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Kyoto to Tokyo: cheaper alternative to shinkansen

Kyoto to Tokyo: cheaper alternative to shinkansen

Old May 17, 19, 7:59 am
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siw
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Kyoto to Tokyo: cheaper alternative to shinkansen

GF and I are flying into KIX for a few days in Kyoto and flying out of NRT after a few days in Tokyo. We looked at a one-way train between Kyoto and Tokyo, but the shinkansen train is about JPY13,000 (~GBP93) without a reserved seat each on the Hyperdia website. More expensive than expected. Because we are only taking this one-way trip then I understand a JR Pass is more expensive. Are there cheaper alternatives which do not have a very long trip duration?

Thanks
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Old May 17, 19, 8:02 am
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Bus (daytime or overnight to save on hotel)

Availability schedule Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe/Shiga/Wakayama ? Tokyo/Kawasaki/Chiba / WILLER TRAVEL

Stsrts at 2800 yen per person. Seat quality/comfort can differ quite a lot, look at the pictures/specs
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Old May 17, 19, 8:09 am
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Thank you
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Old May 17, 19, 8:18 am
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Bus is cheap and slow,.. and therefore nasty (IMHO). Overnight bus saves you the cost of a hotel and then costs you a day of walking around with sleep deprivation.

Flying is a possibility - I don't think that you can get any of the "Visit Japan" discounted fares for a single flight (might be wrong about that), but you can often find cheap flights if you book in advance, and you can also use OneWorld or Star Alliance miles for an award with JAL or ANA. When you compare the journey times, it will take you virtually the same amount of time to fly as to go by Shinkansen. Personally, I prefer to take the train for the ease of travel from city center to city center.

You could also forgo spending a few days in Tokyo and fly ITM to NRT to connect to your flight home. I think that's not a bad idea, actually.
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Old May 17, 19, 8:19 am
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Hi.

You could also try one of the low cost airlines such as peach or jetstar Japan but you would need to account for transport costs to and from the airport. Flight time is probably around the hour mark

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Old May 17, 19, 8:57 am
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Originally Posted by siw View Post
GF and I are flying into KIX for a few days in Kyoto and flying out of NRT after a few days in Tokyo. We looked at a one-way train between Kyoto and Tokyo, but the shinkansen train is about JPY13,000 (~GBP93) without a reserved seat each on the Hyperdia website. More expensive than expected. Because we are only taking this one-way trip then I understand a JR Pass is more expensive. Are there cheaper alternatives which do not have a very long trip duration?

Thanks
I see you are based in the U.K.

Cheapest way to travel within Japan would be AVIOS (Tesco clubcard?)

Taxes and fees with BA issued JAL AVIOS tickets are chickenfeed.
Last year it was 4,500 AVIOS for a Tokyo to KIX flight plus 2 or so.
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Old May 17, 19, 9:43 am
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If you are looking for cheap transport then bus will be the option. I do agree that in terms of time and comfort it is not on the same level as Skinkansen (Bullet Train), but I will not say bus as nasty. There are different comfort level of bus available overnight between Kyoto and Tokyo. One problem with bus is that some bus companies have reservation via web in Japanese only.

One example, Yukata Liner Bus (website in Japanese only) runs overnight bus between Kyoto and Tokyo. Standard bus with 2-2 seating, aisle in the center and 2 seats on left and right side, starts from 1700 yen (GBP 12.12) per person for advance purchase via website or standard fare of 4000 yen (GBP 28.50). 3 Across Independent Seat bus, single seat placed 1-1-1 across, reclining with leg rest with blanket. starts from 3500 yen (GDP 25.00) per person for advance purchased via website or standard fare of 6000 yen (GDP 42.80).

Again, website is in Japanese only and especially 3 Across Independent Seat bus does provide comfort. These type of overnight bus is pretty popular in Japan, but if you do not read Japanese then can be not easy to make a reservation.
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Old May 17, 19, 12:34 pm
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Avios redemption is pretty decent value, esp. if you go from ITM to HND as both have cheaper city-airport transit options than KIX & HND (also much closer to the cities).

You might want to check out the English highway bus reservation sites
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2366.html

The Yukata Liner Bus shows up here for me: https://www.kosokubus.com/en/search/area/00027-00013/
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Old May 17, 19, 12:40 pm
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The bullet train in a tourist experience that many people want to do at least once. It also avoids the time and expense of getting to and from airports for a short flight.

However, there are different categories of these trains, with names, at different price points and with somewhat different rules (for example, the typical JR pass can't be used on the fastest and most expensive trains). Have you looked at prices for trains at different times? Also, there might be applicable discounts based on age or student status. If you're looking at JR pass prices, remember that you might be able to time it to cover the express train to NRT.
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Old May 17, 19, 1:03 pm
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When I searched Hyperdia I found that the three Tōkaidō Shinkansen services (Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama) are all the same price. We still prefer the shinkansen and it is the fastest and simplest, we were just suprised at the price and wanted advice on alternativers.

Do the train ticket offices accept Mastercard? Japan is a cash, rather than credit/debit card, dominant country.

Thanks
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Old May 17, 19, 1:32 pm
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Originally Posted by siw View Post
Do the train ticket offices accept Mastercard?
Yes, for long distance train tickets. For commuter train tickets, no. But again, for commuter trains I always use ticket machine and pay cash. Ticket machine for commuter trains do not accept credit card. Never stood in line at manned ticket window to purchase 200 yen ticket from Shinjuku to Shinagawa using credit card...
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Old May 17, 19, 1:33 pm
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Actually you can use JL Explorer fare, comes to about 8,000 yen. Can fly to ITM or KIX, however, you have to note those are still quite far from Kyoto, and not free to get there.

Shinkansen times aren't so different for the different levels, but cost is vastly different as you noted.
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Old May 17, 19, 2:48 pm
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There's the Platt Kodama offer for 10,300 JPY if you don't mind taking the kodama (slowest shinkansen)
https://jprail.com/travel-informatio...hinkansen.html
https://www.jrtours.co.jp/kodama/english/

ETA: Purchase 1 day in advance from JR Tokai office in Kyoto https://goo.gl/maps/weV2AVBFX6ammZ3CA (Travel agent)
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Old May 17, 19, 3:10 pm
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Cheapest rail travel is on the Seishun 18 ticket, which allows 5 days of unlimited ride on local trains during specific periods.

If the planets align you can accomplish the same thing as in this article: How to travel from Tokyo to Hiroshima by train for 500 yen
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Old May 17, 19, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by siw View Post
When I searched Hyperdia I found that the three Tōkaidō Shinkansen services (Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama) are all the same price. We still prefer the shinkansen and it is the fastest and simplest, we were just suprised at the price and wanted advice on alternativers.

Do the train ticket offices accept Mastercard? Japan is a cash, rather than credit/debit card, dominant country.

Thanks
3 services are not the same price. The Nozomi has a higher express fee.

Travelling via Hikari is a good option to skimp 10 and only lose about 10mns.

Bullet train is just the best option. But if you feel the call of adventure get yourself for 12000 yen a seishun18 ticket.

5 days of free travel on jr trains but no express allowed only slow trains (you can use same ticket as your gf - 1+1 so you have 3 days left to ride more trains.)

will take you something like 8 hrs maybe but it will be an experiemce to remember

and jr offices do take credit cards but only in the bigger stations

edit: just realize I have been beaten to it!!

Last edited by Maestro Ramen; May 17, 19 at 3:19 pm
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