Friday, April 29, 2016

DAY 1 - TOKYO JAPAN (Hello Japan)

After six months of careful (and near obsessive) planning, Team Petilla finally reached Tokyo, Japan. 


We have always preferred DIY travels and the language barrier was not enough excuse to discourage our love for DIY customized travels.  DIY works for us ~ we get to tailor fit our itinerary to our interests, and at a much leisurely pace.  There are also not much tour packages offering itineraries for families with young children.  I don’t want to waste half a day or more, touring attractions that would likely bore my (so theme park active and science museum addicted) kiddos.

If you are planning a Tokyo trip with school age children, this itinerary could help you.

Sharing here our 7days-7nights Tokyo Japan. I will try to add tips every now and then, to help make your planning easier.

TIP 1: YOU NEED A VALID JAPAN VISA TO GO TO JAPAN.  Will write about our Japan Visa application experience in a separate blog.

TIP 2: Tokyo has two main airports, HANEDA and NARITA.  I opted for Haneda International Airport, I figured it will be less busy than Narita, which is the principal gateway to Japan. Haneda is also closer to Tokyo, meaning less expensive and it would be easier to reach Central Tokyo.

TIP 3: Tokyo hotels are pretty expensive. Not to mention small. I   have recently been introduced to AIRBNB. I was a bit skeptical at first, and had sleepless nights thinking about if I have done right booking accommodations via AIRBNB.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions, we have made.  We booked an entire condo unit, about 50sqm in size. The place is clean and huge.  It comes complete with basic amenities, plus a working kitchen and a laundry area (though I was not able to do laundry, since we were all too tired after our days touring).   Location was great too.  It is right smacked in the heart of Asakusa.  The nearest train station is barely 100meters away.  AIRBNB is cool in our books!
Day 1 – Manila to Haneda
Haneda is about 4 hours by plane from Manila. We left Manila via PAL at 9am and arrived in Haneda at 2pm.
Step 1: Clear immigration (which was fast and easy) in 30+ minutes.
Step 2: Picked up our luggage.
Step 3: Buy Yen (I already bought some from Manila through BDO, but we have loose USD with us so we had this changed in the Airport). There are plenty of banks inside where you can do this.   We found one at the 2F Arrival Lobby.  Exchange rate was okay, although slightly lower than in Manila.
Step 4: Pick up pocket wifi we rented. Free internet connection is scarce in Japan. If you are using Japan's train system, Google map is your best friend. You can't risk travelling without a reliable internet connection or else get lost.  We settled a 75MBPS model from GAC COMM.  Connection was fast and reliable, serving 5 connected gadgets at a time.  Battery life was great too, lasted 9-10 hours.
Step 5: Head to  Keikyu Tourist Information Center to buy PASMO card (or a SUICA, they serve the same purpose).  A PASMO is your ticket to Tokyo's train system, minus the hassle of having to queue for one time ride train tickets.   You can also use PASMO at beverage/food dispensers and some convenience stores.  Keikyu Tourist center is located right outside the 2F Arrival Lobby.  From Haneda Airport, we have to take the Keikyu Line. Asakusa is about a 30 minutes train ride.   

TIP 4: Pack light, not all train systems in Tokyo has an elevator. Be prepared to carry your luggages.  For our 7 days - 7 nights trip, our family of four filled 2 medium trolley bags and 2 back packs.  I have a spare bag inside one of the luggages, which I figured I can use to pack my "pasalubongs" after.  As it turned out, my extra bag was a little to small and I ended buying another medium sized trolley bag.  It was a good thing though, I got a good deal for a heavy duty travel bag, which was nicer than the ones we have.
3pm - Arrived at Asakusa at 3pm. Our AIRBNB was a self -check in.  It was so cool. We settled a bit before wandering to where our feet led us ~ and they were telling us "food stop - food stop"...



430pm - With the help of google map, we sought out Asakusa Okonomiyaki Sometaro, which was TripAdisor's top places to eat in Asakusa Taito area.  Will write more about our first authentic Japanese cuisine experience in a separate blog.



 530pm - Stop over at Don Quijote, Asakusa. Don Quijote is a popular shopping store in Japan were you can find quirky stuffs and souvenirs.  They carry both cheap and expensive brands. Hubby got a Bluetooth headset  for fraction its price here in Manila.        


Check out these only in Japan merchandises.


6pm - We walked the streets of Nakamise.  It was running late and there were very few people.  I have seen pictures from blogs and reviews showing busy Nakamise Street and Senso Ji temple.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the place with very few tourist and so serene.



