Tokyo, Nikko, Yokohama, Japan – 9 Days for 25K

It was the spring of 2015 at Kansai International Airport when I first dreamed of bringing my family to Japan. Me and my friends were Manila-bound after our 5-day tour in Osaka and a family of 4 was seated behind us when the little boy started praying as the plane prepares for take off. The prayer goes like this : “Lord, thank you for giving us the opportunity to travel as a family. Keep us safe during our flight. Amen.” I imagined that family was mine.

With so much love for The Land of the Rising Sun, I knew I’ll keep coming back and I haven’t forgotten that dream of bringing my family to Japan for a vacation. Back in 2018, I had the chance to bring my mom for a 7-day tour in Tokyo – it was still incomplete as my nephew and niece were not with us. Fast forward to 2020 – my family’s first flight of the decade was bound for Tokyo, Japan. What makes the tour more special is having Boss Mona, my boss from previous company, also joining us on the tour.

BTW, if you want to know about how to be a sponsor for the Japan Tourist Visa, check out my guide here.

We all know that Japan is really expensive but I have been traveling DIY-style and keeping the damage as low as possible. Below is our family’s expenses during our trip to Tokyo.

Roundtrip Airfare 18051.75 3610.35
Baggage Allowance 8144 1628.8
9D8N Accommodation 29689.66 5937.932
Pocket Money 60000 12000
Travel Tax 8100 1620
GRAND TOTAL 123985.4 24797.08

Airfare and accommodation were already paid in advance and I had almost a year to save up for the pocket money so I was prepared.

Hostel East57

Tickets were scored during Cebu Pacific’s Anniversary Seat Sale way back March 2019. I remember when payment did not push through and I encountered a time-out when I was booking. Within 24 hours, I received the itinerary through email which confirms the booking.

Tokyo Airfare

Taal Volcano awakened during the week of our departure which caused the shutdown of NAIA and flights were getting cancelled. Lucky for us, NAIA reopened and gradually resumed operations a day before our scheduled flight.

Tokyo, let’s go!!!


Narita International Airport

Tokyo Itinerary

We arrived at NAIA less than 3 hours before our flight. Long queue for bag drop and immigration that we had to run to the boarding gate. We haven’t had the chance to have lunch at the airport so we just had snacks during the flight.

Tokyo Itinerary

We arrived at Narita International Airport past 7PM and there was a long and slow queue at the immigration. Our baggage were already arranged by the airport staff and handed to us when went to the claim our luggage. We met Boss Mona at the arrival hall and waited for her to exchange some Japanese Yen. My niece and nephew were greeted by the winter breeze and they seemed to enjoy it lol

Arrival in Japan

We boarded the last Keisei Limited Express Train bound for Asakusa and arrived almost 12 midnight. Good thing it was direct train which stops at Asakusabashi Station where our hostel is located. Had we need a transfer, we might miss the last train as it was already 12 midnight. We checked in fast at Hostel East57 and called it a day.


Shibuya Scramble Square
Hachiko Statue
Meiji Shrine

Hostel East57

Alarm was set for 7AM and met for the free breakfast at the hostel. First stop was Shibuya and we got kinda lost lol. The last time I was there, Shibuya Scramble was not yet built so we were going into circles into the new building. We saw a Family Mart where we had a quick bite. We finally managed to get to the most famous crossing in the world as well as visit Hachiko Memorial Statue.

Tokyo Itinerary

Shibuya Crossing

We then headed to Harajuku were lots of items are on sale. I bought my mom a bag and scarf. The sales ladies were amazed as I lip-synched BoA’s Dakishimeru song haha. Don’t forget to eat crepe here and also check out the chocolates on sale. We walked to Laforet where we looked for the Sailor Moon Store. Last stop for the area was Meiji Shrine before heading to Akihabara.

Tokyo Itinerary

My nephew was hungry again and I told him I know a place in Akihabara. We then went to Akiba Yodobashi’s 8th Floor where we ate ramen and fried chicken. Boss Mona went to shop at BIC Camera for some anime merch while my nephew and niece played Nintendo Switch demo games. We dropped by Donki which is just around the street before going home.

Tokyo Itinerary


Tokyo Tower
Zozoji Temple

Sounds like a very big day with Disney Land and Disney Sea on the itinerary lol. My nephew and niece did not totally care about entering the amusement parks so it’s a good thing so I won’t have to spend more. We just enjoyed the outside scenes and ate lunch at the food court.

Next stop is the Tokyo Tower where we checked the Mugiwara Store as well as the anime store on the second floor. We did not purchase the Tokyo Tower pass and opted to go to the nearby Zozoji Temple instead.

