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  1. #16

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    Re: Late Night Airport Transfer

    Quote Originally Posted by pli1018 View Post
    While we're on the subject of transportation, and both of you seem quite well-versed in the subject, would you mind reviewing my transportation plans and sharing your opinions on them?

    May 6th: Arrival - Kesei->JR->Disney Cruiser->Hilton (720Y for Keisei, 210 Y for JR, Cruiser free)
    May 7th - 10th: Tokyo Disney parks- 4-day Monorail pass (1,400Y)
    May 11th - 13th: Day trip to Mt. Fuji area, day exploring central Tokyo, day trip to Nikko- 3-Day JR Kanto Pass (8000Y)
    May 14th: Another day exploring central Tokyo (3500Y One-Way Suica & N'EX Pass)
    May 15th: Departure - Hilton->Cruiser->Maihama->Tokyo->Narita (Cruiser free, use remaining JR credit on the Suica card and the N'EX one way)

    I've yet to figure out if a JR single ride pass functions the same way as a New York City single ride pass. Say I take the train from Maihama to Tokyo and then from Tokyo to Shibuya, would that all be covered under the same fare or are transfers not included?
    Your trip surely sounds like it will be a lot of fun. And based on what I see, I believe your plans look fine with me. Roger55 seems more knowledgeable and will probably add his opinion shortly, which I'm also eager to read.

    Just a couple of items to discuss. When we visited Japan, we didn't have the chance to visit Nikko so I'm not familiar with the amount of time it takes to get there and back. We did visit the Mt. Fuji area and Hakone and it did take most of the day. Left early and got back around 10pm. Keep an eye out on the weather.. because I would not recommend going to Mount Fuji on a rainy or very overcast day, as these conditions don't make it easy to appreciate the scenery and majesty of Fuji. The day we visited, the skies were mostly cloudy and we didn't have the best of views of Fuji since it was mostly covered by clouds, and we were a bit disappointed by that.
    Also, I am not familiar with the 1-way Suica N'EX pass you refer, but my understanding is that you can get a rechargeable Suica or Pasmo card upon arrival at Narita Airport and use it on the Keisei, JR lines and Metro (subway) system in Tokyo. Maybe getting a Suica or Pasmo card when you arrive and loading it with yen may make it easier for you to travel between train systems during your stay.
    As for your last question, YES, you can use the single ride ticket to get you from Maihama to Shibuya as long as you ONLY use the JR trains. You can't use the JR single ticket if your travel plans include switching to the subway, Keio or Keisei lines. This is when a Suica or Pasmo card comes in handy as you can transfer between different train companies with ease. Hope that help.

  2. #17

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    Re: Late Night Airport Transfer

    Quote Originally Posted by pli1018 View Post
    May 6th: Arrival - Kesei->JR->Disney Cruiser->Hilton (720Y for Keisei, 210 Y for JR, Cruiser free)
    May 7th - 10th: Tokyo Disney parks- 4-day Monorail pass (1,400Y)
    May 11th - 13th: Day trip to Mt. Fuji area, day exploring central Tokyo, day trip to Nikko- 3-Day JR Kanto Pass (8000Y)
    May 14th: Another day exploring central Tokyo (3500Y One-Way Suica & N'EX Pass)
    May 15th: Departure - Hilton->Cruiser->Maihama->Tokyo->Narita (Cruiser free, use remaining JR credit on the Suica card and the N'EX one way)

    I've yet to figure out if a JR single ride pass functions the same way as a New York City single ride pass. Say I take the train from Maihama to Tokyo and then from Tokyo to Shibuya, would that all be covered under the same fare or are transfers not included?
    Here are some comments....

    Is there a reason you don't buy a Suica & N'EX round trip pass and take the N'EX directly to Tokyo Station on May 6th? You could then use your SUICA from Tokyo Station to get to Maihama and from there take your Cruiser. The Keisei fair you listed is the local train and will take a longer time and you have to make several transfers to get to Maihama. I'm not sure which Keisei you are talking about that will get you to a JR station for 720 yen. Is saving money the highest priority?

    If you buy a round trip SUICA & N'EX you have no stops or transfers all the way to Tokyo Station. From there you take the Keiyo/Musashino line directly to Maihama with no transfers.

