Trip to Japan

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gamerforever
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by gamerforever » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:23 pm

Outrunner wrote:No problem, happy to help :D

I must admit I don't have very much experience with buses, my anxiety means I tend to stick with familiar, safe things (which is sometimes a detriment) I am trying to be braver with this though. My trip to Shirakawago was booked through Japanican and was straightforward enough. I booked the tickets online, joined the group at Takayama station then the tour bus did the rest.

It looks like they have an English website for booking so you should be fine. https://japanbusonline.com/en/CourseSea ... ?afcd=MDI=


Thanks, appreciate the help again!

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Minty14
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Minty14 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:21 pm

Outrunner wrote:
christmasforever wrote:I had a look at japan-guide over the weekend and saw their suggested itinerary

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2400_best.html

Is it possible to do this route with the japan rail pass?


Mostly -

Tokyo to Nikko - Yes

Tokyo to Hakone - Kind of. The JR pas will get you to Odawara, then you'd have to use a different train company. You can get a Hakone free pass (annoyingly not free) which will cover the second part of your journey and unlimited use on certain buses cable cars etc in the Hakone area. I did like Hakone but had the advantage of a tour guide with us.

Hakone to Kyoto - I think you'll have to double back to Odawara then use your JR Pass to Kyoto.

Kyoto to Nara - yes (and as many have said, well worth it)

Kyoto to Miyajima via Himeji - yes

Miyajima to Hiroshima - yes -

Hiroshima to Kanazawa - yes - this will be the longest journey I think (and doesn't really go the route on the map from quickly looking - you'll be going back to Kyoto and changing there for Kanazawa

Kanazawa to Shirakwago - no, the only way is by bus and you have to reserve a seat

Shirakawago - Takayama - no, you'll need to get the bus

Takayama to Tokyo - Yes

Sorry if I've micromanaged that a bit. A quick note on Shirakawago - I did a day-trip and had mixed feelings about it. The village itself is lovely but the buses and buses of tourist take away from the atmosphere a little. My trip was during the winter though so it may be different during other times of the year.

For trains http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ is the place to go. You can select only JR trains when searching timetables. Also while your Pass will be valid on most JR trains you can't use it on Nozomi, Mizuho or Hayabuse bullet trains. It's not a big deal, at most they shave 15/20 minutes of of a regular bullet train.

When is the best time to go? My wifes a teacher, so we are restricted to school holidays! I was thinking early to mid August for 2 weeks. Plane tickets seem cheaper then, however i expect there to be flight sales at the end of this month. I managed to pick up august 2017 flight to nyc for £500 each from virgin last january!


https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2273.html

Personally my favourite time is winter but then I love the cold and snow. You can't really go wrong with spring or autumn TBH, I've done both but appreciate Autumn may be tricky for term times. I've never done the summer, I'd love to because there's a lot of cool stuff going on but my friends tell me the heat and humidity would kill me (I hate the heat)

Definitely get the Hakone Pass. It covers a wide range of transport in the Hakone area up to Odawara where you're then back on the JR network. I believe it was around £40 for 3 days when we went and means you can do this loop: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5210.html which is probably the most fun we had on our whole trip.

In general, people really underestimate how much you can do in Japan on a relatively tight budget. I'm planning to go back solo this year in August (for the New Japan G1 Finals) and am really squeezing the most out of it where possible. Flights are around £550 (annoyingly £150 more than last year) and a great hostel I found means my accommodation for 2 weeks will be around £180. Food is also much more affordable than most would imagine - convenience stores do amazing quality pre-prepared foods which cost the same, or less, than you would pay for a lunch here, which is great if you are just having a day to yourself. Sushi train restaurants and ramen shops are also great quality at low cost.

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Roonmastor
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Roonmastor » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:26 pm

I've made zero comment in this thread, but have been stealing all your advice for my Easter trip with the other half. Just about to drop £2k on flights :dread: and then get a rail card and work on the 9 day itinerary from japan guides. Maybe swapping something out for a Hiroshima day trip on the Kyoto end. Reckon hotels are going to be £100/night, rail tickets I'm expecting £400 for both, and then another £100 for daily expenses. So budgeting £4.5k for ten nights for two.

