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Thread: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

  1. #1

    Default Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Ohayo Mina-San!

    I will be travelling [for the first time anywhere without family, further than Msia] to Tokyo in Jul with my girlfriend for 12 days. Any helpful tips and comments are greatly appreciated

    I did a great deal of planning my itinerary before I got my dslr. So now I would like to turn the trip into a little travel photography (not too much else my gf might kill me). In a few weeks time I will try to post my daily itinerary here when i get it more confirmed. Only problem is I'm not sure how much time to allocate for travel or visiting a place so certain days can be "under" or "over" planned! Websites generally advise u must go to this "must" go or "must" see place...but in the great scheme of things I want to make sure it's nicely scheduled across the whole day - and more importantly so I want to catch the morning and evening lights at the highly recommended "to-shoots"!

    So my own questions are:

    1) should i STRICTLY plan out my travel timing to include what train to take, what time [to the minute xx:xx], how long to spend where, where to eat. Or should I allow some flexibility (and less control)?

    2)should i (or my gf) get an iphone to plot out our travel destinations (hotels included) and route? Or shld a good old map suffice? I read some travel tips here to map out my travel locations and i definitely agree!

    3)some "must" see or "must" do things that you guys recommend that I may have missed out? I think for CSers, "must" shoots?

    4)the one thing that worries me alot is that my plane lands around 930++. When coming out I need to know where to buy the train pass (puica?) and hop on before I miss the last train or connecting trains out (it is too late for the express limo bus). If i don't know where the pass counter is or i get lost. That's it

    Cheers!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Hi,

    For train schedule, the link below is veryful. The information is very acurate, hope it helps.

    http://www.hyperdia.com/

  3. #3

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Quote Originally Posted by White Wolf View Post
    Hi,

    For train schedule, the link below is veryful. The information is very acurate, hope it helps.

    http://www.hyperdia.com/
    Hi, Thanks Wolf

    Have been using that to gauge the pricing and timing.
    But I did for the first 4 days of my 12 days and then I realised WOW. too much information to put in an itinerary

    I was wondering if i can have some app on the go without accessing hyperdia...or maybe I just include [where from]:[where to] and store into an excel and save in phone?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    How long would you be staying in Japan. It is advisable to buy a JR train pass (7 days or 14 days). You would have to buy here in S'pore and collect your ticket from any JR station in Japan. The best way to get to Hakone is from Shinjuku station. You would need to book hotel first. I suggest Japanese style hotel. Really fun!! At the Shinjuku station (near the WEST exit) you will be able to get your train ticket to Hakone and also the needed pass (for 2 days). The train system there from Shinjuku and the whole transport there in Hakone is almost monopolized by Odakyu (also a big supermarket/departmental store right at Shinjuku). There is no use for JR ticket there but you can use the pass for all the transport (no need to pay anymore). The 2nd floor next to the the station is "Big Camera". Really need to know what is your budget and length of stay.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    It is good idea to go to Hakone first and then after that use your JR ticket that you purchased from Singapore. In this way you do not "waste" time because as I wrote you would not likely use JR (Japan Rail) during your stay in Hakone.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    hi mate, i just went there during first week of april, just hakone or everywhere?
    train ticket you can purchase from their ticketing machine, got english option one
    if touch wood, you buy wrong, just slot back the ticket below and u'll get your refund
    but if budget is not a problem, check your travel plans, if you cross states alot, get the 5 or 7 days unlimited train ride pass

    if staying same place moving around, i'd suggest a hotel near which would be sunroute plaza shinjuku, just take train to shinjuku walk 5 mins reach liao. somemore nearby got a good ramen shop, nearby you can go the arcades
    behind the hotel is a 7-11, in front is an AM/PM shop *same as 7-11*, within 5-10 mins walk quite alot of shopping areas
    if you dont want to spend money on tokyo tower, look up tokyo metro government building, free visiting and much higher view

    fish market definitely have to go and also try the sushi around there.. but bring more money
    google for kiddyland tokyo, hakone volcano egg, and of course, must try the tokyo banana

    if traveling around all the time, i'll leave it to the bros here to advise..

    i'd offer more advice but im trying to stay awake after 48 hours @_@ will get back to you before you fly hopefully.. if i can get some sleep tonight T_T

  7. #7

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Wow.

