In a span of 7 days, I visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Kobe. I slept 2 nights in Tokyo, 2 nights in Kyoto and 2 nights in Nara plus 1 night in Kansai Airport. My trip started in Osaka and ended in Osaka because I got the wrong ticket. The better way to do it is start in Osaka and end in Tokyo or vice versa. Anyway, there is still next time for me.
In the mean time, this is how my entire 7D6N Japan Itinerary looks like:
DAY 0 – MANILA – OSAKA
How to get to Japan from Manila:
Cebu Pacific has direct flights from Manila to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.
Manila to Osaka – Depart 3:20PM and arrive 7:55PM
Osaka to Manila – Depart 8:40PM and arrive 11:50PM
Manila to Nagoya – Depart 3:20PM and arrive 8:25PM
Nagoya to Manila – Depart 9:10PM and arrive 12:10AM
Manila to Tokyo (Narita) – Depart 5:25AM and arrive 10:35AM
Tokyo (Narita) to Manila – Depart 11:45AM and arrive 3:45PM
Other airlines such as Jet Star, Philippine Airlines, Delta Airlines, ANA and JAL also offer non stop flights from Manila to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.
I stayed at the airport for 8 hours. Just in case you need a hotel to sleep in Kansai Airport, try:
Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport
Location: Second Floor, Aero Plaza
Near: JR Train Station
DAY 1 – OSAKA – TOKYO
How to convert JR Pass Exchange Order into a JR Pass:
1. Proceed to JR Office in Kansai Airport Station located in Terminal 1, 2nd Floor of Domestic Departure/Arrival Area. Office hours is 5:30AM to 11:00PM daily.
2. Fall in line and present both passport and JR Exchange Order at the counter.
3. There will be documents to be signed before the JR Pass is given. Transaction time is less than 2 minutes.
1. JR Exchange Order can be converted to JR Pass 3 months after it has been issued.
2. JR Pass can be used in any Shinkansen except the Nozomi and the Mizuho Lines.
3. If no prior seat reservation has been made, JR Pass holders can only use train cars marked “non-reserved seat”
4. Present the JR Pass to the Guard on Duty every time you enter/exit any JR Station.
5. JR Pass is non-transferable and non-replaceable. Once its lost, its gone!
How to get to Tokyo from Osaka Kansai Airport via Shinkansen (Bullet Train):
1. Proceed to JR Kansai Airport Station.
2. Proceed to platform area and take the Airport Express Haruka bound to Shin-Osaka. Travel time is 50 minutes.
3. From Shin-Osaka Station, transfer to JR Shinkansen (Hikari Line) bound to Tokyo. Travel time is 3 hours.
4. Get off at Tokyo Central Station.
Schedule of Airport Express Haruka Line from Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka Station:
1st Trip – departs 6:40AM arrives 7:39AM
2nd Trip – departs 7:42AM arrives 8:39AM
3rd Trip – departs 8:44AM arrives 9:39AM
4th Trip – departs 9:16AM arrives 10:08AM
5th Trip – departs 9:46AM arrives 10:38AM
6th Trip – departs 11:16AM arrives 12:07PM
7th Trip – departs 4:46PM arrives 5:39PM
8th Trip – departs 7:16PM arrives 8:09PM
9th Trip – departs 8:46PM arrives 9:37PM
10th Trip – departs 10:16PM arrives 11:09PM
Schedule of Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station to Tokyo Station:
