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Japan travel tip V2


katoftw

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Here is something I whipped together in the past few days.  I will have to resign myself to not covering all that I wanna see.  For some reason if I travel to Narita on a Sunday, and fly home on a Friday, I get $150AUD off each direction.  So:-

 

S1 - Arrive 8:30P at Narita on flight, travel to Narita hotel
M2- To Toyama + trams
T3 - Kurobe Gorge
W4 - To Shin-Osaka + Kato shop 
T5 - Arashiyama + Randen + Monkey Park
F6 - JRW Museum + Osaka shopping
S7 - Otsu
S8 - Lake Biwako + Hikone Castle + Nagahama
M9 - To Tokyo + Skytree + Aquaium
T10 - Hakone
W11 JRE Museum + Tomix World
T12 - Takasaki + Yokokawa + Usui Pass
F13 - Ochanomiza Station + Akibahara + To Narita
 
Day 2 - Travel time is about 3 up to 4 hours depending on services and transfers.  So can easily arrive by noon and have afternoon in Toyama.
 
Day 4 - Travel time is 3 hours.  Either have lazy morning and travel between 11-2, or early morning travel between 9-12, and more time in Osaka for shopping etc.
 
Day 7 - Travel to Hamaotsu on the 800s, up to Sakamoto to see temple and cable cars.  Mainly just hanging out in the West Shiga area.
 
Day 8 - JR Line with a loops of Lake Biwako.  Stop mid afternoon on northern side of Lake Biwako for a swim at a beach.
 
Day 9 - 3 hours travel.  Lazy morning after the last 2 days.  Then travel say 10-1 or 11-2.  Then visit Skytree in afternoon.
 
Day 13 - Get up early and pack things and go to Tokyo Station (say 7am) and put large bags into lockers before the normal morning fill up.  Then back to apartment for breakfast etc.  Have day in Toyko to shop and take train photos.  Return to Tokyo Station about 4pm and retrieve bags and board N'EX back to Narita.
Edited by katoftw
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Thanks Lurkingkingh and katoftw

 

Got lots of interesting option now

 

flight price changes by the hours (literally), so won't bet on the price yet, would have be wonderful if fares are like the train fix for the whole year. However $150 AUD per person per direction for family of 5 like you, that is great saving $1500AUD. How many train set can you get with that? From London different direct flight times on the same day same carrier can have variance of 200 GBP per direction. 

 

I usually see when I can go on holiday then do flight research before I do the day to day planning. The airfares difference is great enough for one person let a lone group of people. 

 

Nice plan, sound relaxing and enjoyable. Look like you are cutting Kyushu and few other places for next time. In fact I got several trips I like to make to Japan, Winter (snow festival Sapporo) and Summer (Flowers and car rental) in Hokkaido (waiting for the Shinkansen to reach Hakodate), Kyushu+Miyajima this is on top of Hokuriku area, waiting for the go ahead! I already thinking going there when Hokuriku goes fully to Osaka + Maglev in 2025?2027?. My friends and family say I insane thinking of holiday for the next decade!

 

This way you can start "Japan Trip v3" 

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V3 you say? haha

 

S1 - Arrive at Narita on flight, travel to Narita hotel
M2 - Travel to Fukuoka hotel
T3 - Canal City + Ohorikeon
W4 - Kumamoto
T5 - Nagasaki
F6 - Beppu
S7 - Kyudai Line + Bungomori station and roundhouse + Sugikawacki station and falls
S8 - Travel to Kagoshima hotel + Itusuki
M9 - Sakurajima
T10 - To Hiroshima hotel + Hiroshima
W11 - Miyajima
T12 - Nishikicko Railway
F13 - Travel back to Narita for flight
 
This is for when the kids are older and can handle longer train trips.
Edited by katoftw
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JR 500系

Hi katoftw you can check out my thread on my recent trip, where I posted some photos of the Ashikaga Flower park. It's definitely a Mrs Approved place. Another would be Gala Yuzawa, but I'm not sure if you guys would like to try skiing?

