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serotta1972

Japan 2019

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serotta1972

Just booked my flight and hotel for my pilgrimage to trainland and this time I will be there for 7 days.  Here are some goals for this trip.

  • Ride all Shinkansen Lines - from Kyushu to Hokkaido, not in one day
  • Ride a Kiha47 or something similar
  • Ride a 115 Series 
  • Hopefully see Mt. Fuji this time around
  • Ride the Hankyu Line
  • Ride the Odakyu 70000 GSE
  • Ride the E353 Super Azusa
  • Spend some time rail fanning
  • Eat food daily from Family Mart
Edited by serotta1972
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Yavianice

That's a massive goal, all shinkansen lines (including the mini-shinkansen lines, and Gala-Yuzawa line I presume?) and all the other things in 7 days! I think only this will take you 4-5 days, minimum.

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Suica

Ambitious goal, but definitely doable. 

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JR 500系

Wow it sounds really fun! Which month will you be going? 

 

It's surely doable, though again I ask the question if it is a alone trip, a like-minded rail fan trip or a family trip... If it is the first 2 options, it's surely doable, while the last... well... I think it's gonna be kinda hard~  😛

 

Have you rode on the E4? If not, you need to... their scrapping is coming up pretty fast... Best way to see Mt Fuji up close would be the Fujikyu line, or Chuo line to Otsuki, though the former is more recommended. I think the 115 series still ply around the West Japan areas like Hiroshima, and probably some Kiha-47 too, though personally I would LOVE to ride either the Ibusuki no Tamatebako or the Setuchi Marine View... 

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cteno4

Junior, if you don’t get to ride the E4 at least try to be in a station when it pulls in. It is a really impressive shinakansen to see in person, it’s a svelte monster!

 

i dunno about the food item, maybe replace wirh ekiben and station noodles!

 

jeff

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chadbag

Yeah, the E4 is impressive.  We rode on one like 5 years ago for a couple stops.  It should be one for the Shinkansen bucket list due to their scrapping coming up.

 

Sitting in the lower level is kind of weird as you are lower to the platform than you are used to, IIRC, when you come into the station.  It has been awhile since I was last on one so the memory is fuzzy.  We saw a couple last December though did not get a chance to ride again.

 

We too are planning a 2019 trip.  This time in summer instead of over Christmas and New Years (which were the last 3 trips).  Due to summer heat, we will make our first foray past Tokyo into the north and into Hokkaido, if all goes according to (my) plans...  (Have to get the buy-in of others).   I have not yet gotten tickets, though I have wanted to as there are some cheap flights into Tokyo on Singapore available.  Big hold-up is that the Utah Long Course Championships date (Swimming) has not been set yet and my son has finally gotten fast enough to qualify.  If it is too late in July we plan on going without him and letting him fly alone afterwards and meeting us there.  No need to sacrifice our time for lousy swim championships 🙂

 

 

 

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cteno4

Riding the E4 is fun, especially for someone my height! But I grew up on boats so i felt right at home!

 

what I found so impressive is how they so eerily slide into a station, especially an underground one. The first time I saw one was photographing the end car at one end of the platform when an E4 slid into the station behind me. The nose kept growing and growing and  growing, then it was a monster tall wall. I spent an hour or so just watching them slide in and out of the station they were so graceful, like elephants dancing in Fantasia. It made me really appreciate the lines of the train more as most just think it a hulking Duck bill.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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serotta1972

Yes, I am going solo Sammy and will be there from March 24 to March 30 - sell some of your busses and come join me.  I made sure to arrive before noon so I will have at least half a day of train riding on my first day.  So maybe not every Shinkansen line and also not the entirety either, I actually never heard of the Gala-Yuzawa line.  I will most definitely be riding the Mini Shinkansen lines, last year I rode to Yamagata and will try to get to Shinjo this time. I won't be doing the whole Kyushu Shinkansen line either,  I just want to check off my list the Tsubame 800.  I will be going to Hakodate and ride on the South Hokkaido Railway.  And yes, I have ridden the E4 and probably will again and siting on the second level provided great views along with the huge windows.  The E4 were quite a sight at the Tokyo station, I wasn't really keen on them until I saw them in person and they are exactly as Jeff described.  