    Regardless if you buy a round trip or one way pass you will receive 2000 yen SUICA credit when you buy the SUICA & N'EX pass. 500 yen of the 2000 is a deposit for the SUICA card and can be refunded if you surrender your card at the end of the trip. Any remaining balance above the deposit will be returned to you MINUS a 210 yen return feel. Remeber to allocate time at the end of your trip if you want to get back your deposit.

    So you will actually have 1500 yen of SUICA credit you can use. Is that how much you think you will spend for all the trips you plan to use the SUICA? It really will depend on how much expolring you do using the JR/Tokyo Metro/misc other subway lines. You already plan to use your Kanto Pass for the three days going to Mt Fuji, Nikko and exploring central Tokyo. If you have to put more funds in your SUICA I believe the minimum ammount you can load the card with is 1000 yen.

    Something other things to keep in mind with the Kanto Pass. Unlike the SUICA, you can NOT use it on the Tokyo Metro and other independant subway lines. So on your three Kanto Pass days, you might end up using your SUICA for the non-JR trains you ride. When and where do you plan to buy and activate your Kanto Pass? You can not buy it at Maihama so you will have to use your SUICA or pay cash to get to a station that does sell and activate the Kanto Pass.

    If you really do just buy a one-way SUICA & N'EX I take it you will buy it when you first arrive at Narita so you can use the SUICA that day to get to Maihama even though you won't use the N'EX. This means you will have to go to both the JR ticketing office and the Keisei ticketing. Remember this all requires that you allocate time to do so. Also, I've never bought a one way SUICA & N'EX without using the N'EX right away. My guess is that you will be given a voucher for the N'EX which you will have to exchange for a reserved seat ticket on the exact train you will be taking back to Narita. Again, you will need to make sure you allocate time to go to the ticket office at Tokyo Station to get your reserved seat ticket. If there is no voucher process, you might have to commit to a return time on the day you purchase your SUICA & N'EX.

    In general I think you have a basic outline of a plan that will work. However I'm not sure that this plan will cover all your transportation costs. On the days you have the Kanto Pass I have a suspicion you might be using your SUICA for Tokyo Metro or other rail lines in order to have efficient travels through the Tokyo metropolitan area. I'm also not sure if you've accounted for in your plan the tickets you will need to buy to get to one of the major stations to buy andor activate your Kanto Pass and your return N'EX.

    If it were me, I'd probably buy the round trip SUICA & N'EX pass. The Kanto Pass for the three days to Mt Fuji and Nikko is the way to go. Just have your SUICA with you for any non-JR rail you might end up riding in Tokyo those days. Your last two days you should probably use the SUICA. I'm guessing you will have to charge it up by then.

    Regarding your question about how single trip fares work, fares are determined by the distance traveled, not necessarily the route taken. This of course assumes you stay within the rail system from point A to point B. If you ever leave the rail system (i.e. exit through the ticketing gates to change rail company systems or exit the station) prior to reaching your destination, that effectively ends your trip and re-entering will start a new fare. This includes if you transfer from a JR line to a Tokyo Metro Line for instance.

    So using your example of Maihama to Shibuya, the fare would be 190 yen. You would either buy a ticket for 190 yen at Maihama, use that ticket to enter the system, ride Keiyo/Musashino line to Tokyo Station, stay within the system and walk to the Yamanote Line, ride the Yamanote line to Shibuya and use the same ticket to exit out of the system at Shibuya.

    If you use your SUICA, you would do everything the same except you would just have to swipe your SUICA entering and exiting the system instead of using your paper ticket. The SUICA system figures out where you entered and exited and deducts the proper amout from your SUICA.

    It seems like you are good at doing research on your own. I'd suggest you make sure you understand how ticketing works and that you know when and where you should buy and activate the various tickets/passes. If you plan to use paper tickets insted of the SUICA, make sure you understand how to determine fares and what to do if you didn't buy the right fare tickets. You probably also want to read up on how to add funds to your SUICA.

    I'm not sure if all this is helpful or makes things more confusing. The more specific questions you can ask the more simpler and concise the answers can be.
    Last edited by Roger55; 01-28-2013 at 11:56 PM.

  3. #18

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    Re: Late Night Airport Transfer

    Just thought of another option to consider...

    On your return to Narita, you could just take the Airport Limousine bus. It may cost a little more, but you get on the bus at the lobby of your hotel and you don't have to ride the train all the way to Tokyo Station and then have to walk to the N'EX platform and ride the N'EX all the way to Narita.

