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.
HOW TO GET THERE
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!
GETTING AROUND KANSAI REGION
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!
PLACES TO SEE
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:
Thanks for dropping by 🙂 .