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International Railroad Discussion > Trip to Japan in May

Date: 02/22/24 19:05
Trip to Japan in May
Author: streamtrains

Greetings fellow TO friends.  I am planning on a trip to Japan in early May and will have five days or so in Tokyo.  Was wondering if any of you were familiar with day train trips out of Tokyo, or perhaps even an overnight.  We'll be heading to Kyoto later so don't need to head there.  Any suggestions you might have would be appreciated.

Date: 02/23/24 07:40
Re: Trip to Japan in May
Author: cchan006

If your 5 days in Tokyo includes a Saturday and Sunday, there's a good chance you might be able to catch or ride a steam excursion.

I suspect you might be getting a JR Rail Pass since you're going to Kyoto, and the price of the excursion is covered by the JR Rail Pass, if the steam trip is run by JR East out of Takasaki. And of course, Shinkansen ride to Takasaki should be covered by the Rail Pass.

If you are looking for something specific like above, let us know, and we can give PSR (Precision Scheduled Railfanning) advice. :-)

Date: 02/23/24 11:51
Re: Trip to Japan in May
Author: symph1

The untra-fast Shinkansen are all exciting for a while, especially once they get up to speed. But the windows aren't huge, and many passengers pull the curtains down on the sunny side of the train. Whatever you choose, get a specific seat reservation by buying your reserved seat (costs extra) on the JR website. Based on the time of day, choose a seat where the sun won't blind you. Shinks have 2-3 seating. The one middle seat is wider than the others, so it's not as bad as in an airplane.

For an utterly different experiance, take a local train out in the back country. For instance, do this loop: Hokuriku Shinkansen to Iiyama, Iiyama Line (a one- or two- car train with many stops along a scenic river and through the mountains) to Tokamachi, Hokuhoku Line (they sell RR calendars at Tokamachi) to Echigo-Yuzawa, Joetsu Shinknsen back to Tokyo.

When coming from Narita Airport, I always take the Skyliner, not Narita Express. It ends at the Skyliner Ueno station, which has some reasonably priced hotels right by the station, plus Ueno Park, museums, etc. You can get north- and eastbound Shinkansens at the JR Ueno station.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/24 12:21 by symph1.

Date: 02/24/24 20:20
Re: Trip to Japan in May
Author: cchan006

streamtrains Wrote:
> I am planning on a trip to Japan in early May...

If you know about Japan's "Golden Week" series of holidays, then you'd know what to do. In case you don't, then expect standing room only trains, even if all railroads run extras to accomodate demand. Even Green Car seats (first class) will be booked full.

Another suggestion is to visit a JR ticket office that exchange Rail Pass vouchers, even if you aren't buying a JR Rail Pass. They have free pamphlets (in many languages, including English) to give you touring ideas, for example, riding the Yamanote Line Loop and visiting interesting places at each stop.

There are countless railfan opportunities in Japan, and especially in Tokyo, that it's insufficient to just give you advice without knowing what you might be looking for.

Date: 02/26/24 09:27
Re: Trip to Japan in May
Author: streamtrains

Thanks everyone.

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