Three weeks before our trip, I was excitedly drafting and planning our Tokyo DIY Itinerary for eight days. What I didn’t know is that a week before our flight, almost all tourist attractions in Tokyo (like Disney Sea, museums. etc.) will be closed for two weeks for COVID-19 precautions. We thought of canceling our trip, but we also realized that this could be our last travel for the meantime, for who knows when this pandemic will officially end. We’ll talk more about that in another blog post.
On my first travel to Japan last 2016, we spent eight days on a tri-city tour. It was tiring and fast-paced, so I decided to focus on just Tokyo (and near cities) this time. If fast travel is your thing, then my 2016 Japan Tri-City Itinerary will suit you more, but if you’re into slow and chill travel who wanted to focus on Tokyo, then you’re in the right place.
Tokyo is Japan’s capital city and the world’s most populous metropolis. Compared to the other famous Japanese cities like Osaka and Kyoto, Tokyo is a bustling city. Everyone seems in a hurry; time seems faster, tall buildings everywhere, and everything is more expensive. It’s your typical city life and honestly, my favorite Asian city so far.
This city has so much to offer that eight days is just enough to have the whole Tokyo experience fully. Tokyo offers an unlimited choice of entertainment, dining, culture, dining, history, and even nature. It’s a city that I would always come back to.
There are multiple airline companies like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Japan Airlines, and ANA that cater direct flights from Manila to Tokyo through Narita or Haneda Airport. Haneda Airport is a smaller airport with lesser flights but it is situated already near central Tokyo. While Narita Airport is the bigger one but is located in Chiba that is 1-hour train ride away from central Tokyo. Also, flights to Haneda are a lot more expensive than flights to Narita.
We got our airfare from Cebu Pacific on sale 6 months before our travel dates. We only copped our roundtrip tickets for P4,500/each but the departure was from Clark. It was actually not a nice move for we didn’t consider the additional costs for our P2P (Trinoma to Clark) of P500 and P600 terminal fee. So there’s an additional P1100 compared to if we took a flight from NAIA. Two weeks after we booked, Manila to Tokyo flights went on sale for as low as P4,000 roundtrip.
EXPENSES: 10,920 PHP
Airfare (no baggage): 4,500 PHP
20 kg baggage: 2,500 PHP
Travel insurance: 1,200 PHP
Trinoma – Clark P2P (RT): 500 PHP
Terminal fee: 600 PHP
Travel tax: 1,620 PHP
Tokyo DIY Itinerary (w/ budget)
07:00 AM – Flight to Narita from Clark
Our flight was on time and the process in Clark International Airport is a lot faster than in Manila.
12:30 PM – Arrival at Narita International Airport
The flight from Manila to Tokyo took 4+ hours plus the 1 hour time difference. We decided to each lunch at the airport first before we travel to Tokyo Central. Airport food is not as good as the ones outside and it’s more expensive too. It’s better to stick by Mcdonald’s when you’re at the airport.
1:30 PM – Pick-up portable Wi-Fi router
We rented our Wi-Fi router from Ninja Wi-Fi that costs unlimited data for 900 yen per day. It can also connect 5 devices so we decided to purchase this instead of SIM Cards. It will be cheaper and be more convenient to rent mobile Wi-Fi when you’re on a group trip.
2:00 PM – Ride Keisei Bus to Tokyo Station
There are multiple ways to get to Tokyo Station from Narita Airport and we took the cheapest option which is the 1,000 YEN Keisei bus.
3:00 PM – Arrival at Tokyo Station
From Tokyo Station, we need to ride another train to our accommodation in Kawasaki which is already outside Tokyo.
5:00 PM – Checked-in in our room in Kawasaki
We didn’t rent an Airbnb or hotel on this travel because a close friend of ours works in Japan and let us stayed in his company-sponsored apartment. This saved us a lot of money.
6:30 PM – Night stroll in Kawasaki
We decided to just stroll around in Kawasaki for a chill night. We roamed around the shopping malls in the area, play some crane games in the arcade, and ate dinner in a local tsukumen ramen shop.
DAY 1 EXPENSES: 5,550 YEN (~2,775 PHP)
Wi-Fi Rental (already divided by 4) – 1800 YEN
Airport lunch – 1200 YEN
Keisei bus to Tokyo – 1000 YEN
Train & Bus to accommodation – 500 YEN
Dinner – 850 YEN
Convenience Store Breakfast – 200 YEN
07:00 AM – Breakfast
We bought some onigiris for breakfast in the 7/11 a night before. There are so many breakfast options in any Japanese convenience stores that are both affordable and delicious. Salmon Onigiri was my favorite for 100 YEN.
