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Japan by Rail: Includes Rail Route Guide and 29 City Guides, 2nd Edition Paperback – August 1, 2007
There is a newer edition of this item:
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Trailblazer’s new guide is practical, highly interesting and should enable the visitor to save money and add to the enjoyment of Japan.’
Japanophile train enthusiasts, it seems you’ve met your hero’.
From the Back Cover
* Practical information planning your trip; what to take; getting to Japan from Europe, North America and Australasia
* City guides and maps where to stay (all budgets), where to eat, what to see in 29 towns and cities; historical and cultural background
* Kilometre-by-kilometre route guides covering train journeys from the coast into the mountains, from temple retreat to sprawling metropolis and from sulphurous volcano to windswept desert; 34 route maps
* Railway timetables Bullet trains and all routes in this guidebook
* Plus Customs, etiquette, Japanese phrases and 28 colour photos
Top customer reviews
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Now here is the gold in this book. Japan has a very special deal for tourists where you can get an unlimited rail pass (free ride) practically anywhere for either a 1 week or 2 week period. The cost of the pass is less than a single train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto. Which is a ridiculous bargain. But the caveat is that you have to purchase a voucher for the pass out of the country! And then when you arrive in Japan you cash in the voucher for your rail pass. I did all of this and am so happy I did. I rode around, all over the place from city to city, for free. I can't tell you how much money this saved me. The rail pass gives you the freedom to see what you want to see, and where, without even considering the cost.
This is the focus of this book. It tells you exactly where and how to get the rail pass, where to cash in the voucher, and how to use the rail system to see the country. Loaded with lots of great information about the stunning tourist attractions in the country.
If you are going to japan and want to travel around a bit, maybe see Himeji castle, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, Tokyo etc. then simply buy this book. There is no question that it is money well spent.
The train system for outsiders: The Japanese train system is very laid out, very organized, very disciplined and on-time. But it can be hard for a foreigner to understand. There are different types of trains and different train lines, you can reserve a seat etc. This book helps you figure all that out.
One caveat: The rail system in Japan is composed of the rails from several different companies so the Japan Rail Pass will not be good on every track and every train, or on the city subway systems but that doesn't matter much. It's good on the vast majority of rails and trains. So glad I got this book!
This book seemed like a great idea, but it is a bit poorly executed. While it does list things like lockers available at certain stations, it does so selectively - listing lockers for some stations, while not even mentioning whether they exist at others that are popular tourist stops (e.g. Himeji). Also, if the author doesn't like a town (e.g. Beppu), he provides no information for the tourist attractions there; in fact, no information at all, except that you shouldn't go there. Never mind that someone else might like to go there and actually have a good time once they arrive (which we did, with another guidebook in hand). Other things are sort of half-done, too - such as mentioning night/sleeper trains, but not going into any detail on which ones have which types of seats/beds, (as some are free for Rail Pass holders, and some are not). I found more complete information on the internet. And then it's not even in the index so once you find it you'll have to remember where it was or just flip through the book, I suppose.
Something else you would think this book would have would be a list of top scenic rail routes. While he does provide some information on this on some of the individual routes, am I really expected to read the book cover to cover to compile this information myself? (Incidentally, our most scenic route was to Beppu, the town the author didn't want us to go to.)
If you plan to keep to the major tourist attractions and/or Shinkansen routes, skip this guide and get another. If your travels will take you through mostly local routes that the major guides don't cover, then you might find a use for this book.
- horrible organization, good luck finding out about your next stop, it will be scattered over a whole chapter
- woefully incomplete, why not just list every train route? How could a two-inch thick book about trains in Japan not include a complete all-in one route guide?
- waste of space sightseeing information, there's no way you're going to Japan with this as your only reference, you're going to need a Lonely Planet or something. So don't waste heavy pages trying to tell me what to see in a couple randomly selected write-ups
- no time table - are you kidding?! No timetable?! A freaking book about trains!
- no station information - how about some station maps and information? even airplane magazines tell you where you're going to need to go in major city airports
- mostly covers bullet trains - bullet trains are very easy to take and have English announcements. The local trains are difficult and are only in Japanese. almost no information on these routes.
DON'T WASTE THE TIME MONEY OR WEIGHT!
Most recent customer reviews
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