Planning first trip to Japan
Replies: 2 - Last Post: Oct 31, 2012 1:17 PM Last Post By: bamse
Oct 31, 2012 7:43 AM
Planning first trip to JapanHey everyone, new to the forum! I am hoping you all can help me with some travel questions I have. If you can, thanks in advance ・
My friend and I are planning a trip to Tokyo and other Japanese cities in April or May 2013. We are planning to stay for 12-14 days. We are both 28 and would like to shop, go clubbing, tour Akibahara, see a sumo match and just backpack around the city for some general info on our interest in Japan.
First question what all is required before we are allowed in Japan? We both have valid passports. Is there anything else?
I found and understand how the JR Pass works, or at least I think. It doesn't seem like I would really need a 14 day pass, but that is why I am here. I also found this: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/suica-nex/ . Is the Suica package a better option? We plan to stay in the Tokyo area for the most part, but we would like to visit maybe Kyoto for 2 days and Mt. Fuji for 1 day before heading back to Tokyo. Would a 7 day JR pass be enough? I guess I need a better explanation of travel costs for the Tokyo (majority) portion of the trip.
Next questions: where is the best area to stay in Tokyo? Is Shinjuku a good choice? How are the hostels in Japan? Does anyone have a good recommendation for a hostel or business hotel which is near the subway?
I have so many more questions, but I feel rude as I already have asked too many too quickly.
Note: We are prepping at around $3,500 per person for the trip. Is this feasible? Under or overstated?
Oct 31, 2012 11:30 AM
1"First question what all is required before we are allowed in Japan? We both have valid passports. Is there anything else?"
I think it depends on your nationality.
"We are prepping at around $3,500 per person for the trip. Is this feasible? Under or overstated? "
What kind of dollars are we talking about? Lots of currencies have the $ symbol.
The railpass is mainly handy for decreasing the cost of the Shinkansen, the high speed train. The railpass doesn't help in Tokyo because you can't use it for the subway. One subway ride is less than 200 Yen. You can use the railpass for some rail lines (for example the Yamanote line) in Tokyo but those rail lines are cheap, much cheaper than the cost of the railpass per day.
You can use www.hyperdia.com to check the costs of travelling by train and compare it with a railpass for the Tokyo-Kyoto traject, you can do the math.
Maybe you can fly to Tokyo (Narita) and leave from Osaka (KIX) or vice versa, that can save time and money in some cases.
Read about the Golden Week: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2282.html
There are special pass for Hakone + Mount Fuji: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_008.html and http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2358_014.html
Oct 31, 2012 1:17 PM
2I found and understand how the JR Pass works...Is the Suica package a better option?
These are two completely different things. With the JR pass (JRP) you pay a fixed amount of money and can take all JR lines within 7/14/21 days as many times as you want. JR lines are most inter city and long distance lines including shinkansen lines. Most local lines are not JR, i.e. the JRP is not valid for most local transport. In any case the JRP is only useful if you take many long distance transport in a short amount of time. Tokyo-Kyoto-Tokyo, one airport access and a couple of local trips on JR would just about equal the cost of the one week pass. So if you stay with your current itinerary it does not matter whether you get a JRP or not. On the other hand if you want to keep your itinerary flexible the JRP could come in handy and allow you sidetrips for free.
The Suica is a prepaid card valid in metropolitan Tokyo and some other areas, i.e. it won't save you any money, but it is handy if you are taking many trains in Tokyo.
The suica+NEX will save you money for the trip from/to Narita airport compared to regular NEX tickets. It is an excellent deal. However if you are looking for the absolutely lowest price, taking Keisei Ltd. Express from/to the airport turns out cheaper for most locations in Tokyo.
+Next questions: where is the best area to stay in Tokyo? Is Shinjuku a good choice? How are the hostels in Japan? Does anyone have a good recommendation for a hostel or business hotel which is near the subway? +
Shinjuku is certainly a good choice, but also one of the more expensive locations with few to none hostels. Most hostels and budget accommodation are found around the Asakusa area, basically at the opposite end of central Tokyo from Shinjuku. Asakusa is a rather quiet part of Tokyo. The catch is that public transport stops around midnight or so and a taxi from Asakusa to some of the more active nightlife centers (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi) will run around 5000 yen. So it really depends on your budget and interests where you want to stay.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$80.44 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$289.93 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$193.08 per night