questions & answers: itinerary check

transportation and luggage storage advice

Transportation and Luggage Storage Advice

My husband and I are planning to visit Japan for the very first time. As we are travelling on a limited budget with the National 14-day JR Pass and we will be in Kyoto & Osaka region for 1 week with itinerary Kyoto - Nara - Hiroshima - Mayajama - Kobe - Osaka, then back to Tokyo - Mt Fuji - Nikko - Chiba for 1 week. We truly need your advice as we find Hyperdia website very confusing and some of the venues for traditional/ local attractions in Kansai area are not even listed in Google search. Can you please help us with transportation advice for the following:

  1. From Kyoto Station to Fushimi Inari?

  2. From Fushimi Inari to Heian Shrine? Is there a direct train? Should we get a taxi from Fushimi station to Heian Shrine since we'll be carrying our luggage? Is taxi fare in Kyoto reasonable?

  3. From Heian Shrine Kyoto to Minuko Station Osaka? Will all the trains be covered by the JR Pass?

  4. Can I use my JR Pass and PASMO Card to travel for the above destinations (No. 1-3)? Or should I buy another IC Card, like ICOCA Card? I will be travelling to these 3 places in 1 week, as our accommodations are close to these 3 places as our baseline, i.e. Fushimi station for 3 days, Heian Shrine for 2 days and Minuko station for 2 days.

  5. Does the city bus in Kyoto allow us to bring on board a medium-sized suitcase (20kg)? If not, is there any Coin Locker to store our luggage in any of the stations of our above destinations? How busy is the Luggage Storage on a Sunday and a Public Holiday? Which main station should I make as a base where I can store my luggage, Kyoto or Shin-Osaka?

  6. Is Sunday and Public Holiday usually a busy/ peaked time for people to take a Shinkansen ride from Kyoto/ Shin-Osaka station? What time would you recommend us to travel and what time to avoid? Is that the same as for rush hours for commuters on weekdays?

  7. Considering I'll be leaving on 3 Nov (Japan's public holiday), what is the best way to return from Minuko Station, Osaka to Minato (Tamachi Station), Tokyo? A bullet train/ Shinkansen? From which main train station? Kyoto or Shin-Osaka?

Thank you so much beforehand.

michinta
michinta

Hello there,

I see you have quite a couple of questions, so let's get started right away.

1.) Fushimi Inari is really close, only 6min away from Kyoto station by JR. The station name is Inari in Hyperdia

2.) There is no JR to the Hean Shrine. So you'll have to use other transport. The best option is to take the Keihan line from Fushimi Inari station (close to Inari) and travel to Jingu-MarutaMachi you walk from there.

3.) I don't know any station named Minuko, be sure to check the name (it could be that I just don't know it). If you want to travel into Osaka, then you can use the Keihan again to Osaka (station name Yodoya Bashi or Tenmba Bashi), or you could take a bus to Kyoto station and the JR from there to Osaka.

4.) You can use Pasmo (or any other IC card) for the Keihan and Kyoto bus.

5.) Yes you can use the bus with and carry a Suitcase on board, although I would recommend avoiding rush hour if you do. Taxis don't cost too much for travel within the city either and are a good alternative and a lot less hassle.

6.) Shinkansen are not really used a lot for commuting, it is simply too expansive for most people to use them every day. The weekends are more busy but you can take a train at any time you like, there are nearly always seats free.

7.) Make your way to Shin-Osaka station and from Osaka city. I can't find Minuko station but travel within Osaka is not hard. Either the JR or Osaka subway will get you to Shin-Osaka.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Dear Daniel,

Your prompt reply is great! And so is your advice! Thank you so much!

For Questions No. 1 and 2: According to our accommodation's host, we will need to take Kintetu line from Kyoto station to Fushimi station for our 3-nights' stay. Is this Kintetu line covered by our JR Pass?

For Questions No. 3 and 7: My great apologies for typing the name of the station incorrectly. It is Mikuni Station Osaka, not Minuko. Is there a direct train from Kyoto Station to Mikuni station Osaka return?

Q4. Does PASMO Card cover for the Non-JR and subway trains and buses in Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kobe, Osaka? Or do I need to get another Osaka Amazing Pass or Day Passes to explore the places like Umeda (Osaka station), Osaka Castle, Namba, Shinsaibashi and Tennoji?

