JAPAN: Do-it-yourself Itinerary and Summary Breakdown | Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto for 7Days

We’ve visited Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto for 7Days and 6Nnights (7D/6N) last November 2017. So, sharing with you our Do-it-yourself Itinerary and the summary breakdown in Japan which is recommended for First time visitors.

For Pinoys, we’ve also added tips on:

  • How we were able to score cheap plane ticket to Japan
  • How to apply Japan visa in Manila and the requirements to get approved after 3 business days
  • Tips on what to where during winter season and Where to buy cheap winter clothes
  • Where to exchange Philippine Peso to Japan Yen on different areas in Manila and Japan
  • Our experience on staying on a capsule hotel in Tokyo and staying on an Airbnb in Osaka and Tokyo
  • Where to rent pocket WIFI and other handy mobile apps that can help you on this foreign land
  • Details on how to survive the train system in Japan
  • And last is the places and experiences in Japan from castle and shrine to anime and themed-park!

Japan literally means “the origin of the sun” but usually called as the “Land of the Rising Sun” is located on Eastern Asia and just a few hours flight from Manila. The country is divided into 47 prefectures or self-governing areas with Hokkaido on the northernmost and Okinawa as the southernmost prefecture. These description about Japan can all be found on books, but for me, Japan is where all things are kawaii (cute!), a place with state of the art technologies, efficient train system, anime and manga – home of the childhood cartoons that we usually watched during afternoon, a place where tradition can embrace the modern world and of course let’s not forget about their appetizing food.

Here are the things that we’ve planned and done during our trip in Japan for 7D/6N:

#1: Booking a Plane ticket to Japan

We were able to score a cheap round-trip ticket to Tokyo for PHP 6,900 pesos two-way per person during Philippine Independence Day (June 12) – just a few months before our trip to Japan (November). For my personal experience on how I get a cheap flight, you might want to check it here – How to get a Cheap Plane ticket.

#2: Visa and Proper Documents

  • As our November trip is approaching, I started to check out important documents that we essentially need before we can exit the country. This is not limited to your passport, Japan visa and immigration documents that you may need during your flight.
  • For the passport requirements, your passport should have at least 6 months validity. It means that your expiry date must be 6 months before your estimated departure to the country. And of course should be valid and not mutilated – this is an important lesson learned way back when my passport got mutilated – Help! My passport got mutilatedMost of airline booking doesn’t required passport details, giving you the freedom to check your documents after your booking. For process on how to get Philippine Passport, check my other post here – Philippine DFA Passport Renewal Guide.
  • For the visa, Japan requires visa application to all people who wish to enter their country so applying for a visa is also required – First time guide on applying Japan tourist visa for Pinoys
  • And lastly for airport  and immigration documents, as per my experience during quick interview with an immigration officers, you need to prepare documents that proves that you have plans on returning back.

TIPS:

1. Check-in online before the departure date especially if you don’t have check in baggage.

2. Prepare printed boarding pass.

3. During airline booking, pay the necessary terminal and travel tax to avoid queuing numerous lines. Currently, Cebu Pacific supports terminal and travel tax payments upon booking.

4. Prepare for necessary documents for immigration – Visa and Passport. Sometimes they also asks for Company ID, returning ticket and your relationship to the person you’re with.

#3: What to Wear and Where to buy winter clothes

We’ve visited Japan during start of Winter season. Coming from a tropical country, our body is not accustomed to the harsh winter season; with that, you need to plan out what clothes to bring wisely so we can tour comfortably. We’ve just reused our existing Winter clothes that we’ve purchased from our previous South Korea trip.

Wear wisely as discussed in our other posts – What to Wear on an Autumn-Winter trip. We bought our trench coats at Ukay-Ukay in Guadalupe Makati and other coats at Bershka. If you’re interested you can check out my other posts – Winter Clothes and Where to Find Them | Ukay Ukay Guide in Guadalupe I have included the map of Ukay-Ukay that we found in Guadalupe Makati during our cloth hunting.

YOU MAY BE INTERESTED:  SOUTH KOREA: DIY Summary and Itinerary for 5Days/4Nights

#4: Where to exchange Philippine Peso to Japan Yen

We exchanged our Philippine peso to Japan Yen on one of local commercial bank here in Manila a week before our trip. We got the rate and yen after 3 days reservation from the bank. We were also available to exchange peso from a local money changer in Quezon City on the same day. In Japan, we found a  few Money Changer machines in Tokyo. Debit cards can be also used when purchasing items in Japan or withdraw yen from international ATM – just make sure to call your local bank and activate it before arriving in Japan. For requirements, rates and other options, you can check it here – Where to exchange Philippine peso to Japan Yen.

