Japan 2012- 2013 Trip Plans/Thoughts/Reviews Thread

Discussion in 'Japan' started by smitty484, Apr 10, 2012.

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  1.  
    M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member

    Hopefully will see J*J domestic fares up soon as I need to organise my internal summer (Japan) flights. I get the mails from them (in Japanese) and the most recent one said that fares are coming soon. Peach have some great fares out of Osaka at present but they only run until the end of June. Fuji Dream in/out of Matsumoto aren't too bad (advance fare 14,500 to Fukuoka) but schedule is limited.

    Air Asia seem to run their specials more regularly than J* so maybe get on their mailing list. Their J domestic arm starts in August.
  2.  
    cams

    cams Active Member

    JAL is quite competitive ex BNE through January. $1084 return with conx via HKG.

    They have overnight flights outbound as well which has you arriving into NRT in the AM, saves accommodation in Tokyo.
  3.  
    malibu

    malibu Active Member

    As an alternative

    Catch the Narita Express to Ueno on the night you arrive.

    Ueno is the first Shink stop and hotels are cheaper than around central station

    Stay at a hotel close to Ueno station like
    http://www.tougane-h.com/e/room_e.html - good price and right across road from station

    Then Shink Ueno to Nagano and local train to Myoko - your hotel or pension will pick you up from the station - arrive fresh just after lunch after a family Shink adventure - the local train from Nagano is a very picturesque 50 min ride. Too easy.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  4.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Talking about Ueno hotels. I stayed at this one last Friday and also previous Saturday. http://www.newueno.jp/english
    Also hard to beat for convenience of access to the Shinkansen. 1 min walk from the Asakusa exit. Take a hard left from the JR exit gates up a short set of stairs, cross the road to 'First Kitchen' restaurant, continue for about 20-30m and your'e there. It is about a 5min walk to the Keisei station.

    Also a note on travelling on Shinkansens from last week. I noticed that one of the newer ones had a lack of storage space at the end of the carriage. This wasn't a real problem for me - I was able to store my single ski bag in the overhead rack. BUT I wouldn't want to try and store double ski/snowboard bags loaded with other gear up there.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  5.  
    Nozawaman

    Nozawaman Dedicated Member

    We came back Air Asia via KL this year, and Haneda was GREAT . Will definitely be looking to go through there again.
  6.  
    Dave6

    Dave6 Active Member

    Interesting option. It would be good to avoid the overnight stay in Tokyo.

    There are even some JAL flights for $844 for some dates in January going via Singapore. Total travel time is 27 hours though.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  7.  
    M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member

    Skyliner goes to Ueno and N'ex to Tokyo. Better to get the Skyliner to save changing trains. IMHO a single person would be okay but dragging around two kids late at night would be a hassle. You can be in your Narita hotel room within half an hour of collecting your bags - esp if the hotel has an airport shuttle. The trip to Ueno/Tokyo then finding your hotel with bags and kids in tow would likely take 2 hours. If you booked one of those hotels right outside the door of Kesei Ueno Station (there's 3 or 4 there) it would be okay maybe.

    Agree about Haneda. Last trip we went via Haneda and stayed at the Hotel Marutani in Okachimachi - about 5-6 minutes walk to Ueno. Only cost 6,800 for the three of us in a tatami room. I'd happily stay there again. So convenient to the Ameyoko markets and all the restaurants too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  8.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Yes only Keisei goes direct to Ueno. Should have picked that up.

    The new Skyliner is very good. Ueno - Narita in around 45m though at Y2400. If you have a bit more time you can get the regular Cityliner at about half that price - takes a bit over an hour.

    Yes, there are a couple of hotels right by the park exit to Keisei Ueno - think they were Japanese govt hotels - tried to find them on the internet once before - couldn't.

    Agree with the suggestion though that with a family getting a Narita hotel (with free shuttle from the airport) would be the easiest option.
  9.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    A note on the Shinkansens while I think of it. The Asama ones to Nagano that I travelled on had a number of unreserved carriages so you didn't need to reserve a seat, although I did anyway when exchanging my voucher for a JR East pass. Otherwise the sign on the platform tells you which carriages are unreserved, so you just line up to one of those.

