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Japan Transit Info

Japan Transit Info

Old Dec 17, 99, 12:43 am
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Japan Transit Info

I'm taking advantage of the Continental sale fare to NRT Japan. Having just been to Tokyo in April, I plan to spend time in Kyoto and Osaka on this trip.

Any suggestions on transportation from NRT to Osaka and from Kyoto to Tokyo? Trains? Planes?

Here's my itinerary:
01/01/00 SA CO 0007 IAH 10:15 NRT 15:15+d 18J

01/02/00-01/07/00 Crowne Plaza Metropolitan Hotel, Tokyo

01/07/00 FR CO 0006 NRT 15:50 IAH 12:20 18J

[This message has been edited by TransWorldOne (edited 12-23-1999).]
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Old Dec 17, 99, 7:16 am
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If you can swing an arrangement, there are ongoing "international" flights from Narita to Osaka Itami airport. From there it's an easy train connection to where you want to go. The bullet trains also go from Tokyo to Kyoto, but that would involve getting from Narita into Tokyo and then onto a bullet train.

Of course the ironic thing is that no matter which route you choose, the roundtrip fare will be more than you're paying to fly from the states. I priced the roundtrip fare going NRT-ITM on JAL and returning ITM-NRT on ANA for $367. The train will cost roughly the same, maybe slightly less.

My advice to you would be to avoid the train route, especially because there is a good chance your visit may coincide with New Years vacations, a time when every japanese person takes a week off from work. It's like spring break, thanksgiving, and christmas break all wrapped into one holy travel mess.
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Old Dec 17, 99, 8:26 am
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I'm taking advantage of this deal also and am planning to go to Kyoto. Do you know of a site where I could access the bullet train schedules and rate information?
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Old Dec 17, 99, 8:41 am
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Sounds like there are going to be a few of us in Japan on this deal; maybe we can arrange a mini-gathering. My friend and I are planning to spend all our time except the first night in Kyoto.

We booked one night at a hotel near the train station and 5 nights at Comfort Inn in Kyoto. The hotels are all in the $100 range, so the trip should be quite inexpensive. We may take some day trips or spend a night at a ryokan if we can find one that's reasonably priced. Also might spend a night at a temple.

We got 7 day rail passes that are good for the bullet train ride between Kyoto and Tokyo. You buy a voucher in the states and turn it in for the pass when you get to Japan. Cost was $281 US per person.

We found http://www.jtbusa.com to be a good source of information. My friend did all our bookings through one of the travel agencies in Japantown in San Francisco.

letiole: Are you flying on NW out of SFO on 1/1? If so, look for me, I'll be on that flight. We're returning on 1/7. I posted my itinerary in "FlyerTalk Itineraries."

[This message has been edited by dgolds (edited 12-17-1999).]
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Old Dec 17, 99, 12:09 pm
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Dgolds: Thanks for the information. Yes, look for me on 1/1. I'm traveling with three friends and we're seated in row 38, I think. We're returning on 1/8.
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Old Dec 17, 99, 1:37 pm
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ANA and JAL both have visit Japan airfares. You buy air travel coupons for anywhere within Japan which I think run USD 120 each (Y12,000 + 5% tax), minimum of 2. You can only buy these outside japan.

Otherwise, the japan rail pass is a good idea but you may want to limit yourself geographically. e.g., I was visiting a friend in N. Japan so only needed a rail pass on the JR East system. I got a flexible 4-day pass for Y20,000 (USD 200) which was good from NRT to Tokyo (worth $28 on the narita Express o/w and then worth $150 from Tokyo to Misawa). I think Japan Rail West has such a scheme. It will save you Y8,000 or so if you are only doing Tokyo and the Kansei Plain.
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Old Dec 17, 99, 3:38 pm
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letiole: We will be in 54 J-K.

If you need help getting into the WorldClub at SFO, e-mail me. I have a CO President's Club card which will get a few of us into there. (More, if the guards are letting their guard down on the 1st.)
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Old Dec 17, 99, 4:08 pm
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The Japan Rail schedules are at http://www.jrXXX.co.jp/index.html where XXX is the region of JR. JR East would be at http://www.jreast.co.jp/index.html

If you don't read Japanese, select "English" at the top of the page.
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Old Dec 18, 99, 12:41 am
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tfjim is right in saying that the New Year is the biggest holiday period in Japan. For the train travels, though, it is surprisingly easy to get reserved seats on or around January 1. This is because most of the Japanese are by the time already "there," the destinations of their choice. Many people go on the holidays from around Dec. 29, and that is when the reservations are hard to come by. As a matter of curiosity, I have just checked the JR Cyberstation, where you can see the availiability of seats (in Japanese only). Most of the trains have plenty of seats available on January 1.
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Old Dec 18, 99, 8:07 am
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Thanks everyone for all the information. You've been very helpful.
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Old Dec 23, 99, 11:19 pm
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The idea of paying more for intra-Japan transit than the actual cost of airfare from MKE to NRT didn't appeal to me. I've decided to stay in Tokyo for the duration of my visit. Thanks for your suggestions, though.

If anyone is interested in a FlyerTalk gathering, see my post in FlyerTalk Community.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/Forum95/HTML/000220.html
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Old Dec 24, 99, 4:01 am
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Dear TransWorldOne,

If you are planning to stay in Tokyo Area, don't forget to visit Nikko. (Of course if you didn't go there before) Everything is beautiful there. Temples, waterfalls, Sleeping Cat and Three Monkeys. It is about 1,5 hours drive from Tokyo.
Have a good time!
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