1st Trip – departs 6:08AM arrives 9:10AM
2nd Trip – departs 6:27AM arrives 9:40AM
3rd Trip – departs 7:17AM arrives 10:10AM
4th Trip – departs 7:26AM arrives 10:40AM
5th Trip – departs 8:40AM arrives 11:40AM
6th Trip – departs 9:16AM arrives 12:10PM
7th Trip – departs 10:40AM arrives 1:40PM
8th Trip – departs 3:40PM arrives 6:40PM
9th Trip – departs 7:40PM arrives 10:40PM
10th Trip – departs 8:37PM arrives 11:26PM
1. Eating is allowed in Shinkansen Trains. Foods for sale are available on board.
2. Take a seat on the left side for a view of Mt Fuji (if the weather is fine)
3. Train cars 1 to 5 are ‘non-reserved’
4. From Shin-Osaka to Tokyo has 6 stops namely: Kyoto, Nagoya, Shizuoka, Shin-Yokohama, Shinagawa and Tokyo
How to Get to Oak Hostel Zen:
1. From Tokyo Station, take Yamanote Line also known as the Tokyo Loop Line
2. Get off at Uguisudani Station which is 5 stations away.
3. From Uguisudani Station, take South Exit and cross the foot bridge to the left (overlooking the rails)
4. Straight ahead until you see a big road with traffic lights (Kototoi St). Cross the road.
5. Turn left on the first corner. Turn left where Family Mart is. Oak Zen Hostel in few steps away. It’s on the right side.
6. Note: walking time from Uguisudani Station to Oak Zen Hostel is 3-5 minutes.
Oak Hostel Zen
3-3-3, Negishi, Taito-ku, Tokyo
How to get to Akihabara Electronic Town:
1. From Uguisudani Station, take Yamanote Line bound to Tokyo or Shimbashi.
2. Get off at Akihabara which is 3 stations away.
3. Note: Akihabara is a busy station. It is an interchange station of 5 lines.
How to get to Imperial Palace:
1. From Akihabara Station, take Yamanote Line bound to Tokyo or Shimbashi.
2. Get off at Tokyo Station which is 3 stations away.
3. From Tokyo Station, take Marunouchi Exit (Central Exit). Note that once you get out, you must see the Tokyo Station Old Building.
4. Walk straight for 10 minutes (crossing 3 streets) and you will reach Imperial Palace.
5. To the right is the East Gate where tourists are allowed to enter (No entrance fee).
6. To the left is Nijubashi Bridge.
How to get to Shibuya Crossing:
1. From Tokyo Station, take Yamanote Line bound to Shibuya or Yoyogi.
2. Get off at Shibuya Station which is 10 stations away.
3. From Shibuya Station, take Hachiko Exit. Note that you must already see the prominent ‘crossings’ and Starbucks once you get out.
4. Note: Shibuya is one of the busiest stations in Tokyo.
How to get to Roppongi Hills:
1. From Shibuya Crossings Hachiko Exit, turn right and take a walk for about 3 minutes to bus stop
2. Take Buss 51 to Roppongi Hills (JR Pass does not work here. Pay separately). Travel Time is about 10 minutes
How to get to Tokyo Tower:
1. From Roppongi Station Exit 7, follow the road until you reach the tower.
2. Walking time is roughly 20 minutes
DAY 2 – TOKYO DISNEYSEA
How to get to Tokyo DisneySea Resort:
1. From Uguisudani Station, take the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station.
2. From Tokyo Station, transfer to either Keiyo Line or Musashino Line.
3. Get off at Maihama Station.
4. From Maihama Station, transfer to Disney Resort Line (JR Pass does not work here)
5. Get off at DisneySea Station
6. Note: One way ticket in the Disney Resort Line costs 260Yen while DisneySea Day Tour Passport costs 6,400Yen
DAY 3 – TOKYO – KYOTO
How to get to Odaiba (DiverCity, Fuji TV Headquarters, DECK Tokyo Brach, Aqua City):
1. From Uguisudani Station, take Yamanote Line to Tokyo or Shimbashi Station.
2. Get off at Shimbashi station which is 8 stations away.
3. From Shimbashi Station, transfer to Yurikamome Line (JR Pass does not work here. Purchase a separate ticket from the machine)
4. Get off at Daiba Station which is 6 stations away (and includes crossing the Rainbow Bridge!)
5. Take Hotel Nikko Exit. Everything else can be done by walking.
6. Note: One way fare in the Yurikamone Line is 320yen.
How to get to Kyoto from Tokyo (Shinagawa) via Shinkansen:
