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Yavianice

Japan Part 3: Kurisumasu Trip 2017

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Yavianice

I decided to have a Kentucky Fried Christmas in Japan this year. While I have been in Japan in the two previous years during the summer, I have never been in Japan in early winter (the last 2 weeks of December). I do not wish to do skiing or any kind of mountaineering sport. My current itinerary is:

 

Tokyo - Nagano (snow monkeys) - <unsure yet> - Okayama - Tokyo (during the 28 december - end of year quiet time).

 

For this trip, we are not going to Hokkaido or Kyushu. 

 

Are there specific must sees that I should not miss while I am there? Is there a lot of snow usually in Japan in early December? (I guess, only Tohoku gets lots of snow), and do Joyful trains also run in this time? (I am pretty sure the Oykot train runs, but unsure, about any other Joyful trains, and schedules are not available for this December yet)

 

While I am there, I will also try to go on the 500 EVA and E4 while it is still running.

 

Tips are welcome!

 

Update

 

Is it also possible to book the Sunrise Seto/Izumo in Japan before the start and without having a JR pass? (i.e.: only book a reservation and ticket, without booking the ticket part which is covered with the JR pass?)

Edited by Yavianice

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kami_illy

I was in Japan in december some years ago. There was a little snow and cold in Hakone but nothing in Tokyo or Kyoto (temperature was somewhere between t-shirt during the day and thicker jacket in the night). 

 

I remember that in Kyoto there was a week in december where the temples (kiyomizu-dera, ..) and forrest along the hillside are illuminated and open until late in the night. Very pretty. 

And in Hakone we were in an outside Onsen. Feels amazingly good to soak in the hot water with some light snow falling on the bamboo around. 

 

Also, now that i think about it, i remember that in the streets where i was working in Yokohama they played "last christmas" from mid november to end of december over the pa speakers all around the clock.   :blink:

 

Anyways, have fun! I'll be there in August. 

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Yavianice

I remember that in Kyoto there was a week in december where the temples (kiyomizu-dera, ..) and forrest along the hillside are illuminated and open until late in the night. Very pretty. 

Aww! Too bad Kiyomizu dera will be under construction for the next couple of years. Glad that I went there before that happened, though.

 

And in Hakone we were in an outside Onsen. Feels amazingly good to soak in the hot water with some light snow falling on the bamboo around. 

Onsen is on my to-do list, but I cant decide where yet. Hakone is an option, maybe. 

 

Anyways, have fun! I'll be there in August. 

Where will you go?

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railsquid

IIs there a lot of snow usually in Japan in early December? (I guess, only Tohoku gets lots of snow), a

 

More precisely the Sea of Japan side of Honshu (and the mountains) get most of the snow, even in western Honshu, though the farther north you get the more there is. Niigata gets it worst. Every now and then the snow makes it over to the Pacific side, and everything grinds to a halt.

 

In general there'll be more snow in January/February than December.

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Yavianice

More precisely the Sea of Japan side of Honshu (and the mountains) get most of the snow, even in western Honshu, though the farther north you get the more there is. Niigata gets it worst. Every now and then the snow makes it over to the Pacific side, and everything grinds to a halt.

Besides Shinkansen services, I presume?

 

In general there'll be more snow in January/February than December.

I realize that. But I can only go in December or Summer due to work reasons.

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railsquid

Besides Shinkansen services, I presume?

 

Heavily-delayed Tokaido Shinkansen services passing very slowly through Maibara station in January ;)

 

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kami_illy

Where will you go?

 

We will be in the Kanto- and Kansai-regions. Mainly in Tokyo and Kyoto, but also surrounding areas. Nothing fixed yet, we'll go with the flow (and the weather). 

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Densha

Heavily-delayed Tokaido Shinkansen services passing very slowly through Maibara station in January ;)

Last winter western Japan, particularly the areas on the Sea of Japan side, saw the heaviest snowfall in years. Although Shiga sees some snowfall every year, there literally was snow everywhere through January and February, including some severe snow storms. Schedules of zairaisen trains were often also completely messed up. At least it looked nice.

 

As Kanto and the Keihanshin area are on the Pacific side of Japan, these areas tend to have a bit warmer weather and rather mild winters. The craziest example I had of that was the totally different weather on both sides of the tunnel between Otsu and Yamashina on the Tokaido Main Line. The Shiga side was seeing a snow storm with a temperature near 0 degrees Celsius, whilst the Kyoto side was sunny at 15 degrees or so. Good thing I was heading west.

 

But anyway, looking at your travel plans, if you're going during Kurisumasu you might be seeing some snow in Nagano, but otherwise probably not much. ;)

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Yavianice

I have an unplanned section in my itinerary. I was considering to head to Tohoku for this time, though I am not sure where yet. Morioka, Akita, Aomori and Yamagata are contenders.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Suica

Is it also possible to book the Sunrise Seto/Izumo in Japan before the start and without having a JR pass? (i.e.: only book a reservation and ticket, without booking the ticket part which is covered with the JR pass?)

Yes, you can book Sunrise tickets up to one month in advance, as with any other JR train. Buying just the limited express and seat ticket might be possible as well but requires some serious explaining, which would be a pain in case you don't know Japanese. I actually had a Japanese friend book me the Single DX room before I arrived in Japan, as it can be somewhat hard to get. 

I take it you want to reserve the ticket when you arrive in Japan and use it with a Rail Pass at a later date? If that's the case, the simplest thing to do would be to exchange the order for your Rail Pass right on your day of arrival. You will receive your pass even with its validity date in the future. So just show your Rail Pass when you're making reservations at the ticket office. Makes things A LOT easier.

 

BTW: I'm gonna arrive in Tokyo on December 26th :)

Edited by Suica
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Yavianice

Finished booking: I will stay in Tokyo, Nagano (snow monkies, and hopefully, some joyful trains like Oykot and/or Genbi), Takayama (Shirakawa-go, that we did not manage to go to last time), and Kobe (visiting a variety of things in that area, also some train shops, and maybe, the EVA if it is running at that time).

 

Unfortunately I did not have time/enough convincing skills to take my SO on the sunrise express... o well, maybe next time

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JR 500系

Exciting! It's always fun to visit Japan and ride the rails! I can understand why the SO wouldn't like the Sunrise... Small space, limited shower timing, no breakfast... I think the Mrs would prefer a hotel over an overnight train... Mine wouldn't wanna ride an overnight train too, that is, unless it's like the Cassiopeia or the Shikishima ...

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