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Kanto area, April 2019 - planning sandbox

Kanto area, April 2019 - planning sandbox

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Old Jan 9, 19, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
When I went to Mito, I did it on a JR East pass. You also need to take a taxi from the station to and from the garden unless you can figure out the bus routes.
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Last edited by freecia; Jan 9, 19 at 1:43 pm
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Old Jan 9, 19, 4:37 pm
  #17  
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Hiya LapLap, my next trip overlaplaps yours -- maybe there should be a FT do in Tokyo during your visit!

When I went to Mito, I did it on a JR East pass. You also need to take a taxi from the station to and from the garden unless you can figure out the bus routes.
I looked on Hyperdia but forgot to check the JR East Tokyo Wide Pass coverage map.
Mito is one of the options for foreigners eligible for the pass.
Our group is not eligible.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 5:34 am
  #18  
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Chichibu - touring with the 1 day Seibu Pass

https://www.seiburailway.jp/railways...t/daypass.html
1,000yen for unlimited travel on the Seibu line. Can be used from Shinjuku, Takadanobaba and Ikebukuro.

List of area highlights in April can be seen here:
https://www.seiburailway.jp/railways...son/april.html

If I were to win some lottery or come into a windfall, I’d be tempted to drop 10,000yen on a three hour rail/dining experience on the Seibu Restaurant Train
https://www.jnto.go.jp/scenic-railwa...-of-happiness/

I WILL be looking into travelling on the steam powered Paleo Express
https://www.jnto.go.jp/scenic-railwa...paleo-express/
Will have to work out the most economical way to do this as I’m not sure if it makes more sense to buy the Seibu Chichibu Excursion Pass rather than the Seibu 1 day Pass.

EDIT TO ADD: SEIBU PASS, foiled again!
The fine print doesn’t mention that you need to have a foreign passport, but I did find this hidden in a different website that sells the passes “Users of this pass cannot be Japanese citizens. Presenting your passport or resident card is required when picking up your ticket.” https://www.veltra.com/en/asia/japan/tokyo/a/150260

This seems to be a list of the passes for Japanese travellers, I can’t see the Seibu 1 day Pass on there
https://www.seiburailway.jp/ticket/index.html#a04

Problem with looking in English is that there is no acknowledgment that some Japanese citizens don’t read or right Japanese. And the idea that some foreign visitors would like to tour with Japanese citizens also seems to be an alien one that isn’t catered to with useful information. Feels like I am scrabbling around amongst the cracks.

Last edited by LapLap; Jan 10, 19 at 6:10 am
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Old Jan 10, 19, 9:13 am
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I went to Chichibu during one of my late October-early November trips in search of autumn leaves. It was a pleasant train ride, not very expensive.
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Old Jan 10, 19, 2:10 pm
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
Good call. I had low expectations since it's not usually my kind of thing, but the area is quaint and the museum was surprisingly good - although I can't recall why. I think I just like the idea of a film series that gave Japanese people a sepia tinted (not literally) tour of their own country over so many years.
Thank you both! Looking forward to it now on a future visit.

Btw, the 50th film is scheduled to be released later this year. Unfortunate that the current box set of the previous movies is only available in Japan for an absurd amount.
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Old Jan 11, 19, 1:16 am
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I personally don't really find Chichibu to be worth a trek from Tokyo, relative to all the other choices available. Only reason I still go sometimes is because it's easy to get to from my home, but I don't find Chichibu all that exciting. Part of it may be that I'm more drawn to places with onsen (Chichibu's onsen is more like poor man's onsen). But it's also that Chichibu's vibe just feels consistent with the area's decline, sort of like many areas of Gunma and Tochigi. I'll take Hakone any day over Chichibu. I also have a soft spot for Kofu area.