8:00 AM – Travel to Tokyo
We were supposed to go to Kawazu to see the earliest bloom of cherry blossom (mid-February) but after some social media research, we decided not to push through. Most of the sakura have already fallen by the first week of March.
Instead, we did a Tokyo tour. We purchase the 24 hrs Tokunai Pass for 760 YEN to save on transportation. This pass is unlimited on all JR lines in central Tokyo. Train rides in Tokyo are expensive and complicated so I recommend using and researching train passes that will help you save money.
If you’re staying around Shinjuku, Shibuya, or Tokyo, I recommend using the Tokyo Metro 24-Hour Ticket instead for only 600 yen. This pass gives you unlimited rides to all 9 lines of Tokyo Metro Subway, exclusive of 4 Toei Lines.
09:30 AM – Hie Shrine
Hie Shrine is famous for its orange torii gates that are also famous in a shrine in Kyoto. Though it is just a short walkway of torii gates, it’s nice in photos.
From Tokyo Station, we went down to Akasaka-Mitsuke Station (Marunouchi Line) which is not a JR Line so we paid a separate 170 yen. This is however included in the Tokyo Metro Ticket. It just a few meters walk from the white torii entrance to the shrine. The orange torii gates are on the backside part of the temple.
11:00 AM – Tokyo Tower
From Hie Shrine, we walked almost 2km to Tokyo Tower for 30 minutes just because we don’t want to pay another 170 yen for a subway ride. If you have the Tokyo Metro 24-Hour Ticket, the train ride between these two places is included.
The Tokyo Tower Observation Deck (555 PHP from Klook) and One Piece theme park (UPDATE 2021: now permanently closed) are both closed due to COVID-19 when we got there. The boys settled on the One Piece Themed Shop instead.
12:30 PM – Lunch at Yoshinoya Takeshita Street
From Tokyo Tower, we walk all the way to Hamamatsucho Station (JR Line) to make use of our Tokunai Pass. If you’re using the Tokyo Metro 24-Hour Ticket, there’s a closer station you can ride – Kamiyacho Station. We went down to Harajuku Station.
Yoshinoya was the first-ever restaurant we saw outside the station so we decided to try it. It was a lot better than the Yoshinoya here in the Philippines.
1:00 PM – Crepe Dessert in Takeshita Street
Takeshita Street reminds me of Myeongdong in Seoul. It is a shopping street lined with fashion stores, different cafes, and cute crepe stores. We bought ours in Santa Monica Crepes which is screaming pink and kawaii. My ice cream crepe costs 480 YEN.
1:45 PM – Tokyu Plaza Omotesando
Just a few minutes walk away from Takeshita Street, we decided to drop by Tokyu Plaza Omotesando just to take photos! It was one of the Instagram spots in Tokyo. If you’re into Anello or Pandora, there have stores around.
02:30 PM – Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine is one of the tourist attractions in Shibuya. It a lush green forest in the middle of the bustling city. There’s no entrance fee and sometimes you can witness a Shinto wedding.
03:30 PM – Yogogi Park
We were so tired from all our walking so we decided to sit at the picnic tables in Yogogi Park first. It was cold though in winter so I don’t recommend it as well. It was a nice place for a picnic in Spring.
04:15 PM – Shibuya Crossing & Hachiko Statue
We visited the famous spots around Shibuya Crossing like the Hachiko Statue, the famous Starbucks where you can see the crossing above, and supposedly Shibuya Sky (which was close too due to the pandemic).
06:00 PM – Ramen dinner in Kindenmaru
We ended our day with authentic ramen (900 yen) in Kindenmaru Shibuya.
07:00 PM – Shibuya Station
After dinner, we bought the JR Tokyo Wide Pass for 10,180 YEN. This pass will give us unlimited rides to all JR lines, including the bullet trains, for 3 days in the Kanto region.
