There seems to be a whole lot of people looking for ready-to-go plans, seeing as how last year’s sample itinerary was one of this site’s more successful articles. Here’s the custom one-of-a-kind guidebook for our trip earlier this winter. The inclusion of certain “niche” events may prevent it from being usable out of the box. This time I’ve added a comparison between the initial plan and final result which, for those planning their own trip sometime soon, will be a useful gauge of how long these destinations will take.
Due to certain foolishness, we ended up missing our planned ski visit during last year’s March trip. In envy, Wilson and I had been planning a Winter return trip for months before we actually finalized the dates. We were joined by Yan, who replaced MJ as the third traveler.
In those months spent planning, Wilson and I racked up a whole lot of places in Japan we wanted to visit while Yan created a list of “must eat” foods. For this, we used Google Map’s My Maps function. It’s a really useful tool where multiple people can work together on an itinerary. You can even share it with the public like so.
View Winter 2011 in a larger map
Due to certain commitments, we were unable to schedule a long mid-winter retreat as hoped. Instead, we’d had to settle for 15 days in February. With so many things planned, it looked like we’d be quite busy during the two weeks. Perhaps it was ambitious of us to try to fit so many things in such a short trip.
Note: Please pardon the confusing mix of tenses in this post. Sections that were part of our plan will be in future tense, while comments and actual accounts will be in the past.
The initial plan was to fly by ANA to the new Haneda Airport. Haneda Airport is south of Tokyo and nearer than Narita. The more favorable fight timings via ANA meant that we could depart straight for Osaka on landing and still have a full day of fun.
Unfortunately, by the time we got around to booking our flight, seats were scarce and ANA prices had skyrocketed. The remaining options were Singapore Airlines and Delta Airlines.
In the end we went with Delta again, since it was not only cheaper but offered twice as much luggage allowance (two 23kg check in bags per person vs SIA’s one 20kg bag). Sadly, there wasn’t any offer during this time of the year so each Economy Class ticket was SGD$796 as opposed to the $600 it would cost if we had booked earlier.
Delta Airlines only operates one flight to and from Japan each per day, so this timing is applicable for all flights.
Leave Singapore at 5.45am on 13th February.
Reach Tokyo at 1.40pm.
Depart at 6.15pm (Tokyo) on 27th February.
Return to Singapore at 12.50am (1st March).
Getting To Tokyo
Coach buses are costly (though still cheaper than the Skyliner) but a good choice when struggling with lots of luggage. But this time we were on a really much tighter budget so we traveled from Narita to Tokyo via local train.
Most would advise you take the Skyliner from Narita to Tokyo. And first time visitors often do. The Keisei Skyliner does a good job of taking people from Narita to Tokyo in just 45 minutes, if you’ve got the 2400 yen to spare. No one tells the gaijin though that you can take a local train for a fraction of the cost and still get there in 75 minutes. The limited express costs just 1000 yen.
Airport Limousine Bus – 60 to 90 minutes (Depending on Hotel and traffic conditions), 3000 yen
(Dedicated Seats, Different buses cover all major hotels, 1 Day Unlimited Rides on Tokyo Metro lines)
Narita Express – 56 minutes, 2940 yen (Dedicated Seats, Only stops at Tokyo Station and beyond)
Note: Probably the worst choice unless you’re holding a JR Rail Pass. In which case it is free.
Keisei Skyliner – 36 minutes, 2400 yen (Dedicated Seats)
Keisei Cityliner – 36 minutes, 1920 yen (Dedicated Seats)
Keisei Limited Express – 75 minutes, 1000 yen
(Seats almost ensured if traveling from Narita / Good chance for return trip on weekdays)
Hotel New Tohoku (1 Star Hotel in Ueno, Tokyo)
The hotel we would stay at on our first night in Tokyo. A Delta flight meant that by the time we took a train out to Tokyo, most of the daylight would be lost. In an attempt to maximize the 7 Day Rail Pass, we decided to spend a night in Tokyo. Not the best of ideas. Like the other hotels, the reservation was booked through Agoda but without an early bird special or long stay discounts were only minimal for this particular hotel. A better decision would had been to just purchase the 14 Day Rail Pass and head to the Kansai region immediately. Hotels in Osaka are much cheaper.