    If you didn't already know, TDR is located in between Tokyo Station and Narita.

    If you choose this option, you don't have to buy a SUICA & N'EX pass if you decide to do the Keisei multi-transfer option, or you would just buy a one way SUICA & N'EX if you decide to take the N'EX in to Tokyo Station. You can always just buy a SUICA card only.

    I like this Airport Limousine option for its simplicity.

  4. #19

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    Re: Late Night Airport Transfer

    While living in Japan, we often gave up trying to figure out how much fares would cost from point A to point B. What we wound up doing instead, unless we KNEW exactly how much a fare was going to cost, we would buy a pass, pay the nominal fee, and then at our stopping point, we'd go to the "Fare Adjustment" machines, stick in our ticket, and it would tell us how much we owe, pay the difference, and then exit the station.

  5. #20

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    Re: Late Night Airport Transfer

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger55 View Post
    Is there a reason you don't buy a Suica & N'EX round trip pass and take the N'EX directly to Tokyo Station on May 6th? You could then use your SUICA from Tokyo Station to get to Maihama and from there take your Cruiser. The Keisei fair you listed is the local train and will take a longer time and you have to make several transfers to get to Maihama. I'm not sure which Keisei you are talking about that will get you to a JR station for 720 yen. Is saving money the highest priority?
    I would love to just deal with the N'EX or the Airport limousine, but unfortunately my plane gets in at 8:30PM, well after the last of those trains/buses depart the airport. The fare price I got for the Keisei is based on a figure from Aotphks and from Hyperdia.

    Saving money is not the highest priority, but purchasing a pass that will allow me to move from line to line with the least amount of stress is. I hadn't realized how many different lines/rail operating companies there were, so what you've said paints a clearer picture for me now.

    Now that you've told me to check it, I've discovered if I buy the one-way SUICA/N'EX, it is only valid for one day. Looks like instead I will just buy a base SUICA card at Narita for 2000Y from a JR booth. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the SUICA is valid on the JR East lines, the Keisei lines, Tokyo Metro & the Disneyland Monorail. With the SUICA pass, the initial 1500Y should be enough to get me to Maihama without having to worry about buying another ticket that evening. I'm anticipating spending around 800Y a day, so refilling will definitely occur.

    The plan was to buy and activate the Kanto pass at Tokyo station. I would use my SUICA to get there. Most of the itineraries on the Kanto page of the JR website resemble my own plans and stick to JR lines. If I do need to use another line in those 3 days, that SUICA will be the back up. I plan on monitoring the funds on the SUICA card daily and the aim is to have 800Y on there at all times. Apparently, my home base of the Maihama station has a SUICA ticket machine, so I will have the option to refill every day.

    I am considering the Airport Limousine for the return. It will depend on how crazy our final day is, but it is a much much simpler option. Obviously I'd buy it in advance from the hotel lobby. Our flight leaves at 8:30PM so I figured the last possible one to take would be the bus at 4:54PM.

    How does this new plan based on your advice sound? Any issues you see or things I could make simpler? Thank you so much for your help!

  6. #21

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    Re: Late Night Airport Transfer

    Quote Originally Posted by pli1018 View Post
    I would love to just deal with the N'EX or the Airport limousine, but unfortunately my plane gets in at 8:30PM, well after the last of those trains/buses depart the airport.
    According to the JR East official timetable, the last N'EX leaves Narita around 9:45 PM. As long as things are operating normally at Narita when you arrive, you have an excellent chance to make this last train to Tokyo Station.

    JR-EAST: Shinkansen Reservation

    Quote Originally Posted by pli1018 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the SUICA is valid on the JR East lines, the Keisei lines, Tokyo Metro & the Disneyland Monorail.
    You are correct about the validity of SUICA use on the above mentioned lines. However, I would not use my SUICA on the Disney Resort Line (monorail). You can save money by just buying a multi-day pass at the Resort Line station. It will give you unlimited use on the Resort Line insted of paying 250 yen per ride using your SUICA.

    Quote Originally Posted by pli1018 View Post
    I plan on monitoring the funds on the SUICA card daily and the aim is to have 800Y on there at all times. Apparently, my home base of the Maihama station has a SUICA ticket machine, so I will have the option to refill every day.
    Everytime you swipe your SUICA at a turnstyle you will be able to see your balance. As I mentioned before, the minimum amout you can add to your card is 1000 yen. Just keep this in mind as you are coming to the end of your trip. If you want to keep your SUICA as a souvenir, you probably want to get the balance as close to 0 yen as possible. If you do keep it remember there is the 500 yen deposit you can only get back when you surrender your card. Also know that the 500 yen deposit does not show up as part of your balance when you swipe or charge the card.

