Saturday, March 31, 2018

Six Days in Japan

It was 10 months ago when I last went to Japan.
That was May 2017 and I plan to visit Japan twice 
 on March and on December this 2018.

I simply cannot have enough of the beauty, grandeur, and splendor of Japan.

I traveled for 13 days in Japan and here is the link - 

Day 1 
Osaka Prefecture

From Manila, I boarded the Cebu Pacific flight to Osaka, Japan and we arrived ahead of time. Kudos to CebPac for this one!

The challenge was finding my former dormitory. I had two last year namely: Drop Inn  Osaka and Osaka Bee Hive. This year I chose the latter since it is more economical and the members of the staff are really friendly.

I arrived at the airport 7:45 in the evening. But I had to change my US Dollars to Japanese Yen and get my Japan Railway Pass. 

You can buy the JR Pass either online in Manila or in Japan. In Manila, you can go directly to the JR website or Klook. Within a week, it will be delivered to you by Federal Express. It is a lot cheaper buying in Manila online (14,800) than buying it in Japan (34,000 yen).

After being lost for almost an hour, I was able to find my stay for the night. 

Day 2
Osaka and Kyoto

The main reason why I went to Japan is to see the cherry blossom or Sakura!

And there are various places in Japan to see that annual event. But since I was in Osaka, the best and the most convenient place is to go to JR Sakuranomiya Station.

It was a sight to behold!

I roamed around the park for almost an hour. I had other plans for that day. But I decided seeing the sakura was already enough for the day.

I even took a nap under one of the trees in order to savor the event.
Taking pictures of the sakura became an addiction.

And after nearly 2 hours, I decided to go to Kyoto.

I took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto. The ride was good only for nearly 25 minutes. I had to use the local train to Momoyama Station under the JR Nara Line (platform 8-10). The local train's ride was only for 10 minutes and after 4 stations, I alighted at my stop.

After again being lost for ten minutes, a Japanese helped me find my hostel. It was a 20-minute walk from the station.

Finally, Fusihimi Inari.
I paid 6,000 yen for 4 nights.
Ranked 8.9 by and 8.5 by Agoda

Very minimalist.
My stay and my bed for four days.
The traditional way.

Day 3 

Another Shinkansen ride from Kyoto to Tokyo. This time the ride was 2 hours and 10 minutes. Everything was covered by JR Pass! Then I use the Yamanote Line (the lime green line, there are two green lines. Take the loop and you will never get lost in Tokyo).

I spent the whole day in Akihabara. I was planning to see the Tokyo palace and the Shibuya. But I was very much pre-occupied doing shopping in Akihabara!

And the best spot to do your gadget shopping is in this mall - Bic Camera!

Everything here is discounted and tax-free! You can buy G-Shock, Iphones, appliances Samsung gadgets, and even Anello bags.

After the shopping ended, I went home with a big smile and an empty pocket and a stressed credit card.

Day 4 
Mt. Fuji

This was the longest, most tiring and stressed day in Japan!
BUT was also the BEST DAY, a very fun-filled and adventurous day!

From Kyoto, again I boarded the Shinkansen to Shin-Fuji (without the JR Pass, life will be very miserable for me and expensive!)

Arriving in Shin-Fuji, I went to the Tourist Information and learned that there is a 2-Day pass for only 2,500 yen. I bought it and boarded the bus ride to Lake Kawaguchi. 

After 15 minutes, we passed Fujinomiya City. From this spot, you can already see Mt. Fuji! But the goal that day is to reach Lake Kawaguchi. The best place to see Mt. Fuji! There are numerous lakes along the way so be very ready with your camera or cellular phones.

After more than 2 hours, finally, Lake Kawaguchi.
Please note that there are only 4 schedule of buses that ply this route. Make sure that you know the schedule. Another thing, there are various lines here in Lake Kawaguchi, I took the Red Line since it is the nearest and fastest route I could see Mt. Fuji from an elevated spot. 

