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Need train advice - Japan One Week

Travel Forums Asia Need train advice - Japan One Week

1. Posted by sandy_28 (Budding Member 5 posts) 9y

Hi Everyone,

Doing a stop over in Japan and this is our itinerary.

Land in Tokyo, go directly to Kyoto

Day 1 - Land in Tokyo and go directly to Kyoto
Day 2 - Spend day in Kyoto
Day 3 - Spend day in Kyoto, spend night in Mount Koya - Koyasan
Day 4 - Go to Tokyo
Day 5 - Spend day in Tokyo
Day 6 - Spend day in Tokyo
Day 7 - Fly out of Tokyo

That is option one. We are also thinking of staying in Osaka (rather than Kyoto). First question is that is this a good idea? We have points to stay in a hilton for free but there is only one in Osaka and not Kyoto. How much time does it take to get from Osaka to Kyoto? The second option, if we stay in Osaka would be like this:

Day 1 - Land in Tokyo and go directly to Osaka
Day 2 - From Osaka to Kyoto (and back) Spend day in Kyoto
Day 3 - From Osaka to Kyoto (and back) Spend day in Kyoto, GO TO spend night in Mount Koya - Koyasan (do we need to travel through Osaka?)
Day 4 - Go to Tokyo
Day 5 - Spend day in Tokyo
Day 6 - Spend day in Tokyo
Day 7 - Fly out of Tokyo

I will be there during mid-July

So my questions again are:

1) Should i stay in osaka if i'm planning to spend my time in kyoto?
2) How much time does it take to get from osaka to kyoto?
3) Should i get a train pass and if so, which one? How much does it cost? (keep in mind that i don't want to spend a lot of time on trains so would prefer the speedier ones while not spending a fortune)
4) Is Nara really a 'shouldn't miss'? We're going for the kyoto festival and i'm sure we'll be busy for the two day we're there.

Ok, any other comments/suggestions are much much appreciated! Thanks!!

2. Posted by euanross (Budding Member 35 posts) 9y

Given the time you have available I would recommend staying in Kyoto and not Osaka. Mount Koya will be an excellent experience but will be hard spending only one night there.

A train pass is useful if you are using a lot of trains but given you are only traveling from Kyoto to Tokyo it might not be worth it.

Golden Pavilion is a must and loads of temples to see. Geisha district is a must a night!

3. Posted by sandy_28 (Budding Member 5 posts) 9y

how long is the travel between osaka and kyoto though? and does anyone know of a good train pass if i DID do this?

4. Posted by euanross (Budding Member 35 posts) 9y

The time on a bullet train I think is far less than 30 mins! :)

Look on the Japan Rail Pass website and it will list them. We have the full pass covering all of Japan because we were covering a lot of different areas.

5. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y

how long is the travel between osaka and kyoto though? and does anyone know of a good train pass if i DID do this?

By Bullet train, Kyoto to Shin-Osaka is 15mins. By traditional express train from Kyoto to Osaka is about 25mins, and by stopping train on the old Tokkaido? main line is about 35mins. On all of them, there are plenty of trains [although note that superfast Nozimi trains - the top of 3 levels of bullet train - can NOT be used by JR pass holders].

Kyoto is cheaper to stay in, but if you have free accom in Osaka (especially of its close to the station) i'd say stay there and commute. It's easy.

If you get a JR 7day pass, and ONLY travel Narita airport - Tokyo - Kyoto - Tokyo - Narita, you already save money on normal bullet price. Any extra travel is then free. Note that there are several rail lines around Tokyo you can use which are free (so you can save on metro tickets there), plus obviously your Osaka-Kyoto returns are free as well.

Oh, and note that the direct Osaka - Nara services are run by a private company that is NOT covered by the JR rail pass. You can travel (osaka)-Kyoto-Nara by pass, or buy tickets on the direct Osaka - Nara trains.
Basically, get the 7day pass, and start it as soon as you land, and you save money.

7 day pass - 28,300yen.
Return Tokyo Central to Osaka is 27,500yen.
Return Narita (via Tokyo) to Oskak is 32,500yen.
And obviously, with a pass, you then have the option of maybe taking trips from Kyoto/Osaka to Himeji Castle or Hiroshima (for example), from Kyoto to Nara or from Tokyo to Kamakura etc for free if you decide to do so when you get to Japan.

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 25, 2007, at 4:53 AM by Gelli ]