Mar 13, 2015
Getting picked up in Osaka & nearly missing the last train. Adventures in Osaka Castle & Dotonburi !
After getting around the Kyoto for the last 1 and a half day, I've started to get the hang of the things. With thanks to one of the staff from Ayado Gion, I found out that it is actually cheaper for me to take a Railway Train to Osaka instead of taking a Bus to Kyoto JR station and then take the train to Osaka.
Jan 5, 2015
The 28th October 2013 marks the 7th day of my extended CoFesta Ambassador trip in Japan last autumn. I was invited as an Ambassador for CoFesta in recognition of my continuous work of sharing Japanese related content online. I extended the trip and made it into a 12 days trip from Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto.
So yes, that Monday morning marked my first morning in Kyoto! I’ve been dreaming of a Kyoto flooded red with maple leaves ever since reading the grotesque and romanticised descriptions in Yami no Matsuei. After a tedious and anxious day of rushing for my Shinkansen and lugging my luggage from Tokyo to Kyoto the day before, I woke up at 10am haha. By the time I got out of the Hostel it was already 12:30pm hahaha. This is why I like travelling solo; I sleep and rise according to my own wishes.
May 31, 2014
On the 6th day of my Autumn 2013 Japan trip, I went to the Square Enix cafe with Amanda!
She graciously allowed me to bunk over at her place when I was in Tokyo T_T. Helped me out a lot!
Apr 21, 2014
I was invited to Japan last October as one of CoFesta's overseas Influencer Ambassador due to my continuous work on the Social Media in promoting Japanese related content. I extended my trip for 9 more days and it totalled to 13 days and 12 nights trip in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
Decided to brew myself a cup of Japanese coffee!
Mar 25, 2014
I was invited to Japan last October as one of CoFesta's oversea Influencer Ambassador due to my continuous work on the Social Media in promoting Japanese related content. I extended my trip for 9 more days and it totalled to 13 days and 12 nights trip in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I spent a grand total of SGD$2186 on this trip and that includes airfare, JR Pass, accommodations for my extended 9 nights and everything else.
In these on-going blog post about my Japan Trip, I will attempt to share all my spending and experience with you guys because I believe a trip to Japan doesn't have to break the bank! To start off, let me tell you where most of my money went to. $740 went to a return ticket with JAL airline and $380 went to getting a 7 days JR Pass.
I screwed up and missed my sponsored flight and ended up buying my own tickets on the morning itself. It was a miserable experience and I implore all of you to make sure you check the closing time for your flight's check-in. If there's anything I learnt from this experience, other than reaching the airport earlier, was to buy a return trip instead of a single trip in such situations.
If you have the unfortunate luck of being in the same situation as I was, make sure you ask the staff at the counter for the price quote of BOTH the return and single plane tickets. And you ask me why? That's because surprisingly, return tickets are usually a lot cheaper. The staff at JAL had the wisdom to highlight this to me in my grief (lol) and even wrote the price comparison down on paper to let me make the decision.
Single ticket to Tokyo: $1000+
Return tickets to Tokyo & Back: $740
SERIOUSLY, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PURCHASE?!! Even if I had no intention of returning, darn I'd still get the return tickets and skip the return flight back. We're talking about over $300 of savings!
If I had bought my tickets earlier, I'm sure I could get a much better deal and slash my spending a further $200 more. So my tip is to plan in advance. And be at the airport early -_-;
Japan Rail PASS:
Before I went to Japan, I had planned and arranged my itinerary semi-meticulously. I said semi because I only arranged the rough flow and left the itsy bitsy parts like places-to-visit till I was there. Normally I would prefer a more meticulous plannign but this time I was lazy and decided to go with the flow when I'm in Japan. Afterall, that's the perks of traveling alone isn't it?
I bought my JR Pass at the Japan Tourism Board (JTB Pte Ltd, ION Orchard) in Singapore. They are located at at ION Orchard. Full address below.
