Home
Back

Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Page 1 of 2: Posts 1 - 20 of 28
 
1 2
next

Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/14 04:14
Hi all,

I plan to use Nikko World Heritage Area Pass to make a round trip to Nikko from Tokyo, but I do not understand whether I am allowed to change trains between Asakusa and Nikko because one of the conditions plainly says: "It is not possible to get off at stations between Asakusa and the Nikko area, except at Tokyo Skytree Station and Tochigi Station."

I was looking at the timetable and it seems impossible not to change trains between Asakusa and Nikko because there are no direct ones from Asakusa to Nikko. Of course, I am talking about local and express and not limited trains.

So, am I allowed to change trains on some other stations beside Tokyo Skytree and Tochigi stations? Also, am I able to book train tickets for my return day trip to Nikko a day or two days before at Tobu Top Tours travel agency at Ikebukuro Station?

Thanks a lot

Janez
by Janez (guest)  

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/15 08:07
Yes, changing trains is okay. But you cannot leave the station.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/16 06:53
I was looking at the timetable and it seems impossible not to change trains between Asakusa and Nikko because there are no direct ones from Asakusa to Nikko.
Of course there are direct trains like the TOBU LTD. EXP. KEGON. You must be looking at the timetable wrong. If using Hyperdia, your destination station is Tobu-Nikko, not Nikko (JR).
http://www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/intervaltime.html?dep_node=ASAKUSA(T...
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/16 06:59
@Uji, very helpful, thank you :)

@JapanCustomTours, you are right, but as you can see, I was talking about the travel using Nikko World Heritage Area Pass and when using it, a user is not allowed to take limited limited express trains and that means that the train change en route is inevitable.
by Janez (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/17 06:22
Well you can still use the limited express, and the fee is not the full cost of the ticket. The pamphlet at https://www.tobu.co.jp/en/pdf/Pamphlet_en.pdf clearly shows you can do that.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/17 08:31
I perfectly understand what are you talking about, but that would increase the overall price of a day visit to Nikko from original 2,040 yen to at least 2,040 + 1,930 yen. In my opinion, it is better to add an hour of travel for each direction and save that amount (1,930 yen) for two admission tickets in Nikko.
by Janez (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/17 17:19
Janez,

Based on my limited experience (i have been only 5 times in Japan between 2008-2019) i would say, that 2 extra hours per day spent on a slow transport while the saving is only about 2000 yen is wasting a valuable vacation time. While i admit that any money saved is a money that is earned, i guess it is better to consume something less at home or stay in cheaper hotel so you can afford faster transport.
I visited Nikko as a daytrip in 2013 and i used the former Kanto area pass for that. One way travel time was about 2 hours and cost for that was about 3000 yen (Tokyo stn - Utsunomiya - JR Nikko) using the shinkansen and local JR train. Based on my homework the Tobu passes did not offer any major TCO savings and i was trying to be a cheapskate on that trip :-) .

BR,
Lauri
by Lauriandres (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/18 06:11
@Lauri

Thank you for your kind suggestions. I'm preparing my first visit to Japan and I have noticed that transportation costs along with other ones are quite high, indeed higher than in most comparable countries. This is something I knew from the beginning and having in mind that I plan to dedicate at least 30 days for Japan (and 10 - 15 days for South Korea immediately after Japan), I really have to investigate the most affordable options to see everything I have planned and in the same time to stay within the limits of the amount of money that I can afford for my quite long trip. This is really the only reason why do I have to minimize the amount spent on transportation costs. In other words, I'm willing to spend a couple of hours more on transport than on entrance tickets. My reasoning is, if I want to see the best of attractions Nikko is offering, I will take a train at 6 am and enjoy in Nikko until 4 or 5 pm and then return to Tokyo. This day is dedicated to Nikko and everything that remains when I return to Tokyo is to have a dinner and a nice walk after that. In reality, I have lost two or a bit more hours, but I have saved for two entrances.