Chisun Inn Osaka Hommachi (2 Star Hotel in Minami Senba, Osaka)
A nice business hotel smack in the heart of Osaka. Better facilities than most other similarly classed inns and a lot more affordable. We would use this hotel in Osaka as our base to the rest of Kansai and beyond. 5 minute walk to 4 different train stations and just 10 minutes away from the Shinkansen terminal at Shin-Osaka gives it ready access to anywhere we wanted to go.
Candeo Hotel Ueno-koen (3 Star Hotel in Ueno, Tokyo)
Probably the single best hotel I’ve stayed in Tokyo so far in terms of cost, comfort and convenience. Built in August 2010, so its equipped with modern amenities that haven’t been worn in yet. Being less than 100 meters away from the Uguisudani Station on Tokyo’s most used Yamanote line gives it easy access to anywhere in Japan’s most busy city.
Day 1. Tokyo (Flight) Sunday, February 13
Tokyo Day 1 In Photos: Narita, Ueno & Asakusa
Tip: Can’t believe some people actually have trouble figuring cost of Yen in their local currency. In case you don’t already know. Here’s a much easier way to calculate cost in Singapore Dollars mentally. When converting from Yen , omit the first two trailing zeros and add half of this value to the total or just multiple by 150%. If you’re American, you’ll want to take the value as one and one fifth, 120%.
Note: There are two total expenditure values shown below. The first is the base cost of transport and entry to attractions. The second in brackets is inclusive of food and other misc items, for those who wondered how much anything shown in the previous daily posts cost.
Expenditure: 1450 yen (2550 yen)
1000 yen (Keisei Line Ltd Express, Narita to Nippori)
130 yen (JR Yamanote, Nippori to Ueno)
160 yen x 2 (Tokyo Metro, Ueno to Asakusa and back)
1805 yen / 3 (Monjyayaki, Two large servings shared by three)
500 yen (Horrible Diner Food)
Plan: We’ll be landing at Terminal 1 in Narita Airport at approximately 1.40 PM. Past experiences with Delta suggests that the flight normally takes less than that and we’ll be out of customs by 1.30. Rest of the evening can be spent at Ueno or nearby, getting any basic necessities we may need for this trip. Trade Exchange Order for JR Pass at Ueno Information Center.
Actual: We didn’t want to have lunch at the airport and headed to the hotel immediately after landing. Still, it was 4 PM by the time we had finished checking in at Ueno. We ended up visiting Asakusa in the evening. Due to a communication problem thanks to M1, we ended up missing our planned dinner at Tengu Izakaya and settle for some horrible food nearby instead.
Day 2. Osaka (City Sightseeing) Monday, February 14
Osaka Day 2 In Photos: Osaka Sightseeing
Expenditure: 4400 yen (6875 yen)
2700 yen (2-Day Osaka Unlimited Pass)
105 yen (Breakfast)
1100 yen (Lunch)
1700 yen (Osaka Aquarium)
600 yen / 3 (2 x Takoyaki)
3200 yen / 3 (Okonomiyaki Dinner)
Plan: Today we set out early in the morning to catch the Shinkansen to Osaka. The train departs Tokyo Station at 7 AM so we had best leave Ueno by 6.30. Once there, the plan is to cover the sights closer to central Osaka such as Shitennoji, Tsutenkaku and Namba. Buy the Osaka 2 Day Unlimited Pass at Shin-Osaka Station.
Actual: It turned out that Yan had won a theater show for NMB48 the next day. Since it was in Namba, we decided to postpone city sightseeing to the next day. Instead, we had to squeeze a lot more sights in this day. Fortunately, we learned that the first train left Tokyo at 6 AM and not 7. So we made it in Osaka an hour earlier than expected (10 AM). Still it still amazes me how we managed to fit nearly as much as we did into this one day. Today we visited Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium, the HEP Five Ferris Wheel and Umeda Sky Building. Spent more than expected, Osaka food is expensive! With the exception of the Aquarium all transport and attractions in Osaka are free with the Unlimited Pass.
