questions & answers: itinerary check

14 or 21 day for nagano, kyoto & hiroshima

14 or 21 day for Nagano, Kyoto & Hiroshima

Hi there,

I am heading to Japan with my partner for Christmas. Our travel plans are as follows:

22/12 - Arrive from Melbourne into Narita. Train into tokyo

23/12 - Tokyo

24/12 - train to nagano

27/12 - train back to tokyo

3/01 - train to kyoto

7/01 - train to hiroshima

9/01 - train to osaka.

Obviously we would have a few side tours which we would do too, I tried to see how much the extra fare would be but from my calculations it would be more. I have seen the advise given to others on here and it's been amazing so was hoping you could help me too.

Thanks,

Jess

gess
gess

Hi Jess,

For the second part of your journey, you have the following legs:

  1. Tokyo > Kyoto (¥13,520)
  2. Kyoto > Hiroshima (¥10,790)
  3. Hiroshima > Osaka (¥9,950)

Total: ¥34,260

You will certainly make savings of around ¥6000 over standard tickets with a 7 day Japan Rail Pass here.

For the first part of your journey, the return to Nagano will be around ¥16,000, so if that is all you do in that period you are better off buying separate tickets I think. Even adding ¥5,000 for the train from narita and various underground costs you are still pretty far off the 7 day Rail Pass price of ¥28,300.

I think the second leg of your journey is nicely spaced, so assuming you don't want to be doing more travelling there and on New Years Eve and Day, it may make sense to buy 2 x 7 days Rail Passes (one for first week, one for last week) if you are sure you'll do at least another ¥8000 worth of side tour travel in that first week.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Actually - there is another way you could space your trip that would let you maximise your flexibility with a 14 day rail pass if you don't mind rearranging your plans a little.

If you can move your Hiroshima visit earlier and ensure you will be back in Kyoto by the 7th of Jan, you make a similar saving as my first answer if you buy a 14 day rail pass running from the 24th -> 7th.

Your trip would look something like:

22/12 - Arrive from Melbourne into Narita. Train into tokyo (tickets at ¥3000)
23/12 - Tokyo (metro ¥500)
24/12 - train to nagano (first day of 14 day rail pass)
27/12 - train back to tokyo (Rail Pass)
3/01 - train to hiroshima (Rail Pass)
5/01 - train to kyoto (Rail Pass)
6/01 - maybe nara? (Rail Pass)
7/01 - last day of rail pass (Rail Pass)
9/01 - train to osaka. (¥500)

Bringing the total train travel costs to something around ¥49,000 with lots more flexibility to do day trips. This is compared to separates which would be around ¥55,000, with no flexibility.

Day trips like visits to Miyajima (from Hiroshima) and Nara (from Kyoto) will further increase the savings you'll make.

Phew! Hope this helps and is not confusing!

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mari
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Thanks for your quick reply!

The JR pass won't include local travel in Tokyo will it? Because I think I would struggle finding somewhere else to make up the extra ¥8000. How would I go about booking the Nagano return?

gess
gess

Sorry! I seemed to be replying when you were!

I have booked all our accommodation so unfortunately I am unsure if I can change dates. Is there any other ideas you have? I thought this would be easy I guess not LOL

gess
gess

That's a pity! If you absolutely cannot change the accommodation, then the best option is to get a 7 day rail pass for the second half of your trip after new year and pay for separate tickets until then.

The Japan Rail Pass does cover local travel on the Yamanote line in Tokyo, but you will probably find yourself using the private metro systems more.

You can't buy the whole ticket online to Nagano, but you can pay a deposit to reserve the seat and make the full payment once you get to Japan (at a JR ticket counter). Go to the JR-East shinkansen reservation page to do this - you will need a credit card to confirm your reservation and will need to pick the tickets up from a JR counter at least 1 day in advance (or your tickets will be canceled and you will loose your deposit). You will want the "Nagano Shinkansen" line from the list of options.

Hope this helps!

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mari
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Thanks so much Mari! I have managed to move my accommodation around to suit the first option provided by you!

I will purchase my 14 day pass in the next couple of days! Also would you recommend reserving seats on any of those lines?

You have been an amazing help, thank you!

gess
gess

Great news! This will give you the option to do all sorts of 1 day trips should you feel up to it.

Seats wise, you are not travelling so much over the new year period, so you should be ok. If you want to be sure, then you can exchange your rail pass as soon as you land at Narita on the 22nd (choosing to Activate it on the 24th), and advance book seats for your whole trip with the JR ticket clerk at the same time - reservations are free for JR Pass holders.

I hope you have a great time!

P.S. A really great day trip in winter is to Kinosaki Onsen hotspring baths. At around 2.5hrs from Kyoto - here's the itinerary, it's a fantastic little day trip town with many Onsen, a great atmosphere and routinely described as the best Onsen town in the area of Hyogo. Here's a good forum post with more, and if you fancy staying the night you can also book many onsen overnight rooms online.

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mari
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Oh it looks LOVELY! I will definitley be doing that!

Also you may know will fujiq.jp be open too, I was reading other forum posts and noticed you recommended someone to travel there. I looked it up and it looks exciting! I love love love rollercoasters!

gess
gess

:D busted!

And yes, FujiQ is another really good stop! It is also home to the longest ghost house in the world if you are into that sort of thing (avg walk through is 40 mins...)

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mari
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Oh wow that sounds amazing. Do you know the opening hours in December/January? Which place would it be easier to leave from (Kyoto, Osaka or Tokyo)? How much does it i cost?

There is little to no information availble in english, the information I did find was a little unclear.

gess
gess

Not a problem :)

FujiQ Opening hours are: Dec & Jan

Looking at their Japanese site, they are closed on the following upcoming days:

2011: 11/29(Tue)、12/20(Tue)
2012: 1/17(Tue)、2/7(Tue)

They also have an english website that has information on prices, and on how to get there.

It'll be best to plan to go from Tokyo, and should take around 2 hours to get there with 1 change. You can take the JR Chuo Main Line from Shinjuku in Tokyo to Otsuki, changing at Otsuki for a private non-JR railway, the Fujikyu Line Direct, to FujiQ Highlands. This train takes 50mins, and as it is a private, non-JR line, will cost ¥2700 return.

Overall from Tokyo, a day out with a Rail Pass will come to ¥7700 with access to all the rides. I highly recommend you also try the hot spring baths and here just next to FujiQ if you have time. (¥2,000 with towel rental)

Finally (phew!) If you like themeparks - there is also Tokyo DisneyLand/DisneySea just outside Tokyo that you may also want to take a look at (sorry, too much choice I know!)

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mari
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