I will be in Japan next week for a business trip to Toyota City. I will be there for three weeks, and while I'm actually in Toyota City I'll have no need for transportation other than my feet. I've already booked a flight to Tokyo and my original plan was to travel by rail to Toyota City. My question concerns how I will accomplish this latter task. Although I do plan on traveling some on the weekends (this is my first time in Japan), and I appreciate any additional insight on single-day trips I might take on the weekend, that's not my primary concern. I will be using company funds to pay for my trip from Tokyo to Toyota City (and back, 21 days later), but will be using private funds for any weekend trips. I'm interested in taking the bullet train at least once, but I'm not otherwise committed to using the train if taking a bus makes more sense. I'm able to pay more for additional convenience, but within reason, of course. So, my question has the following parts:
- What is the best way of traveling from Tokyo to Toyota City? My research so far suggests taking a Hikari train from Tokyo to Nagoya (¥10580, ~2 hours), taking the Chuo Line to Kozoji (¥??, ? minutes), and then taking the Aichi Loop Line to Toyota (¥??, ? minutes). This seems a bit complicated, and given my inability to speak Japanese, somewhat dangerous. The other option I've considered is a bus trip to Toyota City, which seems possibly safer in terms of me messing up (but I'm not sure), probably cheaper (~¥12000), but almost definitely slower (~4 hours). As I will be arriving in Tokyo at 16:35 after a very long flight, I'm keen on reducing the total travel time.
- How do I actually book it? Is there an on-line site I should go to to buy ahead of time? For example, I see there's such a thing as the "Puratto Kodama Economy Plan" which makes the trip from Tokyo to Nagoya only ¥8100 if I book ahead of time, which of course brings some risk unless I leave sufficient cushion for my plane not arriving exactly on time — I'm not sure about how reliable this will be, especially considering that I'm flying from CHO (Charlottesville) to Dulles (Washington, DC), and then from Dulles to Narita (Tokyo), with my primary concern being the trip from CHO to Dulles. If there's not an on-line site, where do I go to when I get to Tokyo to buy the tickets?
Any additional suggestions are also welcome.