Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Japan Travel: Central Japan 7D6N Free-and-Easy Itinerary

As we shared the reasons for visiting Central Japan in our 10 tips for planning Central Japan trip with children, though the trip was tiring due to long distance travel on trains and bus, but it was memorable as our family shared new experiences together.



Let us share the summary of our Central Japan 7D6N free-and-easy itinerary:

Day 1 Takayama and Toyama

Singapore -> Chubu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya) ->[Meitetsu train] -> Nagoya (lunch at McDonald's) -> [JR Takayama line] -> Takayama > [JR Takayama line] -> Toyama

Stay: Toyoko Inn Toyama Eki-mae Shinkansen-guchi 2

We departed Singapore at 1+ a.m. and reached Chubu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya) at around 9 a.m. Japan time. If you have experienced taking red-eye flight, you would know that it is actually quite tiring. It is especially when your child chooses to lean on your shoulder instead of against the window when he / she sleeps on the plane.

After almost 7 hours of flight, we took a train from the airport to Nagoya which took about half an hour, and we took 2.5 hours JR train from Nagoya to stop over at Takayama for a break, before taking another 1.5 hour JR train from Takayama to Toyama. If you can afford to spend more days, I would not suggest you follow the itinerary of our first day, as it is really really tiring!

Our highlight at Takayama was to eat and eat and eat!




Day 2 Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Toyoma -> [Dentetsu Toyama, Tateyama Cable Car, Highway bus] ->  Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route -> [Highway bus, Tateyama Cable Car, Dentetsu Toyama] -> Toyama

Stay: Toyoko Inn Toyama Eki-mae Shinkansen-guchi 2

It was a pity that it was raining and we could not walk along the Snow Corridor, the reason why we wanted to visit Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. Anyway, we visited the smaller scale of Snow Corridor, it was better than nothing! Perhaps it was a sign that we had to visit Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route again!




Day 3 Kanazawa

Toyama -> [Hokuriku Shinkansen] -> Kanazawa Station -> [Kanazawa Right Loop Bus] -> Higashiyama Higashi Chaya ->  [Kanazawa Right Loop Bus] -> Omicho Market -> [Kanazawa Left Loop Bus] -> 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kenroku-en, Kanazawa Castle -> [Kanazawa Left Loop Bus] -> Kanazawa Station

Stay: Toyoko Inn Kanazawa-eki Higashi-guchi

At Kanazawa, where we embarked on gastronomical adventure to enjoy fresh seafood and fruits, as well as learning journey to an art museum, a Japanese garden and a castle.







Day 4 Shirakawa-go

Kanazawa -> [Hokuriku Tetsudo Bus] -> Shirakawa-go -> [Nouhi Bus] -> Takayama -> [JR > Takayama line] -> Nagoya -> [Subway Sakuradori line] - Hisayaodori

Stay: Toyoko Inn Nagoya Nishiki

We were thankful that the weather was great as we strolled around the village of gassho-style houses.




At Nagoya, we checked in Toyoko Inn Nagoya Nishiki which is 3 subway stations away from Nagoya Station. One reason why we chose this hotel was that it offers Family Room, which has a double bed and a single bed, and it costs less than SGD120 per night! However, some time after I made the booking that I reaslised that Nikishi area was red-light district! Luckily no one disturbed us along our way from subway station to the hotel.


Day 5 Nagoya

Hisayaodori -> [Subway Sakuradori line, Aonami Line] ->  LEGOLAND Japan -> [Walk] -> Sample Kobo -> [Aonami Line, Subway Sakuradori line] -> Hisayaodori

Stay: Toyoko Inn Nagoya Nishiki

Our children enjoyed the visit to LEGOLAND Japan! Though we have been to LEGOLAND in Malaysia twice, the one in Japan offers different activities and experience! We also had hands-on experience on how to make our own food sample - the food models that you see outside some of the Japanese restaurants.




