questions & answers: general japan travel

cheapest route from tokyo to hikone?

Cheapest Route from Tokyo to Hikone?

So basically, we're kind of at our wits end of trying to figure this out by ourselves! I'm guessing the best option is JR, but we don't qualify for the Japan Rail Pass, so we're trying to find the cheapest route from Tokyo (anywhere is fine) to Hikone. We're open to (and prefer) leaving on Saturday, August 30, and arriving in Hikone at some point on Sunday, August 31. That would obviously entail some sort of overnight thing (we don't want to go for the Seishun 18 Kippu, so my understanding is that Moonlight Nagara is out of the picture), and if an overnight bus with a toilet is going to run us around $90, why not just take normal trains? Hyperdia quotes us around that much for daytime trains. We're willing to travel most of the day on Sunday if that will be cheaper.

Is there an option we're missing?

sabledragonrook
sabledragonrook

Hi there,

You've pretty much got all the routes figured out. You can however use the Moonlight Nagara without the Seishun Kippu if you wish. Or go for a budget bus. These don't have a toilet on board but make 2-3 stops along the way.

Personally I would just got for this route with the Shinkansen. The extra time involved with local trains is not worth the difference in money.

However if you do want to travel with local trains, consider this route for reference. It saves you about 5,000yen.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thanks, Daniel. Those were the routes we were eyeing. We will be spending more than 5 days in Tokyo prior to this trip. Do you think it would be worth it, then, to buy a Seishun Kippu? I'm just showing some friends around Tokyo (you know, the typical stuff -- ghibli museum, sensou-ji, etc). I'm beginning to get the vibe that buying the 18 Kippu might save us money if we each bought one and used it for five days, our fifth day being the second leg of the Moonlight Nagara. Does that make sense? (Because the day will switch while we're on the train, so we need to have two days left on the ticket, i.e. we can't leave on the final day of the Kippu, right?)

How do we reserve space on the Moonlight Nagara?

sabledragonrook
sabledragonrook

You could buy the Seishun Kippu for travel in Tokyo. However I am not sure if you will be able to make savings with it, travel in Tokyo is generally not very expansive.

I would recommend reading Takashi's blog about he Moonlight Nagara, it gives a great explanation of what to expect.
http://jprail.com/trains/rapid-train-moonlight-nagara.html

You would have to reserve 2 slots of the Sheishun Kippu for it though.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

I did a closer examination of our itinerary, and it seems like the 18 Kippu won't be worth it since we're only really making one "excursion" and it's to Yokohama. Do you think there is another pass that might be good for us? How much does the Moonlight Nagara cost without the 18 Kippu?

sabledragonrook
sabledragonrook

Hi Again,

Just curious, with how many people will you be travelling? Because you could share a Seishun Kippu among yourselves.

As for the Moonlight Nagara, it is considered a local train and you would have to pay the same fare as if travelling with normal local trains.

While reading up about the Moonlight Nagara, I also found this gem of advise over at wikitravel.

The Moonlight Nagara runs between Tokyo, Shinagawa and Ogaki, a city in central Japan between Nagoya and Kyoto. From Ogaki, it is possible to get as far as Fukuoka by the end of the day, although more relaxed travelers may prefer to stop at Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, or Hiroshima. The train departs Tokyo at 11:10 PM (23:10). There is also a non-reserved train that you can pick up further down the Tokaido line without having to use a day of the Seishun 18 Ticket if it is your first day. If your Moonlight Nagara trip is to be your first day using the ticket, buy a regular ticket to the first station that you will reach after midnight, and present this along with your unstamped Seishun 18 Ticket at your destination. For example, if you are travelling from Tokyo, buy a regular ticket (do not use Suica or PASMO) from Tokyo to Odawara (¥1450 or use Odakyu-Odawara line from Shinjuku to Odawara, ¥850.) as Odawara is the first stop that the train makes after midnight.

http://wikitravel.org/en/Seishun_18_Ticket#Usage

Other than that, I can only think of hitch-hiking as a lower cost travel method.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Daniel-san,

I will be traveling with two other people (so three of us total). For some reason, how the Moonlight Nagara works is just not passing through my head. Don't know why it's confusing me so much! :)

Regardless, it's looking like an overnight bus would be the cheapest option, since I'm sure three girls hitch-hiking might be not such a good idea. :D Who has room in their cars for that?

sabledragonrook
sabledragonrook

Hi Again!

Three makes it indeed a little hard to plan. However you could split one ticket among you. Use it for two to travel to Odawara on the 1st and day buy one ticket as explained above. Then use the other 3 rides for the 3 of you between Odawara and the cost would be around 4,000yen per person, about the same as a budget nightbus, with is probably the better option as you don't have any transfers.

Hitchhiking is very safe in Japan but ye, you can't say for sure in advance if it will work out.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

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