It was last December 8 up until December 12 when I and my friends visited Japan. We focused mainly on hoping to explore parts of Kyoto and Osaka because we only have like more or less 5 days for the trip. But since it was December, we opted to go to Hyogo where the famous Kinosaki Onsen is about. We have visited most on our list. However, it was too late for us to visit Nara to get an up-close interaction with the deer in the park.
READ: 11 Little Things You’ll Love About Japan (That Will Make You Love Them More)
I’ll start off with the preparations we had before entering Japan – to which the others are obvious but still important.
1. Japan Tourist Visa & Your Passport
Number one is the Visa. As a Filipino tourist, this is a requirement
You won’t be able to enter Japan if you don’t have this valuable item. An article was first created before this. If you want to know more, click on this link. (Getting Yourself A Japan Visa – A Filipino Traveler’s Guide).
Processing Fee: 950 Php
The visa will be printed on your passport so it’s a bundle. Never ever as a tourist, make lose your passport!
2. Airline Ticket
Our airline ticket was a promo fare from Cebu Pacific Airlines! We had it booked about 9 months before the actual flight date in order for us to make preparations (you know, budget and stuff). The ticket was booked by March 2015. It was a tough competition because we are not the only one who’s looking forward to visiting the country. Thus, Cebu Pacific website was slow and if you got idled or you haven’t finished your transaction within 10mins, you need to look for available dates again. Hence, we only had December 8-12 because that’s the only possible flight we can get at the time.
Oh, the price of the ticket? Since it was a promo fare, 1000 per way, it only cost us 5,192.62 Php each RT MNL – Osaka (KIX) – MNL (with 20kg baggage + additional charges). Pretty cheap, right?! It was a really really good deal! Normally, it would be more than 10k per way.
Ticket Cost: 5,192.62 Php each
TIP: To enjoy more of Japan, please do not book less than 5 days! Better check for cheap flight tickets via SkyScanner.
3. Clothes to Wear
It was December and the start of winter. You really need a big luggage in order to survive the cold weather but that depends on how many clothes you will bring and how long are you going to be in Japan. This isn’t limited to Japan but to other countries with cold weather as well. The temperature was ranging from 4-12 degrees when we got there.
TIP: If you have a very limited budget for clothes, go to the thrift shops (aka Ukay-Ukay) and you will find pretty, classy and authentic winter clothes.
If you want to bring less but you do have an allotted budget for cold weather clothing and shopping, go the Japan’s apparel stores. The prices are most likely 20-50% less than their prices in the PH. i.e., UNIQLO.
Japan is quite a fashionable country too. You will get to see people who have glam boots and winter coats. Not only that, some people are still wearing skirts even when it’s freaking cold. For the sake of fashion, huh? If you’re not very good at adapting to changing environments, well, you still should adapt!
4. Accommodation (Hostel, Ryokan, etc)
This one’s the tricky part. As budget travellers, we would not want to spend most of our money in hotel accommodations. You’d only get to sleep and clean yourself anyway. There’s a cheaper way for that. Include Hostels, Couchsurfing and Airbnb on your list.
Hostels would cost you about 800++ to 1000++ Php per night (as we conducted our research during that time). Couchsurfing would cost almost nothing (it’s our first out of the country and there was 4 of us so we thought this can’t be an option). Airbnb would cost you not much too depending on the type of accommodation you’d like to have. They have options for Shared Room, Private Room or Apartment.
Airbnb was our option to get cheaper accommodation because most hostels are booked on the dates we were in. On our first two nights, we had Hidetaka Murakami’s condo unit located at Umeda. The stay was so good that I would like to just be there if possible. Aside from bed, the unit comes with a hot and cold shower, shampoo and body soap, a bathtub (where I spent most of my time when bathing), an electronic toilet, bar refrigerator, water heater, kitchen, sofa, television, air conditioner, free internet/wifi, washing machine and many more. It was like really living in your space and we only get to spend 700++ Php each per night! Thanks, Hide-san! I am recommending your place to everybody!
On our 3rd night, we were at Kinosaki Onsen. We stayed at a Ryokan (a Japanese traditional setting). This was our most expensive accommodation during our stay but the price was definitely worth it. I think we get to spend about 2800++ Php each on that night. More details about the Kinosaki Onsen over the next articles. Note: This is not from AirBnB.
On our fourth night, we spent our accommodation at Hostel Gingaku-ji administered by Rio. We booked our stay at AirBnB and it was a great experience staying at this hostel. Rio was also very accommodating and friendly. I also recommend this Hostel to future Japan travelers. 😀
December 8-9 AirBnB: 1594 Php
December 10 Kinosaki Onsen (Tsutimotoya Ryokan): 2590++ Php
December 11 Hostel Ginkaku-ji: 950++ Php
5. Your Japan Itinerary
Your visa application won’t be complete without this section. I’ll be just putting where we have gone on the days we were there because the time you’d get to spend in a place really would depend on you. However, I won’t add the shopping expenses (pasalubong) in this article. Here are the details on our day to day trip and expenses in this link. How I Spent Only 21,000 For A 5D4N Trip in Japan – Itinerary and Costs
6. Don’t forget your Japanese Yen!
Depending on the days you gotta stay and the lifestyle you’re living in, this last thing here is a must. I would prefer you exchanging your peso (or dollar) at Sanry’s if you’re in the Philippines. What I did was, exchange a few of my pesos with Sanry’s and withdraw from an ATM in 711 right at Japan.
For my experience, I would prefer to withdraw Japanese yen from the ATM in Japan because, by that time, it cost me only 37.00 for a single withdrawal. Oh, and my card was a visa debit card by PSBank. This is cheaper compared to when I exchanged Peso to Yen back at Sanry’s.
But still, don’t forget to bring extra cash at all times!
So guys, if ever you will have to book a ticket to Japan, please do not stay for 4 or 5 days. Book, at least, week or two to fully enjoy Japan! Enjoy!