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More Shinkansen questions/clarifications from a train newbie

Cleveland, Ohio
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More Shinkansen questions/clarifications from a train newbie

Bear with me, I have never been on a train before so my first being in Japan - and our main part of transportation - is a little overwhelming. I've just read a several things on riding, but I'm most concerned with making sure we know where to go / get off. Can you help with below?

just fyi, because I ask about walking a couple times - we will just have 2 backpacks, no luggage.

We will have the JR Pass. Here are our destinations:

1. Tokyo to Hakone. Tokyo Station - follow signs for Tokaido Shinkansen. Going to Odawara Station using JR Pass.

I have had the questions from Odawara to our Ryokan answered in a different question.

2. Hakone to Kyoto. Odawara Station, follow signs to Shinkansen. Going to Kyoto Station, using JR Pass.

When directions say to take subway, as our do in getting to our hotel... is that included in JR Pass? Are cabs economical? Can we walk from Kyoto Station to Tokoko Inn Kyoto Gojo Karasuma? It says cab is 5 minutes from Gojo to hotel.

3. 4 days in Kyoto. I saw something for a Kyoto pass. Is this a good idea / needed?

4. First day in Kyoto we are going to the Pontocho Kaburenjo Theatre from Tokoko Inn Kyoto Gojo Karasuma.

When I look it up on Google maps (I told you, I have no idea...), the purple lines are Subway? Train? Covered by the Kyoto pass?

In this case, based on the map am I getting on at Gojo and off at Sanjo? I don't see anything that clearly states the station name

5. Kyoto to Tokyo. Kyoto Station, follow signs for Shinkansen, using JR pass. Our destination is either the hotel - Toyoko Inn Nihonbashi, or the Sumo Stadium / Kokugikan Stadium, based on time we get there. These look close enough to walk to and/or from each other? Is that walk safe?

Where do we get off the Shinkansen when arriving to Tokyo? Is it the Tokyo Station and then take something to Ryogoku (I see that as a stop, but not sure of what)?

6. From our hotel, I'm assuming we can just get a shuttle (if hotel has) or cab to Narita to fly out?


Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: More Shinkansen questions/clarifications from a train newbie

1. Correct. All Tokaido Shinkansen trains stop at Shinagawa after Tokyo Station, so you can take the train from there as well.

2. Subways are not included in the JR Group. You can take a short taxi ride, at around 1,000 yen or less from Kyoto station; but of course it is cheaper to take the metro Karasuma Line to Gojo station and walk a bit northwards.

3. It depends. Perhaps you might want a city bus all day pass, if you visit locations like Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji.


4. I think you can actually walk up to there. You can walk the Karasuma Avenue northwards. Pass the Shijo-Karasuma crossroads. You'll see a Super Suits store on your right. From there, turn right and go eastwards along the Nishiki market. When you hit another busy arcade, Shinkyogoku, turn left northwards. You will hit a triangular shaped small place. Turn right eastwards and hit the Kawaramachi avenue. Cross the avenue and head on eastwards. When you cross the waterway, the Kaburenjo is there on Pontocho street. I think it'll be a nice and intersting walk through Kyoto's attractions about 30-40 min. You can otherwise walk from your hotel northwards until you hit Sanjo street, then turn right. This will be a walk in old quiet neighborhood, also requires about 30 min.

If you take the metro, the nearest stop should be either Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae or Sanjo.

5. Toyoko Inn Nihonbashi to Ryogoku's Kokugikan is walkable, about 15 min (I assume you mean Toyoko Inn Tokyo Nihonbashi, as there are other Toyoko Inns around Nihonbashi area with similar names). I live not far away from there, and it's a cozy, relatively quiet neighborhood. As with anywhere else in Japan (including red lights districts), it is quite safe.

You arrive at Tokyo Station (Yaesu side). You may either take the Sobu rapid line train from Sobu underground platforms at Marunouchi side, and get off at Bakurocho for your hotel, or proceed to Kinshicho and change to Sobu local line train to Akihabara direction (this would mean a bit of backtracking, as there is no Ryogoku stop on Sobu rapid line). You may either take a Yamanote line or Keihin-Tohoku line train from Tokyo Station to Akihabara, then change to Sobu local line to get to Ryogoku.

JR Tokyo area map: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/info/map_a4ol.pdf

Tokyo Subway (Tokyo Metro & Toei) map: tokyometro.jp/station/…rosen_eng.pdf

6. From our hotel, I'm assuming we can just get a shuttle (if hotel has) or cab to Narita to fly out?

No, if you are staying at Toyoko Inn or any hotel in downtown Tokyo. Narita Airport is some 60km away from Tokyo, and a normal taxi should cost over 20,000 yen. From Nihonbashi location, I'd recommend taking the Narita Express from Tokyo Station (Sobu underground platform).