DAY 2 EXPENSES: 13,540 YEN (~6,770 PHP)
Tokunai Pass – 760 YEN
Other bus & train transpo – 690 YEN
Yoshinoya lunch – 530 YEN
Crepe – 480 YEN
Ramen dinner – 900 YEN
JR Wide Pass – 10,180 YEN
07:30 AM – Travel to Shinjuku Station
We will be taking the Fuji Excursion Rail using our JR Wide Pass to get to Mt. Fuji and the Kawaguchiko area. We bought some breakfast and snacks in Shinjuku Station for the train ride.
08:30 AM – Travel to Kawaguchiko with Fuji Excursion Rail
We took the earliest trip on a weekday. They have a 7:35 AM train on weekend tho but to avoid the crowd, we decided to visit Mt. Fuji on a weekday.
10:22 AM – Arrival at Kawaguchiko Station
This station is just lovely on a sunny winter with Mt. Fuji as a backdrop.
11:15 AM – Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway
There are many things you can do around Kawaguchiko and a day tour isn’t enough. We just decided to try the Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway to take photos with Mt. Fuji. Roundtrip costs 900 yen.
12:30 PM – Lunch
This was our least favorite lunch. We just saw it on our way back to the station and the uniquely design exterior made us try it. This vegetable tendon set costs us 900 YEN and it’s not even worth it.
01:26 PM – Train ride to Shimoyoshida Station
From Kawaguchiko Station, we missed our train ride to Shimoyoshida station, nearest station in Chureito Pagoda. Don’t miss it like us for this train ride interval is 1 hour.
02:15 PM – Chureito Pagoda
Chureito Pagoda is another beautiful spot to see Mt. Fuji. It is free but requires a lot of cardio. The best time to go here is during sunrise.
05:30 PM – Last train ride back to Tokyo via Fuji Excursion
08:00 PM – Sushiro dinner in Kawasaki
Instant one of my favorite restaurants in Japan – Sushiro. If you’re an ultimate sushi lover, you’ll definitely enjoy it here. Their cheapest plate is 100 YEN (50 PHP) only and the food is quality.
DAY 3 EXPENSES: 2,750 YEN (~1375 PHP)
Breakfast – 350 YEN
Fuji Panoramic Ropeway – 900 YEN
Lunch – 900 YEN
Dinner – 800 YEN
7:00 AM – Start of travel to Tokyo Station
From Kawasaki Station, we will ride the Joetsu shinkansen from Tokyo Station. This train ride is already included in our JR Wide Pass.
8:04 AM – Shinkansen train ride to Gala Yuzawa
Another don’t miss experience in Japan – riding their shinkansen (bullet train). One way cost almost 9,000 YEN but since we have the Tokyo Wide Pass, it was already covered.
9:15 AM – Gala Yuzawa
Since we went in winter, of course, we won’t miss a ski resort. Gala Yuzawa has special discount offers for JR Wide Pass holders. We didn’t avail of their ski package because it’s expensive and we’ve already tried it in South Korea last time. We just went with the Playing with the Snow Package for 3,300 YEN that includes a gondola one-day pass, rental sled, rubber boots, and gloves.
12:30 PM – Lunch
There’s a canteen-like place in Gala Yuzawa where we ate our lunch. Food is a little expensive. My food cost 1,600 YEN.
2:15 PM – Snowmobile Sleigh Tour
We enjoyed playing in the snow with our sleds with the kids, but we saw this tour that they offer that only cost 500 YEN for 15 minutes. We decided to try it out. We were driven on the other side of the ski resort with more snow and an awesome view. And it was fun riding the snowmobile.
04:00 PM – Going back to Tokyo
We were originally scheduled on the 5 PM shinkansen ride but we were already so tired that we rebooked an earlier trip back to Tokyo.
06:30 PM – Dinner at Ichiro Kawasaki
I just need to try it. I loved it but the boys said it’s just okay.
DAY 4 EXPENSES: 3,280 YEN (~1,640 PHP)
Breakfast – 250 YEN
Lunch – 1600 YEN
Snowmobile Sleigh Tour – 500 YEN
Ichiran Dinner – 930 YEN
10:00 AM – Breakfast
We decided to slack off this day because it’s been 5 days that we’ve been waking up and starting our day early.
12:30 PM – Jujo Ginza Shopping Street
It’s been 5 days and we still haven’t tried takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and other Japanese street foods. So we went to Jujo Ginza Shopping Street for some food trip. The nearest train station is Jujo Station which caters to our JR Wide Pass.
