questions & answers: general japan travel

need wisdom please!!

Need wisdom please!!

HI
Normally go to Burma but also been to other countries in SE Asia and usually everything is clear on where to go etc. Know I am meant to travel to Japan but absolutely clueless.
First thing please direct me from Tokyo Opera House to Narita. Concert finishes 5, plane leaves 10 pm so best way.

I arrive on 17th Feb, have 3 days in Tokyo and then not sure whether to do Kyoto, Mount Fuji,Nagasaki or Hiroshima, Osaka but also prefer natural beauty, mountains, paddy fields, character etc. In 35 years travelling I am at a loss on this but feel sure it will all come together .
Which pass to get from Narita, staying in Ueno, then travelling out and leaving Tokyo for London on 24th.
Be grateful for any wisdom as not clear at all. Still cannot believe the price of the trains!!!!!!!! Not sure whether to go for the 18,000 deal on one of the websites for train and accomodation or whether to do Agoda but is there cheaper way to Kyoto?

Thanks so much.
Many thanks. Keep up the great work.

FlissG
FlissG

Hi there!

I have never been to Burma myself but with what I have read of it, I can imagine that it is a very big change compared to Japan.

For you first question:
I found a couple of Opera Halls in Tokyo and not one that was called Tokyo Opera House exactly, so could you tell me which one it is? (the ones I found include New National Theatre, TokyoTokyo Opera City and Tokyo Nikikai Opera Theatre). If you don't know which one tell me the name of the concert and composer and I can probably find it with that.

Looking at your wishing, I think you will like Kyoto very much, building are a lot lower than in Tokyo and much more traditional buildings remain.
If I understand it correctly, you will start to travel in Japan from the 20th and be back in Tokyo on the 23rd? Allowing for 4 days of travel. In this case I would go to Kyoto on the 20th, stay there for 2 nights and travel in the morning on the 22th to Hiroshima to spend the day there and take a late noon train back to Tokyo on the 23rd.
For this itinerary a 7-day JR Pass would be very well suited, you would have covered all of your travel by JR train except for one day in Tokyo and make great savings too. If you would like I can make an oversight of normal ticket prices.

An alternative to trains are Night Buses, they are very cheap and can cost as low as 4,000 Yen for one way between Tokyo and Kyoto (and save on accommodation costs too) but are very uncomfortable and if you can't sleep in the bus you may loose the next day to catch up on sleep.

In Kyoto hotels can be quite expansive, alternatively if it suits, you could stay at a Hostel, they are very good in Japan and start at about 2,000 Yen/Night.
Or look for a more traditional stay at a Ryokan. These are traditional inns that sometimes charge per person instead of per room and are generally between hostels and hotels in price range. Agoda is a good resource to start, otherwise www.tripadvisor.com and www.hostelworld.com offer a great selection of accommodations too!

Hope this helps you on your way, Japan is a very easy country to travel in and there are many places available where you can ask for assistance if you require help at any point during your travels.
-Daniel

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Daniel-san
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Daniel

You are a complete star and every blessing to you.
Just spoke to e-x student and decided to take train from Tokyo to Kyoto on Wed 20th, one night in K and then on to Hiroshima for 1 night although can always change this to 2 nights in K. Not sure want to arrive in Tokyo too late so do not really want the 18. 30 train.
Which train would you recommend from T to K and want to use pass.
Which train from K to Hiroshima and where would you suggest stopping on way back from Hiroshima to T. Like rural and that is why Takiyama appeals. Would be grateful for this help.

She also mentioned Takiyama. Is it feasible to do Hiroshima and one night in T and then on to Tokyo on the Saturday.
Also when I went to the Hyperdia site it says Noz trains but thought you could not use the JR pass on that. I arrive in Tokyo on Sunday 17th so 7 day pass would only do at beg or end of stay. Staying at UENO in Tokyo so will have to get train from Narita to there. Earliest my JP pass would be Monday to use. Could i go to Takiyama from Tokyo or as I said on way back or it is too much?

The concert is the Bach Collegium on Sunday 24th at 3 pm and think it is the Tokyo Opera City.
I fly at 10pm that night so tight as also arranging to meet at least one of the performers!

God bless you Daniel. I hope you have a work life balance as you must be inundated with people asking you stuff.

Fliss

FlissG
FlissG

Hi Fliss,

Thank you for the kind words! I am glad to hear you found my post helpful.
I would recommend taking an early train to Kyoto, the journey to Kyoto is about 160 Minutes so if you take the Hikari Express train leaving Tokyo at 9.03 you will still have most of the day to enjoy Kyoto. Trains leave every 30 minutes so feel free to adjust it to your liking. From Kyoto to Hiroshima consider something like this where you leave Kyoto at 9.36 and arrive in Hiroshima around 11.28 (112 minutes travel time).

From Hiroshima to Takayama is about 6 hours by train, so unless you don't mind traveling long and early I would not recommend doing this if you can only stay there for the night. Instead I would recommend a night's visit to Kurashiki the rural old quarter has been persevered/restored very nicely and a walk past the river is very lovely. This city is on the route between Hiroshima and Tokyo so it is a great stop for the day.

About the Nozomi train you may have seen on Hyperdia, these are indeed not covered by the JR-Pass but there are always other Trains on the same route that are covered by the JR-Pass and are only slightly slower.

