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Honeymoon Tokyo-Kyoto-Kobe-Osaka-Tokyo

Please guide us on what JR pass I should buy. My new wife and I are traveling from Texas and it will be our first time in Japan. We are going for our honeymoon.

We arrive in Tokyo Oct 7 and depart on Oct 16

This is our plan:
Oct 07 - Tokyo
Oct 08 - Tokyo
Oct 09 - Tokyo
Oct 10 - Tokyo
Oct 11 - Depart Tokyo for Kyoto (how long is this train ride)
Oct 12 - Depart Kyoto for Kobe (how long is this train ride)
Oct 13 - Depart Kobe for Osaka (how long is this train ride)
Oct 14 - Osaka
Oct 15 - Depart Osaka for Tokyo (how long is this train ride)
Oct 16 - Tokyo

We have a hotel reservation for Osaka Oct 13 and Oct 14.

Questions:
1. Is the JR Pass sufficient for these travels?
2. What station in Tokyo does the train leave from?

There are many more questions I'm forgetting so any information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Comments

  • Hi and congratulations.

    Just going from Tokyo to Kansai round trip still leaves you a little short from making a 7 day pass pay off. So you have a few choices. If you are flying in/out of Narita Airport, you can use the JR Pass on Days 10-16, and going back to Narita you can take the Narita Express train. That would just barely make you break even.

    Another choice would be instead of the JR Pass, get a japanican ticket.
    http://www.japanican.com/en/tour/detail/VJOPENTK1/
    It costs significantly less than the JR Pass, and you can take the fastest bullet train, the Nozomi, with it, getting you there about 30 minutes faster. While it doesn't cover the fare between the Kansai cities, that isn't much and you'd still come out ahead. If using Narita, you can take the cheapest way in/out which is the 1000 yen bus.
    http://accessnarita.jp/en/home/

    You can see regular fares, times, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
    http://www.hyperdia.com
    Under "More Options", be sure to uncheck the Nozomi box since you can't ride that train if you are using the JR pass.

    To go from Tokyo to Kyoto, you'd need to catch the bullet train (shinkansen) at either Tokyo Stn or Shinagawa. If you use the JR Pass, make sure you don't get on any Nozomi train. The Hikari trains leave 2-3 times per hour. Try to avoid any Kodama shinkansen since they stop at every last bullet train station and will take you an extra hour.

    Since it is your honeymoon, I recommend you stay in a few love hotels during your stay. Each room has its own theme and they are reasonably priced.
    http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2031.html
    https://www.tsunagujapan.com/10-phenomenal-luxury-love-hotels-in-tokyo-to-beat-high-priced-counterparts/
    Just remember that for most, once you go in, you don't come out til you leave for good. Take some food/drinks in with you.
    And for a more Japanese experience, stay at a Japanese inn (ryokan) for a night or two.
    https://www.tsunagujapan.com/10-tokyos-accommodations-to-experience-japanese-style-inns/
    Costs range from moderate to exorbitant at hot spring resorts.

    Looking at your plans, you are severely shortchanging yourself by just putting in one day for Kyoto. In truth you could spend months there and not see it all. But if you could allocate one more day there from Tokyo, it would be well worth it.
    Likewise, you are skipping Nara which is the other crown jewel of the country, and well worth at least half a day bare minimum. Nara was also a former capital and has some of Japan's best sights. Missing the Todaiji Great Buddha would be a tragedy. Nara Park has a lot of other great places, such as Kasuga Shrine, Kofukuji Temple, and feeding the many deer in the area.
    Since you are already seeing Tokyo, you can largely skip Osaka during the day. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5 PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. At night the city comes alive and has some great places to see, such as Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are wonderful.
    On another evening, you could also go and see Kobe.

    The Big 3 sights of Kyoto are the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizudera Temple and the Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion). You can see more by using your time wisely. Fushimi Inari is the most time consuming; you could spend a couple of hours to over half a day if you want to romp over all the trails. You can use your JR Pass to go to Inari Stn to see Fushimi Inari, and the place is one of the few that is free and is open 24/7. You can see more in a day and avoid a lot of the crowds by going there early in the morning or the evening. Other good places that open around dawn are the Honganji Temples and they're within walking distance from Kyoto Stn. They have some of the most impressive giant wooden buildings in the world.
    You can maximize your sightseeing time by doing as much train travel at night as possible.
    Please be aware though that in Japan, the trains and subways stop running around midnight. Don't get caught outside too late or you'll have to pay in blood for a taxi.

    Within Tokyo, a cheap and money saving way to get around is the 3 day subway pass.
    http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/travel/index.html#anc03
    If you have a JR pass, you can use it on the JR Yamanote Line which circles the inner city and goes to several popular areas, but perhaps not everywhere you'd want to see.

    You can see previews of some of the best places to see in Japan on:
    https://www.youtube.com/user/thejapanfaq/videos

    Hope that helps.



  • This is great information!

    Correct - we do not plan on activating the 7 day Japan Rail Pass until we leave Tokyo on 10/11. I want to spend more time in the Kyoto region as well, maybe we can leave for Kobe day later.

    So the best way to get from NRT airport to our station in Tokyo (Suitengu-Mae Station) is the Narita Express train?

    Tokyo to Kyoto: Bullet train (shinkansen) at either Tokyo Stn or Shinagawa
  • Hi,
    I'm not sure I understand you correctly.
    What I was suggesting is that you spend Oct 7-9 in Tokyo, and Oct 10-15 in Kansai.
    You can then use the 7 day JR Pass for Oct 10-16. You use the Narita Express to Narita on your last day.

    You would not be using the JR Pass to get from Narita to Suitengu-Mae when you land in Japan. If you wanted to pay out of pocket (¥3000 per person) for the Narita Express from Narita, you could. It takes a bit less than an hour. But if you wanted to save some money, you could take the 1000 yen bus from Narita to Tokyo Stn. It takes about 15-20 minutes longer, but you'd save ¥4000 for the two of you.

    From Tokyo Stn, you then take the subway Marunouchi Line for Ikebukuro (about 1 minute) and get off at Otemachi Stn. You then get on the subway on the Hanzomon Line for Kiyosumi and get off at Suitengu-Mae Station.
    Kiyosumi is a beautiful garden by the way, and very close to your hotel. It is definitely worth visiting.
  • "If you wanted to pay out of pocket (¥3000 per person) for the Narita Express from Narita, you could. It takes a bit less than an hour."

    We will do this because I do not want to make my wife carry too much stuff around the city.

    Great suggestion for the Kiyosumi garden, we will definitely check it out! Thank you!
  • To confirm, Narita Express is a train from the airport to our train stop? And we can purchase this from the Narita airport?
  • Yes, the Narita Express goes to/from Narita Airport and Tokyo. You can buy the tickets at Narita. Seat reservations are required for this train.
    Just to reiterate, the N'Ex doesn't go to Suitengumae Stn. You'll need to transfer as I described above.
  • Great information!

    "From Tokyo Stn, you then take the subway Marunouchi Line for Ikebukuro (about 1 minute) and get off at Otemachi Stn. You then get on the subway on the Hanzomon Line for Kiyosumi and get off at Suitengu-Mae Station."

    To confirm...
    1. Once I get to Tokyo Station, I will buy a single ride from Tokyo Station (via Marunouchi Line for Ikebukuro) to Otemachi.
    2. Then at Otemachi Station, I buy another single ride from Otemachi Station (via Hanzomon Line for Kiyosumi) to Suitengu-Mae Station.
  • You should be able to buy just one subway ticket - you just pay for both rides at Tokyo Stn and change subway lines at Otemachi.
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