 

Here's one of my day trips that will knock out the mini Shinkansens.  Oh man there are at least 2 trains here that I don't own.

Ueno to Shinjo - Yamagata Shinkansen E3

Shinjo to Amarume - Rikuusai Line

Amarume to Akita - Inaho E653

Akita to Ueno - Akita Shinkansen E6

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maihama eki

I last rode an E4 in November 2014 - almost 4 years ago.  It was on a Max Toki service.  That train still had the original yellow stripe livery.  I was only on board for a few stops between Echigo-Yuzawa and Takasaki.  I was upstairs in a green section and it was nearly empty.

 

I first rode one many years ago - a Max Yamabiko between Tokyo and Sendai. 

 

You always hate to see one of the Shinkansen types go away.

Edited by maihama eki
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JR 500系
12 hours ago, serotta1972 said:

Yes, I am going solo Sammy and will be there from March 24 to March 30 - sell some of your busses and come join me.  

 

Haha I don't think I have THAT many buses Junior ~  😛

 

12 hours ago, serotta1972 said:

I actually never heard of the Gala-Yuzawa line. 

 

It's actually the Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo to Niigata, just that the Max Tanigawa branches off at Echigo Yuzawa and go to Gala Yuzawa as the final stop... 

 

12 hours ago, serotta1972 said:

Here's one of my day trips that will knock out the mini Shinkansens.  Oh man there are at least 2 trains here that I don't own.

Ueno to Shinjo - Yamagata Shinkansen E3

Shinjo to Amarume - Rikuusai Line

Amarume to Akita - Inaho E653

Akita to Ueno - Akita Shinkansen E6

 

I'm guessing it's the Inaho and the Rikuusai line? Was wondering if you would also take the Akita line from Shinjo to Akita directly...

 

7 hours ago, maihama eki said:

I last rode an E4 in November 2014 - almost 4 years ago.  It was on a Max Toki service.  That train still had the original yellow stripe livery.  I was only on board for a few stops between Echigo-Yuzawa and Takasaki.  I was upstairs in a green section and it was nearly empty.

 

 

I rode the Yellow and blue livery one too back in 2015... Green glass top deck.. amazing view from Tokyo to Gala-Yuzawa! Sad to see the final double decker shinkasen go just so that the speed can be increased another 35km/h more (240 to 275)… I know time is important for most commuters but I would really like to see the E4 being retain in regular service...

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JR 500系
18 hours ago, chadbag said:

 

Sitting in the lower level is kind of weird as you are lower to the platform than you are used to, IIRC, when you come into the station.  It has been awhile since I was last on one so the memory is fuzzy.  We saw a couple last December though did not get a chance to ride again.

 

 

Sitting on the lower deck is great for people in the shoes business since one can get great views of everyone's footwear when the train pulls into the station ~  😛

 

18 hours ago, chadbag said:

 

We too are planning a 2019 trip.  

 

 

Hey me too! Mine will be in October though, after about 1 year of slogging in the new job before the vacation leave sets in.... 

 

18 hours ago, chadbag said:

   I have not yet gotten tickets, though I have wanted to as there are some cheap flights into Tokyo on Singapore available.  

 

 

Did I see Singapore?  🙄

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Yavianice
18 hours ago, chadbag said:

We too are planning a 2019 trip.  This time in summer instead of over Christmas and New Years (which were the last 3 trips).🙂

I'll be in Japan in June-July in 2019.

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chadbag
1 hour ago, JR 500系 said:

 

Did I see Singapore?  🙄

 

 

Is Singapore Airlines not worth flying?  (Compared to the cr@ppy US airlines)

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chadbag
1 hour ago, Yavianice said:

I'll be in Japan in June-July in 2019.

 

Our plans are around July 23 -- Aug 13 more or less.  Kids school starts around Aug 14 or 15  🙂

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maihama eki
2 hours ago, chadbag said:

 

 

Is Singapore Airlines not worth flying?  (Compared to the cr@ppy US airlines)

I think you will find Singapore is competitive on price now with US airlines, and the food and service is definitely better.  Singapore has a premium economy class on US-Japan flights which is a nice upgrade on a long flight.  ANA has premium economy on some flights.  Delta may have premium economy on some flights too.  United has announced a premium economy too, but they are rolling it out at a glacial pace.  Right now, I find the best fares from the US to Japan through Los Angeles - there is a lot of competition flying from LAX to NRT.

