Author Topic: I need touristy info!  (Read 2971 times)

Offline Iggy

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I need touristy info!
« on: March 22, 2012, 10:50:43 AM »
I have some friends coming to visit from May 18th to June 8th, and I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a few questions.

1. Day trips in and around Yamanashi.
There'll be about 8 days of their trip where I'll be at work, and they need stuff to do during the day. They have to be back in Kofu by 7/8-ish to get the last bus back to my town - otherwise they're stranded. Anyone have any suggestions? Are there any festivals or events going on that are worth a look?

2. A five day trip.
I managed to get a FIVE DAY WEEKEND while they're staying with me (yatta!) and we want to do Kyoto. But we ALSO want to do Osaka. Is it at all possible to do both of those in five days, or is that gonna be too rushed and expensive and not worth it?

3. Transport pass for tourists.
I think I heard about a public transport pass specifically for tourists which makes travel nice and cheap. But I don't know what it's called or how to get it. Can anyone help me out on this one?

Thanks for any advice/suggestions/tips you can give me. It's much appreciated.

Offline mattclough

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2012, 10:59:47 AM »
2. A five day trip.
I managed to get a FIVE DAY WEEKEND while they're staying with me (yatta!) and we want to do Kyoto. But we ALSO want to do Osaka. Is it at all possible to do both of those in five days, or is that gonna be too rushed and expensive and not worth it?

Yes.  Very much so.  In fact, I trained from Kyoto to Osaka several times in one day.

See Nara and Himeji Castle while you're at it.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 11:01:44 AM by mattclough »

Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2012, 11:05:39 AM »
1. Shyosenkyo, Fuji 5 Lakes, Minobu Temple, Lunch in Otsuki, Fruits Park (and hotarakashi onsen, my favorite, is right above it on the mountain), Takeda Shrine, and a nice drive through Kiyosato and Hokuto area to see the farms and dairy production...

2. Kyoto and Osaka will be easy to do in 5 days.  You will just need to plan for a few sites a day and move on...

3. Your friends should be able to get a 7-10 day rail pass before they leave.  You will not be able to get one though.  Just have them google it and it should be a simple procedure. http://www.gatewaylax.com/jrpass.asp
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 11:07:43 AM by Yamanashi PA »

Offline Iggy

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2012, 11:11:12 AM »
1. Shyosenkyo, Fuji 5 Lakes, Minobu Temple, Lunch in Otsuki, Fruits Park (and hotarakashi onsen, my favorite, is right above it on the mountain), Takeda Shrine, and a nice drive through Kiyosato and Hokuto area to see the farms and dairy production...

2. Kyoto and Osaka will be easy to do in 5 days.  You will just need to plan for a few sites a day and move on...

3. Your friends should be able to get a 7-10 day rail pass before they leave.  You will not be able to get one though.  Just have them google it and it should be a simple procedure. http://www.gatewaylax.com/jrpass.asp

Thank you! Why lunch in Otsuki - is there a specific place or something?
We won't have a car, so can't do the drive around the farms, as much as I would like to.

Offline Iggy

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2012, 11:14:26 AM »
Yes.  Very much so.  In fact, I trained from Kyoto to Osaka several times in one day.

See Nara and Himeji Castle while you're at it.

Thank you!
What was the journey time/price like to get from Osaka area to Kofu area?

You mean we could fit Nara and Himeji castle into that 5 day trip? That would be awesome! I'd love to see Nara.

Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2012, 11:15:09 AM »
1. Shyosenkyo, Fuji 5 Lakes, Minobu Temple, Lunch in Otsuki, Fruits Park (and hotarakashi onsen, my favorite, is right above it on the mountain), Takeda Shrine, and a nice drive through Kiyosato and Hokuto area to see the farms and dairy production...