#5: Where to Stay in Tokyo and Osaka

When traveling overseas, one of our consensus decision on where to stay is  (1) Good Location – near a subway or bus station and/or (2) Unique Accommodation.

So on our first night in Tokyo, we stayed on a double sleeping capsule pod at Tokyo Kiba Hotel. Capsule hotels are unique experience and are only available in Japan so if you don’t mind sleeping on a nearly-enclosed room – then this is a must try! The one that we rent costs YEN 5,800.00 (around PHP 2,700.00) for 1 night.

We also stayed at an Airbnb room in Osaka which is just a few minutes walk from JR Shin-Osaka station  (PHP 1,800.00 per night) and in Tokyo also a few minutes walk from JR Gotanda station (PHP 1,770.00 per night).

#6: What to Bring

  • Download MRT Train Mobile Maps: Japan’s train system is one of the most efficient but to be honest most complex train system ever that I’ve experienced. Some major train station like in Tokyo is so huge you’ll almost forgot that you are still inside the station. There are also other train companies which mean more option and route to get to a certain place. To aid us with the time table and map direction, we’ve downloaded – Japan Travel from Play Store app.
  • Download Google Translate: This is a powerful translator application. Perfect on times when you want to understand instructions on your travel.
  • Download Google Maps: Google Maps is a navigation tool. You can save a map location that you can use offline afterwards.
  • Pocket WIFI Egg: We rented our Pocket Wifi
     for 7 days and claimed it inside Narita International Airport. Rental can be picked-up and returned on different locations. 
  • Power Adapter: Japan are using power sockets type A and B similar electric socket here in Philippines.

#7: Subway System

As discussed on #6 What to Bring section, we highly suggests to download a Mobile Train app for Japan  Subway as this will help you navigate in the city.

JAPAN RAIL PASS

Since our entry and exit point is from Tokyo and we also intend to visit Osaka and Kyoto on our 7D/6N Japan trip, we’ve decided to purchase a 7-day Japan Rail Pass – 2 weeks before our trip. The Japan Rail Pass shorten as JR Pass, is a special transportation pass intended for overseas visitors sold by the Japan Railways Group which can be bought as one-week, two-weeks or three-weeks Pass. We received the Exchange order form after 8 days via air mail. The exchange form will be the one to exchanged with the actual JR Pass in Japan.

The pass includes:

  • 7/14/21 Days unlimited transport to JR lines throughout Japan. Subway lines other than JR Lines are not included on the pass.
  • Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Pass for Hikari, Sakura, Kodama or Tsubame trains. Nozomi and Mizuho shinkansens are not included on the Japan rail pass.
  • Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho station.
  • Narita Express (N’EX) from Narita Airport to Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations and vice-versa.

Other transportation not part of Japan Rail Pass:

  • Tokyo Skyliner – Arrive at Tokyo from Narita Airport within 41 minutes. Fastest train to city from the Airport.
  • Nozomi and Mizuho shinkansen. These 2 shinkansens only stop on major cities so this will arrive early compared on other shinkansens.
NARITA EXPRESS

Narita Express (N’EX) is a connecting train from Narita International Airport to Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ibebujuro, Yokohoma and vice versa. The ride to Tokyo station is around 53 minute and is included on the Japan Rail Pass package. Free reservation can be done to ensure seating on the train.

#8: Things to do in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto for 7 Days and 6 Nights

  DAY 1 TOKYO: ARRIVED IN TOKYO, CAPSULE HOTEL – AKIHABARA – SHIBUYA CROSSING – GUNDAM AT DIVER CITY

We depart from Manila at 05:40AM via Cebupacific and arrived after 4 hours flight in Narita Airport (+1hr Japan is an hour ahead than Manila). Konnichiwa Japan!

First stop, picking up our Pocket Wifi then exchanged our 7-day Japan Rail Pass inside Narita Airport. When claiming the Wifi you need to present your passport, voucher and credit card used on the counter. For the Japan Rail Pass, we exchanged the Order Form that we’ve received from air mail to a physical JR Pass booklet. After getting the booklet on the JR East office inside the airport, we’ve reserved a Narita Express seating to Tokyo station (which by the way would be free when you availed the Japan Rail Pass).