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chadbag
10 hours ago, maihama eki said:

I think you will find Singapore is competitive on price now with US airlines, and the food and service is definitely better. Singapore has a premium economy class on US-Japan flights which is a nice upgrade on a long flight.  ANA has premium economy on some flights.  Delta may have premium economy on some flights too.  United has announced a premium economy too, but they are rolling it out at a glacial pace.  Right now, I find the best fares from the US to Japan through Los Angeles - there is a lot of competition flying from LAX to NRT.

 

Yeah, I would have expected Singapore to beat US airlines for service, food, overall ride.  Not hard to do.  That is what I found appealing.  The only disadvantage to the flight is it goes to Narita.  We'd rather fly to Kansai but 1/2 the time Narita is so much cheaper with 4 people, so we save $1k-$2k flying to Narita and taking the Shinkansen (with our JR pass so no extra cost - just the time) to Osaka.  The Singapore gets in to NRT a little late so we probably would get a room locally that night and take the Shinkansen in the morning.   From SLC to NRT the Singapore through LAX is around $840 and I can get that through Chase, where I have about $4k in travel credit banked.   The least expensive to Osaka right now for those dates is Delta (and they claim it is premium economy, but more on that later) but it is $420 more per person and I don't know if it is worth an extra $1260 for 3 of us (as my son is probably flying later and I need to figure out his flight so he returns with us and that will probably be the deciding factor) to avoid the Shinkansen to Osaka.  Right now we are trying to pay off some debt so we can build a house in 2020 so I am a little price sensitive -- though I still look at the whole picture and the overall value vs cost.

 

Premium Economy on international carriers is quite nice.  From what I can tell, the US carrier "premium economy" is not that much of an upgrade.  A little more leg room and probably nicer food or snacks, but not much better.  That is from reading about it (from the airlines themselves and reviews).  So if I could get premium economy on an international carrier for a reasonable price (2x the economy price is not reasonable at the moment) I would.  On a US carrier, it is a harder sell.  That is why the Delta to Osaka on "premium economy" for $420 more is not that big of a draw to me over the Singapore to NRT in economy.  If that was the Singapore premium economy, I'd be all over it.

 

I flew from Chicago to Stockholm and then from Copenhagen to San Francisco on SAS Premium Economy 2 years ago (almost exactly 2 years ago -- 2 years ago today we were on a train from Stockholm to Göteborg).  That was really nice and really opened my eyes to international Premium Economy.  Basically really nice, better economy-type seats and business class service.  Luckily I did't have to pay for the tickets on that flight -- Volvo picked up the tab.

 

I find that the carrier is more determinant  on the fare than the gateway.   An airline from SLC to Japan that might have flights through 2 different gateways have the same or very similar fares for the same classes and one might be through LAX and one through SFO or SEA.  The Delta flights listed above are through SEA btw.

 

If the Utah Swimming org would only set their Long Course Championship dates next summer so I would have all the parameters I need to make decisions and lock in these current good rates.  I doubt we'll see much better.

 


Sorry to derail your topic, junior.

Edited by chadbag

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serotta1972

No worries, good info to know. I chose Asiana as it was the cheapest and shortest flight from SFO. A bonus is I get to fly on an A350 to Korea and then on an A380 to Narita. I actually like to fly into Narita because I get to ride the NEX, one of my favorite trains.

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serotta1972
16 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

I'm guessing it's the Inaho and the Rikuusai line? Was wondering if you would also take the Akita line from Shinjo to Akita directly...

 

I supposed I can do that but I'd like a change of scenery from the mountains and riding along the coast would be nice and I get to ride on an E653 and it's actually one of the liveries that I like on them.  I'm searching on the internet about the Rikuusai Line and can't find any info.  I'd like to know the type of train that is in service.  Another option I have is to skip the Yamagata and take the Joetsu Shinkansen and ride the E4 to Niigata then the Inaho to Akita.  

