Getting to Osaka
There is a courier service available at Narita airport called Yamato Express.Quite easy to find them.
They also can be found all over the place and use convenience stores as agents.
Will send on your luggage/skis for a small fee. Genrally around 2500 yen will get your ski's up to Niseko. This price works out cheaper than using "luggage left" services or lockers at rail stations.
Keep in mind, most locals send on their luggage when holidaying, so the service is quite reliable.
Transporting packages around the country
Packages can be sent to pretty much any place in Japan using Takkyubin or Takuhaibin. There is usually no need to even call or go to a service centre. Many convenience stores offer this service and hotels will arrange this for you. Just look for the Takkyubin sign at convenience stores.
Here are some typical prices, dependent on size and weight:
- Suitcase (80 cm x 40 cm x 30cm, less than 25 kg):
- From Osaka to Hakuba: ?? Yen
- From Osaka to Hokkaido: ?? Yen
- Tokyo to Kansai Airport: ?? Yen
Delivery companies at Kansai Airport include Yamato (Kuro Neko or Black Cat), Fukuyama & KTC/Sagawa/Seibu.
Sending Packages from Japan to Australia
Depending on what it is and how big, there are various ways.
- Japan Post. Maximum length is 100cm. e.g. 7kg 13,150yen
- EMS. This is the courier service of Japan Post. Maximum length 150cm. e.g. 7kg 10,700yen
- Nippon Express(Pelican Jetpak). Maximum size: Measure no more than 200cm on any side (or more than 300cm in total on all three sides). e.g. 7kg 20,000yen
Trains around Osaka
here are four different types of train systems around Osaka.
- Japan Rail
- Osaka Metro Subway
- Nankai Subway
- Various private railways.
The Hyperdia site is good for planning rail trips: http://grace.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperd01.cgi
Selecting the right ticket
JR Rail Pass This is a consecutive day pass which can only be bought outside of Japan, only available to non-resident foreigners. Firstly, you must validate the pass in Japan, within 3 months of buying the exchange order here in Australia (or other country). You redeem the voucher, for which you will get the JR Rail Pass in Japan. A 7 day pass costs 28,300yen (about $320). This pass includes all JR trains except the Nozomi Shinkansen, which is the fastest (Shinkansen = Bullet Train). However this is no disadvantage, as from Tokyo to Kyoto, the difference between Nozomi and Hikari is small. e.g. 513km, 2 hours 20min for Nozomi, and 2hours 38min for Hikari. The Kodama Shinkansen stops at MOST stations so takes much longer. Even with a JR Rail Pass, it's best to reserve seats on express trains including Shinkansen, as it's free to do so.
A JR Rail Pass doesn't make much sense if you're travelling from Kansai-Osaka-Hakuba Valley and back, as this will only cost around ?? yen, and you will only travel two days out of 7. You can otherwise get individual tickets instead. However, this means organising each ticket.
You can exchange the JR Rail Pass at certain larger stations in Japan (Including Kansai airport & Osaka see list: http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en009.html ), but you can choose a different day for it to start. e.g. You can exchange the exchange order for the JR Rail Pass on 1st Feb, but select a validation date of, say, 5th Feb. Make sure you mention that, when you exchange it.
If you have a few days in the Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji) you can get a JR East Kansai pass for local trains in that area. From memory a 4 day pass was $66.
Tips for travellers
It is a good idea to carry a small printed english version of subway / rail map for those occasion when there isn't an english version at the station. These are readily available at hotels, information centres.
When looking for the train line for your destination also note the end station in the direction you are heading on that line so you get the correct platform.
If you just miss a subway, don't worry, another one will be along in a couple of minutes unless it is the last one. They generally close around midnight.
There are lockers at practically every major railway station, but the biggest are only big enough for a medium/large suitcase. I’ve seen large cases that just don’t fit.