks everyone for the advice, as for buying the train tickets, I assume I could get my hotel to do this? And would I need to pre book any of these?

FW - are you out there ? I hope you are getting all this, you know it blows my mind!
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Aug 6th, 2013, 11:23 PM
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I think maybe in hindsight I should have opted for 4 nights in Tokyo ( which I could still do) but then I would lose my booking at the Ryokan and I don't fancy my chances of swapping it now at this late stage!
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Aug 6th, 2013, 11:56 PM
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I think you have a nice balance. 4 nights in Tokyo would mean reducing your time in Kyoto, right, which would be a huge shame.

That ryokan looks incredible!
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Aug 7th, 2013, 02:28 AM
  #11
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Kavey, no i could add a night to Tokyo and still keep the 3 nights in Kyoto (so skip Osaka)but if i do this i could lose my Ryokan booking which I am loathed to do! OR i could add a night in Kyoto (and skip Osaka) OR keep everything as i had originally intended! ..... oh decisions decisions....
FilmWill and I are trying to sort guides etc and that is blowing our minds also! had some awesome suggestions just the cost consideration to bear in mind!

The Ryokan DOES look incredible, I really hope it is!
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Aug 7th, 2013, 02:51 AM
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HT that link to the romance car is FAB, thank you and i think D and I will definitly take that (and the one with the observation carraige) Now, we can't book until a month before and I just did a mock booking and quite a lot was in japanese.... but hey since when did not knowing the language stop me (gulp)........

MRW - thanks for that link, that's super helpful... its all becoming a little clearer thanks to all your help. (doesn't mean to say i won't be back with more stupid questions though!!)
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Aug 7th, 2013, 05:01 AM
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I'd stay in Kyoto the extra night rather than moving to Osaka for just 1 night. It's not as if you'd run out of great things to do/see there (day in Arashiyama, day trip to Nara, cycling tour, etc.).

From Kyoto, especially with a late flight, the most practical way to KIX is on the Haruka airport train from Kyoto station. It's not at all a fast train (takes about 90 minutes), but it is comfortable and is one of the few trains with lots of room for luggage. With a 23:00 flight from KIX, you can still time for a decent supper in Kyoto then take the train in plenty of time to be at the airport by 21:30 or so.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 07:12 AM
  #14
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mmmm food for thought as that would mean if we stay in Kyoto for that extra day (although it would be extra 2 days - but as you said we could do a day trip) we would gain the time otherwise lost by moving hotels.......
How long does it take to get from say Kyoto to Nara and Kyoto to Osaka? (roughly)
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Aug 7th, 2013, 10:27 AM
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About 30 mins from Kyoto to either the main stations at either Nara or Osaka. Dunno about the specifics for

If going to Nara, especially Nara Park, it's a lot easier to use the Kintetsu line (and Kintetsu-Nara station), which is about a half-mile closer to the park than is JR Nara station.

One issue with Osaka is that it is physically an enormous city (maybe not quite as huge as Tokyo, but along that idea). So, if you're in Namba, it's a l-o-n-g way to tha Osaka station area. Nara may make more sense for a day trip, as a lot of the sites that interest most tourists are in the Nara Park area.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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DO NOT GIVE UP THAT NIGHT AT HAKONE GINYU!!!

I would rather cut off a limb or even....gulp, give up a night in Kyoto for a night at HK. You have to trust me on this.

You can do a day trip to Osaka from Kyoto and visit Osaka Castle then hit the Dotombori area for a few hours to get a taste of Osaka. Less moving around that way but I wouldn't hesitate to do your itinerary as is. I might move my hotel to the Sheraton Miyako Osaka. A step down from the St Regis but conveniently located right next to shopping and eating venues. Can be had for only 7000 SPG points per night right now. Also the Sheraton is a limo bus stop for the limo bus to KIX.

http://www.kate.co.jp/pc/e_time_tabl...ue_tt.html#for

If you are staying at the Hyatt Kyoto you can take the train as Don suggests or maybe the MK Taxi shuttle or even their limo service might be better....

http://www.mktaxi-japan.com/#!kyoto-kansa/cji5

Aloha!
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Aug 7th, 2013, 12:00 PM
  #17
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HT I PROMISE I will not give up the night at Ryokan Ginyu .
I can extend my stay at the Hyatt in Kyoto( although the rate for that night has gone up) am just deliberating whether to just stay there now and maybe do a day trip to Osaka ( although I do love the idea of Nara) maybe I will do as you suggest HT and go to the castle etc and if it's only 30 mins by train will be a lot less hassle than packing up the case again.

Thanks for all your help guys
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Aug 7th, 2013, 02:27 PM
  #18
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Should I be concerened at all that our departure day is a public holiday? Will this effect sightseeing/ travel plans?
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Aug 7th, 2013, 04:57 PM
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You are talking about Labour Day right? Everything will be open and you should be fine. New Years day would be a different story....
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Aug 7th, 2013, 08:45 PM
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is there a shop for premium fish oil hand cream in osaka
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