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14 day & 10 day itineraries - pass options?

Hi,
2 of us will land at NRT at 2pm on 4/29 and depart NRT at 5pm on 5/13. My itinerary as follows:
NRT to/from Tokyo
Tokyo - Hakodate - Hirosaki
Hirosaki - Tokyo
Tokyo-Iiyama-Tokyo
Tokyo - Kanazawa-Kyoto
Kyoto - Hakone - Tokyo
Plus day trip to Hitachi, Ashikaga & Kawaguchiko from Tokyo.
14 day pass is paid off with the above itinerary, however I am still missing a trip to NRT. Reading about 1,000 yen bus and look at the website. Is this our best option (14 day pass + 1,000 yen bus from NRT to Tokyo)? I look at the website but still want to confirm my understanding. Just pay for ticket at time of travel? do we need to make reservation? don't know how long thru custom and waiting to exchange for JR pass. How is traffic from airport to Central Tokyo at the beginning of Golden week? or should just pay more for 1 one NEX?

Question #2. My other travel companies will arrive NRT at 2pm on May 3 and depart on 5/13. They will join us for the second leg of the trip. They have 10 days, so I suggest 7 day JR and 3 day Tokyo Wide Pass. Are these the right options for them?

Thank in advance for your reply!

Comments

  • Hi,
    The 1000 yen Access Narita is by far the cheap way to go. And as it says on their website, you just go to their bus stop - no reservations needed. But if it is the "best" way is up to you. It depends on where in Tokyo you are going to end up, as well as how important the savings are (about 2000 yen). If you have a ton of bags, dragging them all through the stations to your final stop may be a chore. If you are elderly and dead tired, plus staying at one of the big tourist hotels which the orange limousine bus stops at, it is by far more convenient. Ultimately it is a question only you can answer.
    As far as getting your pass activated at Narita - there is often quite a line and there are many other tourists there with the same idea. Waiting in lines 30 minutes to even over an hour is a definite possibility. It depends on how many other flights are landing at the same time as yours, and how many people on your flight have the same plans as you do - there is no way to know until you land.
    Regarding traffic, basically the Japanese crowds are leaving the big cities at the start of GW and returning at the end. If you are going the other direction, traffic should be relatively light.

    The plans for your other companion are still unclear. Where are you both going for the 7 days? The 7 day pass may or may not pay off. For the Tokyo Wide Pass, if going to the Hitachi Seaside Park, Ashikaga, and the Fuji 5 Lakes, you can get good savings off of a Tokyo Wide Pass. It's about 2 hours one way to each place.
    The Fuji 5 Lakes can easily fill up a whole day, but not the other places. Along with the Hitachi Seaside Park you could also stop at Kairakuen in Mito, and even see the Ushiku Great Buddha on the way back if you like.
    For Ashikaga, it's a little more difficult to find other nearby sights. They will complete the new Ashikaga Stn by Apr 1st so it will save you a 15 minute walk from Tomita Stn. But expect huge crowds to be at the park next to you.
    Presumably you are going to Iiyama for Nozawa Onsen, although there is one other gem there - you may be too early though. The Nanohana Festival is also very nice - huge fields of nanohana (canola).
    http://www.iiyama-ouendan.net/en/sightseeing/2011/09/2790.php

    You can find regular rail fares, routes and schedules on Hyperdia.
    http://www.hyperdia.com

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

    There are also loads of other tips on
    http://www.thejapanfaq.com/the-best-japan-travel-tips/

    Best wishes.
  • Tenjin, thank for your prompt reply and your wealth of information!
    I am keen in landscape photography and I would like to photograph as many flower fields as possible. But it is hard because of the crowds, so I will try my best to get out as early as possible. With the recent warm weather, I am not sure how the fields will hold out until early May.

    Nanohana Festival is from May 2-5, so I am hoping that I am at the right time. Am I too late for the peach blossom?

    I am thinking about combining both Hitachi and Ashikaga parks on the same day. Visit Hitachi in the morning, late afternoon at Ashikaga to be able to see both day time and the night illumination and save 1 train ride back to Tokyo.

    I will place my JR order during first week of April. Will that be enough time for it to arrive before my departure on April 29.






  • Hi,
    I'm afraid I don't have enough info on peach blossoms for that area. You'd need peach trees for all that of course, and normally Yamanashi is more famous for that.
    If you want flowers, there of course there are a few others - one big one is the tulip fair in Toyama every year, and you will be going close by if you are going to Kanazawa.
    http://fair.tulipfair.or.jp/en/
    If you are going to the Fuji 5 Lakes, you are probably already aware of the shibazakura.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6919.html

    Plus the Showa Kinen Park is also another excellent place and not far outside Tokyo.
    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3034_showa.html

    And if you are going to Kyoto, you should make some time open for Nara as well. Missing the Todaiji Great Buddha in Nara Park would be a tragedy.
    http://bit.ly/1Rhxg0E
    Nara also has the Umami Kyuryo Park for more flowers.
    http://www.pref.nara.jp/1780.htm

    You can fit in both Hitachi Seaside Park and Ashikaga Flower Park in a day, but it is going to be ambitious. It is about 2 hours to the Hitachi Seaside Park from Tokyo (go to Katsuta Stn and get a 25 minute bus) - and then with a good connection about 90 minutes more to get to Ashikaga. April 1st a new station opens up next to the park which will save you a 15 minute walk, but I caution you that you will be anything but alone there. If you're a glutton for punishment, you can still see Kairakuen in Mito along the way, since it opens at 6 AM and it's free.

    If you like landscape photography, then don't miss the nice gardens of Tokyo - it is not all a concrete jungle as some proclaim.
    http://bit.ly/2zKmEmK
    http://bit.ly/2AIpQ5T
    http://bit.ly/2jIR8Pd
    http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/

    Most places should be open, but since it is a major holiday period, you should double check. Banks however will not be - you can however use your ATM card at a 7-11 or Post office.
    http://www.jp-bank.japanpost.jp/en/ias/en_ias_index.html
    http://www.sevenbank.co.jp/intlcard/card2.html
    If you do plan to use your ATM card in Japan, make sure your bank knows about it first so they don't suspect fraudulent usage and freeze your account.
    You can also see what Japanese money looks like at
    http://www.thejapanfaq.com/japanfaq1c.html
    Note that you can not use 1 or 5 yen coins in vending machines and phones.


    Enjoy.
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