Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Helpful FREE Applications for your Tokyo Japan Vacation

Preparing for a family vacation in a foreign country that doesn't speak your language is a daunting task, so to make planning for our Tokyo Japan vacation easier, I have enlisted the help of free downloadable applications in Google Play.
I have listed below the applications that proved useful to us:

1. PLANNING - I did my planning by area and  these applications were especially helpful in pointing out key attractions with descriptions.  

I checked TripAdvisor a lot to see other travelers'  reviews, experiences and tips.   

Tokyo Handy Guide (by 公益財団法人東京観光財団).
The Tokyo Handy Guide the official tourism guide application of Tokyo Japan. It contains useful tourist's information on Tokyo's prime attractions by areas. 

Tokyo Travel Guide and Map (by Sygic Travel)
This application allows you to create a day by day itinerary. What cool about this application is that it computes for the estimate amount of time spent (touring the attraction and travel time from one tourist spot to another).  You can later download your itinerary via PDF.

Touch! Tokyo - Guide you to Japan (by H.I.S. Co., Ltd.)
Contains the latest events and activities information by area, including invaluable tips. It is also so easy to use.

2. BOOKING - I spent a good deal of time looking for an affordable, but comfortable and accessible place to stay in Tokyo. 

I initially planned for a hotel stay, but got turned off with the expensive small and constricted hotel spaces. I turned to AirBnb looking for a Tokyo home-sweet-home. 

3. NAVIGATION - do not underestimate the power navigation applications in Japan.  I have downloaded a few, but ended up using Google Map (which proved to be very accurate) most of the time. 

Google Map
The Google Map is our best friend in Tokyo Japan. It proved useful in both walking / taking the train to our destination.

Other Navigation Apps we referred while touring Tokyo:  

Tokyo Rail Map Lite (by Urban-Map ~ Vollmer & Becker-Asano)

Tokyo Route Planner (by Unwilling Developers)


This is a talking translator and an offline dictionary. It can even translate via voice recognition Japanese to English and vice versa. 

A better option, which was a find by my eldest sons is the Yominawa Japanese Translator Application.

It provides an easy way to translate Japanese with the use of your camera in real-time. You take of photo of word/sentence you want to translate and this application displays the English translation.

5. TOKYO DISNEYLAND RESORT - these applications helped us a lot in navigating Tokyo DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea

TDR WAITING TIME (by ThreeSixtyApps)
This application provides realtime attraction wait times, fastpass service status and current operation status.

Aside from providing attraction wait times, this application works as a navigation map.  It was sometimes difficult to make sense of the distributed hand maps, especially if you are inside a huge park.  This application shows where you are at the moment and the actual location of the attraction you want to go to.

Let me know if you have other mobile applications ~ you have tested useful in your vacation planning.

Our DIY Japan Vacation (Itinerary and Expenses) ~ TeamPetilla Conquers Tokyo Japan

As promised sharing here our family's 7 days Tokyo Japan itinerary and expenses.  If you are traveling with children, I think you would find this itinerary (hopefully) useful.  Cheers and happy Tokyo Trip planning :

We have always wanted to go to Japan and seeing friends and officemates conquer the big "J", we thought it was time to bring #TeamPetilla there.

Expenses depends on where in Japan you wanted to go, when and what activities you have planned. Here are some of the questions to help you in your planning:

QUESTION 1:  Where in Japan?

We initially planned a 2 cities trip (Osaka and Tokyo).  We thought Japan is just a small country and travel from Tokyo to Osaka and back would be easy. We were down hearted to learn that these 2 cities are 4 hours apart by train.  

I did an easy computation and figured we would be wasting a good 8 hours on board a train just to cover these 2 cities together.   Since we have been to the Universal Studio in Singapore a couple of times before, we thought Harry Potter could wait another year or so... (translated to more reasons to  come back to Japan) - we dropped Osaka and focused our trip on Tokyo.

QUESTION 2: When to go?

Point 1
: This question was easy for us, though we wanted to see and feel snow, we were scared that it would be too cold to tour around and could end up stuck in a hotel. 

Point 2: Hubby wanted to see Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), but I have read tourist attractions would be too crowded and accommodation prices double during Sakura season.

Point 3:  School starts in June. 

So we've decided the best time to go was in April right after Sakura season, revelries would have died down by then and if we are lucky there would still be some Sakura trees in bloom.  It would  be spring then so, weather would be perfect (we were expecting 14-18 degrees).

QUESTION 3: What do we want to do?

As we were travelling with children ages 12 and 7, our activities were more of the things our kids would enjoy.  That means, less shopping and sight seeing  and more on theme parks and museums (my boys love museum hopping ~ check here of favorite museums:

Here is a breakdown of our expenses. 

