Budget guide: How my family traveled to Tokyo, Japan for P25,000 each, all in

What an amazing experience to start my year of travel this 2016. My family and I are very grateful for my recently concluded trip to Tokyo. It was intense and overwhelming. Everything was just super amazing – the food, the culture, the place, the experiences, the family bonding. (READ: The budget traveler's guide to Japan

Let me share with you our experience, where my family members and I spent P24,000 each. 

We paid an estimate of P4700 each for our roundtrip flight to Tokyo (Narita). We got these tickets during the airline’s seat sale last June 2015. Our travel date was January 2016.

Photo by Wyatt Ong/Rappler

Airfare tips: 

Visa tips: 

For our previous trip to Osaka, we were granted a single entry visa to Japan. So for our trip to Tokyo, we had to apply again. (READ: Turning Japanese: Kyoto and Osaka on a budget

Click on this link for the requirements.

We applied through Reli Tours at SM Megamall. We passed the documents, they checked it, we paid the fee, and left. It took us around 45 minutes as there were more applicants on that day compared to when we applied for our Osaka trip.

We got our visa a week later and we’re very pleased because they granted us multiple entry visa for 5 years. Grateful for more Japan travels to come!

Photo by Wyatt Ong/Rappler

Accommodations

We found this great hostel, Khaosan World Asakusa Hostel, through Agoda! No recommendations from family or friends. We based this booking solely on Agoda/Trip Advisor/Hostelworld/Booking.com reviews. We took into account its location, distance from train station, if there is easy airport access, distance from tourist sites, and customer reviews.

This was really a great choice! We really recommend you to consider this accommodation when you stay in Tokyo.

Some notes: 

For more details on the hostel, check out this link

Train tips

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Navigating through the Osaka train system was fairly easy for me. So when I researched the Tokyo train system, I thought it would be the same. It was very confusing at first. There were so many lines, so many crossovers, and so many names on the map.

After more research and experiencing it firsthand, I got the hang of it. Tokyo’s train system is just amazing and I’m very grateful that we got to experience it.

We bought the PASMO card at Narita airport. We loaded it with P2028+ (¥5000) first and just added later on at train stations when we needed to. We used this for airport access, Tokyo metro/subway/private railways and even the Disney Resort line. For more information on the PASMO card, check this link out

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

We used the card for all our train rides. There was no hassle in buying a ticket per route, it was very convenient.

Having an itinerary established beforehand, we studied directions of train routes through this link

TOKYO TRAINS WERE AMAZING. Riding the Tokyo trains is really an experience in itself, an experience of efficient transportation and disciplined Japanese culture. On our first morning of riding the trains, we were so overwhelmed. The train was packed and EVERYONE WAS SO QUIET. No one was speaking. Super dead air!

We rode, stepped off, and transferred on rush hour train stations – Akihabara and Tokyo. It was all a blur. Almost everyone was wearing black coats/suits/dresses, walking fast in every direction possible, and we were in the middle of it dressed in light colors of beige, green, red, and white. We felt like we were in a movie.

Having been accustomed to always staying on the right on escalators or stairs for slow paced commute in the Philippines, we stayed on the right most of the time. In Tokyo, it’s the opposite. If you want to slow down, you stay on the left. When you’re in a hurry, stay on the right. We were on the right most of the time, and being super overwhelmed, we just followed he crowd.

We jogged, walked briskly, like fish following plenty of other fished, it's like we were being pulled along. 

The feeling was so intense and overwhelming, but it was also amazing and fun! 

My best train experience: Yurikamome Line was the best train that we rode. It felt like a business class train with an amazing view of the city.

More tips:

Food

 Photo by Wyatt Ong/Rappler

What can I say? Of course, it was amazing! Food in Tokyo is relatively more expensive than Osaka. Our family though was already content buying food at convenience stores (7/11, Mini-Stop, Lawson). We would buy stocks of Onigiris, Gyozas, and other packed meals. On an average, all of our items would cost P600 (¥1480) per transaction. We would also buy street food that costs less than P400 (¥1000) and that’s for all 4 of us already.

The most expensive food that we bought was at Disney Sea and Tsukiji Fish Market. At most, we spent around P1500+ (¥3780) per person for one meal.

Disney Sea snacks and meals are twice as expensive or maybe even 3 times, than food outside of the resort.

More tips: 

Weather 

Travel period: January 2016

Since our trip was during one of the colder months in Tokyo, we really needed to prepare. After our experience in South Korea of negative degrees, we borrowed and bought clothes that would help us endure the weather. During our stay, average temperature was between 2 to 13 degrees Celsius.