 

I like your pace. Nice, not too slow, not too rush, with intermediate rest days with lesser activities in-between. Mine was way too rushing in the last trip. I'm also looking for V3, but that would be hopefully in 2018 when Hokkaido Shinkansen opens and we can re-visit Hokkaido again. Also looking into Shikoku this time where we totally did not visit.

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Charles' recent Botchan thread has me thinking of Matsuyama/Dogo Onsen again in Shikoku.  Damn him.  Every time a get a solid plan, a spanner is thrown in haha.

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JR 500系

Well, you cant cover everything in one trip my friend. Japan is meant to be visited again and again ~ 

 

I'm already dreaming of V3 in 2018!

 

I think I managed to get my Mrs into the Japan lover community. She loved this trip even more than the last, just that this trip is a little too tiring with baggage and all. The reason was with the heavy winter wear, hence it would be wiser to plan something in autumn next time so the clothing's get lighter.

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Dragging your luggage is always tiring and annoying, looking for the hotel, coin locker and navigating through the station especially busy station with stairs only. I'm thinking of trying the luggage delivery service, some one told me its about 2000 yen per luggage between Osaka and Tokyo. 

 

Its nice to hear that you are dreaming your next Japan trip, its always nice to get your Mrs JR 500 hooked on to Japan. 

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westfalen

One advantage of travelling alone, or just with fellow railfans, is travelling light, along with my camera bag I just take a back pack size bag with a couple of changes of clothes that I can carry everywhere with me if I need to. Also no waiting at airports as I carry everything onboard with me.  A good rule to follow is if you have trouble carrying your luggage, you have too much.

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bikkuri bahn

Though the parameters westy describes is the ideal, I find I need just a little more- along with the backpack suitable for day tripping out of a base hotel, I add a rolling suitcase or equivalent small enough to fit (and lift) in an overhead rack on a train.  My gauge (from personal experience)- if it's not possible to smoothly board DB silberling coach steps w/ the manually operated lever doors, it's too heavy.

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JR 500系

One advantage of travelling alone, or just with fellow railfans, is travelling light,

 

West brings up a really interesting food for thought by which I have been dreaming for a long time... Being able to travel with fellow railfans to Japan... Unless of course your Mrs. or family members are luckily rail fans!

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When we were walking to Kyoto station to travel to Fukuoka.  We were walking alongside two 20 something European tourists and they had one large suitcase 60x40x25cm, one small suitcase 40x30x25cm and small backpacks on each.  We were a group of five and only had two large suitcase, a small suitcase and a small backpack.  They had half the group size but twice the luggage.

 

Travelling light is the key to any travelling.  The lighter the better.  The warmer the period in which you travel allows you to pack lighter and smaller clothing.  All part of the planning process.  When I go again, it will be a small suitcase fitting five days of clothes in it, a laptop in a bag and a small backpack for day trips. Easy...

 

As for travelling with railfans.  I think you can do plenty of railfanning travelling with non railfans.  For my next trip I plan on doing the Kyudai Line.  Visiting Bungomori, Sugikawachi and Hita.  The plan is to do Bungomori first, then visit the falls at Sugikawachi and have lunch there, Both places the wife can handle being a non railfan.  Then onto Hita to do the big railfan thing and get photos and watch operations.  At this point as the train travels from Sugiwachi through Hita, I will detrain while the wife continues back to Kurume/Hakata and goes shopping.  She can shop for 2 hours while I railfan for 2 hours.  Meet up at the end.  Hugs and kisses.  Everyone is happy.

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JR 500系

That seems great for you katoftw!

 

Mine is less, well, understanding towards Rail fanning. She's fine with riding the rails, but standing at a location for even half an hour just to watch trains is definitely a nono for her. Also, she's lesser independent so she must be with me all the time, since she speaks neither English nor Japanese. Next both of us don't have auto-roaming and hence it will be tough to contact each other when we split. There was an incident in the recent trip whereby i asked her to standby at the station gate while i speedily went around looking for a certain place that was really far away, and she got so worried (so did i) that i could feel her tension. Eventually i did find what i was looking for and i had to quickly rush back to her and boy was she angry and happy at the same time to see me....