After an hour of travelling via Narita Express, we’ve arrived at Tokyo station. To be honest, the station is huge and crazy – a lot of busy passengers are walking and passing by, we are confused as we initially thought that we’re already out of the station where in fact we are still inside the Tokyo station itself!

We’ve decided to have a late lunch in Honnoriyaa – it is a Onigiri (rice ball) shop inside the Tokyo station – they sell cheap yet delicious rice ball here with lots of different fillings to choose from. Unforgettable first meal in Japan! Those rice ball costs YEN 170 to YEN 240 (around PHP 80.00 to PHP 115.00) each.

We’ve also bought a SUICA IC card inside the station, it is a universal transportation system that can be used on all train stations and some convenience and vending stores in Japan, in case we’ve decided to use non-JR lines that are not part of the JR Pass.

After our lunch, we head to our first accommodation in Tokyo – Tokyo Kiba Hotel. The hotel offers a capsule hotel which is for me a very unique and must try experience when you visit Japan. We’ve onloaded our things inside the hotel and headed to our first destination – Akihabara.

At 3:30PM, we arrived in Akihabara which is known for its many electronic shops, home for manga, anime and arcade games. We’ve managed to play a few arcade claw machine here but no lack we didn’t score any! We’ve also found different Kitkat flavors in Akky One Duty Free shop which is by the way one of my mission in this trip 🙂

At 5:00PM, we arrived in Shibuya to visit Hachiko’s monument, witnessed the famous Shibuya crossing and had our first dinner in Tokyo at Ichiran Ramen shop.

At 8:20PM, we’ve visited the Unicorn Gundam at Diver’s City – reminiscing scenes from the Gundam anime that we used to watch during our childhood days!

  DAY 2 OSAKA: SHINKANSEN TO OSAKA – OSAKA CASTLE – SHINSAIBASHI – DOTONBORI

At 9:40AM, we’ve travelled with our luggage to Osaka via Hikari Shinkansen and reached Shin-Osaka after 3hours. We we’re supposed to leave our luggage on a coin locker inside the Shin-Osaka station but we can’t find any unoccupied lockers. Good thing is that there’s a Baggage Room service just outside the station where you can pickup on the same day (before 8:00pm or else you can pick it up the next day 9:00AM).

At 12:30NN, we took our lunch at Tamage To Watashi – they sells Omu Rice (Rice Omellet) inside Shin Osaka then headed to Osaka Castle for our first destination of the day. Osaka Castle is one of the famous landmark in Japan. When we arrived at JR Osakajokoen station, we found a Ramen festival outside the castle grounds and stalls of Japanese snacks.

After few hours of staying at Osaka Castle, we walked from JR Osakajoken to Morinomiya station and traveled to Shinsaibashi station to visit Dotonbori stretch. From Shinsaibashi we found a lot of stores – Clothing Giants like H&M, Zara and Uniqlo. We’ve also visited a Disney store in Shinsaibashi which sells a lot of Disney merchandise. From Shinasaibashi, we walked towards Dotonbori where we found one of the iconic landmark – Ebisu Bridge that connects the shopping area with the view of Dotonbori canal and famous Glico Man sign.

At 6:00PM, we’ve found ourselves inside the Don Quijote store – known in Japan as Donki. It sells different merchandise from basic groceries to electronics. Since the store sells were usually open until dawn (some store are open 24hrs), we visit the store as the last stop of our tour for the day. P.S. We’ve also found a lot of unique Kitkat flavors here in Donki and we’ve visited this store in Osaka twice!

At 7:30PM, we’ve picked up our luggage from the Baggage area in Shin-Osaka station, had our dinner at a tempura house inside the station named Hommachi Seimenjo Ten-no-Ue.

After that, we head to our Airbnb accommodation a few minutes walk from Shin-Osaka station and ended our first day in Osaka.

  DAY 3 KYOTO: SHINKANSEN TO KYOTO, GOLDEN PAVILION AND FUSHIMA INARI SHRINE

Our 3rd whole day was spent on Kyoto. At 8:43AM, we’ve travelled from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto via Hikari Shinkansen. The travel is quite fast, we’ve reached Kyoto station after 14minutes!