2. Kyoto and Osaka will be easy to do in 5 days.  You will just need to plan for a few sites a day and move on...

3. Your friends should be able to get a 7-10 day rail pass before they leave.  You will not be able to get one though.  Just have them google it and it should be a simple procedure. http://www.gatewaylax.com/jrpass.asp

Thank you! Why lunch in Otsuki - is there a specific place or something?
We won't have a car, so can't do the drive around the farms, as much as I would like to.

Otsuki is just a cool place.  Steep mountains, high bridge with a river like 100 meters or so below.  There are some cool places to eat.  Adagios and a great ton katsu place.  There is a local baker that sells good cookies and such on the main street.  This is where I saw my first festival, so it sticks in my mind as a great first impression to Yamanashi.

Offline Iggy

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2012, 11:19:08 AM »
Otsuki is just a cool place.  Steep mountains, high bridge with a river like 100 meters or so below.  There are some cool places to eat.  Adagios and a great ton katsu place.  There is a local baker that sells good cookies and such on the main street.  This is where I saw my first festival, so it sticks in my mind as a great first impression to Yamanashi.

Awesome. Sounds perfect, thank you!

Offline mattclough

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2012, 11:24:48 AM »
Yes.  Very much so.  In fact, I trained from Kyoto to Osaka several times in one day.

See Nara and Himeji Castle while you're at it.

Thank you!
What was the journey time/price like to get from Osaka area to Kofu area?

You mean we could fit Nara and Himeji castle into that 5 day trip? That would be awesome! I'd love to see Nara.

Yeah, actually, I did a good amount of the hotspots in the Kansai area to the point of exhaustion in about 5 days.  I didn't get to see Kobe though.  I think Himeji is on the same line as Kyoto and Osaka, but Nara is definitely an offshoot.  Just plan your trip to minimize travel distances.

As for prices from Kofu, I have no idea.  This was a few years ago, and I landed in the Kansai area and ended my trip in Tokyo via Shinkansen which was over 1man and 3 hours.

Offline Iggy

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2012, 11:32:21 AM »
Yeah, actually, I did a good amount of the hotspots in the Kansai area to the point of exhaustion in about 5 days.  I didn't get to see Kobe though.  I think Himeji is on the same line as Kyoto and Osaka, but Nara is definitely an offshoot.  Just plan your trip to minimize travel distances.

As for prices from Kofu, I have no idea.  This was a few years ago, and I landed in the Kansai area and ended my trip in Tokyo via Shinkansen which was over 1man and 3 hours.

Thank you! We are now thoroughly excited.
I'm pretty sure there's an overnight bus from Kofu to that area, and I believe that's out best option if we don't want to lose 2 days to travel times.

Offline shneen

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2012, 12:34:12 PM »

See Nara and Himeji Castle while you're at it.

Note that Himeji Castle is under renovation until 2014, so the main keep is all covered scaffolding right now. 

Nara is an easy day trip from Kyoto.  You can probably cover the main sites in Kyoto in a couple of days if you do some planning ahead of time.


As for easy day trips from Kofu, they've hit a lot of them.... I'd add Matsumoto Castle to that list. There's also a castle in Suwa.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 12:36:24 PM by shneen »

Offline keeperofalstooth

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2012, 12:44:50 PM »
If all of you decide to take the night bus to Kansai, it might not be worth your friends getting a JR pass (the bus from Kofu isn't covered under that).  Just figure out rough costs beforehand so they know whether to buy it or not.  it has to be purchased outside Japan before they arrive

Offline Iggy

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2012, 12:59:53 PM »
If all of you decide to take the night bus to Kansai, it might not be worth your friends getting a JR pass (the bus from Kofu isn't covered under that).  Just figure out rough costs beforehand so they know whether to buy it or not.  it has to be purchased outside Japan before they arrive

Oh, true. Is there something useful just for travel around Tokyo?

Offline shneen

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2012, 01:07:31 PM »
If all of you decide to take the night bus to Kansai, it might not be worth your friends getting a JR pass (the bus from Kofu isn't covered under that).  Just figure out rough costs beforehand so they know whether to buy it or not.  it has to be purchased outside Japan before they arrive

Oh, true. Is there something useful just for travel around Tokyo?