 

It entirely depends on your travelling companion. I can travel really light, and have done so in many of my lone travels for work. She needs plenty of other stuff on the other hand and i wouldn't like to stop her from bringing those so long she's happy. In a holiday trip everyone's supposed to be happy, right? I don't wanna argue with her as to why she needed to bring 5 pairs of shoes... Don't get me wrong though, i'm not complaining and i really love being with her, just sacrifices have to be made.  

 

Hence it would be ideal if like-minded rail fans travel together. Firstly, we both understand the rationale of travelling light and can hence lose the 5 pairs of shoes, next we love watching trains together hence we can forgo some sleep just to see and ride certain trains. And of course we can spend time to watch trains at a location for several hours without feeling too boring. It's a heaven sent gift to have your other half share the same interest as you have ~

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lol @ the shoe situation.  We all brought 1 set of walking shoes that were on our feet for our plane journey.  And figured that if worse case scenerio happened, we'd just buy a another set while we were there.  We didn't need to.  My wife did go nuts though with the baby stuff, and there was no compromise from her.  We ended up coming back with half of it unused.

 

My wife would be just as nervous to travel alone in Japan also.  I understand your partners situation.  But at least mine speaks English and with that you have enough tools to navigate Japan.  I didn't do anything separately last trip.  But I think my wife would be independent enough now while in Japan to be able to navigate her way home if I showed her how first.  Or she can sit on Hita platforms and look bored. haha

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West brings up a really interesting food for thought by which I have been dreaming for a long time... Being able to travel with fellow railfans to Japan... Unless of course your Mrs. or family members are luckily rail fans!

 

Would love that to happen travelling so rail fans together, I'm single so no Mrs. Neither my friends or family are in to rail. Luckily I do the planning, so I can arrange more of a rail trip then otherwise. 

 

Anyone planning a rail fan trips, please PM me! 

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Drunkenclam

After trying to get 3 adults, 1 senior and a overexcited child with all the luggage for a 2 week break in the 2 minutes window to board the shinkansen at Shinagawa staion, to get to Kyoto, we learned our lesson, so when we went to Gifu afterwards, we had all the bags sent using a baggage service, except for a rucksack with snacks and the cameras. we just asked at our ryokan, Still needed 2 taxis though.

 

Oh with better advise, we should have got on board at Tokyo, as you have more time to get on. but thats the hyperdia app for you.

I have to say that I have never been on so many trains in my life in that 2 weeks.

 

Here's the Missus, Jr, sister in law and mother in law taking the photo op as the train left.

 

post-3115-0-26867900-1431184449_thumb.jpg

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Packing is matter of personal. Once I've travelled with group friends, interestingly one of girls took a medium to large suitcase with then and another boy with a small back pack only. 

 

My luggage 

 

I don't wanna argue with her as to why she needed to bring 5 pairs of shoes... Don't get me wrong though, i'm not complaining and i really love being with her, just sacrifices have to be made.  

 

Hence it would be ideal if like-minded rail fans travel together. Firstly, we both understand the rationale of travelling light and can hence lose the 5 pairs of shoes, next we love watching trains together hence we can forgo some sleep just to see and ride certain trains. And of course we can spend time to watch trains at a location for several hours without feeling too boring. It's a heaven sent gift to have your other half share the same interest as you have ~

 

That is really nice of you. One of few things I learned from my last girlfriend, is not to argue what in their heavy suitcase! I never understand and I don't think I will ever why they trying to bring there whole house with them! Hair straightener? 5 pair of shoes?

 

I prefer travel light, however rarely happen unless work travel! Its also depends on location. Going out usually light, returning it depending on destination! Japan and Hong Kong always packed! Coming back from China and US is usually light! 

 

I tend to buy loads of toys and foods in Japan. In fact I have suitcase in another suitcase and another going to Japan, cabin in my medium and medium in my large. Like travelling hands free in airport so I can take some pictures freely and taking everything while at security!