Day 6 Nagoya

Hisayaodori -> [Subway Sakuradori line, Meitetsu train] -> Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology -> [Meitetsu train, Aonaomi Line] -> SCMaglev and Railway Park -> [Aonaomi Line, Subway Higashiyama line] -> Sakae (Oasis 21, Nagoya TV Tower)

Stay: Toyoko Inn Nagoya Nishiki

We had a fun-filled day at two museums! I strongly recommend you to visit Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, as well as SCMaglev and Railway Park, it was an eye opener to learn about the development of automobiles and railway.




Day 7 Home Sweet Home

Hisayaodori -> [Subway Sakuradori line, Meitetsu train] -> Chubu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya) -> Singapore

Time to say goodbye to Japan! We will be back!


How to Get from Chubu Centrair International Airport to Nagoya Station (and vice versa)

The airport at Nagoya is called Chubu Centrair International Airport. To get from the airport to Nagoya and vice versa is quite straight forward, you can either take Meitetsu train 名鉄 or bus.

We took Meitetsu train which would take 28 to 48 minutes depending on which type of train that you are taking. The basic fare is 870 yen for adult and 440 yen for child. A First Class Car Ticket "μTicket" at 360 yen per person is required to board the first class car of a μ-SKY Limited Express, as well as reserved seats on Rapid Limited Express or Limited Express train. Since we were not in a hurry and wanted to save some money, we took non-reserved seat.



How to Save Money on Transportation

As we had to travel long distance, so it was more worthwhile to get JR Pass than to buy tickets separately. For this trip, we purchased Takayama-Hokuriku Area Pass, which costs 14000 yen for adult and 7000 yen for child.



Let us show you how much we saved from getting this JR Pass.
Nagoya to Takayama by JR reserved seat = 6030 yen
Takayama to Toyama by JR reserved seat = 3360 yen
Toyama to Kanazawa by Shinkansen non-reserved seat = 2810 yen
Takayama to Nagoya by JR reserved seat = 6030 yen
Bus bus from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go = 1850 yen
Bus from Shirakawa-go to Takayama = 2470 yen

So if we had purchased the tickets separately, we would have to pay 22550 yen for an adult. But with Takayama-Hokuriku Area Pass, each adult saves 8550 yen, even if we took non-reserved seat on JR trains, we would still save 6990 yen per adult. That is a substantial amount of saving for our family of 2 adults and 2 children!

There are 2 steps in obtaining Takayama-Hokuriku Area Pass.
Step 1: Purchase the exchange order (MCO) from local travel agency e.g. JTB, Klook, Changi Recommends
Step 2: Upon arriving Japan, go to JR Ticket Office with MCO purchased in step 1 and your passport, redeem the actual JR Pass



Post Trip Reflection

As our children are now slightly older, we are more adventurous in our overseas trips. But to be honest, though the itinerary for the first 4 days look quite "relaxed", it was actually quite tiring as the travelling time on train or bus was quite long. As compared to our trips to Taiwan and Hong Kong, when the children could stay up at night to watch TV at the hotel, during this trip to Central Japan, they actually "concussed" when their heads touched the pillows! So if you are travelling with younger children and elderly, and if you can spend more days in Japan, I would suggest that you stay at least one night at Takayama, and one more night at Toyama, so that it is not so rush and tiring.

Our expenditure (2 adults + 2 children)
Air tickets (Singapore Airline) = ~SGD2700
Accommodation (6 nights) = ~48000 yen (~SGD600)
Admission tickets = 6100 yen + ~SGD240 LEGOLAND Japan (purchased the tickets in Singapore)
Transportation = 36760 yen + SGD459 JR Pass (purchased in Singapore)
Food and shopping = 81000 yen
Total damage = ~SGD5500

Let us share with you some interesting discovery during this Japan trip!

We found Clear Coca Cola which was just launched during our trip in June 2018. Our verdict? Well, we don't think we would get another bottle of this.



At McDonald's Japan, we had Gudetama McFlurry, which was actually vanilla flavour soft serve with caramel.



Gudemata toys were the reason for us to buy McDonald's Happy Meal!



We love Baby Star noodles snack! But it may not go too well with ice-cream.



Read our other adventures in Japan:
Okinawa 6D5N free-and-easy self-driving trip
Kyushu 8D7N free-and-easy railway trip


Our Central Japan Travelogue June 2018

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