2:30 PM – Akihabara Electric Town
The boys enjoyed it so much in Akihabara Electric Town! We dropped by Pop Life (a 6-floor building of sex toys), a lot of buildings that sell action figures, Gundam Cafe, and the biggest Yodobashi in Tokyo. This is an otaku and gamers heaven. Wait until sundown to see the building lights which is more beautiful.
6:00 PM – Dinner in Gyukatsu Ichi Ni San
Another unique dinner experience is cooking your steak in a hot stone. It was pricey for 1,400 YEN but it was worth it. I enjoyed it.
07:00 PM – Play arcade in SEGA building
We were supposed to go to Shinjuku for the night but we were tired already to travel so we just decided to end the day playing arcade games in SEGA building.
DAY 5 EXPENSES: 2,800 YEN (~1,400 PHP)
7/11 Breakfast – 200 YEN
Street food Lunch – 700 YEN
Steak Dinner – 1400 YEN
Arcade games – 500 YEN
11:00 AM – Brunch at Matsuya in Asakusa
We didn’t buy any breakfast so we just had an early lunch in Matsuya, a fast food, in Asakusa before we tour around.
12:15 PM – Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple is usually jampacked but with the COVID-19 virus around, we were shocked to see how empty it is. It was sad and beautiful at the same time. There’s no entrance fee but most of the stores around are also closed due to the pandemic. We tried their famous Omikuji and just take photos around. This is also the perfect place to rent kimono but we find it expensive so maybe next time?
2:00 PM – Tokyo Sky Tree
We walked for 30 minutes from Sensoji Temple to Tokyo Sky Tree. Again, it was closed due to COVID-19 so we didn’t get the chance to go up it. We rested for a while in the Starbucks inside the mall.
4:30 PM – Odaiba
We spent our afternoon until night on the man-made island of Odaiba. We rode the Yurikamome Line, their driverless automated train for 330 YEN one way. There’s much that we wanted to see here but most/ all attractions here were closed due to the pandemic. We originally want to see TeamLab Borderless, Joypolis, Palette Town, and Venus Fort.
8:00 PM – Dinner in Sukiya Kawasaki
Sukiya is another fast food in Tokyo like Matsuya and Yoshinoya.
DAY 6 EXPENSES: 2540 YEN (~1,270 PHP)
Matsuya lunch – 590 YEN
Train rides – 1500 YEN
Sukiya dinner – 450 YEN
9:00 AM – Disney Sea
Originally, our seventh day is dedicated to Disney Sea but due to COVID19, it was closed when we went there. So we have Day 7 as a free day.
But I’ll be leaving this here because the pandemic will surely be over the time you’re looking for Tokyo itineraries. So don’t miss this Disney Sea for 8,200 YEN!
DAY 7 EXPENSES (assumed): 10,200 YEN (~5,100 PHP)
1 -day pass – 8,200 YEN
Lunch – 1000 YEN
Transportation – 1000 YEN
9:00 AM – Tokyo Station
We rode the same 1,000 YEN Keisei bus on our arrival bound to Narita Airport. We got lost first but just look for the JR Expressway Bus in Google Maps.
11:00 AM – Narita Airport
We had our lunch at Mcdonalds. We also spent our remaining coins and money (in YEN) on candies and snacks in the airport.
01:15 PM – Flight back to Clark
Back to reality.
DAY 8 EXPENSES: 1,810 YEN (~905 PHP)
Bus to Tokyo- 310 YEN
Keisei Bus – 1,000 YEN
Lunch – 500 YEN
TOTAL EXPENSES: 32,155 PHP
Airfare (+ P2P to Clark) – 10920 PHP
Day 1 (Arrival) – 2775 PHP
Day 2 (Tokyo + JR Pass) – 6770 PHP
Day 3 (Mt Fuji) – 1375 PHP
Day 4 (Gala Yuzawa)- 1640 PHP
Day 5 (Tokyo Part 2) – 1400 PHP
Day 6 (Tokyo Part 3) – 1270 PHP
Day 7 (Disney Sea) – 5100 PHP
Day 8 (Going Home) – 905 PHP
Tokyo is NOT CHEAP. We’ve spent almost 32,000 without accommodation and shopping yet. So it is true that an 8-day trip to Japan will cost you around P40,000. This is if you wanted to have a comfortable travel and not compromise your Japan experience. You can always cut-off the budget in food and attractions but I tell you it’s better to just go all-out and experience it all. It’s not like you’re in Japan every day so better to save up before you booked that ticket to Tokyo.