Tokyo Station map: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/stations/e1039.html

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2. Re: More Shinkansen questions/clarifications from a train newbie

Some I can answer, some I don't have the exact details.

1. Not all Shinkansen go to Odawara Station. You are only limited to the Hikari Shinkansen and Kodama Shinkansen that run on the Tokaido Line. All Kodama Shinkansen stop at Odarawa, few Hikari stop at Odarawa Station.

2. Similar to the above, but I do recommend you catch a Hikari Shinkasen from Odarawa to Kyoto and not the "slower" Kodama Shinkansen.

check schedules at http://www.hyperdia.com **(make sure you uncheck NOZOMI in the results).

JR PASS only covers "JR" (Japan Railway) trains. Subways, monorails, private/public trains that are not "JR" are not covered.

If NOT making reservations, you can only use the Unreserved sections of the Shinkansen.

When you are making reservations (*free with JR Pass) then you ride in a assigned car/seat in the reserved sections.

5)From Kyoto to your hotel in Tokyo:

A. Take the Tokaido Shikansen "HIKARI" Shikansen to Tokyo Station.

B. At Tokyo Station, go down to the basement (follow the signs to the JR SOBU LINE Rapid). Once there, take the Sobu Line rapid to "Bakurocho" Station (not far from Tokyo Station).

The hotel is near that station. www.toyoko-inn.com/e_hotel/00157/map.html Exit number 1 of Bakurocho Station (JR pass OK for this train).

6). NOOO do not take a TAXI to Narita Airport!!! The cost will set you back, because the distance is far for a taxi.

Instead, what you could do is take a Sobu Line rapid train direct from Bakurocho Station to Narita Airport (cheapest way from your location). There is only one train per hour direct from Bakurocho to Narita Airport.

With just two backpacks you wouldn't have any problems riding the Sobu Line Rapid strait to Narita Airport from Bakurocho Station.

Alternately, you can take the train from Bakurocho back to Tokyo Station, then at Tokyo Station take a narita express (NEX) train from Tokyo Station to Bakurocho (you need to have a seat reservation from the Tokyo Station to Narita Airport portion for the NEX).

Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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3. Re: More Shinkansen questions/clarifications from a train newbie

1. Here is a map of Tokyo Station:


The Shinkansen to Odawara leaves from platforms 14-19. After going through the Shinkansen gate, you'll see LEDs with train name, number and platform number.

Seat reservation is free with JR Pass, so go to Tokyo Station ~20 minutes before the train leaves and make reservations. I'd book the Hikari from Odawara to Kyoto at this time, too.

2. JR Pass does not cover any subway in any city in Japan, nor private lines such as Hanky, Keihan and Kintetsu in Kyoto.

Kyoto Station to Gojo-Karasuma is about 15 minutes on foot. Stop at the tourist info center in Kyoto Station and get free maps:


The Shinkansen from Odawara arrives at tracks 13 or 14. You'll want to go out of Karasuma Exit on the opposite side of the station. You'll go by this info center on the way. It's located on your left side as you face the Karasuma Exit.

3. It all depends on how much traveling you do. The subway fare in Kyoto starts at 210 yen and goes up as you travel farther. The bus is 220 yen/ride.

4. Here is a Kyoto subway map:


There is no direct line from Gojo Station to Sanjo Station. If you're going to take the subway, take the Karasuma Line to Karasuma-Oike then transfer to the Tozai Line and get off at Sanjo-Keihan.

Again, no subway is covered by the JR Pass.

5.It is safe to walk--there is no unsafe place in Tokyo, really, but it'll take ~25 minutes from the Nihonbashi Toyoko Inn to Kokugikan.

6. NRT is 40 miles out of Tokyo. Even the best 5* hotels don't provide free shuttles. Take the NEX--it's covered by the JR Pass. Taxi will cost 200+USD.

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4. Re: More Shinkansen questions/clarifications from a train newbie

Why don't you lay out your exact itinerary by days?

That way, we can help you with the most economical way using JRPass and other transports, if you wish not to waste money or days on the pass. As we don't know how long you stay in Tokyo before or after Hakone/Kyoto, the 7 day (if it is) JRPass might expire before you depart, if you use it for Hakone trip.

Short train rides are not critical. You can always come back within a few min., if you make a mistake getting off at a wrong station or getting on a wrong train but the long distance may affect your itinerary or cost.

For Tokyo area transfer, use this:http://www.tokyo-subway.net/english/

Aoyama Dori and San...
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5. Re: More Shinkansen questions/clarifications from a train newbie

If your outbound destination from Tokyo is Kyoto the JR Pass is a break-even at best and a losing proposition at worst. There isn't much upside to the restrictions and pre-purchase requirement.

6. Re: More Shinkansen questions/clarifications from a train newbie

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