questions & answers: general japan travel

travel advice needed

Travel advice needed

Hello,

I'm visiting Japan in a party of three. My two guests have never been to Japan, however I have been visiting since the mid 40's. Here is our travel plan:

  1. Arrive Fukuoka by ferry from Korea
  2. Depart Fukuoka, Kyushu morning of 3 July for Kyoto
  3. Depart Kyoto late afternoon of 6 July for Tokyo.
  4. Depart Narita for USA at 4PM in 8 July 2012.

Question #1. With only two train legs involved on only two travel days would it more economical to buy Shinkansen tickets or 7 day JR pass? Please price for both 1st class and Green Car.
We intend to do some limited subway travel in Tokyo (6-7-8 July) and also transport to the Airport that contains the United Airline terminal.

Question #2. We will depart Pusan Korea 28 July for Fukuoka. Do you have a schedule for your Beatle hydrofoil ferry on that date? Please advise cost and how to purchase tickets?

Question #3. These travel dates and plans are firm, unless there is an accident or illness. Can these JR tickets be purchased here or do you advise we wait until we arrive?

Question #4. Can you recommend accommodation for the following nights?

  • 2 July Fukuoka, Kyushu, close proximity to both the ferry terminal and the RTO. Western lower price)
  • 3, 4, 5, July Kyoto (Ryokan and western rooms OK, midprice range)
  • 6, 7 July Tokyo, proximity to New Sanno (US Military Hotel)

Thank you for your help

wberg
wberg

Hi there!

Here are some answers for you. I'll do my best with some of the less rail orientated questions!

Question #1. With only two train legs involved on only two travel days would it more economical to buy Shinkansen tickets or 7 day JR pass? Please price for both 1st class and Green Car. We intend to do some limited subway travel in Tokyo (6-7-8 July) and also transport to the Airport that contains the United Airline terminal.

A 7 day rail pass costs ¥28,300 (normal) & ¥37,800 (Green car/first class), and so will only be economical if you spend over this on individual tickets. Lets take a look at the costs for your journey using normal car tickets:

  1. Hakata > Kyoto: ¥15410, (196mins, 661km)
  2. Kyoto > Tokyo: ¥13420, (161mins, 513km)
  3. Tokyo > Narita airport terminal 1: ¥3140, (58mins, 79km)

TOTAL: ¥31970 for 3 legs

As you can see, despite you only travelling for 3 legs, the 7 day rail pass will be the most economical choice over tickets making a saving of ¥3670. You can also use the JR Pass to travel on JR lines within Tokyo. Please see this map of JR lines in Tokyo for reference. (Note the First Class cars of the bullet train are known as "Green Car" ).

Question #2. We will depart Pusan Korea 28 July for Fukuoka. Do you have a schedule for your Beatle hydrofoil ferry on that date? Please advise cost and how to purchase tickets?

The JR Beetle ferry schedule and fare sheet is available on the official JR Beetle website, where you can also make internet bookings.

Question #3. These travel dates and plans are firm, unless there is an accident or illness. Can these JR tickets be purchased here or do you advise we wait until we arrive?

The Japan Rail Pass can only be purchased outside Japan. The Rail Pass can be used anytime up to 3 months from the date of purchase, so if you intend to travel in July I recommend purchasing from May onwards.

Question #4. Can you recommend accommodation for the following nights?

  • Fukuoka, Kyushu: It's not close to the port, but rather is inside Tenjin, but I recommend the Hotel Plaza, which has rooms for ¥5-6000 per night.

  • July Kyoto (Ryokan and western rooms OK, midprice range). I'm not sure about Kyoto, but recommend looking at the Arashiyama area of Kyoto for a great experience.

  • July Tokyo, proximity to New Sanno (US Military Hotel). Here are a selection of hotels near the New Sanno hotel in Tokyo.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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