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serotta1972
14 hours ago, chadbag said:

 

Our plans are around July 23 -- Aug 13 more or less.  Kids school starts around Aug 14 or 15  🙂

 

I was there last year during that time and it was hot.  It made my ride on the E351 Super Azusa not so pleasant as the AC wasn't working very well in the green car.  That's why I'm going back to ride the E353 because it was such a beautiful and scenic route.  Looks like a lot of us are going to Japan in 2019. 🙂

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chadbag
7 hours ago, serotta1972 said:

 

I was there last year during that time and it was hot.  It made my ride on the E351 Super Azusa not so pleasant as the AC wasn't working very well in the green car.  That's why I'm going back to ride the E353 because it was such a beautiful and scenic route.  Looks like a lot of us are going to Japan in 2019. 🙂

 

Yeah, this is the earliest in the summer we will have been.  Our last three trips were mid December to after New Years but before that we would go mid August to beginning of September as a start and that was always hot, hot, hot.  Especially in Osaka.

 

I am hoping N Japan and Hokkaido are a bit cooler compared to Osaka and that is one reason I plan on our roadtrip type stuff to take us there.

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katoftw

Yeah Hokkaido and Tohoku will be cooler. And the edge will be taken off the humidity.

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chadbag

I just booked us for Jul 25--Aug 15.  Flight from SLC to LAX on Alaska, LAX to NRT on Singapore (and the reverse) was average $892 per person including 1 "child".  Actual adult fare was around $948 but the average was brought down by the child fare.  Total 4 people.    Singapore only has a $50 change fee (plus the differential) so if my son's swim meet changes, I can rebook him for a different day.  Also booked a one night at a "Narita Tobu Hotel" right by the airport as the flight arrives at 7pm.  By the time we are out it is too late for a trip to Osaka area.

 

We did not get final swim meet info but I did hear from the organizers that they are trying to schedule it for Jul 22-24 if they can work it out with a pool/rec center.  The issue is that July 24 is a state holiday, and pools may not want to host when they can get the holiday visitors.

 

 

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sandiway
23 hours ago, chadbag said:

I just booked us for Jul 25--Aug 15.  Flight from SLC to LAX on Alaska, LAX to NRT on Singapore (and the reverse) was average $892 per person including 1 "child".  

That is the price for return? Man, so cheap.

 

All my flights to Japan from Tucson average around nearly $2K for economy staying around 10 days each time. I go 2 or 3 times a year for the last few years.

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chadbag
45 minutes ago, sandiway said:

That is the price for return? Man, so cheap.

 

All my flights to Japan from Tucson average around nearly $2K for economy staying around 10 days each time. I go 2 or 3 times a year for the last few years.

 

 

Yeah that is round trip.  Most of the time we pay around $1100-$1500 to Tokyo and more to Osaka, but sometimes you catch good fares.   RIght now you are seeing some good fairs off and on and the Singapore ones have been low for a while now.  They will go up.   We paid like $863/person average round trip for our trip last December to Kansai airport (Osaka) from SLC and Tokyo would have been about $750.  That was American (though I made sure we flew on code share JAL flight).   Both of these super cheap fares were like 9-10 months out, so if you can plan ahead you can get good deals.   If I were to try and get flights for 6 weeks from now to Tokyo, from SLC, the cheapest Momondo shows is $1879.   So planning ahead months in advance can help keep the costs down.  We go about every other year and have paid a low of $863 to Osaka to a high of around $1600-1800 (I forget if it was Tokyo or Osaka).  I now start tracking flight prices as soon as the tickets for our time we think we want to go open up, which on most airlines is about 330 days in advance.

 

(However I just did a sample one for Jan 8 through Jan 29 to Tokyo from SLC and am getting $654--$700 on United, ANA, JAL, AA per person, 1 child, which lowers the average some -- a lot of it depends on when you fly as well.)

Edited by chadbag

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sandiway

Unfortunately, I have no choice in the timing for my trips, as it’s all sponsored by the university I visit. Otherwise, I’d always pick April for cherry blossoms and November for the momiji tunnel. I bet the airfares for those dates aren’t cheap.

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