Japan - Recommendations / Travel Questions
Posted 17 February 2006 - 07:21 PM
I have searched some of the previously posted topics but have a few different questions. I am going to Japan for 10 days next month and plan on staying in Tokyo for about 5. The question I have, is is it worth it to purchase a JAPAN RAIL PASS for $400 (14-day), or should I wing it to get around? Is it cheaper to buy passes day-to-day? I want to go out of the city and don't really know where is best to go, I am on a small budget if that helps.
Also, I have been looking at some of the Hostels on Hostels.com and they have some for around $25 a night. Should I just go for those, or is there something better for cheap? I am travelling on my own so I don't care if the place is that nice, just as long as my bags are safe.
Posted 17 February 2006 - 09:44 PM
What up man, regarding the rail pass. In my own personal experience I would not recomend it, UNLESS you plan on travling around like a fucking madman (via train of course). If you're gonna go to a number of places via Shinkansen (high speed rail) then it might be worth it, but otherwise I would say nay. Also, the RP doesnt work for all lines I cant remember exactaly, but for sure its JR.... and I forget what else. Im pretty sure it excludes some Chikatetsu (subway). An aside, while I think I probably lost money by using the rail pass I must say that it was incredibley convenient. I stayed in Shin Okubo and used Shinjuku as a hub...because it is a hub, so sometimes (alot of the time actually) I would be meeting some one or going to some store, etc. and I would exit the wrong gate (Shinjuku St. is pretty damn big), but since I had the RP it didnt matter in the least as I could just wander around in and out of whereever I wanted without having to buy a new ticket or figure out which line to take, etc. If, however, you're on a budget just grin and bear the ticket buying experience (which becomes old hat after a little while anyway). About lodging, I stayed at a business hotel that was really small, but also really clean, it cost about 25-28USD per night. It did have a curfew of midnight which was a royal pain in the ass, but as far as safety of bags it was ace.
Thats all I got.
Posted 17 February 2006 - 10:21 PM
Gotta have a railpass if you're heading inter-city. I agree with Chromesquared that the consecutive travel rules suck totally and can be exhausting and stressful if you're on a mission to travel as far as you can, but it'll work out cheaper, bearing in mind it's cheaper to fly between japanese cities than it is to jump on a Shinkansen without one. Plus you get to travel on a Bullet train. Everyone gotta do that once or twice in their lives.
Posted 18 February 2006 - 09:50 PM
Thanks for the advice guys!
So if I buy the 7-day rail pass, then I can use it to get all around Tokyo and basically anywhere else in Japan? I want to go from Tokyo -> Takayama -> Kyoto and back, and also from Tokyo to a daytrip like Mt. Fuji park, or something of the sort. Does the pass work for subway, bus, etc. in random cities? I think it also will get me from the airport to Tokyo proper? Sounds like it will save me a shitload of money. I read somewhere that a 1-way ticket to Takayama alone is $130? Thanks!
Edited by englandmj7 on Feb 18, 2006 at 02:53 PM
Posted 18 February 2006 - 10:15 PM
Nice trip! Takayama is beautiful.
Once You get the JR rail pass activated at a JR office you only have 7 consecutive days to use it, so it's false economy using it just to get into Tokyo from Narita when the fare isn't more than a few bucks. shell out for the initial journey and save the activation for the morning you leave Tokyo when you're ready to get on the Shinkansen and then you'll have an extra day traveling. If you're really travelling on a tight budget You can even jump on a local train rather the Narita Express whenyou arrive ... it takes about 2hrs to get into Tokyo and it's a hell of a boring journey, but it's a lot cheaper.
I'm a bit sketchy on the metropolitan travel side of things as far the JR pass goes. I do remember that there are certain bus lines that you can use the JR pass on but they are few and far between and I don't think the staff always like it ... I say this cos I the only time I tried it was in Hiroshima and I had a lot of trouble before they gridgingly let me on. In theory you could use it on the Yamanote in Tokyo but the other parts of the Subway are privately run so I doubt it.
Posted 18 February 2006 - 10:33 PM
^^ Thanks again for your help. Since I am in Japan for 10 days total, and taking your advice into consideration, I think I will take the cheap 2 hr. train into Tokyo, and then purchase a "Tokyo Free Kippu" which apparently costs $13 and can be used for 1-day unlimited travel in Tokyo for my first 3 days in Tokyo, then I will activate my 7-day JR pass on the 4th day to begin my trip to Takayama/Kyoto. Do you know if these "Free Kippu" passes are the best way to explore Tokyo? Because I want to try and see Tokyo more than anywhere else..
Posted 18 February 2006 - 11:06 PM
Also, what would you say the best hub is in terms of an area to stay. I am looking at hostels/cheaper hotels in Shibuya or Shinjuku. I currently have one booked around Ueno but was thinking of changing it.
What is the best area to stay in if I want the youthfullness/vibrance of Harajuku and a ton of great restaurants/late night bars in walking range if possible?
Posted 18 February 2006 - 11:53 PM
I know that there's not much happening around Ueno, but once again, I'm kinda sketchy on the details about accomodation as I worked and had an apartment in Tokyo, so only had to bust out for hotels and stuff when I ventured out. There's been plenty said about where to stay in the last few months, though - just PM Samsikle or someone like that who's been there recently. when I didtravel out, I usually holed up in Capsules (or Love hotels when I could get a deal) and then bust out for a nice traditional ryokan every so often when I felt like it.