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Just a little completely useless update. haha

 

We were looking at going this month (October) but the aussie dollar versus the yen dropped about 10% and work has been throwing short term contacts at me.  More money but you don't have the ability to say no or take holidays unless you wanna just drop back into regular pay full time work.

 

The missus has also decided that Kagoshima and Miyazaki need to be visited.  On the Hayato no Kaze last trip, we pasted Sakurajima and she wishes to go.  And I showed here pics of Aoshima and the surrounding beaches, so Miyazaki is on the list now also.

 

Funny thing is.  The last trip I wasn't keen to visit Tokyo and she was.  And she had nil interest in Kyushu and I did.  Now I wanna spend more time in Tokyo due to missing a lot last time.  I had delt wit the fact that Kyushu was off the table and had a Tokyo + Otsu itinerary all worked out.  And now she wants days and days of Kyushu.  Go figure... haha

 

Anywayz, might look at late October 2016.  Thought about April 2016 for the blossoms, but a lot of effort to keep a 7, a 4 and a 2yo all warm.  Maybe when they are older. 

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Good development, not at all useless update my friend!

 

It's always nice to hear another trip being planned. ~ I guess it's similarity and comfort zone in the case of Kyushu? Kyushu is mighty interesting, and no doubt why Mrs. Kato would love to re-visit again. \

 

Well, at least you have October 2016 to look forward to... Mine will be in the region of Autumn 2018s or more....  We have decided we have seen snow and sakura so we guess Maple red leaves with yellow foliage is the theme next round ~ 

 

And he Mrs. have said 'I want a private onsen in our room!' ...   :P

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And he Mrs. have said 'I want a private onsen in our room!' ...   :P

Not if you have a child by then!  :laughing3:  :laughing3:  :laughing3:  :laughing3:  :laughing3:

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Are there any hotels on the Hakone area that can cater for non Japanese travelers with young children?  Or should I just get a business hotel in Odawara and commute for 2 days?

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I've got a real dummy question.  I'm looking at the next trip starting and finishing from Tokyo.  Probably a Sat+Sun, then 2 full seven day weeks also.  So I'll have a weekend in Tokyo to start with and a weekend in Tokyo to finish with.  I've planed for all the big touristy things like Hakone and Fujisan to be on the weekdays.

 

What to do in Tokyo on a Sat/Sun?  I know shopping is up there.  But not for 4 days in total.  I was thinking a baseball game or some description.  Do they play afternoon games or just night games?  Maybe even catch up with some fellow JNS memberss and families so kids can play in the park.

 

Anyone got some good ideas for family outings or things to do in Tokyo on the weekend?  Or places to go as a day trip that wont matter that it is the weekend?  Currently on the list is Nakano Boardway and Ochanomiza Station, they'll both take 2 hours each.  We'd probably attempt Harajuku again on a Sunday afternoon, (moreso wife's request than mine), but very happy for other suggestions to stop this happening. haha

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What's at Ochanomizu station which would take two hours (assuming you're not going to wander down the street in the direction of Akihabara ;) ) ?

 

Harajuku on a Sunday afternoon - does your wife like extreme crowds? At least avoid the JR station and Takeshita-dori... Pokemon-go in Yoyogi park? Tobacco and Salt museum down the road in Shibuya?

 

No idea about baseball.  Cruise up/down the river to Asakusa? Skytree and/or Tokyo Tower? Zoo?

 

How old are your kids?

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We did Takeshita dori last time we were there on a Sunday.  Crowd was wow.  The Cosplay people weren't in abundance, and I think she just wants another attempt at it.  It will be a fail again most likely from all reports.  I'd be happy to never go again.  I'd be happy with a shopping run of Nakano, Shinjuku and Shibuya, bypassing Harajuku altogether.

 

Kids are 7, 5, and 2.

 

Ochanomizu Station - was just gonna walk the old bridges, maybe hit some coffee shop close by.

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