Friends shared Singapore Airline promotion news with us again, so I shared it with Kpo Kia Papa… and reminded him we haven’t planned for any trip this year.
As usual, he says ‘Let’s do it!’ and this started our planning for a family trip to Japan – the country which I had been wanting to go since I was very very young, but never have the money or time to go in the past.
We discussed and decided to go Tokyo as this will be our first time to Japan, for some reason, we ended up booking for a 12 days trip to Tokyo with ANA instead of SIA due to the better timing and pricing (I rejected any duration lesser than 7 days as I understand that traveling within the country itself can be very extensive and time consuming).
After we bought the tickets, we share the good news with friends and colleagues but was feedback that we should cover more places other than Tokyo which we likely ended up shopping (which we might as well shop in Singapore). So we decided to change our itinerary and explore Osaka too~
Planning becomes more tricky now since we have more consideration to consider – e.g. traveling method with Kpo Kia, accommodation, things to pack.
Apparently, traveling from Tokyo to Osaka via train cost a BOMB, and take many long hours, the different type of trains and timing also confused me like mad despite sharings from friends, I ended up reading quite a bit for the first time while traveling.
Some of the prep jobs I have done are:
Geting JR pass
After checking online, and confirming with my friend who worked in Japan before, I decided to get the JR pass for our round trip from Tokyo Narita airport to Osaka, and from Osaka back to Tokyo.
JR pass is available for tourist to travel in Japan, and we have a few ways to get our hands on them. I compared the price from:
And finally settled for Klook which has better pricing after applying some promo code available during the period of purchase, and I get to earn some credit to make more purchases after that.
Got to know that Japan Tax is rising to 10% from 1st Oct 2019 onwards, I also quickly made purchases of attractions tickets I can get online before September ends. Some of these attractions tickets include:
- Osaka Aquarium
- 2 days Disney tickets (to Disneyland and DisneySeas)
- Mt Fuji one day tour
Unfortunately, we are too complacency and never thought of changing the Japanese yen earlier. A US character made some silly statement and the Japanese Yen Vs Singapore dollar rate suddenly become very bad.
Lesson learnt: once you planned to go to a foreign country, better monitor the currency.
I also applied for a YouTrip card in case I need to exchange money on the fly (which actually comes in quite handy towards the end of our trip when we mainly hang around the malls in Tokyo) despite knowing Japan is a country which usually preferred cash transaction.
I got panic a bit when I realised most people spent around SGD1.5k per pax for a 1 week stay in Japan, as we happily only prepared SGD800 cash and SGD600 in my YouTrip card. I rushed to exchange more cash last minute, few days before our trip, luckily the rates had gone better by then.
There are different types of accommodation in japan We decided to try out Airbnb for the slightly bigger space, with the amenities available – e.g. washing machine and microwave (in case we decided to save on meals).
After reading some blogs, it seems like diapers cannot be easily purchased in some parts of Japan. It’s usually only available in residential areas. So I brought along a whole pack of diapers, and it proved to be a smart choice after we reached Japan. The weather doesn’t seem to be cold despite it’s autumn so we didn’t pack much cold wear, intending to layer the clothes if required.
I think this is the first time I have put in my heart and soul for a trip – for I read up loads of articles, watch tons of Youtube videos on Japan traveling trips, and checking on google map everytime when we update our travel itinerary.