Travel

Japan Travel Thread

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  • Oct 20th, 2018 5:22 pm
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Deal Addict
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Oct 2, 2006
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rvs007 wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2018 10:26 am
Sorry for the misinformation. You can get the JR pass in Japan at certain offices. I'm trying to remember whether a decade ago, whether it was available to be purchased in Japan. I remember I went downtown to get the Exchange Order prior to going to Japan.
Anyway, it's still better to get an Exchange Order here so it's paid for and makes getting the pass easier at the airport. One less thing to worry about when you get to Japan.
You couldn't buy the JR Pass in Japan when I had to buy it 10 years ago (I ended up buying it in Singapore, which was my destination before arriving in Japan). It looks like it is available in Japan for a limited time only and at a limited number of stations. It's probably still advisable to buy the pass before you arrive in Japan.
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heymikey wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2018 11:13 am
You couldn't buy the JR Pass in Japan when I had to buy it 10 years ago (I ended up buying it in Singapore, which was my destination before arriving in Japan). It looks like it is available in Japan for a limited time only and at a limited number of stations. It's probably still advisable to buy the pass before you arrive in Japan.
Thanks, that's what I thought too, but wasn't sure if things have changed since my last visit which was also a decade ago.
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Dec 9, 2004
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I read the last bunch of pages and the JR pass site but am still a tiny bit unclear on one thing. How do you get the 7 day pass and then choose when you want those 7 days to be active? Can you choose whichever 7 days you want at the point of activation? Or is it activated for 7 days starting with the day you activate? Meaning you'd just have to go the morning you want to start using it.

Planning to get a 7 day pass for a 11 ish day trip but I guess the concern is, do we activate immediately then hit up the places that require the most travel in the first bunch of days and then when it expires just explore around wherever we stay whether it's tokyo or wherever?
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MikeyPyro wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2018 12:41 pm
I read the last bunch of pages and the JR pass site but am still a tiny bit unclear on one thing. How do you get the 7 day pass and then choose when you want those 7 days to be active? Can you choose whichever 7 days you want at the point of activation? Or is it activated for 7 days starting with the day you activate? Meaning you'd just have to go the morning you want to start using it.

Planning to get a 7 day pass for a 11 ish day trip but I guess the concern is, do we activate immediately then hit up the places that require the most travel in the first bunch of days and then when it expires just explore around wherever we stay whether it's tokyo or wherever?
When you order the pass, you will get a voucher. With this voucher you need to go to a JR station and get it, and the day you get it will be the day the 7 day pass starts.

So for example

I buy the 7 day pass, get a voucher.

I fly to Tokyo, and I do NOT activate the pass yet as of Jan 1, 2018. I just buy a local subway pass for 3 days until Jan 4, 2018. I hang around for 3 days, then am ready to move on to Kyoto. So morning of Jan 5, I go to a JR station where you can redeem the pass, and use my voucher.

Now first day of the pass is Jan 5-Jan 12.

It is consecutively activated too.

So I can not claim the voucher and say I want to use the voucher for Jan 1, 3, 7, 13 and 15. Its Jan 1-7, or 2-8 etc.

I hope that makes sense
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Nov 30, 2015
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oasis100 wrote:
Nov 27th, 2017 2:25 pm
Ramen.

Any good snack places? Besides pablo cheesetarts.

i've been to the fish market on previous trips.
do you like tonkatsu? My husband and I went to Japan for the first time and we ate so much katsu! There's this place in Tokyo called Butagumi - I highly recommend it! It's quite pricey but worth it Smiling Face With Open Mouth
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May 31, 2006
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Driving in Japan is fine. Most rentals have excellent GPS with English language option. Might be difficult to negotiate a one-way rental. Better if you plan to loop back to starting point or only drive a portion of your trip. I suggest taking the train everywhere, but stop at Odawara and make that your car rental home base for a few days. From there, you can access the amazing Hakone mountain passes (touges), visit the myriad of famous hot springs (onsen), and drive up to Mount Fuji. Lodging there will also be a lot cheaper than the bigger cities. A note on driving to Mt. Fuji: buses full of tourists all go to the big stations on the mountain. E.g. Subaru Fifth Station. But if you drive, you can stop just short of the big stations and hike around the trails mostly alone and avoid the annoying tourist crowds.

Make sure to get your international driver's permit in Canada before going. It takes $35 and a brief visit to a qualified CAA office.

And.....I'm really really sorry to do this to you, to tempt you to spend lots of money. But judging from your user name and your mention of Hakone mountain passes, I believe this is an experience of a life time that you should not miss:
http://fun2drive-japan.com/car-tours/Ul ... Drive.html

Your chance to drive actual Initial D roads in properly prepped touge cars. The Ultimate Hakone Tour includes a drive on the actual road that "White Comet" raced on.

Image
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Dec 11, 2008
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Get the JR Pass in your city before you leave. And then get it done at the airport.

You should be able to make it to those cities, some take more than 1 day but you should be able to. JR pass is the most economical and convenient for a first timer.
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Dec 9, 2004
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chillychin wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2018 1:07 pm
When you order the pass, you will get a voucher. With this voucher you need to go to a JR station and get it, and the day you get it will be the day the 7 day pass starts.

So for example

I buy the 7 day pass, get a voucher.

I fly to Tokyo, and I do NOT activate the pass yet as of Jan 1, 2018. I just buy a local subway pass for 3 days until Jan 4, 2018. I hang around for 3 days, then am ready to move on to Kyoto. So morning of Jan 5, I go to a JR station where you can redeem the pass, and use my voucher.

Now first day of the pass is Jan 5-Jan 12.

It is consecutively activated too.

So I can not claim the voucher and say I want to use the voucher for Jan 1, 3, 7, 13 and 15. Its Jan 1-7, or 2-8 etc.

