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Lets help each other out looking for airfares/hotels/trips to Japan
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35 / M / Staten Island, NY...
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Posted 5/2/12 , edited 5/2/12
Well, that's good. Pending there are no flight delays, everything should be done in the airport by 11-11:15PM. Next issue to tackle getting to hotel and which hotel will allow check in at that hour. :)

Luckily, I just found out there is no need for a Visa as a US Citizen staying in Japan for less than 90 days. Forgot to look into that before booking. This was a bit spontaneous.
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Posted 5/2/12 , edited 5/2/12
Oh, what carrier? I'd collect on those frequent flyer miles too.

Japan has visa free with the US and Canada. Everyone else has to pay to get in.
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35 / M / Staten Island, NY...
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Posted 5/2/12
Japan Airlines. :)

"minatsuki muika" is how to say "June 6th," right?
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Posted 5/2/12 , edited 5/2/12
Actually it's rokkgetsu roku nichi. And the year is the funny one, it's 24. As in 24th year of Akihito's rule.


And JAL is the best. I wouldn't consider anything else the service was just that good.
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35 / M / Staten Island, NY...
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Posted 5/13/12
Kuro_Kiri - thanks for your help and info.

Trip is now fully booked:

Start in Tokyo -> Hakone -> Kyoto -> Shimoda -> Hiroshima -> Tokyo (fly home)

I am going to hold off on using the JR Rail pass for the first few days while in Tokyo, then start using it when I head to Hakone. That should give me the 7 days to use it while traveling from Tokyo to Hakone to Kyoto to Shimoda to Hiroshima and then back to Tokyo.
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29 / M / CT
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Posted 5/13/12
Take pictures! My envy boils.

Oh and hi, I'm Steve.
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Posted 5/14/12

GodWhomIsMike wrote:

Kuro_Kiri - thanks for your help and info.

Trip is now fully booked:

Start in Tokyo -> Hakone -> Kyoto -> Shimoda -> Hiroshima -> Tokyo (fly home)

I am going to hold off on using the JR Rail pass for the first few days while in Tokyo, then start using it when I head to Hakone. That should give me the 7 days to use it while traveling from Tokyo to Hakone to Kyoto to Shimoda to Hiroshima and then back to Tokyo.


Cool. Sucks that the exchange rate is crappy now but you'll be surprised at how cheap the food is. Arriving at Narita Terminal 2 you want to go downstairs to the JR exchange office, you can tell them what day you want to start using the pass and they'll stamp it that date. If you don't start the day you arrive then you'll have to pay for Narita Express, but I think they sell those tickets at the same JR office. Right across from the JR office there's a money exchange and I think after looking at 3 or 4 others that they had the best rates.

See if you can't get a SUICA card there too, it's super important if you're riding the subways a lot.

In Hiroshima I really suggest taking the trip out to Miyajima. Ask anyone at the Hiroshima station and they'll tell you how to get there. Oh, and using the pass on the train, on the far end of every bank of turnstiles is a manned booth. You have to enter and exit the system through this gate, just show your pass and walk right through. There's one really important difference between JR and MTA, in Japan you have to show your ticket to get out of the station. If you get a SUICA you tap it getting in and getting out. DON'T LOSE YOUR TICKET or you pay maximum fare.
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35 / M / Staten Island, NY...
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Posted 5/14/12

Kuro_Kiri wrote:


GodWhomIsMike wrote:

Kuro_Kiri - thanks for your help and info.

Trip is now fully booked:

Start in Tokyo -> Hakone -> Kyoto -> Shimoda -> Hiroshima -> Tokyo (fly home)

I am going to hold off on using the JR Rail pass for the first few days while in Tokyo, then start using it when I head to Hakone. That should give me the 7 days to use it while traveling from Tokyo to Hakone to Kyoto to Shimoda to Hiroshima and then back to Tokyo.


Cool. Sucks that the exchange rate is crappy now but you'll be surprised at how cheap the food is. Arriving at Narita Terminal 2 you want to go downstairs to the JR exchange office, you can tell them what day you want to start using the pass and they'll stamp it that date. If you don't start the day you arrive then you'll have to pay for Narita Express, but I think they sell those tickets at the same JR office. Right across from the JR office there's a money exchange and I think after looking at 3 or 4 others that they had the best rates.

See if you can't get a SUICA card there too, it's super important if you're riding the subways a lot.

In Hiroshima I really suggest taking the trip out to Miyajima. Ask anyone at the Hiroshima station and they'll tell you how to get there. Oh, and using the pass on the train, on the far end of every bank of turnstiles is a manned booth. You have to enter and exit the system through this gate, just show your pass and walk right through. There's one really important difference between JR and MTA, in Japan you have to show your ticket to get out of the station. If you get a SUICA you tap it getting in and getting out. DON'T LOSE YOUR TICKET or you pay maximum fare.