Day 3. Osaka (Popular Attractions) Tuesday, February 15
Osaka Day 3 In Photos: Osaka Sightseeing
Expenditure: None (5960 yen)
3500 yen (Breakfast)
1050 yen (Lunch)
330 yen / 3 (Takoyaki)
3900 yen / 3 (Tengu Dinner)
Plan: Osaka touristy sights like Osaka Castle, Sakuya Konohana Kan, Osaka Aquarium and the Umeda Sky Building.
Actual: Since the two day plans were reversed, we visited a famous Sushi Restaurant on the outskirts of the city in the morning but returned to the central area for the rest of the day. We tackled Shitennoji Temple and Tsutenkaku in the early afternoon as they were close together. The rest of the afternoon was spent getting lost in the messy streets of Namba before stopping by the famous Dotonbori district in the evening.
Day 4. Kobe (Nature Tour) Wednesday, February 16
Kobe Day 4 In Photos: Amazing Sights
Expenditure: 1800 yen (8317 yen)
200 yen x 2 (Train from Hommachi to Terminal)
120 yen (Breakfast)
5000 yen (Beef Steak Lunch)
567 yen (3 x Strawberry Daifuku)
200 yen x 2 (Kobe City Bus to Rokko)
1000 yen (Rokko Cable Car)
830 yen (Dinner)
Plan: Taking a Shinkansen to Kobe will actually take longer. Take the local line from Hommachi to Umeda Station. From there walk to the JR Osaka Station to take the JR Special Rapid Service to Kobe. This entire route will take 40 minutes total. Main touristy sights to visit are the Pearl Bridge, Mount Rokko, Chinatown and Kobe Tower.
Actual: JR Lines only scratch the perimeter of Osaka and now that the Osaka Unlimited Pass had expired, getting around central Osaka would cost us quite a bit. From this day onward, we had to take a local train first to other intermediary stations. This would cost between 200-230 yen for just 3-4 stops. Transport in Osaka is more expensive than Tokyo too!
Kobe was initially a two day plan. We shortened it to 1.5 days just before leaving but ended up spending only one day there in the end. We visited the Pearl Bridge in the morning as planned. But got distracted by a wholesale shopping mall there and ended up spending some time and an undiagnosable sum shopping for brand goods. Then returned to Kobe city for lunch. We visited Mount Rokko in the mid-afternoon and Chinatown in the evening.
There were two mistakes we made this day. First was not finding out more about Mount Rokko in winter. Many of the buses on top of the mountain had shorter running hours during the season, while certain areas were completely off limits. The other folly was that Kobe Tower closed early for the winter too so we missed that. Two days in Kobe would seem about the right duration.
Day 5. Kyoto (Temples) Thursday, February 17
Kyoto Day 5 In Photos: Temples
Expenditure: 1300 yen (4010 yen)
200 yen x 2 (Hommachi to Shinkansen Station)
500 yen (Ryoanji Entry)
400 yen (Kinkakuji Entry)
2100 yen (Soba Lunch)
410 yen (Strawberry Crepe)
3950 yen / 3 (Yakitori Dinner)
200 yen (2 x Donuts)
Plan: Either a Hikari or Nodama Shinkansen to Kyoto in the morning. Both will take about 40 minutes, including time spent traveling to Shin-Osaka station. The plan is to cover Ryoanji and adjacent Kinkakuji temple in the morning located in the far outskirts first. Wilson wants to visit a 500 year old Soba shop in the central area for lunch. Finally we will visit Kyoto’s main attraction, Kiyomizudera in the afternoon. Evening is free and can be used to drop by Nagoya if possible.