By the way, I plan to visit, beside other places like Matsumoto, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, several heritage/cultural clusters namely: Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto, Nara and Dazaifu. Now, I'm asking myself if this is a bit too much or are they all different in some way to be interesting to visit? I hope that my planning will allow me to explore nice parts of Japan in the best way possible. By the way, I don't plan a visit for this year because of actual psychotic situation due to pandemic. Hopefully, my visit will be during the next year in late August and most part of September.
by Janez (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/18 17:46
Janez,

Although you have 30 days for Japan and if you indeed plan to visit Nikko, Kyoto, Nara and Kamakura then i would safely bet a glass of beer :-), that for example after Nikko and Kamakura you might have a temple poisoning, unless you are doing some specific temple related research etc. IMHO that is too much for a single trip. Of course, visiting those places in general is perfectly fine should your 30 days be split for 2-4 different trips a la one in spring and one in autumn.
When i visited Nikko in 2013, then i took the 9:00 shinkansen, walked from JR Nikko to the main temple area, visited the temple complex (skipped the bridge - you can see it from the distance) and after that took the bus to the Kegon waterfall. In that area i spent about 1-2 hours and took the bus back to the JR Nikko. I was back in Tokyo (stayed near the Aoyama-Itchome station) around 20:00.
I did not bought any passes offered by Tobu and based my calculations (if i remember correctly) i did not do any major overspending. Keep in mind that should you use the Tobu trains to visit Nikko, then it is not wise to have a hotel on Shinjuku or western part of Tokyo because all the savings are obliterated by the subway fee and transfer time.

Have fun with the planning!

BR,
Lauri
by Lauriandres (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/19 06:20
@Lauri

Thank you so much. I will definitely skip Kamakura, Nara and Dazaifu. I was honestly afraid of disease you have perfectly called "temple poisoning" :). This is what has happened to me during my visit to Thailand and Cambodia. When I have entered the complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, I suddenly became aware that, beside Ayutthaya and two most prominent temples in Bangkok, all those other visits to so many temples were pure excess and almost the waste of time. I will not make the same mistake twice. I'm so grateful to you and somehow I felt that I should ask this detail here.

Instead, I will explore Tokyo more thoroughly and probably add a day or two to other Japanese destinations. In reality, my itinerary is as follows (in order of visit):

Tokyo (with a day trip to Nikko) (5 days)
Fuji Five Lakes (with Fuji Mountain climb) (3 days)
Matsumoto (3 days)
Takayama (3 days)
Kanazawa (3 days)
Kyoto (3 days)
Hiroshima (3 days)
Fukuoka (3 days)

I was thinking to introduce Shikoku in some way (between Kyoto and Hiroshima) and to spend 4 days somewhere in the nature (Iya Valley maybe), but I think that it would be too tight for the time I have at my disposal.

From Fukuoka by Beetle to Busan, South Korea.

I just hope that this itinerary is realistic. In any case, I will have to study a lot and to ask many questions before I conclude that my itinerary is the final one.
by Janez (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/19 06:59
Tokyo (with a day trip to Nikko) (5 days)
Fuji Five Lakes (with Fuji Mountain climb) (3 days)
Matsumoto (3 days)
Takayama (3 days)
Kanazawa (3 days)
Kyoto (3 days)
Hiroshima (3 days)
Fukuoka (3 days)


You say that you want to spend some more time in nature, but you are already 6 days between Takayama and Matsumoto. Both cities, I would say only need 1 day (each), so with the remaining 4 days you already have good time to explore the countryside there. Nothing against Shikoku and Iya valley, it's definitely a great place, but also quite hard to reach with public transport.

I personally would probably add more days to Kyoto taking a day from Hiroshima and Fukuoka each, but then, I am probably the only person on this forum who doesnt temple-out. I do "church-out" though, when travelling in Europe... but I have never seen too many shrines or temples in Japan. But then I am also a very slow traveller, mostly travelling around by bicycle, so that limits the amount of temples / shrines you can see per day.

Enjoy planning!
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/19 07:39
All of my favorite shrines and temples in Japan are as much nature experiences as they are religious or historical experiences. I actually find it exceedingly odd to put them in a separate box and worry about getting overloaded on temples. Just choose ones that have extensive hiking trails and/or phenomenal gardens. I go to Mimurotoji to admire hydrangeas and early lotus blossoms, to Togakushi to hike in the woods (and worry about encountering bears), to Okunoin to see an incredible cedar forest and exquisite wildflowers... Practically everywhere you go in Japan you will find temples and shrines where you can spend hours reveling in natural beauty.