From Tokyo to Takayama?
The journey is about 5 hours by train, so a little closer than from Hiroshima. Is it feasible? That would mostly depend how you would feel to spending roughly 10 hours in the train in 2 days, be it in comfortable seats. I can tell you that the train trip is a very nice one. You travel by Shinkansen to Nagoya and there transfer to the Wideview Hida express train. The train follows a river trough mountains and the view outside is breathtaking. Of course if you do decide to make this trip, then you will be making really great use of your JR Pass.

Back to Narita:
From the Tokyo Opera City the easiest way back to the airport would be the Limousine Bus that stops at the Park Hyatt Hotel which is almost opposite of the Tokyo Opera City building and costs 3000 Yen. The only downside is that the last bus leaves at 17.15 leaving you a bit short to meet the artists. An other option is to take the bus from Shinjuku West Exit the last bus from there leaves at 18.00 and is 1km away from the Opera City so possible you could take a cab from there to it.

By train: (this is probably the best option if you want to have some time after the concert).
You can take the Narita Express directly from Shinjuku station. Route 2 is a good example. Please note that you have to reserve tickets in advance for this train. This way you arrive @Narita Airport around 20.05 giving you enough time to check-in.

Hope it all makes sense!
-Daniel

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Daniel-san
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Hi
So helpful on that. I can use my JP pass on the Narita Express can't I?
Surely it will not take 2. 5hours from Shinjuku to Narita airport would it? I would prob get to Shinjuku at 6 at latest depending on the artists. If i cannot use the pass wonder what price would be? I reserve in Tokyo for seats on all the trips or can I not reserve the Kyoto to H or H to Tokyo or Takayama. Do not think 10 hours travelling in 2 days would be right but WILL check out the other place.

Thanks again DANIEL. fLISS

FlissG
FlissG

Hi Fliss,

Yes the Narita Express is completely covered by the JR-Pass!
Unfortunately Narita Airport is not very close to Tokyo, taking about 2 hours from Tokyo to Narita Airport is a normal amount of time, if the station you are traveling from is not directly on the Narita Express. From Shinjuku you can take the Narita Express directly to the Airport and it takes 86 Minutes / ¥ 3,110.

Once you activate your JR-Pass you can make seat reservations for all of your travels if you wish, in this case it is recommended to print an itinerary with travel dates plus approximate times you wish to travel and show it to the JR Staff when you make your reservations. This will really speedup the process and the Station staff will forever be thankful to you!

-Hope this helps! -Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
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Hi I have gone with your advice on places and looking at
Tokyo Kyoto 9. 33 Shin Hikan arriving .11. 47 or maybe the earlier one

Kyoto 8. 52 to Hiroshima on Shin Kodama but have to change at Shin Osaka or is there a straight through train?

Hiroshima to Kurashiki 9. 35 arriving 1.0. 58 and then on 23rd I am stuck!!

I am staying at one of the Hotels at airport on 23RD so is it easier to go from K to Narita or K to Tokyo Station and get the N EXPRESS. Looks like I may be travelling for 6-7 hours adding 86 minutes from Tokyo and 5 hours from K.
Any suggestions please? I may be doing too much travelling but K looks good.

I thought I would leave luggage at hotel or locker at airport from 19th to 24th. Would lockers at airport be ok? How much would it cost or would you recommend taking to hotel?
Thanks so much Daniel
FLiss Gibbins

FlissG
FlissG

Hi again,

I must say that it has been some time, glad to see you are getting your itinerary together.
The train track from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima is served by an other part of the JR-Group, this means you almost always have to change trains here.

The best way from Kurashiki to Narita by Shinkansen to Tokyo station and from there the Narita Express. The journey will take 382 Minutes and as far as I could find out the last train from Kuroshiki you can use, will leave Kuroshiki at 14:51 so please do be careful here! Otherwise consider planning a nights stay somewhere in between, Nagoya for instance or even Tokyo would allow for more time.

For luggage, I would recommend using the manned luggage desk at Narita Airport, prices start at 300/yen a day depending on the size. Lockers can sometimes only be used for a limited amount of time (like 48 hours) so I would recommend avoiding them for longer periods of time.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel

I wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU FOR SUCH BRILLIANT ADVICE. I am now back and absolutely loved the people and the travelling was awesome. WHY can't we all travel like this. In all the travelling the trains, as you know, are too the minute. Loved everywhere although did not see wow scenery but def going back. Hiroshima amazing, loved Kurashiki ( but the place I stayed was one of the worst ever! I booked all my tickets in advance but then ended up changing but all was well. All the station guys were great and IF you know someone called SUME at Tokyo Station PLEASE say the purple and green lady DID manage to intercept the Narita Express after seeing awesome concert at Tokyo Opera City although the encore meant I missed the 1735 despite the VALIANT attempts of a guy to direct me through the crowd at Tokyo station and ran in front of me for a good ten minutes. Incredible.

I will come back and I am determined to master TOKYO STATION as on the 1Oth day felt like screaming!! WHY is the Narita Express so badly sign posted. PLEASE pass the tips about mastering it as Japanese people must be the kindest i have ever met. You are a star! WELL DONE DANIEL. Have a great year. Fliss

FlissG
FlissG

Hi Fliss,

It is so good to hear you had a great time in Japan!
It is rarely that visitors to this forum post their experiences in Japan and it is great to read the feedback.

If ever you plan on going back to Tokyo, here is a map of the station that may help, also if you ever have new questions about Japan or traveling there, then you will be more than welcome here on the Forum!

All the best,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
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