Can you please check our itinerary and advise us if the route is both time and cost-saving?
Day 1 (Tues): Shinagawa station (Tokyo) --> Kyoto, Fushimi Inari and Nishiki Food Market.
Day 2 (Wed): One Day Trip of exploring Kyoto (Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji, Golden Pavilion, Imperial Palace), Kasuga Shrine and Nara (Todaiji and Deer Park).
Day 3 (Thurs): Hiroshima, Miyajima and see the Itsukushima Shrine and its ‘floating’ torii gate.
* Day 1-3: Base/ Stay: Fushimi Station.

Day 4 (Fri): Tenryu-ji Temple, Heian Shrine, Konkai koumyou temple, Shinnyodou.
Day 5 (Sat): Himeji Castle, Kobe
* Day 4-5: Base/ Stay: Near the Kumano shrine 熊野神社前 bus stop

Day 6 (Sun): Umeda Sky Building, Osaka Castle, Namba, Shinsaibashi and Tennoji.
Day 7 (Mon): Dotonbori, Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan)
* Day 6-7: Base/ Stay: Mikuni station

Day 8 (Tues): Osaka or Kyoto --> Tokyo (Tamachi station, Minato)

Q5. With the above itinerary, should we consider leaving our luggage at Kyoto station for luggage storage and just travel everywhere with our backpack? Considering our accommodation for Day 4-5 would require us to take a Bus No 206 and we are not sure how busy/ efficient a bus/ taxi on the weekend?

Q7. Is there a direct train from Mikuni station to Shin-Osaka station? As it is better to take the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka station, should we store our luggage at this Shin-Osaka station before we go and stay at the accommodation in Mikuni station?

Q8. Can you please advise me on the most efficient mode of transport for Day 3 and Day 5 from Kyoto station?

Q9. Can you please also advise me the best way to travel in Osaka for Day 6-8? Will we need to buy Osaka Amazing Pass, or Day Passes, or our PASMO Card will be sufficient?

Q10. Any Free WiFi on the Hikari Shinkansen (Tokaido Sanyo line) for Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka - Tokyo?

Thank you again for your kind assistance.

Yours truly,
Shinta

michinta
michinta

Will we have enough time to go to Takayama on Day 1? Or better to go on Day 3 (instead of Hiroshima) or Day 5?
Thanks again.

michinta
michinta

Hello again!

Sorry for the somewhat late replay, I just had to find a moment to sit down for this one.

1.) The Kintetsu is a different railway company than JR and you cant use the JR Pass on it. However I think you can use the JR instead to travel to Inari station (just be sure to check with your accommodation).

2.) I looked up Mikuni station and it is not the easiest to get to I am afraid. There is no direct line from Kyoto. Here is an example itinerary for you.

3.) Yes, Pasmo can be used anywhere where IC cards can be used. That includes all public transport in major cities. The Osaka amazing 2 day pass can still be a great option if you also will use it for sightseeing.

4.) I checked your itinerary and all major travel is covered by the JR Pass. The rest will only cost a couple hundred yen for each ride (that is a couple of euro, doller or equivalent) and is mostly limited to some city travel in Kyoto and Osaka.

5.) Buses in Kyoto are very good and go everywhere. I can however understand that it is nice to travel without luggage, so storing some in a coin-locker to retrieve it later is not a bad idea. At the same time, I don't think that you'll find much trouble getting the luggage to your accommodation.

6.) (Disappeared somewhere in cyberspace).

7.) I am afraid not, here is an example route.

8.) There are direct trains from Kyoto station to both Hiroshima and Himeji. Just get on the Shinkansen and enjoy the ride :)

9.) I think I mostly answers this in 3/4, let me know if anything remains unclear.

10>) There is free wifi on most major stations. Wifi within the Shinkansen is paid, the last time I used it there was only a Japanese interface and I am not sure how accessible it is for non-Japanese speakers. If you want to use Wifi, consider Renting a Mobile Wifi.

Hope this helps,
Daniel

PS: Stick to Takayama on day 1, it would be hard to plan in otherwise given the rest of the itinerary.

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thank you so much, Daniel. We truly appreciate your valuable info and kind advice.
Hope with your input, we will have a smooth experience in Japan without getting lost in translation. Looking forward to this holiday trip.

Cheers,
Shinta

michinta
michinta

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