1. From Uguisudani Station, take Yamanote Line to Tokyo or Shimbashi Station.
2. Get off at Shinagawa Station which is 5 stations away.
3. From Shinagawa Station, transfer to JR Shinkansen
4. Take Shinkansen (Hikari Line) bound to Shin-Osaka
5. Get off at Kyoto Station. Travel Time is 3 hours.
Schedule of Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto:
1st Trip – departs 6:25AM arrives 9:16AM
2nd Trip – departs 7:33AM arrives 10:13AM
3rd Trip – departs 9:03AM arrives 11:48AM
4th Trip – departs 10:33AM arrives 1:13PM
5th Trip – departs 12:03PM arrives 2:48PM
6th Trip – departs 1:33PM arrives 4:13PM
7th Trip – departs 3:05PM arrives 5:48PM
8th Trip – departs 4:33PM arrives 7:13PM
9th Trip – departs 7:03PM arrives 10:03PM
10th Trip – departs 8:03PM arrives 11:02PM
How to get to Shiori-an Hostel:
1. From Kyoto Station, transfer to Karasuma Line bound to Kokusaikaikan (JR Pass does not work here).
2. Get off at Gojo Station which is the next Station.
3. Take Exit 6 and turn right to the next small street after 7-11. Shiori-An in on the left. Walking time is 2-3 minutes
4. OR from Kyoto Station, take a walk following Karasuma Dori St. Just straight ahead and you will see 7-11 on the left side. Walking time is roughly 15 minutes
600-8178 Kyoto, Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku Kagiyamachi Karasuma-nishiiru, Kagiya-cho 339
DAY 4 – KYOTO
How to get to Kiyomizudera Temple (Water Temple):
1. From Shiori-an, proceed to the main street and turn left, straight ahead until you see a big road intersection.
2. Cross the road (you must see Yoshinoya and Lawson on the other side)
3. Cross again and get to where Mc Donald’s is
4. Straight ahead until you reach a fly-over. Walking time from Mc Donald’s to fly over is 20-30 minutes (You will be crossing a bridge).
5. Turn left before the fly over
6. You will see a sign going to Koyomizudera.
7. Follow the road sign, its up hill. Walking time from here to the temple is about 5 minutes
How to get to Kodaiji Temple (Wooden Temple):
1. From Kiyomizudera Temple’s main gate (not where you came from which is actually the back door), straight ahead and on your left is a sign going to Kodaiji Temple.
2. Walking time from the main gate to the small alley where the sign is located is less than 2 minutes.
3. Just walk until the end of the road. Walking time is roughly 5 minutes.
4. At the “T” intersection, cross it, there is a small alley that goes to Kodaiji Temple
5. From there, you see a parking lot on the right. Just straight ahead is the Temple
How to get to Yasaka Shrine:
1. From Kodaiji Temple, there is a stair to the left (if you are facing the temple)
2. Follow that stair and turn right on the end.
3. Just follow the road and turn right on the end
4. Straight ahead and you see a gate that looks like a temple. To the right is Marumaya Park. To the left is Yasaka Shrine
5. Exit at the main gate (you must see a reversed ‘T” road. On the corner of the other side of the road is Lawson.
How to get to Kinkakuji Pavilion (Golden Pavillion):
1. Look for the Bus Stop (its near Kitaoji Subway Station) where any of the following buses stop: Bus Num 101, 102 and 205
2. Take any of those buses (JR Pass does not work here. Pay separately).
3. Get Off at the last stop – Kinkakuji Pavilion. Travel time is roughly 15-20 minutes.
How to Get back to Shiori-an from Kinkakuji:
1. Proceed to the Bus Stop in front of the Temple’s main access gate and board Bus Num 101, 102 or 205 (it’s a different bus stop from where you originally got off)
2. Get down at Kyoto Bus Stop (Kyoto Station).
3. You will see Kyoto Tower.
4. Ahead, walk straight to Shiori-an.
DAY 5 – INARI – NARA
How to Get to Fushimi Inari Temple:
1. From Kyoto Station, take the JR Nara Line (non-express train)
2. Get off at Inari Station (2 stations away)
3. From Inari Station Exit, cross the street and straight ahead
How to get to Hotel Nikko Nara from Inari:
1. From Inari Station, take JR Nara Line (you can only board the non-express train from here)
2. Get off at Nara Station
3. Hotel Nikko is on the station itself, take the exit to the left
How to get to Kofukuji Temple:
