JR Pass and other general enquiries
Will be visiting Japan for the first time this coming Monday and I am rather clueless about many things.
Would be great if you can help me address the following issues:
1) Heard that there is a youth rate (up to 25 years old) for JR pass that can be purchased at the Narita airport. Is this true? If so, how much? Will the counter be opened at 7am on a Monday? And can tourist purchase this over the counter at Narita airport?
2) What will be the best and cheapest way for me to get to Kyoto from Narita airport?
3) Where can I get maps / itinerary / information booklets at the Narita airport?
3) Haven't really figure out my itinerary but currently looking at the following destinations and wondering if it will be worthy to get a JR pass for 7 days or should I just buy the normal ticket as per each trip? What would be the best and cheapest way to get to each of these cities?
4) Any art / designer / antic / cool museums to recommend? Heard there is a Doraemon museum, is it true? If so, where is this?
5) Any other tips for spa/sauna/night clubs/hip and happening trendy places?
6) Any gigs ft international acts happening from Oct 3 to Oct 10? I read somewhere that Digitalism and Galaxie 50 will be playing in Japan during this period but couldn't locate where. Able to help out on this?
Looking forward to hear from you soon.
Here are some answers for you - sorry that I don't know them all, maybe some of our users can help?
No, I'm afraid there is no youth rate for the JR Pass. The JR Pass can only be purchased outside Japan and you will be unable to purchase it in Japan over the counter. (jrpass.com does deliver to Japan). It could be that you've heared about the JR-East pass, which does offer youth fares (and can be purchased in Japan), however this pass is only valid for the JREast network (eg, north east Japan only).
The fastest way to Kyoto will probably be by one of the many shinkansen train routes and will take around 4 hours. The cheapest way will almost certainly be by a bus. Here is some more info on your options.
There is a tourist information desk at Narita. They'll be able to give you loads of information on travel and things to see/do.
Unless you're dead set on going to Kyoto first, you may be best off to start in Tokyo, then gradually working your way down Japan. That way you'll spend as little time on the train as possible and as much time experiencing the country!
As long as you do 1 return trip from Tokyo to Kyoto (you are also planning on Mt Fuji and Yokohama), then the Japan Rail Pass will be cheaper than buying individual tickets. If you decide not to goto Kyoto, then possibly individual tickets will make more sense, but you can always check up on your journey costs at the Hyperdia travel planner website.
I've got a lot of time for Naoshima. As an art gallery and experience it is something totally unique to Japan. About the Doraemon museaum, it's based in Kawasaki which is a short hop from Tokyo. More here at the official website. If you're a fan of Japanese Anime, you may also want to visit the Ghibli museum in Tokyo - it's a nice day trip!
Trendy spots in Tokyo are going to be most found in the area around Nakameguro. That said, in Tokyo you're never far from fun. Check out the Metropolis website for up to date listings and nightlife recommendations. You can also get a pretty decent idea of what's on by looking at the events page for Tokyo at last.fm, or on Songkick. Tokyo has a pretty free-wheeling live scene though, so you'll also have a great time by just following your nose once you're there.
Hope this helps!