When I did this solo in 2010, I think I did it all in for the same amount of time in Tokyo only for about £1.2k!

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gamerforever
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by gamerforever » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:47 am

I think we may go at Easter too and I reckon £6k should be enough. I think that I need to do a lot of planning to avoid wasting time when I get there from what it looks like.

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gamerforever
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by gamerforever » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:55 am

Just checked the flight prices on British Airways! At least £1k pp.

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Parksey
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Parksey » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:26 am

gamerforever wrote:Just checked the flight prices on British Airways! At least £1k pp.


Don't fly with BA. Not only are they not as good as they used to be, but they are regularly more expensive.

I tend to fly back with Cathay Pacific and it generally costs around £550, albeit with a change in Hong Kong.

My parents are coming to visit me here next year and are flying from Teesside Airport, the most provincial backwater airport you can get, and it was about £480 per person. Fly the hour to Amsterdam and then from there to Japan, with KLM.

Use a took like Kayak and have a fiddle with the dates. Be flexible and willing to have a stopover and you should be paying nowhere near a grand. I've been back to the UK three times now, and to France once, and never paid more than £580.

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Outrunner
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Outrunner » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:57 pm

I think we may go at Easter too and I reckon £6k should be enough. I think that I need to do a lot of planning to avoid wasting time when I get there from what it looks like.


£6k should be plenty. Easter will be a good time to go and you'll probably be hitting the cherry blossoms too ( last years cherry blossom reports https://www.japan-guide.com/blog/sakura17/). Planning is also a good idea. I've learnt through trial and error how to tailor my holidays to suit me and having a plan has helped enormously. I really like this stage too because it gets me in the mood for the holiday!


Just checked the flight prices on British Airways! At least £1k pp.


Like Parksey said, don't fly with BA. I did my first year just because it was only my second time flying and changing planes scared me. Shaving a couple of hours off travelling time isn't worth more than double what I pay now.

I fly with KLM, my last trip was £420 return with and hour and half stop over in Amersterdam. My last three trips were also with KLM, I've never paid more than £450 return

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Pedro
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Pedro » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:02 pm

We got a pair of flights for £550 with Jack's Flight Club. Admittedly we are going in ungodly August - but we couldn't argue with that price.

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smurphy
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by smurphy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:12 pm

Our flights in November were around £430 each, but I can't see any that cheap anymore. Even at the same time of year in 2018. It's rather annoying.

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gamerforever
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by gamerforever » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:00 pm

Pedro wrote:We got a pair of flights for £550 with Jack's Flight Club. Admittedly we are going in ungodly August - but we couldn't argue with that price.


Thats good! Direct flights?

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gamerforever
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by gamerforever » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:01 pm

Outrunner wrote:
I think we may go at Easter too and I reckon £6k should be enough. I think that I need to do a lot of planning to avoid wasting time when I get there from what it looks like.


£6k should be plenty. Easter will be a good time to go and you'll probably be hitting the cherry blossoms too ( last years cherry blossom reports https://www.japan-guide.com/blog/sakura17/). Planning is also a good idea. I've learnt through trial and error how to tailor my holidays to suit me and having a plan has helped enormously. I really like this stage too because it gets me in the mood for the holiday!


Just checked the flight prices on British Airways! At least £1k pp.


Like Parksey said, don't fly with BA. I did my first year just because it was only my second time flying and changing planes scared me. Shaving a couple of hours off travelling time isn't worth more than double what I pay now.

I fly with KLM, my last trip was £420 return with and hour and half stop over in Amersterdam. My last three trips were also with KLM, I've never paid more than £450 return


Klm seem to be quite expensive, but i guess a sale is incoming?

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Parksey
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Parksey » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:43 pm

What dates are you looking at again?

My parents booked in about October for late April/May this year and got sub-£500. When I did price checks for them (as they tend to just go to travel agents), any dates a decent time ahead in the future seemed to be around that price point.

You shouldn't be paying more than £600 to come here unless it's really soon.