And donft even get me started about temples and fireflies... Of course, August is too late for that sort of thing. But be open to a broader definition of gtemplesh than you may already have!
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/19 16:53
I agree with both of Kim and Likebike - i think it is perfectly OK to visit as many temples as you want specially if it provides any kind of pleasure or enjoyment for you. Specially because it is your trip with your money so follow a combination of heart, hunch, knowledge and good homework when choosing the locations to visit. Among those places that you might plan to skip - Nara should not be one of those.
First - it is compact; if you are alone then you can visit all the important and cool locations within 4 hours. Second, it is close to Kyoto and Osaka (should those be your basecamps). Third - Todaiji temple and deers :-). I have visited Nara three times - alone while single (2008), with wife (2017) and with mother, wife and daughter (2019). All the visits have been enjoyable, although last time a deer almost ate my passport (i showed it to local kids who interviewed me due their school related task). Should it fit in my plans i would visit it again; good place to visit next day after arriving to Japan (if you arrive via KIX or NGO).

The problem might be for somebody who has limited vacation days as tourist most of the classical temples look pretty similar (of course, it is not that hard to find differences too as Kim stated). Also, maybe there is less variety compared to European heavyweight cathedrals although long time ago on my first trip in western Europe i also got the cathedral poisoning (St Vitus in Prague, then Reims, then Chartres, then Cologne (i skipped the Notre Dame and visited some museums instead) in a span of 10 days was just too much for 22 year old. Of course, in the beginning it was really "WOW, WOW, WOW!", because, well, those cathedrals are HUGE compared to an ordinary small local church.

Should i have a chance to visit Japan again then i would try to visit in addition to some classical old temples something like that (i found it accidentally while surfing with Google Maps and searched for unorthodox locations to visit in the future):
https://www.google.com/maps/place/%E4%B8%96%E7%95%8C%E7%9C%9F%E5%85%89...
http://www.mahikari.or.jp/en/address.html

BR,
Lauri
by Lauriandres (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/20 00:03
Well, I hate to disagree with someone who agrees with me :) but trying to visit "all the important and cool" places in Nara within four hours is exactly what I would never do myself. I think the reason people get "templed out" is that they try to go to way too many places on top-ten lists (which in Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura, tend to be dominated by "temples"). It's true that those places are famous for a reason, but two other very important things are also true: the famous sites are generally extremely crowded, which can really diminish the pleasure you get from them, and there are many non-famous sites (not crowded!!) that are as good as the famous sites. (I remember when Fushimi Inari Jinja was not famous! It has certainly not gotten any better since it became famous; in fact I don't even go there myself anymore because of the hordes.) Furthermore, if a nature experience is what you seek, you can hardly expect to have a very satisfying one if you are trying to visit a large number of places in a short period of time. If you ask me, you could skip the most famous sites in Nara altogether and it would still be worth a visit. (My own personal favorite there is the Manyo Botanical Garden at Kasuga Shrine. If you like flowers and plants, I think it is a great place to visit, and it has never been crowded the times I went. And I found it more relaxing and entertaining to watch the koi being fed there than to watch those famous aggressive deer terrorizing small children, although that is also fun.) I'm not saying you shouldn't go to Todaiji, but what I would do is include it on a fairly short list that includes more than "must-see" places. And allow time to really take in the natural beauty of the gardens. (Ten minutes for the Buddha, a couple hours for flowers, trees, birds, insects, and fish is how I would budget it myself. And of course an hour or so for a nice lunch somewhere...) Limiting your target venues to top-ten lists and "must-see" sites is pretty much a recipe for getting burned out, if you ask me.