TIP 5: SENSO JI is so pretty at night, less the crowd. Unfortunately, only a handful of shops were open at the Nakamise Street. I had to postpone my shopping for a next time.
730pm - Went to 7 11 for supplies (mostly packed food, chips and chocolates, so afraid to go hungry). Will tell you about our 7 11 experience later.

TIP 6: If you are on a budget, you can never go wrong with packed foods at 7 11.  The ramen are fresh and so good. It was hard to believe we got it at a convenience store. Average meal cost Y300-Y400


We noted KitKat comes in 2 sizes, 8 and 12 pieces. The 12 pieces cost about Y500.  Same pack cost on Y300 when we went to Edo Wonderland in Nikko.  So as you can see, stuffs are a bit more expensive in the city.


9pm  - Sleeping time.

Please check also our  Day 2 in Tokyo as we visited Odaiba.

DAY 2 - TOKYO JAPAN (Welcome to Odaiba)
DAY 3 - NIKKO
DAY 4 - UENO
DAY 5 - TOKYO DISNEYLAND RESORT
DAY 5 - TOKYO DISNEYLAND REPORT II
DAY 6 - TOKYO DISNEY SEA

19 comments:

  1. I haven't tried AirBnB because of the mixed review, medyo takot pa ko magrisk so I always prefer hotel or hostel. I thought mahal bili ko ng Kitkat because I only bought it at the nearest grocery from hotel, 289 yen (tax included) for 12pcs, mura pala.

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    1. Hi Michi, I was scared booking via AIRBNB too. But I am glad we took the risk. We got a huge flat in a decent location near all the tourist attractions. Otherwise booking a hotel would have constricted us to an ovrerpriced 20-30sqm hotel room. I highly recommend you give it try. For beginners I suggest you limit booking with "superhost" only. They are tagged as such in AIRBNB which means mostly positive reviews.

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  2. Ooooh Japan! Great photos and I love the room! Looks so clean ;) Thank you for sharing

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    1. Nice right? Japan is so clean and organized. Not just the rooms weve stayed at, but even the places we have visited.

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  3. For me, traveling is fun especially if spent with loved ones. It would be extra fun to try something new or out of the usual norm like trying AIRBNB. And of course, buying kitkat makes the difference. Haha, Kitkat lover here especially the green one.

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    1. Sarap ng KitKat sa Japan. They have so many variants. Though my personal favorite is also the macha tea.

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  4. So good that you were able to do your itinerary on your own. :) We also got pocket wifi last time we were there. Indispensable! It's also convenient that we can just drop it off at 711 branches. I've never tried airbnb before.

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    1. AIRBNB was a real "sulit". It is one of my best finds ever. We only paid P30K for 3 nights (approx. P7500 per night) for a 50sqm condo in a tourist area. We are so happy with our Tokyo AIRBNB stay, we will using it again in our return to Japan (this time Osaka) next year.

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  5. Now that we all have our passports, we'll definitely be going out of the country soon. I'll keep these tips in mind if and when we finally get to visit Japan. Thanks for sharing! -- Maria Teresa Figuerres

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    1. I am glad to be of help Sis. Check out also the rest of our Tokyo travel post here. Happy planning.

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  6. Wow this is the second travel post on Tokyo that I've read in the last 5 minutes. So many people are traveling there lately. I'd love to go too! Thanks for the tips. I'm sure they'd be helpful when we finally get to go there.

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    1. Oo nga, Japan travel seems to be so in lately. Madali na kasi kumuha ng visa ngayon :P Travel deals also come cheap specially sa mga travel expo.... (tiyagaan nga lang).

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  7. The AirBnB place you rented looks super nice! Sayang lang i heard that they will be more stringent na in Japan with that. Great post and will definitely take note of your tips since we are planning to go to Tokyo too when Bunny is a bit bigger na. :)

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    1. I have heard and read about more stringent couch surfing rules in Japan. We had a fairly good experience naman. The Japanese people are really nice and helpful. The people staying at the condo were very friendly (just be nice in return and respectful - I guess they don't like too rowdy tourist though).

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  8. I stayed in Japan last 2009 and I agree that you will never go wrong to buy food at 7-11, all fresh and clean. Japan is my most favorite place I have visited so far.

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    1. Hi Mhaan, you should plan to go back when Cloud is a bit older.

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  9. Japan is my family's dream destination, we wish to visit this beautiful country soon.

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    1. Japan is a nice place to visit. The country is clean and fresh... family friendly too. I hope you can visit it someday with your family.

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  10. Hi.. can you share the airbnb link? The room looks really nice :) Thanks

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