Great info, thanks again.

I am arriving at Haneda Airport at 10:15PM (Tokyo time). I think it might be really difficult to get the subway/JR passes.

I plan on getting the JR rail pass, but activating it on the fourth day, right before we head out to Hakone. This should get me right to the end of the trip with the rail pass.

I find it interesting that you said something about a subway pass.

As for Hiroshima, we're staying pretty far from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It's in the Motoujiamachi area, which looks like it's going to be a hassle to get anywhere from, but the hotel looked insane.

I am trying to figure out how to get to Shimoda from Kyoto. I don't know why I thought it was closer to Kyoto than Tokyo (it's the opposite). I am guessing the water will be somewhat warm, as I believe with the way the ocean currents are in the pacific, they are moving north from the southern warmer waters.
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Posted 5/14/12
Hiroshima is not that big. My hotel was closer to the station but it was about a 15 minute walk to the Peace Park. Miyajima is a world heritage site and one of the 18 national monuments of Japan, the Atomic Dome being another. From Hiroshima station it's a local train to MIyajimaguchi, about 30 minutes ride, and the ferry is right off the train. The JR pass covers that ferry too. You can make it all in a morning and be back in Hiroshima station by noon. I went kind of early, I was awake at 5 AM and on the train by 7. I got one of the first ferries over and the shrine area was virtually empty. I went up the mountain on the gondola and was down and back to my hotel by around 4 PM.

Outside of Tokyo my trip stayed near the Shinkansen. I barely traveled local trains, the one to Miyajima really, and a few subways. You might have to take the Shinkansen to a transfer point to a local line and go from there. Otherwise Kyoto and Hiroshima are right on the line. Hakone is not. That is a local only, you'll have to check the maps and timetables.

And yeah, SUICA. It's a tap card made by JR that works on the subways and surface trains, even the ones that aren't JR. It also works as payment in many stores, especially kiosks on the Shinkansen platforms. The JR pass only works for JR surface trains, Shinkansen except for NOZOMI, the Miyajima ferry and one other ferry but I think that's to Hokkaido. Subways, streetcars and some surface trains don't accept. So, a SUICA card will get you on with one little tap. I still have mine, think it has some money left on too but it'll expire before I go back.
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35 / M / Staten Island, NY...
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Posted 5/15/12
Kuro - Do you have a place (online) that you recommend me to purchase the JR Rail pass? I still have not ordered one yet.
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Posted 5/15/12

GodWhomIsMike wrote:

Kuro - Do you have a place (online) that you recommend me to purchase the JR Rail pass? I still have not ordered one yet.


You gotta buy that there. They sell them in every JR station. I think it was about $10 for the card itself, then you have to add money to it. I paid like 2000 yen (nisen en) for the card with rides on it in Toyko Station.
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Posted 5/15/12
Oops, sorry, I'm a little drunk now.

I bought mine from IACE Travel. http://ebooking.iace-usa.com/Railpass.aspx?navi=railpass

Their office is on 40th St. @ 5th, otherwise they'll ship it via FedEx. Gotta give them at least a week's notice.
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46 / M / Bay Area, CA, USA
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Posted 5/15/12
For whatever it's worth, I'll just share my experience-- don't do what I did (or tried). I went to Japan in 2010, and while staying a few days in Hakone (Hakone-machi on Lake Ashi, specifically), I decided to take a day trip to Shimoda. While the physical distance doesn't seem that far, it in fact took me much of the entire day on the bus and train just getting there and back (including a lost hour or two after getting on the wrong train towards Shimada at Atami -- 下田 vs. 島田, should've paid more attention...), and I think I spent not much more than an hour or so at Shimoda itself. If I had stayed any longer, I'd likely have missed the last train or bus somewhere, and been stranded before reaching my hotel.
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35 / M / Staten Island, NY...
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Posted 5/16/12

sushipath wrote:

For whatever it's worth, I'll just share my experience-- don't do what I did (or tried). I went to Japan in 2010, and while staying a few days in Hakone (Hakone-machi on Lake Ashi, specifically), I decided to take a day trip to Shimoda. While the physical distance doesn't seem that far, it in fact took me much of the entire day on the bus and train just getting there and back (including a lost hour or two after getting on the wrong train towards Shimada at Atami -- 下田 vs. 島田, should've paid more attention...), and I think I spent not much more than an hour or so at Shimoda itself. If I had stayed any longer, I'd likely have missed the last train or bus somewhere, and been stranded before reaching my hotel.


I have two nights booked at a hotel on the water in Shimoda. Going to be heading there from Kyoto (which in itself sucks, because Shimoda is closer to Tokyo).
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Posted 5/16/12
Sounds like a good plan! It may take all day to get there, but at least you'll know you'll have a place to stay once you arrive. Bon voyage!
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