Tips: 

Exploring and experiencing Tokyo, Japan 

There are so many sights to see and things to do in Tokyo. Since we only had 2 and a half days to explore this awesome city, we really had to maximize it. Here is a summary of our itinerary:

Around Asakusa

SENSu014c-JI TEMPLE. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

SENSu014c-JI TEMPLE.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

We were lucky enough to book an accommodation that was conveniently located. Khaosan World Asakusa hostel was within walking distance to many popular tourist sites, discount stores and shops, restaurants, street food, malls, and convenience stores.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Disney Sea

DISNEY SEA. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

DISNEY SEA.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Photo provided by Irene Maligat
Photo provided by Irene Maligat
AGRABAH. The setting of 'Aladdin' in Tokyo. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

AGRABAH. The setting of 'Aladdin' in Tokyo.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Tsukiji Fish Market

How We Got To Tsukiji Fish Market from Khaosan World Asakusa Hostel By Train: Asakusa (Tsukuba) – Shin Okachimachi (Toei Subway Oedo) – Tsukijishijo

We loved our experience at Daiwa Sushi. My mom almost cried over how delicious the sushi really was. The sushi flavors just exploded in my mouth. The taste was heavenly. It was really a #foodgasm moment. Daiwa Sushi is one of the most popular Sushi Bars in Tsukiji Fish Market. There is already a fixed set meal worth P1500+ (¥3780) per person. This is the most expensive meal we had in Tokyo.

More tips:

Odaiba 

STATUE OF LIBERTY. A replica of the famous New York icon found in Odaiba. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

STATUE OF LIBERTY. A replica of the famous New York icon found in Odaiba.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

How We Got To Odaiba from Tsukiji Fish Market By Train: 15 minutes Walk from Tsukiji Fish Market to Shiodome Station (Yurikamome Line) – Daiba

GUNDAM. A huge Gundam stands sentry at Diver City Tokyo Plaza. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

GUNDAM. A huge Gundam stands sentry at Diver City Tokyo Plaza.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Shibuya

SHIBUYA CROSSING. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

SHIBUYA CROSSING.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Photo by Wyatt Ong/Rappler

How We Got To Shibuya from Odaiba By Train: Daiba (Yurikamome Line) – Shimbaishi (Tokyo Metro Ginza) – Shibuya

We were excited to see this because it’s one of the most featured places of Japan in movies. We really had a wonderful time here! We crossed the street so many times while taking videos and pictures. And we were not the only ones doing this; other tourists were as well! There was even a dinosaur mascot disrupting tourists taking videos and pictures. Really fun!

Photo provided by Irene Maligat
HACHIKO. A statue dedicated to the 'World's Most Loyal Dog.' at the Shibuya Station. Photo by Wyatt Ong/Rappler

HACHIKO. A statue dedicated to the 'World's Most Loyal Dog.' at the Shibuya Station.

Photo by Wyatt Ong/Rappler

Meiji Shrine and Takeshita Street

TAKESHITA STREET. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

TAKESHITA STREET.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

We walked 20 minutes from Shibuya to reach the Meiji Shrine and Takeshita Street. It was a very scenic walk. Since we were so tired we just took a picture in front of Meiji Shrine, we didn’t have the energy to explore the whole park. The feel was peaceful and really beautiful.

Takeshita Street is a very busy street. But one thing you’ll find: crepes. Lots of stalls of crepes, and they are delicious. There are also lots of discount chain stores and tax-free shops. There is also free wi-fi at the McDonald’s at the start of the street.

How We Got To Khaosan World Asakusa Hostel from Takeshita Street By Train: Harajuku (JR Yamanote Line) – Akihabara – Asakusa (Tsukuba)

MEIJI SHRINE. The author's mother poses in front of the Meiji Shrine's torii gate, a fixture found in Shinto shrines. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

MEIJI SHRINE. The author's mother poses in front of the Meiji Shrine's torii gate, a fixture found in Shinto shrines.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Amazing Tokyo

Photo by Wyatt Ong/Rappler

As intense and overwhelming as Tokyo was, it wouldn’t have been as amazing if it wasn’t for my family. Work, friends, special people tend to cause less family time but travels like these reconnect us in so many meaningful ways. I had such a grateful time bonding and laughing with my sisters and mom. We got lost. We fought at times, and many more! We did all these TOGETHER. Tokyo was one of our best travels yet, and we will forever cherish this experience.

Photo by Wyatt Ong/Rappler

Here's a rundown of our expenses, total: 

All for a total of a little under P25,000. 

Have you ever traveled to Japan? Do you have any budget tips and tricks?Let us know in the comments below. – Rappler.com

Note: This story was originally published on Irene's blog

 

Irene Maligat is a grateful traveler. One of her main goals in life is to inspire and empower a lot of people to travel gratefully. Her passions are sports, reading, motivational writing, travelling, and events planning & management. Visit her website at Inspiring Grateful Travels