You Only Need P25,000 to Travel to Japan
What are you waiting for? Book a four-day trip now!
Photos Mimi Tiu
Some Filipinos have this impression that traveling to Japan will cost them a lot of money, but the truth is that you can enjoy a budget-friendly trip to the Land of the Rising Sun by carefully doing your research and planning your trip. We give you some tips and tricks, and a breakdown of fees to show you how feasible a short four-day vacation to Japan is.
Get your Japan visa from an accredited travel agency.
There’s a list of accredited agencies on the Embassy of Japan website, but they don’t indicate how much their visa fees are. Do your research and pick the agency that’s closest to your location and offers the lowest fee. Assuming that you’ll be applying for a single entry tourist visa (30 days maximum stay), you can get it for as low as P950 via Reli Tours and Travel. Also, opt to drop off and pick up your passport in person, so you can save up on courier fees.
Select the cheapest month to travel.
If your trip to Japan is not time sensitive, go during off-peak months so you don’t have to pay more on flights and accommodations. Japan’s peak travel seasons include cherry blossom season (end of March to early April), Golden Week (last week of April to first week of May), Obon Festival (mid-August), autumn (mid-November to early December), and New Year (end of December to early January). The best time to go for budget-conscious tourists would be during winter season from January to February, but prepare to battle it out with the cold.
Book the most affordable plane fare in advance.
Various airlines offer seat sales throughout the year. It’s just a matter of finding the right fare that fits your budget and deciding on which month you can get away. Follow the social media accounts and subscribe to the newsletters of airlines that fly to Japan, so you can get notified when they have promos. Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Jetstar, All Nippon Airways, and Japan Airlines are just some of the major airlines that offer direct flights to Japan. For about P10,000, you can get a roundtrip plane ticket bound for Fukuoka or Osaka. These two cities are the cheapest destinations since they’re closest to the Philippines.
Choose affordable accommodations.
Select a place to stay after you get your visa and book your plane ticket. In Osaka, you can stay in dormitory-type digs with shared spaces or in a private room inside an apartment for as low as P500 a night. A decent hotel room with a private bathroom can be rented for as low as P1,700 per night. However, be sure to choose one with the best location (particularly one that’s close to the sites you want to see) or you might end up spending more on transportation.
Make the most out of their organized transportation system.
Travel from the airport to your temporary home by purchasing an airport express train or bus ticket to the city. Be sure you don’t miss the time printed on your ticket by looking for your platform early. If you’re scheduling a trip to Osaka, buy a Nankai Line Airport Express ticket (P510 for one way) which you can get via e-commerce travel platforms or apps that offer hard-to-beat rates.
Fast and reliable train from Kansai International Airport to Osaka City
If you’ll be hitting many spots in one day, read up on unlimited passes that you can avail of such as the Osaka One-Day Enjoy Eco Card (¥800 on weekdays; ¥600 on weekends) that can be used for subway trains (except OTS line), city buses, and New Tram. In Tokyo, there are multiple unlimited one-day transportation passes. For example, the Tokyo Metro 24-hour ticket is the cheapest for only ¥600 JPY, but it does not include the four Toei subway lines and JR trains. Meanwhile, the Tokyo Subway Ticket can be bought for ¥800 (24 hours), ¥1,200 (48 hours), or ¥1,500 (72 hours) and can be used for all subway lines.
Look for tourist-friendly perks.
Japan is known to be very accommodating to foreign visitors and it shows! Osaka has a special one-day or two-day pass (¥2,700 or ¥3,600) called Osaka Amazing Pass that combines unlimited transportation within the city and free or discounted admission to 40 popular attractions such as the Osaka Castle Museum and Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory. Just make sure you carefully read the terms and conditions so you know which subway lines you can ride, and take full advantage of the entrances to major sites. Some establishments are closed on particular days, while others only offer free entrance to regular exhibitions.
Osaka Amazing Pass lets you explore the city and see the most popular sites
Splurge on selected meals.
Though high-end meals can cost between ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 per person, you can already eat a satisfying and hearty meal for as low as ¥500. At lunchtime, some restaurants offer bento box-type meals for only ¥1,000.
If you’re trying to save, you can also buy delicious and filling meals at your closest convenience store. (Trust us, there’s always a Family Mart, 7-Eleven, or Lawson nearby!) Our favorites include onigiri (triangle-shaped rice filled with topping and wrapped in seaweed), cold egg sandwich, chicken karaage, instant ramen, and bento sets.
Affordable meals from the convenience store
Sushi boxes are good for sharing
Here’s the cost breakdown for a four-day trip to Osaka, Japan:
|Single entry visa||P950|
|Promo airplane fare||P10,000|
|Transportation cost from airport to accommodations||P1,020|
|Two-day Osaka Amazing Pass (includes transportation and entrance fees)||P1,800|