Actual: We headed for Ryoanji in the morning as planned, the bus ride there takes close to an hour. Thankfully the buses were covered by the JR Pass. We ended up losing the morning due to a certain crisis. We returned to Ryoanji and Kinkakuji later but ended having to give Kiyomizudera a miss as the temples close earlier than normal in the winter. Both of these temples were rather small and had nothing much to see. As expected, they were also rather commercialized and flooded with tourists, especially Kinkakuji. Most of Ryoanji is off limits to the public and all of Kinkakuji is. You have to pay just to admire it from a distance as the whole area is walled off. The evening and dinner were spent back in Shinsaibashi, Osaka. The shops in Osaka close unusually early (7 PM odd), so we hadn’t had much of a chance to look around.
Day 6. Nara (Temples) Friday, February 18
Nara Day 6 In Photos: More Temples
Expenditure: 1300 yen (2980 yen)
200 yen x 2 (Hommachi to Shinkansen Station)
500 yen (Todaiji Entry)
980 yen (Set Lunch at Higashimuki Kita)
200 yen x 2 (Local train to Heijo Palace and back)
700 yen (Dinner)
Plan: Nara can be accessed by taking a local JR train from Oji station in Osaka. It will take about 45 minutes to get there from our hotel. The main two sights we will be visiting will be Todaji temple and the Heijo Palace. Evening is free for Kobe or Kyoto.
Actual: It was a pretty laid back day since there wasn’t much planned for once. Which was good since it rained in the morning, slowing us down considerable during the long walk to the temple. Heads up, Todaji is quite a distance uphill from Nara Station. Along the way you’ll pass by lots of other worthy sights too.
Todaiji was of course, nothing short of amazing. It had to be the single most breathtaking place of worship I’d seen in Japan thus far. And unlike most other shrines, this rebuilt temple still dates back to 1709. The old, dust covered wooden structure exuded history and culture. Heijo Palace was a more modern construction, but was free to enter. It was impressive instead due to its location and the sheer amount of land it was located in.
The rest of the day was spent back at Osaka. This time we visited the vast underground shopping area at Namba, returned to the NMB48 theater and also Dotonbori. We found a Don Quijote building here too. Donki as they call it are cramped multi-floor mega marts that sell pretty much anything you ever need at a discount. Kind of like the Japanese version of Mustafa, just that they’re everywhere. Foreigners can get an extra tax rebate too.
Day 7. Hiroshima (Miyajima) Saturday, February 19
Hiroshima Day 7 In Photos: Miyajima (Itsukushima), A-Dome
Expenditure: 850 yen (2820 yen)
200 yen x 2 (Hommachi to Shinkansen Station)
250 yen (Breakfast)
300 yen (Itsukushima Shrine Entrance Fee)
750 yen (Lunch)
70 yen (Manju)
200 yen (Oysters)
150 yen (
Hondori Chin Chin Densha)
700 yen (Dinner)
Plan: It will take 2 hours by bullet train to get to Hiroshima. There are two main things to cover there, Itsukushima (Better known as Miyajima) and the Peace Memorial Museum. It will be better to visit the island in the morning and return to Hiroshima in the afternoon for the A-Dome. Two different ferries at the Miyajiaguchi Station. JR one is free with Rail Pass. This site shows the next few days tide timings for Miyajima. Cable car up Mount Misen is 1800 yen for two way, take note last car down is 4.30 PM.
Actual: Tired after the past days of rushing, we ended up waking up pretty late. It was already 11.30 AM by the time we reached Hiroshima and from there it took another hour to get on Miyajima.
Fortunately, we arrived at a time where the tide was low and it eventually retreated enough for us to walk to the torii gate. But the cable car up Mount Rokko was down for maintenance. Since it was already late, we didn’t have time to climb the sacred mountain. Food and snacks on the island was good, so you’ll want to set aside quite a bit of time to try out the specialties there. You’ll need at least a full morning and afternoon for Miyajima.
Sleeping in seemed to have proved quite the disaster, as all precious daylight was lost by the time we made it to the A-Dome. We took one of the city’s street cars back to Hiroshima station and grabbed dinner for the long train ride back to Osaka. It was necessary that we retire early this night to pack our luggage as we were setting out for Tokyo early tomorrow morning.