So now I've gotten on my usual "avoid the tourist magnet sites if you really want to experience Japan" soap box... But my original point was that "temple" has a much broader meaning than just some formal structures that are connected with religion. It is NOT simply the Japanese equivalent of a European church or cathedral. Of course, there are some very famous temples where the structure itself, or historical items inside it, are basically all there is to see. But many temples occupy huge expanses of natural environment and/or have exquisite gardens where you can really commune with nature. And shrines tend to be an exclusively outdoor experience. Furthermore, many of these sites are adjacent to completely undeveloped areas (typically hillsides, mountainsides, or even larger areas) that have hiking trails (often dating back to ancient pilgrimage trails). So don't be afraid of overloading on them--just be wise about which ones you visit.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/20 03:40
And as an addition to what @Kim just said, I think trying to do 4 or 5 temples all in 4 hours also helps lead to being templed out faster, because you're just whirring through things and not really giving any place a chance to settle in. I'm not a particularly slow at sightseeing, but I think it really helps to not rush through 5 temples with a check list in under 5 hours. Take a break and visit a garden or stop and eat something or do a little shopping.

I think even super crowded temples like Fushimi Inari and Kiyomizudera can be worth a visit. (My first visit to Fushimi Inari was also before it was popular and my friend and I were pretty much alone.) But it helps to time those for as early in the day as possible because crowds really do build. I also really enjoy shrine and temple flea markets. Kitano Tenman-gu has a fun one and we went to the one at Toji. Kyoto has a lot of temples that are just not that crowded and many are in easy to reach locations.

Kamakura has a great walk between some of its temples.

If you're planning to be in Japan from August to September, I'd also be thinking about things in terms of heat. While I personally tend to deal better with heat and humidity than some of the other posters here, many people find Summers in Japan oppressive and if you are planning to be in Japan to climb Fuji-san, you're going to be there when it is still Summer. Also be aware mid to late August is a popular time for the Japanese to take off (for Obon and because school is out) so prices can be higher, crowds can be larger, and accommodations can be more expensive because of the internal market.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/20 04:59
Well, I realize that it is easy for some of us who have been to Japan many times, and have already seen many of the famous sites, to rail against the super-crowded popular places. I sort of understand the strong pull of the tourist magnet sites, although it never ceases to amaze me just how strong that pull is. (How many times have I seen newbies planning an upcoming trip insist they want to see "the real Japan" and go "off the beaten path" but then in the same post provide a laundry list of the absolutely most overcrowded top-ten sites and say those are "must-sees" for them and ask how they can fit them all into their itinerary...? I think it has something to do with desperately not wanting to miss anything "important," and the notion that fitting in as many of the magnet sites as possible will prevent that.)

Anyway, I do encourage Japan newcomers to devote at least part of their trip to visiting fewer places at a slower pace, and to balance famous sites with some other fine places. It takes more time to find good places that aren't famous, and there is always a risk that some of them will fail to satisfy (but remember, there is no guarantee that the overpopulated top-ten spots WILL satisfy).

Of course, how do you find those good places, if they aren't famous? Well, we all have lots of time on our hands that can't yet be spent booking flights and hotel rooms... Japan Guide is chock full of great writeups (Travel News, blog posts, and other content) that can be mined for ideas. I sometimes have trouble finding past articles, but they can usually be found by searching, and they keep putting up new content. I'm glad to see they are managing to keep their excellent staff writers on board. I have always found their trip writeups to be interesting and informative.

Today I spent a couple of hours browsing through the Home Delivery series and made notes of several new places I'd like to visit.
https://www.japan-guide.com/blog/home-delivery/
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/20 08:23
I wouldn't skip Nara, a full day there is worth it IMO, makes a nice day trip from Kyoto and does not need to be rushed - but I have a route I take around some of the less crowded spots, and I do include Todai-ji.
Just on your proposed schedule, I can think of ways to spend three days in places like Takayama and Hiroshima pretty easily, but not somewhere like Matsumoto. If I was spending three days in Nagano prefecture, I would include Nagano city and one or other of their attractions (I was there on Thursday), and then go to Matsumoto. Plus, the bus through the alps Matsumoto to Takayama is picturesque.
Easy to spend time in Kyoto - so many non-touristy, non-crowded spots that are worth visiting.

