The Budget Traveler’s Guide: Osaka, Kyoto and Nara (Japan)

Japan is considered to be a splurge trip to many. I’ve been dying to go for years but being the frugal traveler I am, I keep on putting it off. I love Japanese food pa naman. That alone makes me really want go. So I challenged myself to come up with an itinerary that is affordable to me and my friends. And surprisingly, we did managed to spend less than Php34k per person on this trip. Google is really the bestest. Now let me break it down for you.



Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, and Jetstar all flies to many regions in Japan. These airlines offers seatsale many times in a year. Your best best is grabbing their piso fares. Another option is by going to travel expos. I got our tickets last February’s Travel Tour Expo 2016 at SMX. Jetstar is reintroducing flights to Japan so it was on sale. Roundtrip Manila-Osaka-Manila inclusive of 15kg baggage costs Php5300 per pax. I told the sales assistant to look for the cheapest fare on the dates after cherry blossom season 😉 .

Tip: Be a flexible traveler. Choose dates that are off peak if possible. Take note that cherry blossom season is the most expensive time to travel in Japan.

Japanese visa is free. But you cannot go directly to the Japan Embassy to get one. It is coursed thru travel agencies only. Their processing fees vary from Php800 – Php1200 per pax. I went to Travel Pros at SM The Block for ours. They are not the cheapest at php1000 but they are the ones near me. It is very easy to transact with them. Our group of 6 all got multiple entry visas after 5 working days.

Another thing that can give a major dent in your budget is the accomodation. This is also another one of those things that I don’t like splurging on. I think it’s a waste of money to get an expensive place to stay when most of the time we are out exploring anyway. Hotel, hostels, capsule hotels and airbnb’s are the choices here. We are 6 on the group and we all agreed that we want to be together in one place that is clean and hopefully near everything specifically a train station. No hotels for us. When choosing your accomodation, I highly recommend Namba area because that’s where all the action is. We chose an airbnb that is actually good for 10 pax and located right above Kuromon Market. I posted a review of the place a few days back. It is 3 minutes walk to Nippombashi Station and 5 minutes to Dotonburi and Shinsaibashi. Score!


If you don’t want to get lost in Japan, a pocket wifi is going to be your best friend. That and Google maps. I rented one from Pupuru and it was love at first connection haha. Only 88 pesos per day per pax for our group of 6.

I read a lot on what kind of train pass we would get or if it’s even worth to get one. Good thing they released a new pass last April. The new Kansai One Pass is all you need if your going to tour Kansai region. It is accepted on almost all train lines, buses, even convenience stores and offers discounts on some tourist sites. I think it will run for a limited time only though.


Osaka is said to be the ‘kitchen’ of Japan. You will never go hungry here unless you’re very picky. There’s a lot to Japanese cuisine than sushi. So if you don’t eat raw food don’t worry. Or there’s always Mcdonalds haha. In Osaka, don’t leave without trying their famous takoyaki and okonomiyaki. There’s a lot food stalls around Dotonburi that offers them.

In Kyoto, anything matcha is a must!


I used Japan Guide to narrow down our itinerary to max of 2-3 tourist spots a day especially in Kyoto. We only have 4 full days to explore Kansai. It’s so bitin! Kyoto is so beautiful that 2 days is definitely not enough.

Osaka – Kyoto – Nara Itinerary
May 15-19, 2016

Day 1 – Arrival 12pm. Rinku Premium Outlet. Dotonburi. Shinsaibashi.

Day 2 – Kurumon Market. Kyoto – Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Kinkakuji Temple. Dotonburi.

Day 3 – Kyoto – Fushimi Inari. Kiyomizudera Temple. Higashiyama District. Gion.

Day 4 – AM Osaka Castle. PM Nara Park.

Day 5 – Last minute shopping at Shinsaibashi. Departure to Manila in the evening.

It looks simple enough but all the walking was so exhausting. On our second night and every night there after, as we’re walking home, my legs started to feel like they don’t belong to me anymore. Like it wants to tore itself from my body, promise! You can map out the sites by interest and location. In my opinion you don’t have to see all the temples. Frankly they all look the same to me. I’m much more  interested in food haha 🙂 .