Day 8. Shizuoka (Sightseeing/Return to Tokyo) Sunday, February 20
Shizuoka Day 8 In Photos: Giant Gundam, Mount Fuji View
Expenditure: None (1760 yen)
360 yen (Breakfast)
650 yen (Lunch)
750 yen (Dinner)
Plan: As the last day of our Rail Pass. We will need to return to Tokyo for the rest of our trip. Possibly stop by Shizuoka on the way back to see the life sized Gundam statue at Higashi-Shizuoka Station and Shimizu for the Miho no Matsubara.
Actual: It took 2 hours to get to Shizuoka from Osaka. The Gundam statue was just beside the train station, so that was achievable. It didn’t take long to appreciate that. The Miho no Matsubara was a failure though. Didn’t do enough research before hand and it turned out that the beach was at least 5 kilometers from the nearest station and we were struggling with luggage. The sky was also overcast this morning, so only a faint silhouette of Mount Fuji could be seen from around Shizuoka.
From Shizuoka, it was another hour and a half back to Ueno, Tokyo. We reached our hotel at 6 PM in the evening. It turned out to be pretty awesome. Rest of the evening was free so we decided to visit the nearby Akihabara Electric Town where we got our dinner. We dropped by the Don Quijote building to get necessities before heading back for the night.
Day 9. Ushiku (Sightseeing) Monday, February 21
Tokyo Day 9 In Photos: Ushiku Buddha / Sightseeing
Expenditure: 730 yen (5035 yen)
730 yen (Tokunai Pass)
115 yen (Breakfast)
590 yen (Freshness Burger Lunch)
600 yen (Dinner)
3000 yen (AKB48 Theater)
Planned: To visit the Ushiku Buddha in the morning. Ushiku is an hour ride by local train from Ueno but there is one Limited Express train each morning at 7.30 AM sharp that takes only 37 minutes. The Buddha is another 30 minutes bus ride from Ushiku though. Train cost 950 yen, 150 for the bus and 700 yen to visit the Buddha. Rest of the day will be visiting Nakano, then a ramen shop that Yan has planned along the outskirts and possibly Shinjuku.
Actual: Visiting Ushiku would be quite the investment in terms of time and cost and by this point we already had our fill of temples. We decided to give Ushiku a pass to make way for something else on one of the later days instead (See Day 12 later).
Our schedule for Tokyo was much more flexible, perhaps too much so. Truth is, we probably could had stayed in Osaka for a few more days and cover more stuff there if we had a 14 Day Rail Pass. A 14 day rail pass would let us use the Narita Express for free and between that and the cheaper hotels in Osaka, I don’t think we would have had to pay much more for the flexibility. But alas, lesson learned!
There were quite a few different places to visit. First was the Meiji Jingu in the morning, walked around Harajuku and then headed to Nakano as planned. Dinner at Ivan Ramen had to be skipped though as Yan and I had an AKB48 Theater show to attend in the evening. Wilson visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at Shinjuku. There wasn’t much of a queue there on Monday, unlike the weekend madness. So do take note.
Tip: A typical train ride on JR lines in Tokyo costs 130 – 190 yen. Metro and other lines will be more expensive but are sometimes more convenient or necessary.
If you are going multiple places in a day, I would recommend purchasing one of the railways’ day passes. You can get a JR 1-Day “Tokunai” pass for 730 yen or a Tokyo Metro 1-Day Open Ticket for 710 yen. You’ll end up saving quite a bit with anything more than 3 destinations and a trip back to your hotel.
Both of these passes can be purchased like normal tickets from the ticketing machines.
Day 10. Yokohama (Sightseeing) Tuesday, February 22
Yokohama Day 10 In Photos: Yokohama Port, Ramen Museum
Expenditure: 1810 yen (5020 yen)
190 yen (Train to Shibuya)
260 yen (Breakfast)
540 yen (Trains from Shibuya to Yokohama)
160 yen (Train to Shin-Yokohama)
300 yen (Ramen Museum Entry)
650 yen (Ramen Lunch)
620 yen (Trains from Shin-Yokohama to Akihabara)
2000 yen (AKB48 Theater)
300 yen (Dinner)
Plan: (Note: Day 10 was actually Nikko but we postponed that to Day 13. Instead, we brought forward the Yokohama plan to today and made Day 12 free) For Yokohama, we will be visiting the Minato Mirai port area in the afternoon and the Yokohama Ramen Museum at Shin-Yokohama in the evening.
