Have you tried the train in Japan by yourself?

I went to Japan with Essence of Japan last year with Tauck. Had a great time!Some of the other guests went to Nara and Osaka for a few extra days at the end.

I will go back this year with a different company and want to do a tour of Nara. Has any one tried the train ride from Kyoto station to Nara and then Nara to Kansai Airport?

Do they accept credit card for one way fare?


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    edited January 20

    It's been a long time since I rode trains (and the subway) in Japan but I remember that it was pretty easy. Don't be afraid to try.

    [And the Japanese people are friendly and helpful. Many speak English.]

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    I wrote about this in a previous thread, after my trip last April, so you may want to do a search.

    We took JR from Kyoto back to Tokyo at the end of the trip, not to where you plan to go, but it should be similar. Some of the train line ticket kiosks did NOT accept American credit cards. I tried both a Chase and Capital One card, both rejected. I contacted Chase after the trip to inquire why and they said it was the vendor, not them, that rejected it. We found a nearby ATM and got cash to buy the tickets.

    Even though all the trains are under the umbrella of Japan Rail, there are several different companies involved in the rail system. So there's a chance your CC may work, but be prepared.

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    We had extra time on our Tauck trip and took the train from Kyoto station to Nara. Either your tour director or the people at your hotel can tell you the layout of the station and where to buy a ticket. For us it was easier to make the transaction, using our credit card, with a person rather than a machine. The Japanese are really helpful. Ask ahead of time if there will be any ceremonies in Nara. Thanks to our director's help we saw a beautiful ceremony take place.

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    Don't be late; average lateness is 30 seconds. And if possible best to travel with a smallish suitcase (or 2) that will slide into the narrow storage space between seat rows. Stations have great food btw.

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    I will have a lot of luggage coming from seven days in Korea and four days in Hong Kong. So I decided to go with a private self excursion. The tour company will be taking me from Kyoto in a private car to Nara, spend a day touring and drop me off at a hotel in Osaka. Then I will take a taxi to Kansai Airport. Hope it will work.

    By the way, the Bullet Train waits for no one. One of the guest sat my last Tauck Essence of Japan tour was able to take her fragile body off the train on time and did not enough time to drag her tiny carry on with her before the train slammed its door. The TD Larry and Nicole ended up having to retrieve a little bag for her the next day. The rest of the guest were kindly advised to line up at the door before the train stopped.

    The Bullet Train is definitely not luxury. The inside is not even as nice as an upgraded Amtrak. Always crowded and stuffy. Not my preferred method of travel.

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    The bullet trains we took in September were fine, not stuffy or crowded. And yes, you have to line up ready to get off. Very efficiently way of getting around the country

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