Japan Tourism Board (JTB Pte Ltd, ION Orchard)
2 Orchard Turn, #B4-29, ION Orchard, Singapore 238801
For a full list of authorised agents to purchase JR Pass in Singapore, click here. http://www.jnto.org.sg/japan_rail_pass_singapore.html
The JR Pass thingy can be pretty confusing and overwhelming in the beginning so I'll try to explain as clearly as I can. The JR Pass is a special tourist pass that allows you to travel on all trains owned by Japan Railway Company ( train lines that says JR Line LOL). The packages are roughly divided into 2 category ( Green & Standard) and further divided into different duration and price.
The JR Pass package is also categorised by directions; directions that the trains you buy can go to. They are categorised into Nationwide, West, East, Hokkaido. Kyushu and All Shikoku Pass For more information about those, click here. I wasn’t able to find any JR Websites that directly talks about the different regional JR Pass so I’m sorry I can’t give more information about that.
The Green category are for use with the "Green trains". In short, they are the more expensive and luxurious trains hence the significantly higher cost. The Standard category is well, for ordinary cars and folks like us. I took the standard category because I am oh-so-ordinary. The Duration columns are the slightly tricky part. They come in 7, 14 and 21 days package and the longer days directly reflects in the price tag.
One thing good about this package is that the duration doesn't start until you get it to. Which is awesome for my trip as I intended to spend 6 days in Tokyo and only leave for Kyoto on the 7th day which is the day I'll have my JR Pass activated. After that, I get 7 days on my JR pass which will then last me right up till the day I fly back to Singapore.
The validity date is printed onto the JR Pass. This is the actual pass you will use to show the staffs at the train stations, this is your ticket!
If you intend to get a JR Pass, planning is CRUCIAL as it affects the overall structure of your itinerary. Getting your JR Pass activated at Japan's train stations requires a whole blog entry by itself so I shall not delve into it now. I believe I bought the Ordinary , Adult, 7-days , National JR Pass for $380. (Japan-rail-pass.com seems to sell it a lot cheaper -__-; )
I summarised all the main points below:
- 1) JR Pass can ONLY be purchased outside of Japan for tourists abroad for sight-seeing, under the entry status of “Temporary Visitor”. If you want to get it, BUY IT BEFORE entering japan.
- 2) Buy JR Pass only if you intend to cross states(Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka etc) more than once
- 3) Do not buy JR Pass if you only intend to travel within Tokyo
- 4) You can ride on all Shinkansen except the fastest 'NOZOMI' train
- 5) Try to reserve a seat for your shinkansen beforehand at the Ticket exchange counter (the place where you exchange for your JR Pass). It is a lot of hassle and embarrassment if you arrive at the next stop and realise you're sitting on someone else's seat.
- 6) NEX (Narita Expression, a train that goes from Tokyo striaght to Narita Airport) has power sockets so bring your cables & adaptors ( https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=590378644332796&set=a.291151434255520.62428.139368942767104&type=3&theater)
- 7) If you are buying the JR Pass physically at a shop, ask the staff tonnes of questions to make sure you are getting the best suited plan. Share your itinerary and intentions with them.
- 8) Bring your passport along when you intend to use the JR Pass, sometimes they will check. Especially Shinkansens.
More links related to JR Pass:
Hope you guys found this entry useful! I’m so sleepy now zzzz
Feb 12, 2014
This was my 3rd time to Japan and 2nd time to Shibuya 109. I can't remember if I blogged about it previously (found out I did!) but I decided this time I would lol. Our CoFesta ambassador trip was actually pretty tight and the Shibuya trip was just a side quest kindly included by our guide lol.
Also because NHK Studio Park was walking distance to Shibuya hahah. Yamamote-san guided us there by foot and it was a very interesting experience. Even though I've had Singaporean friends who live in Japan brought me around before, it was still a novel experience to walk from one seemingly isolated place to another hippy area.
Feb 10, 2014
So I'm going to share everything I know about the Kyoto Bus systems with you guys, hopefully this is helpful to someone!
Why take the Bus? :Compared to Tokyo, moving around is a very different ball game in Kyoto. In Kyoto, it's all about the buses and you can reach pretty much any attractions with the buses. For in-depth explanation about transporting in Kyoto, you can go to Kyoto City's website.
I'm going to briefly explain the bus system in Kyoto and then explain how to use the Kyoto City Bus Map. I will also share some hands-on tips not found in other tourism website .