Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Japan: In A Nutshell

Okay, so I am now on my last post for the whole Japanagon Season 2 Serye, hehe. I realized that I haven't given you guys concrete tips, tricks, and budget (sorry!). I am not a travel blogger after all, HAHA, I am just here to tell my stories. Personal blogger? I think I'll take that title any day. :)

This is me while travelling: big humongous maleta, magastos (I love buying little things for my family and friends back home), loves her coffee breaks, and photo taking here and there. HAHA. I don't think there should be ANY RULES in traveling, anyway. Hindi pamurahan ng nagastos or pagandahan ng shot. Just make the most out of it, the best way possible for you. No right or wrong answers, pass your papers! Lol.

But since I am in so much energy to post about this trip, I'll end it with my personal budget and our itinerary. In short, uulitin ko lang lahat ng sinabi ko before, in one single post! Haha! I'll also insert some links on my past posts as I go along, so you can see more photos and insights.

Let's Fly!

First time to ride Jetstar, Pax saw the airline's Japan seatsale a few months back. Sarah booked a few weeks later and still got cheap flights with same schedule as ours. I know alam nyo naman na yung tip na "book ahead", but also try to check different options, and not only your favorite budget airline.

Also, when you check the price on the same site again and again, try turning your browser in incognito mode. Minsan biglang tumataas yan when they detect same IP Address visiting the same page.

Manila to Osaka - Php 2,248
Tokyo to Manila - 11,190 YEN (Roughly around Php 5,035)
Total = Php 7,283 Roundtrip to Jepen!

Let's Sleep!

We arrived Osaka early in the morning, most establishments were still closed. Even our Airbnb home closed pa, haha! We all rented Coin Lockers situated in almost ALL major train stations in Japan. My giant maleta fits the 600 Yen lockers (Php 270). You can leave your things here with no time limits, unlike Manila's hourly parking rates. Imagine all the possibilities! Haha!

But on to our Airbnb homes...

The one we rented in Osaka Namba is very near the Dotonbori Bridge. I like it because it is just walking distance to the main area (Glico Man and food area - priorities!), it has a private bathroom, and costs only Php 3,200 / room / night.

Total = Php 1,066 / 1 night
More on this HERE.

I'd say Kyoto was my least favorite Airbnb home (sorry honest, haha). Maybe it's because my friends said their sheets were itchy, and because the rooms ESPECIALLY the bathrooms weren't as clean as the guesthouse I stayed in last year. It is also super faaaar from the train station, but compensated by how CHEAP they rent the rooms.

I also like the Japanese "bahay ni Nobita" style, so all's well in the end!

Php2,300 / room / night x 2 nights = Php 4,600
Php 4,600 / 3 persons
Total = Php 1,500 / 2 nights
More on this HERE.

We had one night in a night bus from Kyoto to Tokyo, so it's like hitting two gastos with one stone. Instead of riding the expensive Shinkansen AND paying for a room rent, the night bus is a good alternative and even a unique experience on its own.

Total = 6,800 Yen (or Php 3060)
More on this HERE.

And finally, our Tokyo Airbnb! Located in Shibuya, and just a few blocks away from the train station, the Crossing and Hachiko, it's one of the best places we stayed in during this Japan trip.

Php 3,000 / room / night x 3 nights
Php 9,000 / 3 persons
Total = Php 3000 / 3 nights
More on this HERE.

Let's Eat!

When I got back from Korea, I remembered steering clear from anything KIMCHI and BIBIMBAP, haha! But it's the exact opposite when I got home from Japan. Parang hindi nagsawa, I still dine in RAMEN and SUSHI restaurants, still craving for tamago and Japanese curry. :p

Here's a rundown of all the Japanese foods we tried for this trip! Jap food lovers, get ready to droool!

Ichiran Ramen, why is Manila's weather right now so Ichiran-worthy! Haha!

Vegetarians! I had huge bowl of all-veggies ramen in a Shibuya restaurant called Kamukura:

Different popular noodle dishes from all over the world from Yokohama's Cup Noodles Museum. They call this food court the Noodles Bazaar!