I boarded the Red Bus and alighted at the Rope Way. Single ride id 450 yen and round trip is 800 yen. There are various promotions here like for the combination of boat, train and rope way ride. Please inquire and avail the best promo for you.

Finally at the top and Mt. Fuji!

Here is the thing.
I arrived at Lake Kawaguchi 11:52 am.
The next ride is 14:07.
Bus ride to Rope Way is 10 minutes.
Rope way ride is 6 minutes back and forth.
I have  not yet included the long queue.
And I had to finish all those things in 2 hours!

After seeing Mt. Fuji, I boarded the rope way, alighted and run to the bus station!

I arrived there on time! Whew! =)

And you thought it was over??

I had to go to Shiraito Falls!

I alighted at the Shiraito Bus Station.

Trekked for nearly 10 minutes.

By the way, weather at Lake Kawaguchi was 12 degrees. By the time I reached Shiraito Falls, it was already 9 degrees and it was still dropping!

This is the most difficult part.

I have to wait for the local bus back to Fujinomiya station. Fare was around 650 yen. Then, arriving in Fujinomiya station, I boarded the local train to Fuji using the JR pass. Then, I boarded the bus to Shin-Fuji. Then, I boarded the Shinkansen to Kyoto. Then, the local train to Momoyatamo Station. Then walked for 20 minutes before reaching the hostel. It was already 9:45 pm when I arrived at the hostel. I left 4:30 in the morning.

Day 5 
Universal Studio

I was tired. 
I did not want to go.
So I left Kyoto past 9:00 in the  morning.

There was only one destination - Universal Studio.

I paid 7,800 yen for this.
I was in Singapore 4 years ago and I did not do this.
I think Japan has a way of convincing me. =)

My favorite food here is the Turkey Leg (ate 3!)
I went to almost all the attractions!
No rides for me! Weak heart =(

 I arrived 4 pm in Kyoto and went inside a temple.

Day 6

In the making

Tips when in Japan
1. Buy the JR Pass.
2. Use the Willer overnight bus if you want to save in hotel expenses by sleeping inside the bus at night.
3. Food is quite expensive. You can buy affordable ones in 7-11, Family Mart or Lawson Station.
4. Visit the castles and temples
5. Stay in hostels or dormitories.
6. Bring a coin purse for your loose change and there will be a lot.
7. Ask for directions either at the Information Center inside the train station or the Tourist Station.
8. There are various trains - local, Shinkansen, subway and street cars.
9. The Shinkansen station is different from the local train (example - Shin Osaka is the Shinkansen station and Osaka Station is the local train station)
10. Travel light and bring a water.
11. Try the local food.
12. Walk left and stay left in escalators. 
13. Buy the JR Pass online, it is cheaper.
14. Be aware of the areas in the train station and inside the train. 
15. Japan is safe but please stay safe and be street smart.
16. Observe trafffic rules.
17. You can leave your bag in the hostel and travel the whole day and then get the bag later.
18. Bring medicine. I eat a lot and sometimes, I ate something different.
19. Make your itinerary at night by asking the front desk if your itinerary is feasible.
20. Laundry is cheap and very easy.
21. If the train door won't open, press the open button
22. Secure a map, mark your destinations, know how many stops, remember your stop and listen to the train operator announcing the stop or look at the monitor inside the train for your station.
23. If you need discounted food, try buying before the grocery closes, they will sell the food 50% off.
24. Ask first for the price of the food before buying.
25. Be silent inside the train or elevator.
26. Keep your trash and do not litter.
27. Enjoy the toilet.
28. Know the weather and bring the appropriate clothing.
29. Early morning walang breakfast, head for 7-11, Family Mart or Lawson.
30. If you want cheap food, go to the food section of a mall or grocery store.
31. Madaming kinds of passes in Japan, ask the train or bus station.
32. Almost all station ay may Information Counter, you will never get lost.

3 most important things
1. Never lose your passport.
2. Never lose your money.
3. Never lose your JR Pass.

Enjoy Japan!

Arigato gozaimasu for reading!