    Maihama Eki(station) does have a SUICA charge card as do most JR stations. You just have to look to make sure the machine you are at has the SUICA symbol on it.

    Here is a short video showing how to charge your SUICA.
    How to recharge your Suica card when you travel in Japan - YouTube

    Quote Originally Posted by pli1018 View Post
    I am considering the Airport Limousine for the return. It will depend on how crazy our final day is, but it is a much much simpler option. Obviously I'd buy it in advance from the hotel lobby. Our flight leaves at 8:30PM so I figured the last possible one to take would be the bus at 4:54PM.
    You should be able to find a Airport Limousine bus for the return trip. The 16:54 bus looks like the one for you. If you think you can, you might want to leave a little earlier to give yourself some time to enjoy the shops and restaurants at Narita. Kind of a last farewell taste of Japan before heading home.
    Airport Limousine Bus-Airport Transport Service Co., Ltd

    Quote Originally Posted by pli1018 View Post
    How does this new plan based on your advice sound? Any issues you see or things I could make simpler?
    I think you have done a good job considering most all of the available options based on your itinerary.

    I wouldn't give up on the idea of making the last N'EX upon your arrival. After you clear customs go as quickly as possible to the JR office that sells the SUICA&N'EX pass. I don't know which terminal you are coming in to, but here is a link showing where the JR East Travel Service Centers are located in either Terminal 1 or 2.
    JR EAST Travel Service Center (Narita) | Customer Support | JR-EAST

    If you have any other questions just post them here. If I have an answer or a recommendation I will share it with you.

    Have a great trip.
    Last edited by Roger55; 02-03-2013 at 01:44 AM.

  7. #22

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    Re: Late Night Airport Transfer

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger55 View Post
    You are correct about the validity of SUICA use on the above mentioned lines. However, I would not use my SUICA on the Disney Resort Line (monorail). You can save money by just buying a multi-day pass at the Resort Line station. It will give you unlimited use on the Resort Line instead of paying 250 yen per ride using your SUICA.
    Yeah, I was planning on buying separate monorail passes anyway. Makes more sense based on the prices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger55 View Post
    I wouldn't give up on the idea of making the last N'EX upon your arrival. After you clear customs go as quickly as possible to the JR office that sells the SUICA&N'EX pass. I don't know which terminal you are coming in to, but here is a link showing where the JR East Travel Service Centers are located in either Terminal 1 or 2.
    JR EAST Travel Service Center (Narita) | Customer Support | JR-EAST
    It's definitely back on my radar. I was really nervous about customs/immigration times, so I wanted to make sure I had another option. Considering this is what I wanted to do this in the first place, if you think it's feasible, then I'll go this route.

    Would you happen to know the difference between a JR Travel Service Center and a JR Ticket Office? The former will be closed by the time my flight arrives, but I can purchase a SUICA/N'EX pass (with a VISA too! Hooray!) at a ticket office as well.

  8. #23

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    Re: Late Night Airport Transfer

    Quote Originally Posted by pli1018 View Post
    Would you happen to know the difference between a JR Travel Service Center and a JR Ticket Office? The former will be closed by the time my flight arrives, but I can purchase a SUICA/N'EX pass (with a VISA too! Hooray!) at a ticket office as well.
    I also noticed that the Travel Service Center closes early.

    The Travel Service Centers cater to foriegn travelers who need to buy special passes (e.g. SUICA & N'EX) or activate a special rail pass (e.g. JR Japan Rail Pass, JR Kanto Pass, etc.). The JR Travel Service Centers are staffed by people who speak foriegn languages.

    The JR Ticket Offices handle all other JR ticketing for local travel. This is where you can buy special tickets for special trains such as N'EX, commuter express, etc. I believe that is also where you would go to buy just a SUICA. All services at the JR Ticket Office are those that people living in Japan can utilize. You might not find someone working there that speaks great English, but I'm sure there will be someone there that speaks enough English to be able to sell you a SUICA & N'EX. They just might not be able to say all the usual pleasantries and give you detailed instructions in English.

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