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Tokyo to Nikko - where to stay in Tokyo for easier access?

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columbia SC
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Tokyo to Nikko - where to stay in Tokyo for easier access?

In three weeks, we will be arriving at Narita. We will spend one or two days in Tokyo before heading to Nikko. I am overwhelmed by the hotel choices and areas in Tokyo. Where would be best for us to stay in Tokyo in order to take the JR to Nikko? Also, we are heading to Sendai after Nikko. From reading other posts, I guess we should try to stay overnight in Nikko, so that we have time to see the shrines, the waterfall and the lake? Thanks!

Maryland
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1. Re: Tokyo to Nikko - where to stay in Tokyo for easier access?

You probably want to stay near Tokyo Station.

if you search for "hotels near" "tokyo station" in the forums you'll find a number of previous posts.

If you are continuing north after Nikko I think you might has well spend the night - otherwise it'll be a marathon day with a lot of travelling. There's plenty to enjoy in Nikko.

columbia SC
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2. Re: Tokyo to Nikko - where to stay in Tokyo for easier access?

Thanks for your recommendation. We'll look near the Tokyo station. Another question I have is about the ryokans in Nikko. The bedding is described as tatami mats. Are there futons over the mats provided for sleeping? The one time we stayed at a ryokan, we had futons on the mats - and maybe this is understood? I wouldn't be comfortable on a mat on the floor...

Thanks!

Hong Kong, China
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3. Re: Tokyo to Nikko - where to stay in Tokyo for easier access?

Assuming you have a JR Pass, staying near Tokyo station would make sense if you want to avoid transfers. However, Ginza and Shimbashi area would be more interesting with an easy transfer at Yamanote Line.

If you don't have a JR Pass, JR will prove to be overly expensive on Shinkansen. It will still be expensive even on JR regular trains and slow. You should take Tobu Line Rapid from Asakusa (Tobu) station. The one way fare is just 1,320 Yen and takes a little more than 2 hours. Normally, the All Nikko Pass would make sense but since you are not coming back to Tokyo afterwards, the pass is not worthwhile. On the way to Sendai, change at Utsunomiya for Sendai.

columbia SC
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4. Re: Tokyo to Nikko - where to stay in Tokyo for easier access?

Yes, we will have JR passes. Is the first class pass a good idea, or are we OK with second class passes? In Europe we buy first class passes - but I can't remember back from our trip to Japan five years ago which one we bought. I do know the trains were clean and modern.

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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5. Re: Tokyo to Nikko - where to stay in Tokyo for easier access?

I think regular JR Pass is just fine unless you have lots of luggage or you guys are very tall.

6. Re: Tokyo to Nikko - where to stay in Tokyo for easier access?

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