We first visited the Golden Pavilion, it is a Buddhist temple and one of popular buildings in Japan. The temple is located on the northern Kyoto and is a three-story building. The temple structure is pretty amazing as it’s top two floors are covered in pure gold leaf.

We went next to Kura Kaiten Sushi – it’s a YEN 100 sushi conveyor belt restaurant near Golden Pavilion but unluckily there a lot of people on queue and our reservation ticket will take us an hour before we can eat our lunch so we’ve landed on Mcdonalds instead 🙁

At 2:00PM, we reached Fushima Inari Shrine where we’ve rented a Kimono and stroll the shrine wearing one. We also splurge ourselves with streetfoods outside the shrine.

At 8:30PM, we head back to Osaka via Hikari Shinkansen and call it a day.

  DAY 4 OSAKA: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS AND DON QUIJOTE

On our 4th day, we spend most of our day at the popular Universal Studios Osaka. We also bought an Express Pass separately so we can escape the queue inside the Harry Potter world and other specific rides. We spent most of this trip inside the Harry Potter world (fan girl mode on!). We also visited Despicable World, Jaws, Jurassic Park and the Hollywood area.

At 8:30PM, we went back to Don Quijote store and bought a few souvenirs. Went back to our hotel afterwards and rest.

  DAY 5 TOKYO: MEIJI SHRINE, MOCHA CAT CAFE, YOSHINOYA HARAJUKU, TAKESHITA STREET, ONE PIECE AT TOKYO TOWER, SUSHI DINNER

At 9:43AM, we travelled from Shin-Osaka station to Tokyo (Shinagawa station) via Hikari Shinkansen. Travel time from Osaka to Shinagawa is around 3hours.

From Shinagawa station, we traveled to JR Gotanda station – this is a few walk from our Airbnb accommodation in Tokyo city. We put our luggage on a locker since most of the Airbnb doesn’t accept early check-in.

At 1:00PM, we pay a visit at Meiji Shrine – it is a Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the revered spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife.

At 2:00PM, we’ve visited Mocha Cat Cafe at Harajuku. The shop is located on the 4th floor of an establishment just in front of Harajuku station and Meiji Shrine.

At 3:00PM, we had our late lunch at Yoshinoya Harajuku and tried local Sukiyaki and Eel Bento which is cheap yet authentic. After our lunch, we strolled the Takeshita street where we found a Money Changer machine and an international ATM just in front of Daiso Harajuku. The street is packed with popup store that sells cheap souvenirs; there are also a lot of restaurants and desserts shop!

At 5:00PM, we arrived at Tokyo Tower to watch Live Action One Piece and mesmerize the beauty of Tokyo Tower up close and afar.

At 8:00PM, we had our sushi dinner at Uogashi-nihonichi (Fish Shop Nippon Ichi) near Hamamatsucho station. After that, we traveled to Hamamatsucho to Gotanda station to rest.

  DAY 6 TOKYO: DISNEY SEA, GYOZA SHIBUYA AND MEGA DON QUIJOTE

At 7:00AM, we’ve arrived at Tokyo Disneysea and fetched our advance ticket outside Maihama station. Disney sea compared to Disneyland has nautical themes and attractions and Disney princess and animations on the sea.

At 5:00PM, we had our dinner at Gyoza Shibuya and afterwards visited Mega Don Quijote in Shibuya.

  DAY 7 TOKYO: SHIBUYA NARITA EXPRESS, GOODBYE JAPAN!

At 7:20AM, we travelled from Shinagawa station to Narita Airport via Narita Express (N’EX). We arrived at the airport after 1hr30mins, returned our Pocket Wifi inside Narita Terminal 2, bought some chocolates and ref magnet inside the duty free kiosks and bid farewell to Japan. Goodbye and hope to see you again!

Related posts about our 7days-6nights Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto Japan DIY travel:

2 Replies to “JAPAN: Do-it-yourself Itinerary and Summary Breakdown | Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto for 7Days

  1. Hi do you have concise travel itinerary? Also when you bought the japan rail pass is there any pass that could save me money apart from the klook? we planned to visit kyoto, we are staying at osaka

  2. Hi. Do you have a breakdown of the expenses you incurred for the whole trip? Hoping you can share it as well. I’ll be travelling solo this Feb.2019 and currently doing my budget for the trip. Thanks!

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