The added effect of this is that I don't think a trip like Japan is a one-in-a-lifetime thing anymore. I think a lot of westerners come here, treat it as such and massively overspend. You obviously don't want to scrimp and save and be counting pennies, but I think a lot of people just think "strawberry float it, I'll only be here once" and aren't exactly wise with their cash. Also a lot of foreigners here buy a tonne of what I will affectionately call "strawberry floating tat".

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Skarjo
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Skarjo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:45 am

People buy strawberry floating tat wherever they go though. Japan is at least somewhat replete with stuff that is genuinely difficult to get anywhere else in the world.

The dates matter though; booking flights that fit around school holidays is always gonna be a lot more expensive, as are any flights that fit around major holidays (I just booked trips around Chinese New Year and they were comfortably 2-3 times what they'd be another time of year).

500-600GBP is about right for a summer holiday.

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gamerforever
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by gamerforever » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:43 am

Parksey wrote:What dates are you looking at again?

My parents booked in about October for late April/May this year and got sub-£500. When I did price checks for them (as they tend to just go to travel agents), any dates a decent time ahead in the future seemed to be around that price point.

You shouldn't be paying more than £600 to come here unless it's really soon.

The added effect of this is that I don't think a trip like Japan is a one-in-a-lifetime thing anymore. I think a lot of westerners come here, treat it as such and massively overspend. You obviously don't want to scrimp and save and be counting pennies, but I think a lot of people just think "strawberry float it, I'll only be here once" and aren't exactly wise with their cash. Also a lot of foreigners here buy a tonne of what I will affectionately call "strawberry floating tat".


Either easter or summer holidays. Easter would be end of march for two weeks and summer, from end of july until beginning of september.

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gamerforever
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by gamerforever » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:41 pm

End of March to Mid April is all £900+. I am hoping for a sale, and think there will be one before the end of this month.

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Lotus
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Lotus » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:53 pm

gamerforever wrote:End of March to Mid April is all £900+. I am hoping for a sale, and think there will be one before the end of this month.

Isn't that pretty much guaranteed to be the most expensive time, because of the cherry blossom? That along with golden week (end of April-early May) are I think the two priciest times to go.

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gamerforever
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by gamerforever » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:01 pm

Lotus wrote:
gamerforever wrote:End of March to Mid April is all £900+. I am hoping for a sale, and think there will be one before the end of this month.

Isn't that pretty much guaranteed to be the most expensive time, because of the cherry blossom? That along with golden week (end of April-early May) are I think the two priciest times to go.


OK thats the price I will have to pay then unless we go in the summer.

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Outrunner
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Outrunner » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:38 am

gamerforever wrote:
Outrunner wrote:
I think we may go at Easter too and I reckon £6k should be enough. I think that I need to do a lot of planning to avoid wasting time when I get there from what it looks like.


£6k should be plenty. Easter will be a good time to go and you'll probably be hitting the cherry blossoms too ( last years cherry blossom reports https://www.japan-guide.com/blog/sakura17/). Planning is also a good idea. I've learnt through trial and error how to tailor my holidays to suit me and having a plan has helped enormously. I really like this stage too because it gets me in the mood for the holiday!


Just checked the flight prices on British Airways! At least £1k pp.


Like Parksey said, don't fly with BA. I did my first year just because it was only my second time flying and changing planes scared me. Shaving a couple of hours off travelling time isn't worth more than double what I pay now.

I fly with KLM, my last trip was £420 return with and hour and half stop over in Amersterdam. My last three trips were also with KLM, I've never paid more than £450 return


Klm seem to be quite expensive, but i guess a sale is incoming?


KLM prices can vary wildly on any given week (at least when I've booked). I've had it before where prices were £700+ and they've dropped to around the £450 mark a couple of weeks later. I keep forgetting you're limited by term dates so that will probably be having an affect on airfare prices.

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Roonmastor
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Roonmastor » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:27 pm

Any hotel recommendations in Tokyo?

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Bunni
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PostRe: Trip to Japan
by Bunni » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:37 pm

Roonmastor wrote:Any hotel recommendations in Tokyo?


What's your budget/requirements/preferred areas?


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