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Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
2 posts
3 reviews
Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

I've learned loads from reading all the posts but have a few questions I haven't seen answered yet. My family of 4 will be in Japan in late May 2019 for ten days and I was wondering:

We will be taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto and back and will not be reserving seats, are there times that are busy that we should avoid? I believe we will travel to Kyoto on Saturday and back on Tuesday.

I think my kids (16 and 11) will enjoy Odaiba and we can spend half a day there, is it better to visit at day or night?

I saw in some older posts recommendations for carrying cash (and saw about only certain ATMs to use as I'm from USA), and some people recommending MC or Visa and some Amex. Is this still the case today? I'll pay our hotels with credit and prepay tours and things but for restaurants, museum entry, shopping, should I rely mostly on cash?

How easy is it to use the subway, are there english translations or do I need to make notes of how many stations I go through before I reach my stop?

Thanks in advance for any and all help!

7 replies to this topic
Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
6,563 posts
27 reviews
1. Re: Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

Welcome to Japan Forums!

Most likely no need for advance Shinkansen reservations, but if you make them the day of travel or a day ahead it will be one less thing to worry about. You save about 80 yen per ticket with non-reserved seats but I've never tried that.

Odaiba: I like seeing the harbor, so I vote for day.

Cash: Yes you still need cash for some things like museums, temples, little shops and restaurants. I think that MC and Visa are more widely accepted than AmEx. 7-Eleven and Japan Post have international ATMs with little (night at 7-11) or no fees. More 7-Elevens in Japan than in the US.

Subways (and more cash): yes a bit confusing. Prepaid IC cards help a lot--tap and go instead of pondering fare maps and ticket machines. You can also use them at convenience stores and some other places. https://www.japan-guide.com/search/?cx=015609760794546757367%3A7rvvvopegh0&cof=FORID%3A11&search_id=site_header&q=ic+card&sa= Lots of English-language signs.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
5,259 posts
24 reviews
2. Re: Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

Subway signage is pretty good. Typically, stations have both names and sequential numbers, so if you carry a system map you should be fine. The numbers help if you're like me and Asakusa and Hackensack sound exactly alike!

Level Contributor
229 posts
1 review
3. Re: Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

Reservation costs about 800 yen not 80 yen

Kobe, Japan
Level Contributor
3,953 posts
17 reviews
4. Re: Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

Here's a discounted (22%) fare for round trip shinkansen between Tokyo and Kyoto. No reservations needed.

https:/…

Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
2 posts
3 reviews
5. Re: Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

Thanks all so much for your help!

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
6,563 posts
27 reviews
6. Re: Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

Hungry. Good catch on the reservation fee; I didn't proofread.

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
1,288 posts
6 reviews
7. Re: Shinkansen times, Odaiba, money, and other newbie ?

For Odaiba I would recommend from late afternoon to evening. The area totally comes alive at night with all the lights.

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