by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/21 13:08
Skipping Nara would be a tragedy. Even if you are really pressed for time, half a day to see Todaiji and other sights just in Nara Park is really worth it.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/22 00:45
What to say, but to emphasize that I really appreciate all your answers, opinions and suggestions. I can also conclude that your efforts and willingness to assist me, were in some way, eyeopening and have made me rethink my entire trip to Japan. Of course, Japan remains my destination that I plan to visit along with South Korea. Now, when I have read all your posts and thought thoroughly about everything I have decided to arrive in Tokyo first to overcome jet lag (difference between Central Europe and Japan in August is 9 hours). I will dedicate several days for Tokyo and a day trip to Nikko and after that I will take Peach and fly to Hokkaido. I will spend there up to 10 days visiting at least one national park, probably Shiretoko, and after that slowly move toward Honshu via Furano, Sapporo and Otaru.

My next destination will be exactly as some of you have suggested, temples combined with nature - Dewa Sanzan close to Tsuruoka. After that, next destination will be Fuji Five Lakes area with Mt Fuji climb. I have in mind that my climb to Mt Fuji has to be done by the end of August or in the first week of September. After Fuji Five Lakes area, I will proceed to Matsumoto and will shorten the number of days to spend there to see the castle, probably a couple of museums and especially the region of wasabi production (wasabi farms). After Matsumoto, by bus to Takayama to see the old town, a couple of museums and Hida Folk Village. En route to Kanazawa, a visit to Shirakawa-go area by taking early morning bus from Takayama and the last bus from Shirakawa-go area.

After Kanazawa, the next destination is Kyoto with a day trip to Nara. I will definitely skip Osaka. After Kyoto, Hiroshima and the last stop in Japan will be Fukuoka.

This itinerary will probably exceed 30 days, but since I was planning 15 days for South Korea after Japan, I will reduce the number of days in S. Korea and add them to Japan if necessary.

I think that this itinerary will be more nature oriented than the previous one and I will not insist on "top 10" sites, but more dispersed attractions that, I hope, will bring me to great places not so often visited by foreigners.
by Janez (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nikko Pass and train change en route 2021/2/22 04:14
Adding Hokkaido and Dewa Sanzan complicates your itinerary considerably, but they are both great places. It's not like you are trying to do everything on your list in two weeks or something. I can pretty much guarantee that people will tell you that you are jumping around to too many places that are quite far from each other, but as long as you have researched the distances (and more significantly, the logistics, time requirements, and transportation costs), then you should decide for yourself whether it will work for you. People on this forum tend to be passionate about Japan, and this can lead to very strong opinions sometimes. So it's good to listen to advice and be willing to change your plans sometimes, but what works for somebody else might not always work for you.

You should definitely be prepared for hot weather if you go in August (although Hokkaido is the best place you can go at that time of year), but also be prepared for the possibility of rain. It's one thing if it happens when you are in one of the cities, but if you don't have contingency plans it could ruin your Dewa Sanzan trek or Mt. Fuji climb. You should either be willing to hike in rain gear (if it's merely light to moderate rain) or else have some flexibility to change your hiking dates. People like to generalize, and so they tend to fixate on rain June because it's the "rainy season" and heat/humidity in August, but the truth is that it can be stinking hot in June and it can certainly rain in August.

I lost track of whether you said that you are hoping to do this in 2021 or whether you are doing way-in-advance planning for 2022, but in any event, you still have lots of time to work things out. Trip planning is always an iterative process for me, and my final itinerary is often nothing like what I started with. I find this is especially true for making rail pass decisions. I always look at various passes in terms of what kinds of itineraries they can support, rather than starting with a fixed itinerary and trying to find a pass that fits perfectly (none of them ever do).

If you find that Dewa Sanzan is possibly a little ambitious, then possibly consider Kumano Kodo in the Kansai area. It has some (by no means all) of the same attractive features but is a lot closer to other places where you will already be, and it has better support resources for foreign tourists. The eastern part of Kumano Kodo (the Iseji) is worth a look if you want to get away from people.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Page 1 of 2: Posts 1 - 20 of 28
 
1 2
next

reply to this thread