Having said that, I'm sure you'll still enjoy it if you did the day trip to Chichibu region. You'll still get to have your family time, getting away from the city and enjoying the ride on the Red Arrow. Hiking is always enjoyable (I've tended to get off at Ashigakubo for hikes) and, as with any place in Jpn, you'll find chic little places that serve decent meals and desserts.
The bloom at Hitsujiyama Koen near Chichibu is ~April, so maybe that is worth it for you to go check out if you're into that.
The best spot around Chichibu used to be the shrine at the top of the Mitsumine Ropeway. But unfortunately they shut down the ropeway a while back for some reason, and now Mitsuminesan is hard to get to. I don't know why they shut it down, because Mitsuminesan and its shrine were really Chichibu's top attractions. Nagatoro (just north of Chichibu) is a place where you can enjoy kayaking and even rafting sometimes, and I used to enjoy hanging out at the river there when I was a kid, but I don't know if you're into that.
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Old Jan 11, 19, 1:49 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
The best spot around Chichibu used to be the shrine at the top of the Mitsumine Ropeway. But unfortunately they shut down the ropeway a while back for some reason, and now Mitsuminesan is hard to get to. I don't know why they shut it down, because Mitsuminesan and its shrine were really Chichibu's top attractions. Nagatoro (just north of Chichibu) is a place where you can enjoy kayaking and even rafting sometimes, and I used to enjoy hanging out at the river there when I was a kid, but I don't know if you're into that.
We went hiking in the Okutama/Hatonosu area a few years ago and found that swathes of the path and area were shut down and inaccessible. It made hiking along the gorge/river a much less pleasant experience than it should have been as the unexpected detours were not shown on any maps (English or Japanese) and we were forced onto busy roads without pedestrian pathways for long segments - frankly, this was very scary, and more so with a 6 year old who struggled to walk in a straight line and got tired with tarmac under her feet (but who was inexhaustible walking over earth and rock)
The random closures were because of damage caused by the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake. As you said, it is an area in decline - however, thatís the same for a great deal of Japan.
LapChild is a bit older now, but itís good to be reminded that parts of the Chichibu hiking area may be affected by similar closures as those that blight the Ōtama hiking trails.
Hanging out at a river IS the sort of thing we are into. I also enjoy ďpoor wo/menísĒ onsen (have you seen my Tokyo Onsen thread? ) and Chichibu seems to have quite a few of them. Hitsujiyama Koen and the Paleo Express Steam Train are our main draws to the area.
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Old Jan 11, 19, 2:34 pm
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I last hiked around Ashigakubo (up towards Maruyama) a few years ago, but I don't remember any trail closures. However, that hike can be quite steep in certain parts and may not be suitable for a child or elderly. There are onsens around Chichibu, but they are just not close to being on par with ones in Hakone or Izu. Steam locomotive could be really fun, though.
Nice job with rock stacking!
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Old Jan 11, 19, 3:45 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
I last hiked around Ashigakubo (up towards Maruyama) a few years ago, but I don't remember any trail closures.
We began at Hatonosu and walked/climbed along towards Okutama. The hiking trail was closed off at more than one point. I just found an excellent guide to the hike which confirms that it is/was closed near the shiramaru damn https://gvlt.wordpress.com/2014/09/2...ri-to-okutama/ it forces you onto roads at other points afterwards also - the photo guide shows this also.
Alas, the difficulty in following a trail here is the reason I’ve never recommended it on this forum (although I did mention our difficulties to someone who had Mt Mitake in their itinerary, they never reported back though).
LapLap senior does quite a bit of hiking, neither him or his granddaughter are phased by steep climbing. And it’s mainly me who freaks out walking alongside traffic on country roads. Hate it!

Odd, isn’t it, the propensity for children from anywhere in the world to get into rock stacking.
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Last edited by LapLap; Jan 11, 19 at 4:50 pm
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Old Jan 11, 19, 6:07 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by LapLap View Post
Is there some kind of bargain rail pass for locals that covers a return trip to Mito? Plugging it into Hyperdia shows it at 5,000yen each for the round trip.
You can use the Kyujitsu Odekake Pass (休日おでかけパス) to cover your fare to Tsuchiura, then pay the difference upon arrival to Mito or on board. You would need to go to a manned window and not use the automatic ticket gates. The pass is 2,670 JPY for one day, and the round trip fare from Tsuchiura to Mito would be 1,940 JPY. You can also use limited express trains (1,550 JPY supplement each way from Tokyo/Ueno).

Alternatively, the highway bus is 2,080 JPY each way from Tokyo, and there may be some discounts available.
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Old Jan 12, 19, 1:46 am
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Originally Posted by armagebedar View Post
You can use the Kyujitsu Odekake Pass (休日おでかけパス) to cover your fare to Tsuchiura, then pay the difference upon arrival to Mito or on board. You would need to go to a manned window and not use the automatic ticket gates. The pass is 2,670 JPY for one day, and the round trip fare from Tsuchiura to Mito would be 1,940 JPY. You can also use limited express trains (1,550 JPY supplement each way from Tokyo/Ueno).

Alternatively, the highway bus is 2,080 JPY each way from Tokyo, and there may be some discounts available.
Thanks for solving that puzzle question for me. The focus for this trip is for affordable options (I wasnít actually even supposed to be coming to Japan this time, but I was able to secure such cheap flights that I managed to squeeze myself into the budget). Mito would be a huge extravagance for us. Will wait for another year, perhaps when MrLapLap isnít with us. The Kyujitsu Odekake Pass will make more sense if only my father-in-law has it, the cost would then be brought down by the rest of us having JR East Tokyo Wide passes.
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