I hope that makes sense
That does make sense, appreciate the detailed response!! Decisions decisions.

Out of curiosity for people that have visited, what is the preferred "living" situation? Stay at one place/city and make a series of day trips, or stay at each city you go to for the night? Assuming you have the JR pass of course.
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MikeyPyro wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2018 5:13 pm
That does make sense, appreciate the detailed response!! Decisions decisions.

Out of curiosity for people that have visited, what is the preferred "living" situation? Stay at one place/city and make a series of day trips, or stay at each city you go to for the night? Assuming you have the JR pass of course.
Personally these are the cities I visited

Tokyo
Kyoto
Osaka
Himeiji
Kobe
Nara
Hiroshima

I stayed in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. It would have only been Tokyo and Kyoto if not for my curious wife and wanting to see the night life at Osaka.

When in Osaka or Kyoto, you can easily visit the other cities I mentioned as day trips. Although Hiroshima being the furthest, so you need to get up early in the morning and get an early train so you have plenty of time to visit Miyajima AND Hiroshima.

Osaka has more of a night life, and Kyoto is more sleepier. Though I loved the temple hopping in Kyoto, and getting up early to avoid the crowds is highly recommended.

Also to note, the shinkasen do not have a place to store large luggage. There are over head compartments for carry ons, but large luggage is a real pain. You "could" store large luggage at the back of the train behind the last row of seats, but you will get dirty looks from people :)

Depending on your itinerary, I personally would find one base city and then travel out from there.

Also, I personally really liked Toyoko inn. Simple, no frills and includes breakfast.
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Dec 9, 2004
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chillychin wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2018 6:29 pm
Personally these are the cities I visited

Tokyo
Kyoto
Osaka
Himeiji
Kobe
Nara
Hiroshima

I stayed in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. It would have only been Tokyo and Kyoto if not for my curious wife and wanting to see the night life at Osaka.

When in Osaka or Kyoto, you can easily visit the other cities I mentioned as day trips. Although Hiroshima being the furthest, so you need to get up early in the morning and get an early train so you have plenty of time to visit Miyajima AND Hiroshima.

Osaka has more of a night life, and Kyoto is more sleepier. Though I loved the temple hopping in Kyoto, and getting up early to avoid the crowds is highly recommended.

Also to note, the shinkasen do not have a place to store large luggage. There are over head compartments for carry ons, but large luggage is a real pain. You "could" store large luggage at the back of the train behind the last row of seats, but you will get dirty looks from people :)

Depending on your itinerary, I personally would find one base city and then travel out from there.

Also, I personally really liked Toyoko inn. Simple, no frills and includes breakfast.
We want to see a lot of Japan but we're also resigned to the fact that we won't be able to visit EVERYTHING and enjoy it properly with ~1.5wks. Would it make sense to have a base city like Tokyo and just travel to places like Kyoto and the like (maybe not Hiroshima) for a day then go back to Tokyo to stay? Or is that super inefficient/impossible to enjoy Kyoto and/or other cities in that fashion?

Just trying to collect info and it's all so much lol. Want to avoid being overwhelmed there and then end up doing less than we wanted so trying to consider everything. And I'm hoping to not bring much!! Thanks for the info again.
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Mar 15, 2004
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MikeyPyro wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2018 8:11 pm
We want to see a lot of Japan but we're also resigned to the fact that we won't be able to visit EVERYTHING and enjoy it properly with ~1.5wks. Would it make sense to have a base city like Tokyo and just travel to places like Kyoto and the like (maybe not Hiroshima) for a day then go back to Tokyo to stay? Or is that super inefficient/impossible to enjoy Kyoto and/or other cities in that fashion?

Just trying to collect info and it's all so much lol. Want to avoid being overwhelmed there and then end up doing less than we wanted so trying to consider everything. And I'm hoping to not bring much!! Thanks for the info again.
That's a very inefficient way of travelling.
It takes 2.5 - 3 hours roughly to travel one way from Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto
So in a day you lose about 5-6 hours already just travelling.
Add in the fact that the trains that JR pass holders can take only run once or twice an hour, you're better off staying in Osaka or Kyoto when you're in that part of Japan.
Taking 1pc of checked baggage is fine on the shinkansen. If you're strong enough "most" soft checked luggage will fit on the overhead shelves

One piece of advice for u is to not put in too much activities in one day.
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Mar 15, 2004
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Toronto
For the JR pass, you can actually specify which date you want to start using the pass and get reserved seat tickets at the same time if you know which trains you'll be taking

You don't have activate it on the day you want to start riding the trains so in case you pass by one of the major train stations, you can pop in and get the pass before hand so you don't have to lineup in the morning during rush hour

It does get quite busy in the exchange office during the morning and afternoon times
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Apr 24, 2006
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Thanks all for your inputs, I have updated my OP to reflect them. I will look and inquire about the JR pass here in Toronto as at least I can communicate with them and ask questions if needed.

For Hakone, yes that is/was my plan. Looking for alternatives as I suspect the car selection there is quite beat up. I also want to try the Jalopnik route
https://jalopnik.com/how-to-find-one-of ... 1818537482

Now the thing is does that schedule/timetable seem reasonable? I still need to find accommodations and places to go to.

Also if I should fly directly to Osaka first instead of Tokyo?
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Osaka's international airport is called Kansai (KIX) lots of international flights.

As for your JR Pass, the 2 weeks one for you travel seems excessive. Look into a Kansai one for the Osaka/Kyoto leg, except if you really want to ride trains.
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waitin4BOOST wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2018 11:10 am

I've been there twice for Sakura season, this year I plan to check out the fall colours in Oct

depending where you are heading, some of the fall colours are more into November

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