I made use of the daily passes that run over and into the next morning a lot, both for work and play. The Yamanote pass ( it might be the one you're talking about) is a great way to get about and either takes you to all the areas that you'll want to hit, or close enough that there'll be a private subway you can jump a couple stops on.
Posted 19 February 2006 - 03:29 AM
^^ I talked to Samsikle a bit, definitely helped. About Capsule Hotels, there is one in Shibuya that I am considering staying in, but I am wondering, can I check-in drop my bag in my locker and leave until I feel like coming back, or do you have to stay when you check in? Also, I think the one in Shibuya (Capsule Land) only does 2-day max.
I am going to be traveling with a hiker's backpack with all my shit and it and basically need a room/place big and safe enough to store it while I go out. Should I book a capsule? Thanks!
Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:05 PM
Most capsules have lockers that you can stow your gear in. But even if they didn't, it wouldn't matter cos absolutely non one is going to go through your gear if you leave the shutter or curtain of the capsule closed. Don't ask me why. It's japan. It's Incomprehensible. Besides all that, staying in capsule hotels is like having a bit part in a Kubrick movie or a Gibson novel.
It's good that you're not carrying much about. It gets to be a drag, cos there's never much storage space anywhere. Especially on trains.
Posted 19 February 2006 - 09:59 PM
Heh heh, alright. I think I will go to the one in Shibuya for my last couple days. So there is no curfew and I can check in at like 4:00 pm, leave my stuff, and go out all night?
Posted 19 February 2006 - 10:21 PM
Yeah pretty much. Least that's the way it happened when I used them! It's a beautiful thing, specially when you're up for a big night out. They can be mad fun too. Like when you rock up in the small hours, carry on your bender with said salarymen and then get taken for a mad breakfast somewhere you couldn't afford and wouldn't believe existed ... hmnn ....
Posted 22 February 2006 - 10:31 PM
I've got a question along this line. I'll be heading to Tokyo next week for 5 days and I intend to stay within the city. What's the cheapest way to get around? I know there are store value cards and stuff but they seem a bit confusing at best. Any recommendations? Thanks!
This is all random.......
Posted 23 February 2006 - 04:49 AM
Quote: What's the cheapest way to get around? I know there are store value cards and stuff but they seem a bit confusing at best
i'll admit the city public transport system is quite confusing. the things is that there's 2 subway compagnies plus many private train companies. it's possible to buy one day pass, but as far as i know, you cannot get a pass that will work for more than one company (tokyo metro pass are only good on tokyo metro, etc). subway is quite cheap so unless you take it a lot, just buy ticket each time you ride, i would be surprise if you'd spend more 10$ a day, which is quite reasonable. and many tokyo neighborhood are close to each other so walking will let you see the city and stuff you wouldn't have seen otherwise. like many people have said before on another thread about Tokyo, getting lost is half the fun. i forgot to say, taxis are insanely expensive so only take them if you really need.
Edited by Kasper on Feb 22, 2006 at 09:50 PM
Posted 23 February 2006 - 06:41 AM
I read that you can get a prepaid card for 1000 Yen, 2000 Yen, etc. and keep using it for different stuff till it runs out, seems like a good way instead of having to buy a ticket each time.....guess I will find out for myself in a couple weeks here....he heh
Posted 23 February 2006 - 10:04 AM
Quote: I read that you can get a prepaid card for 1000 Yen, 2000 Yen, etc. and keep using it for different stuff till it runs out, seems like a good way instead of having to buy a ticket each time.....guess I will find out for myself in a couple weeks here....he heh
that's what i do, i think it's best cause you somewhat have less change in your pocket (to many coins in Japan) and you don't need to check how much is it everytime you take the subway. just stupid that JR is using their own system (on a side note, they just introduce paying with your cellphone for train, it's so usefull, just put the cellphone when you cross the gate). wish more cities had a system like that.
Posted 26 February 2006 - 06:50 AM
Cheap place to stay:
Toyoko Inn http://www.toyoko-inn.com/eng/
Generally from 4,000 to 6,000 yen, all over Japan.
They have had some bad publicity recently about handicapped facilities or the lack of them (which they say they are going to fix) but otherwise they are pretty good. They have about 150 to 180 hotels around Japan.
Posted 04 May 2006 - 04:28 PM
i stayed in new koyo up in ueno for a night. well i just put my bags there and stayed out the whole night. small rooms, clean and safe. no curfew. only Y2700
叉冷饭叉 fine goods:
Linea, Lmaltieri, Gustavolins, Y's, UC, and more... // Julius, Number (N)ine //
Posted 04 May 2006 - 04:31 PM
I considered Ueno too, but it is so far away! If you get a chance, book Toykohostel.com......it is in Azabu-Juban/Roppongi; I can't recommend it more, the area is effing great and you can walk to Roppongi clubs. Rooms are $30 a night.......no curfew, etc.
Posted 04 May 2006 - 07:25 PM
If you do end up going to UENO, make sure to go to
a Ramen joint called "Bukotsu." You might end up waiting in
line for about 20min or so, but you won't regret it!
The "Kuro" is recomended!