    The Hayate Shinkansens to Tohoku on the other hand that I used were only reserved seating, so you did need to reserve a seat. Only takes a minute the ticket office so can do it when you get there. Not so many people way north, but plenty of business people travel between Tokyo & Sendai.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  10.  
    ojisan

    ojisan Addicted Member

    When I took the Shink back to Osaka from Tokyo in January this year with my wife, we decided to reserve our seats as the time we getting the train would have been coming into peak hour (plus it was an express to Nagoya and then all stations to Shin-Osaka).
    We were quite suprised when we realised that the reservations clerk gave us seats in a Green Car, at no extra cost.
  11.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    Which shink was that ojisan?

    Nozomi? hikari or kodama?
  12.  
    M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  13.  
    ojisan

    ojisan Addicted Member

    It was either the Hikari or Kodama.. can't remember.
    The Nozomi is the one you can't catch with your JR Pass.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  14.  
    Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator

    Can't be the Kodama, because the Kodama stops at all or almost all of the stations. So it had to be a Hikari.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  15.  
    randomlyred

    randomlyred New Member

    Jetstar's .com page is now taking bookings for domestic flights in Japan now - not 1¥ for when I was booking, but expedia has JAL / ANA one way CTS-NRT for $412 pp next year, and I got 2 people on jetstar, exit row, 25kg luggage, taxes etc for ¥16160 ($193)
  16.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    Thats gold
  17.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    looked at jstar site
    4590 for one way NRT to CTS

    wow
  18.  
    M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member

    Ah, got English now. Good. Wasn't there this morning.

    If you fly Skymark to Asahikawa instead of Chitose you can get some really good prices. It only cost us something like 3,800 each one way last February. I got in right in on the super cheap fares 2 months ahead.
  19.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    Alright we've done some more talking and discussing our plans. Looks like we will be leaving Melbz on either the 11th or 14th of Jan, returning on the 29th/30th. I would be looking to fly into Tokyo (Narita or Haneda doesnt bother me) then going to visit my brother in Otawara. I assume a JR East pass will do the trick to get there. Spend a couple of days there then weather depending get a train back to Tokyo then shink to Nagano and on to Hakuba. We will probably spend 7-10 days skiing there before doing a few days sightseeing then back home. The days are pretty loose and will be snow-dependent, if the shit is going off I aint sightseeing!

    So I am looking for recommendations for the following:
    - PT from Tokyo -> Otawara and back
    - PT to Hakuba
    - Accomodation in Hakuba. We will be looking for a 2-3 bedroom apartment, suggestions welcome. Near some sort of lift would please the women going with us, although we will have a car aswell.
    - Must see sights while I am in the area

    There is also the possibility we will do a couple of days in either Nozawaonsen or Myoko, but again snow-dependent.
  20.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Looks like Otawara is in Tochigi prefecture so definately JR East. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Ctawara,_Tochigi

    A 4 day flexi pass (Y20,000) will be perfect in that case. Covers Tokyo-Otawara (or the nearest station) return and Tokyo-Nagano return.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  21.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    Yeah looks like that will be the best option. He said he's pretty close to utsunomiya.
  22.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  23.  
    Heinz

    Heinz Part of the Furniture Season Pass Holder

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  24.  
    M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member

    Easy as Verm. You'll hardly have to break stride coming from Tokyo and then onto Nagano. You'd have to come back one stop to Omiya then change to the Nagano shink. I strongly suggest you take in Nikko while you're in the area.

    So 4 Day East Pass will work well.
    Day 1: Tokyo - Utsonomiya/Otawara
    Day 2: Utsonomiya/Otawara-Omiya-Nagano (bus to Hakuba)
    Day 3: Use for sightseeing with JR East area
    Day 4: Back to Tokyo

    If you're settled in at Hakuba and looking for maximum snow time I wouldn't worry about a couple of days in Nozawa or Myoko. You can do those next time in an easy double. This is a list of Hakuba self-contained to go over. You have plenty of choice. Note that not all places (or not many at all) will be dishing out prices for next year yet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  25.  
    Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator

    For those of you who like to use data on your smart phone or laptop in Japan, but didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for it, there's a good option:

    B-Mobile.
    They have two flavours:

