Japan (Feb 2017)

This is going to be a budget 10days trip to Tokyo with a friend.
It was a spur of the moment decision to go with her, after coming across this really attractive airfare (nope, this is not an advertorial) :)

As of now, my aim is to keep the budget below SGD1500 for the return airfare (inclusive tax and surcharges), accommodations, food, transport and other expenditures on the trip. We are also probably gonna get the 3 days JR Tokyo Wide railpass (10,000yen) for this trip too.

I could have gone with an even lower budget, but I don't want to overly scrimp too much and give up on certain comfort/minor indulgences for this trip. Therefore I think 1.5k is a more realistic budget for me, than say 1.2k or even 1k.  
For example, I am not comfortable with sleeping in dormitories even though those are cheap, but I am ok with staying at capsule hotels even though they are slightly more expensive than hostels. 

I will try to keep a more detailed expenditures breakdown for this trip as compared to my other trips, and will update it here as I go along.

Tentative Itinerary (as of 19 Jan 2017)
Day 1: Arrival at Tokyo Haneda airport at night.  Find a manga cafe to catch a few hours sleep.
Day 2: Visit Harajuku and Shibuya. Stay capsule hotel at Shinjuku
Day 3: Visit ??. Stay capsule hotel at Shinjuku
Day 4: Visit Nihon Minkaen + Shimo-Kitazawa + Kichijoji. Stay Tokyo Minami Senju
Day 5: Visit ??. Stay Tokyo Minami Senju
Day 6: Visit Yanaka, Odaiba and evening Disneyland  Stay Tokyo Minami Senju
Day 7: (Railpass day 1) Visit Gala-Yuzawa and Echigo Yuzawa.  Stay Kawasaki
Day 8: (Railpass day 2) Visit ??. Stay Kawasaki
Day 9: (Railpass day 3) Visit Kawazu.  Stay at Capsule hotel at Narita Airport.
Day 10: Morning flight departing Narita Airport.

Here is my current spending breakdown for this trip so far (updated: 2 Nov 2016):
Thai Airways promo airfare, inclusive tax and surcharges (transit at Bangkok): SGD 395

4900yen (promo rate, regular price 5900yen) 9hours Capsule Hotel at Narita Airport for 1 night


  1. Dear Samantha,

    that update looks great! I'm planning a winter 2017 trip to Tokyo as well, and I'm getting the Tokyo Wide Pass too!

    1. That's great :) may i ask which places will u be visiting for those 3 days of railpass usage?

    2. Hmm, I'm looking at the Izu peninsula and Manza onsen! :)

  2. Hi,
    I'm going to travel with 6 girl friends, reached Haneda Airport on 15th April 2017 about 10:30 pm, Can I spend a night in Bulet Train and reach Osaka the Next day?

    How am I going to plan my trip travel using JR pass round trip form Tokyo to Hokaido? Please advise.



    1. Hi
      There's no overnight bullet train. Your best bet is to take the earliest Hikarki Shinkansen from either Tokyo or Shinagawa station the next morning, and then arrive Osaka in late morning.

      It is going to be a LOOOOONNNGGGGG train journey from Osaka to Hokkaido and back to Tokyo via trains.

      For example...
      Tokyo to Osaka via Shinkansen: about 3hrs
      Osaka to Tokyo via Shinkansen: about 3hrs
      Tokyo to Hakodate (southern Hokkaido) via Shinkansen: about 6hrs
      Hakodate to Sapporo (central Hokkaido) via Ltd Exp train: about 4hrs
      Sapporo to Hakodate via Ltd Exp train: about 4hrs
      Hakodate to Tokyo via Shinkansen: about 6hrs

      If you are only using a 7 days JR railpass to cover the train journey from Tokyo to Osaka to Hokkaido and then back to Tokyo, it's gonna be VERY RUSHED!!
      But if you still wanna go for it, here's probably what I suggest:
      Day 1: Arrival at Haneda airport in Tokyo. Stay near Shinagawa station.

      Day 2: (JR railpass day 1) Early morning Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka (about 3hrs). Visit Osaka. Stay Osaka.

      Day 3: (JR railpass day 2) Visit nearby Kyoto (about 30mins train from Osaka). Early evening Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo (about 3hrs journye). Stay near Tokyo or Ueno station.

      Day 4: (JR railpass day 3) Early morning Shinkansen from Tokyo or Ueno station to Shin-Hakodate station in southern Hokkaido (about 6hrs train). Visit Hakodate. Stay Hakodate.

      Day 5: (JR railpass day 4) Hakodate to either Lake Toya or Noboribetsu hotspring via Ltd Exp train (about 3hrs train). Stay at hotspring hotel at either 1 of those 2 places.

      Day 6: (JR railpass day 5) Lake Toya or Noboribetsu to Sapporo via Ltd Exp train (about 1 to 2hrs train journey) in the morning after breakfast. Visit Sapporo. Stay Sapporo.

      Day 7: (JR railpass day 6) Take short train ride (40mins) from Sapporo to Otaru. Visit Otaru in the morning till early afternoon. Return to Sapporo. Take late afternoon or early evening Ltd Exp train from Sapporo to Hakodate (about 4hrs journey). Will reach Hakodate nearly midnight. Stay near Hakodate station.

      Day 8: (JR railpass day 7) Take short train ride from Hakodate to Shin-Hakodate station, transfer to Shinkansen train back to Tokyo (about 6hrs journey). Stay at Tokyo.

      Use hyperdia website to help u plan your train journeys.

  3. Hi Samantha

    In your 2014 blog on "daytrip around osaka" - JR West Kansai Wide Area Pass - is this the 5-days pass with 8,500 yen?


    1. https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/kansai_wide/

  4. Hi Samantha

    Really enjoy reading your articles, it's fun & detailed.
    As this is gg to be my first trip to Japan, and travelling with my 3 children (24 / 21 / 15), I really hope this will turn out to be a memorable ones.
    We are going in the mid month of Dec, arriving from Narita & departing from Haneda.
    I'll be residing for the entire trip and stay for 8 nights at Tokyo, at one place known as Kodenmacho subway which is quite near to Tokyo station.
    Now question is besides visiting places around Central/West Tokyo, thought of covering some day trips near Tokyo such as Lake Kawaguchiko / Hakone / Disneysea / Gala Yuzawa / Kawagoe / Omiya / Yokohama.
    Now I am confuse with what type of JR pass I should get for the entire trip transportation starting from arrival till departure.
    Can you help me with this and maybe suggest some itinerary?
    Thank you in advance for your precious time in reading this.