Note: Reflected cost is cost for 4 persons. I used Php0.40 per 1JPY conversion.

ROUNDTRIP AIRFARE: P20K/person depending on your choice of airlines.  We took Philippine Airlines.

POCKET WIFI: P5K for a 7 days rental of a 75Mbps Standard Wifi  (data usage 10Gbytes). A Pocket Wifi is really essential if you have plans of navigating Tokyo's intricate train system. We pre-ordered the unit online and picked it up in the airport.   

4nights in an Asakusa condominium booked via AIRBNB - P30K
2 nights in Tokyo Disneyland Hotel: P38K (I know it was really expensive staying inside the Tokyo Disneyland Resort, but the experience was real worth it).

Multi-Pass 3 days Disney Sea and Disney Resort passport (Adult Y16600 / Junior Y14400 / Child Y10700) - I bought this online together with our hotel booking.

Day 1 - Asakusa
What In Yen In Php
Transfers (Haneda Airport to Asakusa Station via Keikyu Line) 3120 1248
Senso Ji Temple Free Free
Nakamise Dori Free Free
Kapabashi Dori Free Free
Don Quiote - shopping (Jabra Stealth bluetooth earpiece) 8000 3200
Dinner at home (bought packed meals from 711) 1400 560
Lunch at Okonomiyaki Sometaro 2000 800

Day 2 - Odaiba
What In Yen In Php
Transfers (Asakusa Station to Odaiba via Ginza Line, then transfer to Yurikamome Line) - two way 4320 1728
Breakfast at McDonalds 1200 480
Miraikan Entrance (Adult Y620 / Child Y210) 1660 664
Gundam Front Free Free
Lunch at Diver's City Foodcourt 2000 800
Hello Kitty Café 
- ice cream  1280 512
-"pasalubong backpack" 3400 1360
Daiso - various items (cost per item is Yen100, roughly P40) 600 240
History of Car Garage Free Free
Toyota Mega Web Free Free
Statue of Liberty, Aqua City Free Free
Joypolis Amusement Park, Decks (Night Passport Adult Y 2900 / Child Y1900) - foreign passport holders gets additional Y300 off (applicable for adults admission only).  Hubby does not want to ride and opted for an admission only tickets worth Y800) 7200 2880
Odaiba Chrome Shopping Center (good place for souvenir shopping). I bought rice crackers and a cap. 1200 480
Dinner at Takoyaki Museum

Day 3-  Nikko
What In Yen In Php
Nikko Kinugawa Themepark Pass (Adult Y6180 / Child 3250) 18860 7544
Lunch at Edo Wonderland 3900 1560
Dinner at home (bought packed meals from 711) 1400 560

Day 4 - Ueno
What In Yen In Php
Transfers (Asakusa Station to Ueno via Ginza Line) - two way 1360 544
Breakfast at HardRock 4000 1600
Ueno Park Free Free
National Museum of Nature and Science (Adult Y620 / Child - free) 1240 496
Rental of English Guide (Y310 each we rented two) 620 248
Lunch at the National Museum  2440 976
Ameyoko Market (best to do your pasalubong shopping here - cheaper and with plenty of choices)
 - bought "pasalubong"  4000 1600
- bought travel bag (too much pasalubong so little space :P) 6000 2400
Dinner at Fridays 5000 2000

Day 5 and 7 - Tokyo Disney Land / Day 6 - Tokyo Disney Sea
Only noteworthy expenses we had at TKDL and TKDS are out meals :P

What In Yen In Php
Transfers (Asakusa Station to Tokyo Disneyland Resort via Ginza Line, then transfer to Keiyo Line) Y420  / Transfer (TDR to Haneda Airport via Keikyu bus)  Adults Y830 / Child 420 1680 /
672 /
Day 1 (breakfast) TKL Plaza Resturant  3000 1200
Day 2 (lunch) Sailing Day Buffet 10000 4000
Day 2 (dinner) Teddy Roosevelt Lounge 3500 1400
Day 3 (breakfast) Sherwood Forest 10000 4000
Day 3 (late lunch) - Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall 6000 2400
Popcorn Bucket 1600 640
Popcorn Refill (lost track of how many times we had a refill, but it was a lot and enough to keep my youngest busy queing in line) 510 204
*Excluded from above are our many mini-snacks here and there :P 

For more tips, check out my Tokyo Day 1 blog post.

See also helpful FREE mobile applications we used in our Tokyo trip: FREE MOBILE APPLICATIONS TO HELP YOUR PLAN YOUR PERFECT TOKYO VACATION 

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