Rotating sushi experience in a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Dotonbori:

Tamago in my mind, hehehe:

Another hole-in-the-wall in Dotonbori:

They say that Japanese foods are healthy, sooo... (order everything!!!!)

Still had sushi at the airport:

More tamago in a restaurant in Nara:

Pax and Sarah had katsu and cold soba:

Omurice in Fushimi Inari: (I still need to try the authentic one where they place the gooey egg on the rice right in front of you, haha!)

A kaiseki multi-course Japanese dinner in old Kyoto (Gion) no less!

I had the Vegetarian Set, where I had different tofu dishes and vegetable tempura:

Mochi and Matcha for dessert!

Curry and Japanese rice in a random guesthouse on the way to Kiyomizu Temple (no Coco Curry for this trip, nagulat si Ate because it's my favorite!)

Okonomiyakiiii! I ordered the cheesy version. I am glad it's easy to take out the meat parts since we cooked our okonomiyaki ourselves. Thinking of the brown sauce now, huhu. :p

We almost missed eating in a yakiniku restaurant on this trip, so what a coincidence when Gervin brought us to one during our last night in Japan!

Sabi nga ni Sarah, "Kailangan ko ng gasolina!" Haha!

Starbucks, because I got the city cards from both Osaka and Tokyo:

Pancake Days in Harajuku with our JaPinoy friends:

Moena, a Hawaiian cafe, still in Harajuku: 

Simple butter-and-sugar crepe and iced latte in a French-themed cafe Galettoria, Shibuya:

Influenced my friends to try (and love) Mister Donuts! My favorite is the ringlet, which I first discovered in Taiwan:

Lawson, Family Mart, and 7Eleven - these konbini (Japanese convenience stores) are my partners in midnight snacking and cheap food pasalubong!

Mochi from Family Mart:

Mochi with strawberry and biscuit in Nara:

Matcha ice cream at the Osaka Castle Park:

 On days when we need to take a break from the Japanese foods, we had cheese pizza in Arashiyama and cheesy fries in Harajuku! We even had Dominos Pizza while waiting for our night bus in Kyoto, haha!

Let's Explore!

Although I know that eight days is not enough to explore Japan, what more to explore THREE of its major cities, I think we maximized our time even with all the coffee breaks in between! We carried our luggages through steep stairs, I cursed in million Tagalog mura while I carried mine na feel ko mas mabigat pa sa akin (haha), only to slither through and soak ourselves in Japan's rich and extreme cultures! I miss it so much!

For transportation, we learned to navigate our way as we went along. No amount of research and train apps will make you a pro when it comes to the tricky Japanese railway system - it's so complicated yet so intensively created to make life easier for their people. Imagine just riding trains to go to Mindanao or Baguio?

At the end of the day, we also succumbed to a few taxi rides (especially when we're still looking for our Airbnb with our maletas) and bus rides. But WALKING and the trains were still our major means in getting around.

For weather, our generation is lucky to have apps and websites with the day's accurate temperature and climate conditions. When we went there late June, we already knew it's the rainy season so I packed an umbrella and several rain jackets.

Where We Went?

One Day in Osaka:

- Food trip in Dotonbori
- Photo op at the Dotonbori Bridge (Glico Man)
- Shopping in Shin Sai Bashi and Namba Center
- Osaka Castle
- Side-trip to NARA Deer Park

Things to do in Kyoto:

- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
- Gion (Land of Geishas)
- Fushimi Inari
- Arashiyama

- Eat, shop, and take photos in Ginza and Harajuku
- Check out this hip areas in Harajuku (Takeshita Street, Omotesando, and Cat Street)
- Visit Meiji, the temple in the middle of the city
- Take a side-trip to Yokohama and visit the Cup Noodles Museum
- Eat, shop, and watch the Robot Restaurant show in Shinjuku
- Eat, shop, and take photos in Shibuya (Crossing, Hachiko) and Daikanyama

Thank you to my "Tatlong Bibe" Japan June 2016 travel buddies Pax and Sarah for sharing these experiences with me. :) We may have different personalities and interests, but I guess these made our unpredictable itinerary more exciting and interesting! Shopping today, pa-culture bukas! Haha!