    Takane : you should go sleep first ba!

    KYFoong: I counted le the JR pass not worth it, not travelling across states much ~ I estimate the daily travelling to not exceed 1000yen in train.

    I also planned my accomodation le

    first 7 nights in shinagawa prince hotel main tower
    next 2 nights in hakone (ryokan zomgz 260sing per person per night lol)
    subsequent nights in ueno fountaine villa !

    Takane:

    [tokyo metro government building, free visiting and much higher view

    fish market definitely have to go and also try the sushi around there.. but bring more money
    google for kiddyland tokyo, hakone volcano egg, and of course, must try the tokyo banana]

    good advise! iw as thinking of the tokyo tower but the government building seems like a viable alternative!
    Didn't read much about the hakone volcano egg, will try. Tokyo banana?? get from their supermarts?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Quote Originally Posted by KYFoong View Post
    How long would you be staying in Japan. It is advisable to buy a JR train pass (7 days or 14 days). You would have to buy here in S'pore and collect your ticket from any JR station in Japan. The best way to get to Hakone is from Shinjuku station. You would need to book hotel first. I suggest Japanese style hotel. Really fun!! At the Shinjuku station (near the WEST exit) you will be able to get your train ticket to Hakone and also the needed pass (for 2 days). The train system there from Shinjuku and the whole transport there in Hakone is almost monopolized by Odakyu (also a big supermarket/departmental store right at Shinjuku). There is no use for JR ticket there but you can use the pass for all the transport (no need to pay anymore). The 2nd floor next to the the station is "Big Camera". Really need to know what is your budget and length of stay.
    Big Camera sounds like a nice place to shop! But it seems in Japan Camera Stuff not as cheap as like HK and CHN right? Was thinking of 580EX II but I looked at some japanese websites convert to SGD like 870 #@(*$#(%?!?!.

    I was thinking of taking the romance express train from Shinjuku. Anyone recommend this over the cheaper route of taking the sub train - as in personal recommendation I heard it has a nice scenic view!
    Last edited by Jonathan Ang; 18th May 2010 at 01:12 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Hi there,

    I think you can plan you train timings exact because they are punctual. I travelled in Tokyo alone and spent 2 days Hakone. You can get the Hakone pass which I think is quite worth it. Perhaps you want to check out this love train (romance express as you mentioned) towards Hakone. I think its something like train with couple seats or sth.

    For Hakone, its a nice place. There are many beautiful gardens and some require additional payment. I did not go because I thought its more worthwhile to go with my gf who likes flowers alot and I just went to places which my ticket covered. I still don't understand how the bus works. Anyway remember to grab some free maps and brochures when you reach the train station before taking bus to your accomodation in Hakone. You can probably plan to cover the place in a cyclic order.

    One important thing to take note: The attractions at Hakone closes at about 530pm and the bus service stops for some places I think. I was stuck at the Owakudani station and had to trek down for quite a distance before managing to stop a bus and get onto it (its something that you and your gf definitely will not like). If I'm not wrong, there isn't much to do at night in Hakone. For accomodation, there are cheaper options. Of course you pay premium for higher quality and better location. For food: do walk around to check out the place (I got chopped at one sushi eatery and found a cheaper place for lunch after that)

    For tokyo accomodation, a couple I know shared with me that the love hotel they stayed at was quite nice.

    For shopping, Harajuku is a good place to go. Plan your Harajuku trip on a sunday and you will get to see cosplay by the youths. Some don't like you to take photos while some will pose for you. I just see the tourists fire away whether they pose anot..

    The sushi at fish market though expensive is worth it! If I remember correctly, 2500 yen for smaller set and 3800 yen for the big set....just go for the big set man!