Here’s the budget breakdown in Pesos for Sorianos (2pax):

Airfare – 10600

Visa – 2000

Travel tax – 1824

Airbnb – 11424

Transpo in Japan – 7475.55

Pocket wifi, entrance fee to  2 tourist spots and locker – 2915

Food – 10390.95

Grab taxi from airport to QC – 500

TOTAL – Php47129.50 for 2 pax at JPY conversion of .43 

Above total does not include shopping, pasalubong and pabili from friends. In my previous post,  I discussed our day to day in detail and it includes a pdf file of ALL our expenses. As in everything it’s there na. We managed to spend less than Php34k per person all in!

So there you go! I hoped you enjoyed watching our Japan ravel video above. You can watch more of our travel videos here – Travel Adventure Ideas (Soriano Films).

You can also read more of our Japan trip here:

Osaka-Kyoto-Nara Itinerary and Expenses

Osaka Travelogue Day 1

Where to stay in Osaka

Arashiyama and Kinkakuji Photodiary

Southern Kyoto: Fushimi Inari

Eastern Kyoto: Kiyomizudera, Higashiyama distriact and geisha hunting in Gion

Thanks for dropping by 🙂 .



Continue Reading

Where To Stay In Osaka: West Japan Airbnb



If you’re looking for accommodation on your trip to Osaka, I highly recommend this airbnb place we rented just last week. It is located inside one of the alleys of Kuromon Market. 5 minutes walk from Nippombashi station. Dotonburi and Shinsaibashi are 10 minutes by foot and so is Namba Center.


IMG_0592 (1)


It has 3 bedroom 1 toilet and 1 bath. Very spacious and can accommodate a group of 10.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 8.43.01 AM

All in one Japanese toilet! Over toilet sink, wherein after you flush, water comes out of the faucet on top of the toilet for you to wash your hands then recycled to fill the toilet reservoir for the next use. Awesome! It also come equipped with sensors and automated bidet for front and rear wash.


One of the three rooms where four of us slept (we are a group of six). No beds just tatami mats and futons.


Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.00.38 AM

The kitchen is well equipped.   On our fourth night, we decided to eat in. Around 5pm before the market close, most of the sushi and sashimi are on sale. We bought those and cooked kobe beef. Beef cuts and ready to eat salad inside the supermarket are not bad either. Even the strawberries are on sale at this time 😉 . Food choices is never a problem because you are inside Kuromon Market where the food is epic.


Just outside the alley is a 24 hour supermarket.



Yi, our host, was very patient and helpful in answering all my inquiries and questions thru email before and during our stay. She sent a vey detailed info on how to get there without hassle. The only con I could think of was there is no pocket wifi included with our accomodation. That’s why we rented one from Pupuru. All in all we really enjoyed our stay here.

So here’s the video of the place if you wanna see. Please excuse our voices 🙂 .

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. We paid the amount they advertised (group of 6 for 5d4n).






You can read all my Japan posts here:

Osaka-Kyoto-Nara 5D4N Itinerary and Expenses

Osakangkayganda Day 1

Kyoto: Arashiyama and Kinkakuji Photodiary

The Budget Traveler’s Guide: Osaka, Kyoto and Nara (Japan)

Southern Kyoto: Fushimi Inari

Eastern Kyoto: Kiyomizudera, Higashiyama district and geisha hunting in Gion

Continue Reading

OsakangkayGanda Day 1- May 15, 2016

It is true that Japan is the land of the fastest internet. Free wifi though is limited to train stations, airports, coffee shops and maybe malls. I don’t know how stable the wifi are on those areas because I got myself a pocket wifi. I’m literally scared of getting lost (lost in translation included haha). My friends depended on me to navigate so a pocket wifi is a must. I rented one from Pupuru. I compared and found them the cheapest. With good reviews too. You order 3 days before your intended arrival for pick up at the airport or they can mail it at your hotel. I picked up ours at Kansai Intl airport post office as soon as we arrived. On the day of departure, just drop it off in the sealed envelope it came into in any red mailboxes at the airport or any convenience store that has one. Easy peasy. It lasted for like 9 hours a day. If you’re going to be out more than that, it helps to have a power bank with you. No to getting lost with Pupuru haha. Google maps and Hyperdia are the apps I used in navigating the trains and streets in Osaka and Kyoto. Google maps became my bff! Take note, English street signs in Japan is scarce.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 5.28.05 PM
photo from Kansai One Pass website