Let's Shop!

Of course, shop till you drop! This is Japan! 
Listing some of my favorite stores and shopping districts:

- Tsutaya stores for magazines, books, and CDs
- GU, Monki, and WeGo for clothes, shoes, etc.
- Takeshita Street in Harajuku for random knick-knacks and fashion finds
- Wastelands: Flying Tiger, Don Quijote, Tokyu Hands and Loft
- Yokohama's Queen's Square Mall for anime and character wastelands

Tip: Bring your passport and ask if the store offers tax deductions to tourists!

Saw a tabinging Hachiko in Tower Records Shibuya:

Rap battle in the middle of Shibuya, near the crossing:

GU is my special (shopping) place:

Sucker for wastelands!

 Don Quijote is a building filled with all sorts of crazy things you can think of!
Eto nga akala ko sa Youtube ko lang makikita:

I bought a Doraemon onesie, just because:

Akala ko para saan these tiny animal and baby figures...

Yun pala pang accessorize ng plants!!!

Pastel-colored electric fans -- my view while seated and trying out a back-massage chair, haha!

You can check out my Japan haul HERE.

Let's Compute! (haha)

Again, I am in no way a "travel blogger", just sharing what I spent so more or less you will know what you need (or not need!) when you go to Japan. Also, for personal future reference! Hehe.

Let's Fly!
Php 7,283 Roundtrip Airfare
Php 1200 Visa (via Friendship Tours)

Let's Sleep! 
Osaka: Php 1,066 (1 Night)
Kyoto: Php 1,500 (2 Nights)
Night Bus: Php 3060
Tokyo: Php 3000 (3 Nights)

Let's Eat! Let's Explore! Let's Shop! 
Php 60,000 - Inclusive of food, a Kaiseki dinner, all-out shopping (with two branded bags), entrance fees to shows like Robot Restaurant and Gion Corner, and some temples that require tickets.

Let's Compute!
Php 77, 109 for 8 days in Japan!
(Osaka - Nara - Kyoto - Tokyo - Yokohama)
For comparison, here's my budget post from last year.

It's so sad to finally end my Japan blog posts, it's like leaving the city all over again. As my seemingly never-ending throwback Instagram posts and Facebook albums also come to an end, I can only promise myself that I can always, like the last time, come back.

バイバイ Bai-bai Japan! Doumo arigatou gozaimasu!!!


  1. I wish I got to see your budget list even before I went to Japan :( now I regret spending too much with only a few pasalubongs. Pahinging skills ate ana hahahhaa loved your trip though! Thanks for this post ❤️

    1. Awww thank you! :) I'm sure you had fun magastos o hindi.. Love Japan! <3

  2. I've been to Japan too last April and I'm still not over it until today. (HAHA OA!) But seriously, it's a country worth coming back.

    1. That's true!! I love Japan on April- spring is the best! :)

  3. Sad that this is your last Japan post (for now)! But thanks for taking us with you! I love your kwentos! ;)

    1. Thank you for reading & commenting, super appreciate it! :)

  4. Hello! Love your Japan posts <3

    Just want to ask, does the immigration in Japan ask where you're going to stay? Because we already booked an Airbnb apartment for our trip. Then nabasa namin na pinagbabawal na nila yung pagstay sa Airbnb. Hope to hear from you. :)

    1. Thank you so much, appreciate it! And yes you have to know where you'll stay.. kahit general address lang.. I place AirBNB and no problem naman. Didn't know may rule na bawal.. Is this a recent thing? :)

  5. Hi, Ana! I actually love your travel-related posts. I appreciate it that you're not a travel blogger because it gives me a real grasp of how much it will cost me to go to these places (I shop and drink coffee a lot din, haha). I also love your observations. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much Psyche! This comment melted my heart. <3


Your turn! Always excited to read your comments! :)