Try the special tickets section here: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2017.html
The Holiday Pass they mention recently changed names though....

Offline fred

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2012, 01:21:08 PM »
Have a look through these passes. I think some of them can be bought on a non-tourist visa.
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass/
http://www.westjr.co.jp/english/travel-information/pass/

Also, I know it may not be the cheapest for them, but have you thought about hiring a car whilst in Yamanashi and splitting the costs. Atleast then you won't be reliant on the buses and you can get a lot more done. All they'll need is an IDP.

Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2012, 02:01:10 PM »
Have a look through these passes. I think some of them can be bought on a non-tourist visa.
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass/
http://www.westjr.co.jp/english/travel-information/pass/

Also, I know it may not be the cheapest for them, but have you thought about hiring a car whilst in Yamanashi and splitting the costs. Atleast then you won't be reliant on the buses and you can get a lot more done. All they'll need is an IDP.

The car idea will be much cheaper if you go that route, and also create some crazy vacation stories because of the difficulty of navigating Japan.  But, I'm with Fred, I think the car idea would be optimal for a group of friends to travel around for 10 days.  Fred, how much is a four seater per day?

Offline fred

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2012, 02:17:43 PM »
Personally, I think the best would be to get a car for all the stuff in Yamanashi. Then, they are not tied to the bus schedule and Robin can also travel with them too when she finishes work.. They could even go further afield like Nagano too. Most of the rental companies are starting to include English Navi in their cars for tourists too. Rail passes for this section would not be the best value for money.

Then get rail passes for the trips to Osaka, Kyoto and beyond. Due to the distances and the cost of the shinkansen, I think they become good value for money. Also, you don't need a car as public transport is better than Yamanashi and you don't need to worry about parking.
You can get the rail passes to start when you leave kofu and run for which duration you choose.

Also, in one of those links, there is a Narita Express & Suica deal which would be very cost effective for them too.

All of this is assuming that one of them has a licence though.

For costs and so on, I can have a chat with Robin and we can find the best deal.

Offline keeperofalstooth

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2012, 04:24:22 PM »
If they decide to get passes, they could always train to kyoto during the day while you're working, and you take the night bus after work and meet them in the morning.  It would just mean an extra night in a hotel/hostel for them.

Offline Iggy

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2012, 05:01:29 PM »
You're acting like any of us can drive. Don't be silly - learning to drive is entirely too sensible and convenient.

Offline Iggy

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2012, 05:04:52 PM »
If they decide to get passes, they could always train to kyoto during the day while you're working, and you take the night bus after work and meet them in the morning.  It would just mean an extra night in a hotel/hostel for them.

Not enough money for a random night in a hotel, even if it is convenient. I'll suggest it, but I think we'll more likely try and work it so that we don't have to pay for an extra night.

Offline Iggy

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2012, 05:09:17 PM »
Then get rail passes for the trips to Osaka, Kyoto and beyond. Due to the distances and the cost of the shinkansen, I think they become good value for money.

You mean shinkansen is good value for money, or the rail passes in Osaka/etc.? I would love to try shinkansen one day, but pretty sur we won't have the money this time.

And thank you for your help! I want to make sure they have a great trip so I want to know all the details well in advance so they can concentrated on being excited about it rather than worrying when and how we're going everywhere.


Offline OxO

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Re: I need touristy info!
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2012, 10:36:53 AM »
Rather than creating a new thread, something which could be useful here too-
Since Yamanashi lacks a western exit by train and I've an urge to get out...Does anyone know of what bus companies operate from Kofu and where they go to?
All I know of are Kyoto and Tokyo/Disneyland.


Rail passes; would kind of suck for Robin though since she would have to pay for any trains.
If hotels are out the most sensible thing to do for Kyoto I'd think would be night bus there and night bus back...though not staying one night whilst you're that far away seems mad.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 10:38:25 AM by OxO »
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