    For navigation, a lonely planet guide book is sufficient. In fact, you can just refer to the maps at the train stations.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Quote Originally Posted by Yangzw View Post
    Hi there,

    I think you can plan you train timings exact because they are punctual. I travelled in Tokyo alone and spent 2 days Hakone. You can get the Hakone pass which I think is quite worth it. Perhaps you want to check out this love train (romance express as you mentioned) towards Hakone. I think its something like train with couple seats or sth.

    For Hakone, its a nice place. There are many beautiful gardens and some require additional payment. I did not go because I thought its more worthwhile to go with my gf who likes flowers alot and I just went to places which my ticket covered. I still don't understand how the bus works. Anyway remember to grab some free maps and brochures when you reach the train station before taking bus to your accomodation in Hakone. You can probably plan to cover the place in a cyclic order.

    One important thing to take note: The attractions at Hakone closes at about 530pm and the bus service stops for some places I think. I was stuck at the Owakudani station and had to trek down for quite a distance before managing to stop a bus and get onto it (its something that you and your gf definitely will not like). If I'm not wrong, there isn't much to do at night in Hakone. For accomodation, there are cheaper options. Of course you pay premium for higher quality and better location. For food: do walk around to check out the place (I got chopped at one sushi eatery and found a cheaper place for lunch after that)

    For tokyo accomodation, a couple I know shared with me that the love hotel they stayed at was quite nice.

    For shopping, Harajuku is a good place to go. Plan your Harajuku trip on a sunday and you will get to see cosplay by the youths. Some don't like you to take photos while some will pose for you. I just see the tourists fire away whether they pose anot..

    The sushi at fish market though expensive is worth it! If I remember correctly, 2500 yen for smaller set and 3800 yen for the big set....just go for the big set man!

    For navigation, a lonely planet guide book is sufficient. In fact, you can just refer to the maps at the train stations.

    Awesome. Helpful tips on hakone! The closing time thing is especially helpful
    Yeah I'll probably get the hakone pass + top up for the romance express

    Harajuku is the cosplay one or the gothic one? My sis warned me about the gothic one said they do not like getting snapped at. But sounds fun anyway! Don't think Harajuku was in my itinerary but I will relook into it It looks near to Shinagawa where I stay! Awesome! Sunday? Noted

  11. #11

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Go and enjoy......GOODLUCK!

    Im prefer Free and Easy...just bring more money.......
    Nikon D90*Nikor18-105mmVRII * Nikor 35mm F1.8G * Nikkor 55-300mm * SB600 * T17-50mm F2.8 VC*

  12. #12

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Me too! Just very .. tight Else I need to go borrowing from my relatives alr

    Still got some days to go. Need to make sure all planned sui sui else closer to the day panic

  13. #13

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Jonathan, we like to help give you advice and suggestions since many of us have been there. It is best that you let us know how many days you would be there. The more we know about your idea, the more we can help. I like to travel around the whole country if possible. There is so much to see. Each area is different. Enjoy!!! You may not buy anything from Big Camera but you will have fun handling the toys as they let you play with them freely. No pressure from anyone. Just tell them that you are looking around.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    I'm also visiting in June. Been many years since my last visit!

    Some interesting places I'm planning to visit are
    1. Odiaba
    2. Ghibli Museum
    3. Tsukiji Fish Market
    4. Karaoke bars

    and roaming around the popular stations e.g. Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Roppongi Hills..

  15. #15

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Quote Originally Posted by KYFoong View Post
    Jonathan, we like to help give you advice and suggestions since many of us have been there. It is best that you let us know how many days you would be there. The more we know about your idea, the more we can help. I like to travel around the whole country if possible. There is so much to see. Each area is different. Enjoy!!! You may not buy anything from Big Camera but you will have fun handling the toys as they let you play with them freely. No pressure from anyone. Just tell them that you are looking around.
    Hi KYFoong..I'm going there for 12 days, 11 nights... I think I did mention in the first post but I suppose you missed it

    I'm probably very keen on scenic stuff. Want to get away from all the brick and concrete of singapore. I don't mind tokyo's built-up, heard there are alot of parks around!