Actual: We visited Shibuya in the early morning first to run some errands and took a cheaper (and faster) Seibu train from there to Yokohama. Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon walking along the port area, stopping at the famous Red Brick Warehouse and Ferry Terminal for some photographs.
There was yet another theater show at Akihabara, so our evening plans had to be cut short. So we had a late lunch at the Ramen Museum instead of the predicted dinner and Yan had to struggle with his ramen souvenirs back to the theater. Entrance to the Ramen Museum costs 300 yen and bowls are rather pricey there, with half sized bowls costing 3/4 what you’d pay for ramen outside but it gives you the stomache space to try out more varieties.
If you expect to make more than one trip to the museum, a special entry pass (with a nicer ticket that you can keep) valid for 3 months can be purchased for just 500 yen, or 800 yen for one year.
Day 11. Tokyo (City Walking) Wednesday, February 23
Tokyo Day 11 In Photos: City Shopping
Expenditure: 730 yen (3870 yen)
730 yen (Tokunai Pass)
850 yen (Pizza Ramen)
760 yen (2 x Cakes)
420 yen (Ice Cream)
650 yen (Habanero Chicken Wings)
460 yen (Matsuya Dinner)
Plan: This morning we’ll meet Ramen/Travel blogger Brian at Oimachi Station, East Exit #1 at 11.30 AM. The rest of the day can be spent at shopping at Shibuya/Shinjuku. As Yan wants to drop by another ramen shop, Bassanova at Shindaita in the evening which can only be accessed from the Keio line at Shinjuku.
Actual: Met with Brian in the morning. But not before learning that there was in fact more than one Oimachi Station. This wasn’t the first time we made such a mistake. Tip: When meeting someone at a train station in Japan. Remember to agree on both the Railway and which exit.
Had lunch at this secret indie Pizza Ramen place then split up for the afternoon. Yan and I returned to Nakano for a while to find second hand stuff. The items there change all the time. Then over to Tokyo Dome City, which sure enough was closed as the news had said.
Met back with Wilson at Shibuya in the evening to do some shopping. It was a weekday but Shibuya’s crowded on all evenings. Went to Ochanomizu at night in hopes of getting dinner at a Spanish restaurant there but we were too late. Had we known, sushi at Midori Sushi would had been a better option.
Yokohama Disneyland, Thursday, February 24
Expenditure: 6380 yen (15,110 yen)
290 yen x 2 (Train to Maihama and back)
370 yen (Soba Breakfast)
5800 yen (Disneyland Ticket)
1080 yen (Curry Lunch)
2300 yen x 3 (Disney Clothing)
380 yen (Dinner)
Plan: Though I really wanted to visit Disneyland, due to time constraints it wasn’t part of this trip’s plans.
Actual: It turned out that we managed to find time to visit Tokyo Disney Resort after all though. Disneyland was located outside of Tokyo at Chiba, but the journey via JR lines too just 20 minutes. We made it there not long after opening and had the rest of the day to explore the theme park.
Both of the Tokyo Disney parks are wonderful places. To ensure an enjoyable experience, it pays to be prepared ahead of time. For more clueless travelers often leave Disney Resort disappointed. Sure it helps a little to understand the culture or language when appreciating the park but more importantly, you’ll need to know what you want to achieve at the park.
Tip: Don’t expect to walk into the park not knowing how the ticketing system or park manners work and be able to get away with it. If you spend some time learning about how the FastPass system works ahead though you’ll have an enjoyable experience. You might even end up with more ride tickets than there was time to experience them all (like we did).
There’s simply too much to write about Disneyland, since the resort is effectively a different locale of its own. Perhaps, I’ll cover the park, its secrets and how to exploit them in greater detail til then you can check out our experiences at Disneyland and DisneySea for more information.