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 8.54.23 AM

Japan’s train passes is as many and as confusing as their train lines. I was skeptical to get one at first. I couldn’t find one that works well with our itinerary. I said we might as well pay per ride. But last April, they introduced a new one for Kansai Region called Kansai One Pass.  Offered for limited time only which costs 3000 yen inclusive of 500 yen deposit, reloadable and refundable. It works to almost all train and bus lines in Kansai region except the Shinkansen and some areas going outside Kansai. Some tourist spots offers discount when you present it at the ticket counter. So if you’re going to Osaka and will tour most of Kansai area, I highly recommend this pass. You can get them at Nankai Railway or Jr Ticket office at KIX Airport Station 2/F Arrival Hall Terminal 1.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.43.17 AM

Rinku Premium Outlet was a long debatable subject among us girls before this trip. Do we have to go on our first day? Is it even worth to go? Are the goods really cheap? How about we go on our last day instead? My friends will tell you that shopping is not my priority on any of my out of the country trips. Unless one was planned really as a shopping trip. It is last on my to do list and usually done at the end of the day, or on our last day, or if I still have extra pocket money left. But I’m all for friendship, goodwill and peace so I give in (with reservations lol 🙂 ) and include at least a day for shopping in our itinerary. We decided to drop by Rinku on our 1st day. First because it’s just 20 minutes away by bus from the airport.  It will cost us more in train fare since it was quite far from our airbnb place if we go back and forth and second because if we went on our last day, we might not have enough baggage space left hahaha.

Bus terminal to Rinku Premium Outlet is located at KIX Terminal 1 1st floor Arrival Hall north gate. Look for bus stop no. 12. Bus fare is Y200 per way payable in cash. Please prepare exact amount or if you just arrived like us and don’t have Y100 coins, you may give Y1000 and the bus driver will give you change. No bigger than Y1000 though.

Baggage lockers are available on every floor near the restroom for Y500 each. It is at their foodcourt where we had our first taste of authentic Japanese food lol. Selection was ok. Ramen of course is the first order of business.

Nothing caught my fancy at this outlet though. My friends bought rubber shoes at Nike. We didn’t really have time to go over every store.  Around 6pm we rode the train from Rinku Town station to Nippombashi station.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 8.39.39 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 8.48.53 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 8.43.01 AM

I think our airbnb above Kuromon market deserves its own post. I will write about that next time. After checking in our things we head out to Dotonburi for dinner. And when in Dotonburi, you takoyaki 🙂 .

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.37.56 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.39.41 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 8.20.06 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 8.19.19 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 9.37.06 AM



Dinner was at this revolving sushi place called Daiki Suisan (infrontt of Creo-ru) Dotonburi. The sushi is priced per plate with differently colored plates corresponding to different price tiers (typically 150-500 yen per plate). Everything we tried here was good. Their green tea is so good too I bought 3 packs to bring home at Y300 per pack.




A tourist must do what a tourist do, to pose with Glico Man 🙂 .


That’s it for our first day in Osaka. Tune in for more of our Japan trip. Thanks for dropping by.



You can read more of our Japan trip here:

Osaka-Kyoto-Nara Trip Expenses and Itinerary

Where To Stay In Osaka.

Kyoto: Arashiyama and Kinkakuji Photodiary

The Budget Traveler’s Guide: Osaka, Kyoto and Nara (Japan)

Southern Kyoto: Fushimi Inari

Eastern Kyoto: Kiyomizudera, Higashiyama District and geisha hunting in Gion

Continue Reading