    I actually compiled a list of to-go for myself from what I read from a lonely planet guide. Let's see if I can put up on google doc and share...

  16. #16

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Haha, old man la me... You might regret not going to Kyoto/Nara if you plan to stay in Japan for 12 days. It is 3.25 hours by bullet train from Tokyo and about 2.5 hours from Hakone. On the way you will also see Mt Fuji. if you plan so, exchange your JR ticket at Hakone and take the bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo and to Narita (all by JR). Whatever you plan for, do not fret over anything small, just go enjoy, enjoy. Singaporeans are quite guilty of planning and feel that there is nothing to do. Holiday is about "nothing to do".

  17. #17

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    http://docs.google.com/View?id=ddvphk87_11d357fwhg

    Here is the link. The formatting might be abit off.
    (This is on top of what I have already planned.)

    My planned schedule is a little based on my friend's 7 day in tokyo but expanded for 12 days.
    There was an option to go Nikko for the waterfall but to&fro train ticket is like 160sgd per person told my gf not worth >.<

  18. #18

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Quote Originally Posted by KYFoong View Post
    Haha, old man la me... You might regret not going to Kyoto/Nara if you plan to stay in Japan for 12 days. It is 3.25 hours by bullet train from Tokyo and about 2.5 hours from Hakone. On the way you will also see Mt Fuji. if you plan so, exchange your JR ticket at Hakone and take the bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo and to Narita (all by JR). Whatever you plan for, do not fret over anything small, just go enjoy, enjoy. Singaporeans are quite guilty of planning and feel that there is nothing to do. Holiday is about "nothing to do".
    Yah. I realised maybe I should have done more cross-states but I also book the hotels le. Initially was because 450sgd for the JR abit heart pain so decided to stay in tokyo cut down cost. Realised I could have gone to Osaka stay with my uncle abit!

    But all in all no regret la. Next time around when I save up more then will be more adventurous try more things!! Now 12 days was thinking can "feel free" to get lost in tokyo abit. As long as get back to hotel in one piece by the end of the day!!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    Oh ya, about the Romance Car trip from Shinjuku to Hakone, I chose the limited express. Takes about 15 minutes longer to reach. Maybe not as comfortable but still very good for me and my family. Save some money and enjoy the local scenes too. Can take some shots in between stops. Fun!!. Be careful about the shut down of transport for the bus in Hakone. Check the timing before when you get off not when you want to get on (it may be too late). Japanese are on the dot for timing. No waiting!!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Japan - Tokyo - Hakone First Timer

    to TS:

    Yes, for Hakone, it is ESPECIALLY important to plan the time you are going to take each ride because each ride has a "last ride / last bus" timing.

    This is relevant to when you are IN HAKONE, and not travelling there. I'm sure "how to get there" is already covered in the posts our other CS bros and sis liao.

    1) The place is complex because of the different transport you can take within HAKONE: cable car, buses, boats etc. You don't wanna miss the boat, so to speak.

    2) The boat ride is the one that I missed the first day. The boat ride is in the middle of the whole Hakone, so if you missed it, you probably can't continue unless you take other transport. I was engrossed at a museum for too long, so I got to the pier at 5:25, thinking I could catch the last boat at 5:30pm. However, there was strong wind which upset the schedule, so they told me the last boat was cancelled. And 5:30-6pm is the last ride for most other alternative means of transport! I had to head back to my hotel and continue the same part of the trip the next day. Wasted half a day for nothing.

    Lesson learnt: start your trip early, watch your time, KNOW what time is the last ride/bus/boat, but don't PLAN to get on it, always plan early.

    Hope that helps.


    As for Getting there, I took the normal ride instead of the Romance Car, my experience is that, its ok (its Made in Japan!), and not too bad. Most of the time I was sleeping so I wouldn't really bother about, spaciousness, view, food or even the hassle of changing train really. So I didn't really wanted to part extra $$$ on the romance car.

    Hakone, I would rec 1 night there will do. Nothing very much there, but the rides were pretty fun and cool.

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