Day 13. Nikko (Sightseeing) Friday, February 25
Nikko Day 13 In Photos: Culture, Scenery
Expenditure: 6120 yen (11,188 yen)
160 yen (Train to Asakusa)
4400 yen (All Nikko Pass)
268 yen (Breakfast)
900 yen (Lunch)
1300 yen (Toshogu Shrine Entry)
1900 yen (Charms)
130 yen (Train from Tokyo to Akihabara)
6000 yen / 3 (Dinner split by three)
130 yen (Train back to Hotel)
Plan: Nikko, probably the closest nature spot to Tokyo other than Fuji Hakone region. Like most other local tourist spots, you can get a discounted pass for travel there. The All Nikko Pass costs 4400 yen and will cover everything there. Main sights here are Lake Chuzenji, Kegon Falls and Toshogu Shrine.
Actual: Tobu Railways operate the train to Nikko and nearest station which can leave from was Asakusa. The All Nikko Pass had to be purchased from the information counter ahead of time, and is available to those holding a foreign passport. It allows for free transport to Nikko and all around Nikko but does not include admission to the shrines there.
Tip: If you only intend to visit Nikko for the shrines, then you’ll be much better off purchasing the World Heritage Pass instead. It offers a round trip to Nikko and includes admission to the shrines for just 3600 yen. It doesn’t cover bus routes up the mountain though.
We visited Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji in the morning first. I don’t recommend missing them. The bus ride up the mountains takes an hour but the sights are just beside the stop so you don’t need to walk far. The afternoon was spent going back down the mountain to visit the Toshogu Shrine. Full admission to all parts of the main shrine costs 1300 yen.
Tip: There are a bunch of other shrines here too and you can actually purchase a combination ticket for all shrines at 1000 yen. It doesn’t include admission to the inner part of Toshogu however. Which is kind of the main attraction.
Toshogu is a grand sight. But it closes early, so we didn’t have nearly as much time to explore the shrine as we’d liked. The last bus in the whole town leaves for Nikko Station at somewhere around 4 PM too, so we’d have to rush if we wanted to make it back to Tokyo. One day for Nikko is still doable though if you begin your day early.
Day 14. Tokyo (Last Minute Shopping) Saturday, February 26
Tokyo Day 14 In Photos: Ueno, Shinjuku
Expenditure: 730 yen (5377 yen)
730 yen (Tokunai Pass)
347 yen (Breakfast)
500 yen (Strawberry Tart)
3800 yen (Dinner)
Actual: While we were rushed for time in Kansai, the opposite was true here. There were no concrete plans for the last two days in Tokyo, now that we’ve accomplished most of what we had planned to do there. That’s not saying there wasn’t anything we wanted to do though. There’s always plenty to do in Tokyo.
Visited Ameyoko Market at Ueno in the morning to bulk up on cheap snacks. The famous tourist shopping market fails at being a tourist trap. Instead, it offers wholesale discounts for the two things it specializes in, food and clothing.
Late afternoon and evening was spent at Shinjuku. We tried visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building again, but the tourist crowds there were insane during weekends. Instead, heading for the adjacent Sumitomo Building, which is just a few meters shorter. Ended the day with a quiet Shabu Shabu dinner on the 51th floor with a beautiful view of the city.
Day 15. Tokyo (Flight) Sunday, February 27
Tokyo Day 15 In Photos: Akihabara, Nakano, Narita
Expenditure: 1730 yen (2614 yen)
730 yen (Tokunai Pass)
294 yen (Waffles)
590 yen (Freshness Burger Lunch)
1000 yen (Keisei Limited Express to Narita)
Actual: Checked out of our rooms, leaving our luggage at the front desk while we split up for some last minute errands. Ended up rushing between a few places for stuff to take back. Making sure to stop by Akihabara’s Manneken, for some Belgium Waffles for the flight back. It’s such cases where the Tokunai pass shines. Afterwards, we met back at the hotel and picked up our luggage in time to take the Keisei Limited Express back to Narita Airport for our flight back to Singapore.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.