    1. A dongle that uses the DoCoMo WiFi hotspot network. You can plug it into Mac or PC (windows) laptops and some Android tablets/pads. Available over the counter at most big electrical stores including Yodobashi, Bic, Sofmap, Yamada etc.

    http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/3g.html

    It doesn't say on the English site, but the price is:

    unlimited use for 10 months: 32,800 yen
    150 hours: 39,900 yen
    13 hours: 8000 yen
    8 hours: 5000 yen


    2. SIM for 3G phone, data only, unlimited. One month 2980 yen (b-Mobile SIM U300)

    http://getbmobileinternet.appspot.com/getbmobile/GET_ACCESS.html
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  26.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    Thanks both Sandy and MG. It's a bit different to my Hokkaido holidays previously [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  27.  
    M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member

    No worries Verm. When you get to Nagano stash your gear in lockers and your boards/skis at the tourist centre. Then take a couple of hours to see Zenkoji Temple. You can get a bus, private rail or simply walk (about 20-25 minutes). Also take some time off to to see Matsumoto Castle.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  28.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    Oh those are definitely already on my list MG! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  29.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    In terms of car hire, would it be best to hire in Nagano and drive over to Hakuba, or take the bus to Hakuba and then hire there?
  30.  
    Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator

    Verm, your PM box is full!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  31.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    You can't Hire in Hakuba
    for all hire car questions..please address smitty and I
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  32.  
    smackies

    smackies Addicted Member

    Best? I don't know. We hired in Nagano - greater hire options and we had to go through there anyway.

    Why not hire in Tokyo and cut out the bus? Would the road tolls make this too expensive?
  33.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    depends on how many people

    see in Tokyo you don't get snowtyres for free...whereas Nagano you do
  34.  
    smitty484

    smitty484 Old And Crusty

    For verm, I recommend a front wheel drive 1L 4 cylinder car, with no snow tyres.
  35.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  36.  
    smitty484

    smitty484 Old And Crusty

    That kinda looks like verm as well.
  37.  
    smackies

    smackies Addicted Member

    Indeed.

    Here's a question: how bad can a 2wd with snow tires be?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  38.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    I guess it depends on the road conditions/weather
    when I went in 2011 a 2wd with snowtyres would have been fine..I know this cause I drove in 2wd 95% of the time to save gas
    this year...no way...I had some considerable drifting moments that a awd car catches much easier than a two wheel drive...
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  39.  
    Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator

    There was a few times this season, when my 2WD was a bit dodgey, but then I don't have snow tyres.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  40.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    I know FT gets mad about people in lightweight 2wds clogging up roads in Hakuba....
  41.  
    Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator

    Mine's heavy and I don't block roads!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  42.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    Cortina and Sakka road spring to mind
  43.  
    smackies

    smackies Addicted Member

    I'd hate to p.ss off the locals. So, maybe if I personally never drive and leave it to... anyone else.

    A friend can buy me a 2wd Toyota van for next to nothing, with shaken for one year. It's not the elgrand, but still a car.
  44.  
    DeskRider

    DeskRider Active Member

    This season I used the JR Rail and Rent a Car deals and found them pretty good value. Catch the shink from Tokes and then pick the car up straight at the station. At Nagano the cars are parked near the Maccas and the office is downstairs from the station exit on the same side.
    They give you ~20% off your shink tickets and discounted rental, we picked up 4WD (free option) S Class cars (Mazda 2, Cube, etc) with lockable snowboard racks on the roof (~1k per rental) for around the 5-6k pd mark, snow tyres standard.

    Can reserve online and get 500y pd off (japanese only, but can use google translate) or can do it in the JR offices.

    Different option from ToCoo

    Website
    http://www.ekiren.co.jp/
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  45.  
    M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member

    +1 for that deskrider. We've done that JR deal a couple of times in Kyushu and it's been good value. Once our daughter left a couple of toys in the car at Beppu and they sent them back to Myoko by takkyubin (for free too). Awesome service.
  46.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    Not any more.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  47.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    OK. Answer my question, bitches.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  48.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    awesome..
    noted and locked in
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  49.  
    Donza

    Donza Pool Room Season Pass Holder

    I did...and deskrider did as well
    how many peeps?
    no car hire in hakuba
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  50.  
    Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room

    Yeah I know. Probably just the 2 of us. We are looking at cube or AWD corolla.
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