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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 15th April 2010, 11:16 PM
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Default Travel around and from Japan

Hi all,

I have 2 questions initially (likely more to follow!)

1: So i'm going to be in Japan from June to July this year and i'm looking at rail passes. One of the things i really wanted to do was travel on the Shink but i don't think you can get an inclusive ticket for that wiht a standard rail pass?

Anyway i was looking at the Japanese rail companies' sites and they are pretty complicated! Anybody have an idea of whether it's going to be cheaper to buy a rail pass or just buy single tickets? And whether it's cheaper to buy in advance like it is here in the UK?


2: I am looking to find a cheap flight from Japan to Thailand in early July. I wanted to avoid Air China if possible as i have not read very good reports from them (but open to corrections on this from you guys if you have stories?). The cheapest i found was with Malaysian airlines but when i went back to book the flight a week later it had magically gone up. A lot. So back to the drawing board.

I am now thinking it may be cheaper to fly from Japan to Hong Kong as flights from Hong Kong to Bangkok are extremely cheap! Looking for any clever ideas around this. I will be visiting Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia before heading to Singapore but wanted to fly into Thailand for the 1 month visa (instead of the 14 day overland one).

Sorry for the long post and i look forward to any advice you good folks can offer :)
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Old 16th April 2010, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colonel Mustard View Post
Hi all,

I have 2 questions initially (likely more to follow!)

1: So i'm going to be in Japan from June to July this year and i'm looking at rail passes. One of the things i really wanted to do was travel on the Shink but i don't think you can get an inclusive ticket for that wiht a standard rail pass?

Anyway i was looking at the Japanese rail companies' sites and they are pretty complicated! Anybody have an idea of whether it's going to be cheaper to buy a rail pass or just buy single tickets? And whether it's cheaper to buy in advance like it is here in the UK?
A warm welcome to the forums!

The Japan Rail Pass covers Shinkansen trains as well as regular JR trains (including the JR lines in Tokyo/Osaka etc). The only restriction is it does not cover some of the superfast shinkansen such as the Nozomi. You can still get the Hikari and other Shinkansens that are slower/stop more. When I say "slower", they are still lightning fast and smooth as silk. A Shinkansen ride is an essential experience in Japan!

A Japan Rail Pass is definitely the way to go if you plan to do any amount of travelling in Japan. They are expensive, but so are train fares! For instance, if you were planning on going from Tokyo to Kyoto and back, it's almost the same cost as a 7-day Japan Rail Pass.

You HAVE to buy a Japan Rail Pass in your home country - you cannot buy them once in Japan. You basically buy a little receipt called an "Exchange Order" which you take to a special booth in Narita airport, or other places depending on when you want to activate it.

The Japan Rail Pass site will sort out all your questions:
About JAPAN RAIL PASS

The following site is an online timetable for Japan's trains. Just plug in some example routes which you want to take and check out the prices. It will tell you the fares and so you will be able to decide whether the Japan Rail Pass is worth it (it's extremely likely it will be).
Hyperdia | Timetable and Route Search in Japan.

The Japan Rail Pass site also has a list of suppliers in the UK form which you can buy exchange orders. It'll have all the info you need.

Quote:
2: I am looking to find a cheap flight from Japan to Thailand in early July. I wanted to avoid Air China if possible as i have not read very good reports from them (but open to corrections on this from you guys if you have stories?). The cheapest i found was with Malaysian airlines but when i went back to book the flight a week later it had magically gone up. A lot. So back to the drawing board.

I am now thinking it may be cheaper to fly from Japan to Hong Kong as flights from Hong Kong to Bangkok are extremely cheap! Looking for any clever ideas around this. I will be visiting Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia before heading to Singapore but wanted to fly into Thailand for the 1 month visa (instead of the 14 day overland one).

Sorry for the long post and i look forward to any advice you good folks can offer :)
I'm no good on cheap fares from Tokyo, but Hong Kong is a good stopover and a worthwhile destination - no visa required, either, being a British national. Check out Air Asia ( to AirAsia.com, The World's Best Low-Cost Airline) for cheap HK-BKK fares. The sooner you can buy, the better!

Have a great trip - you will adore Japan. I'm there now and loving every minute of it!

cheerio,
Steve
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Last edited by steveadmin; 16th April 2010 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 16th April 2010, 02:44 PM
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Also be aware that an onward flight from Japan is a condition for entry, so ensure you get it before you leave. I have been let in the country without an onward ticket, but they make your life uncomfortable (lots of questions, raising of eyebrows etc). Save yourself the hassle and have an onward ticket booked in advance and proof of the booking.
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Old 17th April 2010, 12:28 PM
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Wow great info thanks! And for the welcome :)

Yes they are quite expensive tickets! Just like in the UK i guess. working out some dates and numbers now. I will be there for exactly 1month but not travelling a huge amount. So hopefully i can do a mix of rail passes and singles.

Anyway i am envious of you being in Japan now! :D Hope you have a great time there.
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Old 18th April 2010, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveadmin View Post
The Japan Rail Pass site will sort out all your questions:
About JAPAN RAIL PASS

I'm no good on cheap fares from Tokyo, but Hong Kong is a good stopover and a worthwhile destination - no visa required, either, being a British national.
I managed to find a cheap flight from this site. I can recommend it. Easy to use site and the flights are cheaper than anywhere else i've tried. As a comparison i just got a flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong for not much more than a 7 day Japanese rail pass. I Still don't know what i will do about this. The passes are more expensive than i was expecting and may be the limiting factor in how much i can see of Japan.
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Old 18th April 2010, 11:57 PM
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I solved my difficulty about flights from Japan. Got a great deal on Orbitz travel. Haneda to Bangkok for 237 (via Beijing).

Still working out costs of travel around Japan (rail passes etc). It all looks a bit more expensive than i was expecting.
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