1. From Hotel Nikko, cross over JR Nara Station.
2. On the left you see an Old building (tourist information center), cross the street directly fronting the building
3. Walk straight ahead for about 10-15 minutes
4. On your left is Kofukuji Temple
5. NOTE: along the way are various restaurants and shops
Day 6 – OSAKA – KOBE
How to get to Osaka:
1. From JR Nara Station, take Yamatoji Rapid Service bound to Osaka
2. Get off at Osaka Station
How to Get to Osaka Castle:
1. From Osaka Station, take the JR Osaka Loop Line bound to Tenoji or Kyobashi
2. Get off at Osakajokoen Station (4 stations away)
3. Follow the direction to Osaka Castle (10 minutes by walk from the station)
How to get to Kobe:
1. From Osakajokoen Station, take the JR Osaka Loop Line
2. Get off at Osaka Station
3. Transfer to JR Special Rapid Train Service to Kobe
4. Get off at Kobe Station
5. Take Umie Exit. Proceed to Umei Mall which has direct access to the Bay area.
How to get to Shinsekai:
1. From Kobe Station, take a train back to Osaka
2. From Osaka Station, transfer to the JR Loop Line
3. Get off at Shin-Imamiya Station
4. Follow the sign to Shinsekai (about 3 minutes walk from the station)
How to get to Dotonbori:
1. From Shin-Imamiya Station, take the JR Loop Line bound to Namba
2. Get off at Namba (2 stations away)
3. Follow the sign to Dotonbori (about 5-7 minutes by walk)
How to get to back to Nara:
1. From Namba Station, take the JR Loop Line
2. Get off at Osaka Station
3. Transfer to JR Nara Line (Speed Service)
4. Get off in Nara
DAY 7 – NARA – OSAKA – MANILA
How to get to Todaiji Temple:
1. From Hotel Nikko Nara, cross over JR Nara Station
2. Straight ahead, cross the street where there is stop light, turn right
3. At the Bus Stop, take Bus Number 1
4. Get off at Todaiji Daibutsuden stop (about 10 minutes)
5. Cross the street to the left.
6. You must see many deer here. Straight ahead is Todaiji Temple
7. OR walk towards Kofukuji Temple (as done in Day 5), exit at the main gate of the Temple (you entered at the back gate)
8. Turn right (following the traffic). Straight ahead
9. To the left is Todaiji temple (about 5 minutes walk)
How to get to Osaka Kansai Airport:
1. From JR Nara Station, take JR Line to Osaka
2. Get off at Tennoji Station
3. From Tennoji Station, transfer to Kansai Airport Rapid Service bound to Kansai Airport (make sure to stay on cars 1 to 4 ONLY)
4. Get off at Kansai Airport
WHERE TO EAT IN JAPAN
1. Thank God for 7-11, Family Mart and Lawson!
3. Yoshinoya is a cheap local fast-food chain like Mc Donald’s
4. Local restaurant that are scattered all around.
JAPAN TRAVEL BUDGET
1. Roundtrip airfare
2. 7 Day JR Pass
3. 6 nights accommodation
4. Foods and Drinks
5. Starbucks and Beer
7. Local transfers outside JR Line
8. Entrances to Temples and Shrines
JAPAN TRAVEL TIPS
1. Travel for 7 Days, 14 Days or 21 Days so it fits the JR Pass. (Travel outside 7, 14 and 21 days will be uneconomical)
2. Hostels and dorms are excellent (they have hotel-like facilities)
3. When asking for directions, always trust a local. Japanese are very nice people. Very respectful and very helpful.
4. Locals follow traffic signs up to the last second. They always queue in trains and buses
5. In Tokyo, keep right. In Osaka, keep left.
6. Japanese bills are 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 only
7. Japanese coins are very valuable. They aren’t JUST ordinary coins. They have so much value. 500yen coin say for instance is roughly 5usd!
8. Japan railway system is complex and huge. Getting lost (always) is part of the journey.
9. Most Japanese restaurants have ‘shared table”, like one big table for all clients (So even you are alone, you feel you belong to the group)
10. Never forget to taste sushi and ramen.
11. Convenience stores are always everywhere and so are vendo machines
12. There are plenty of tourist information centers with nice and English speaking staff. Maps are always available.