Tokyo Itinerary

My nephew was hungry and I know a place near Kamiyacho Station with good food at very affordable price. We had a heavy late lunch and then walked to Roppongi. We spent a lot of time in Donki and bought pasalubong before going home πŸ˜€


Kinugawa Onsen
Tobu Nikko

It was raining the next day in Tokyo. We had our usual free breakfast before heading to Asakusa Station to buy our Nikko Pass. We only bought the 2-Day World Heritage Pass since the 4-Day Nikko All Access Pass is expensive and going back to Tokyo would mean forfeiting the pass. We opted to ride the local trains since riding the limited express train would cost more.

Tokyo Itinerary

The train guy was very generous to write us a guide where to transfer stations. We were on the train almost all day and when we finally stopped at Kinugawa Onsen Station we thought we could see the snow but sadly there’s none. We checked the area for a bit and had lunch.

Tokyo Itinerary

We then rode the train bound for Tobu Nikko but we got confused because it went backwards – we thought it was a wrong train. We dropped by to the next station and the lady said it was a correct train and the next one would be in 45 minutes. The lady was kind enough to let us enter the museum cause it was blistering cold outside (1 degree).

We finally got to Tobu Nikko but it was already past 4PM and it has gotten dark. Sadly the tourist information was already closed so we didn’t get to ride the free tour bus. We explored the area for a bit and had dinner before going back to Tokyo.

I would say it was a failed mission since we did not get to see the shrines and not even a drop of snow lol. But it was fun – the train ride itself was a treat. Definitely going back to Nikko.


Senso-ji Temple
Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo
Gundam Statue

We woke up late the next day and even missed our free breakfast. My mom was frozen from Nikko’s zero degrees and opted not to join us because she was tired – plus she’s been to those places. We went to Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa and it was crazy filled with lots of tourists. Starting from Asakusa Station up to the temple, it felt like there’s a procession going due to the overwhelming number of tourists. We checked the nearby shopping malls and also Donki. My nephew was already in a bad mood because he is hungry – luckily, we found a nice restaurant with cheap meals so we had lunch there.

Tokyo Itinerary

Next stop was the Pokemon Mega Center in Ikebukuro. It was also filled with lots of people and the queue to the store was just crazy we decided to skip it. Also there’s the new Pokemon Go Team Lab and Pokemon Cafe as well as Mugiwara Store – check those if you wish to buy merch.

Tokyo Itinerary

Last stop for the day was Odaiba where the real-life size Gundam is standing. I’m always amazed by the Yurikamome Line’s fully automated train but sadly we didn’t get the front seat cause there’s a lot of tourists. We then walked to see the Statue of Liberty but it is being renovated. I told my nephew we are in New York and he bought it lol. We continued to walk to Aqua City and there’s the new JUMP Shop with so many anime merch. We continued to walk to Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station where a nearby grocery is located. We bought some groceries before heading home.

We went back to Asakusa for dinner and went to Donki to finalize Boss Mona’s pasalubong.


Nissan Gallery Global Headquarters
Minato Mirai
Queen’s Square
Yokohama Arena

Tokyo Itinerary

Boss Mona’s flight back to Manila is scheduled for this day – I felt kinda sad because it felt different – like the group would be incomplete and I wish we’d all go home together.

We had breakfast and we went to Asakusabashi Station to accompany Boss Mona to the train bound for Narita Airport. We parted ways and we then went to Shinagawa Station to catch a train bound for Yokohama.

Tokyo Itinerary

Originally, we planned to go back to Nikko if only the Nikko Pass was valid for coming back but sadly going back to Tokyo forfeits the pass. Knowing that we could only use the Nikko Pass once – we decided to go to Yokohama since we haven’t been there.

Tokyo Itinerary

No plans really – it’s just a date for two. We dropped off at Yokohama Station and followed the signs to Minato Mirai. We bought some chicken at the station and then we ate them at Starbucks while having their new Valentine drink. We stumbled upon the Nissan Gallery Global Headquarters and we were welcomed even though we were not there to buy a car – it was nice to see their presentation/demo and we’re free to take pics even inside the cars.

Nissan Global Headquarters Yokohama Starbucks

We continued to walk to Minato Mirai and there were lots of major company HQs – Docomo, Shiseido, Fuji Xerox, Sony to name a few. The roads and parks were all filled with trees and I can only imagine how it’d looked like during sakura season.

We entered Queen’s Square mall and explored a bit. Next to it is a themepark called CosmoWorld as well as the nearby Cup Noodles Museum. We did not enter those since there’s lots of people.

Tokyo Itinerary

We had lunch at the nearby Yokohama World Porters. I got sleepy and took a nap at the bench lol. We then walked to Sakuragicho Station – mainly because of the 5 Centimeters Per Second theme song called One More Time, One More Chance.

Tokyo Itinerary

We boarded the train bound for Shin-Yokohama Station where the Yokohama Arena is located. I just wanted to reminisce Utada Hikaru’s 2010 Wild Life concert which was held here. We then had dinner at Cubic Plaza before going home.


Ueno Park
Ueno Zoo
Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo Itinerary

This is the day my nephew and niece have been waiting for. They did not really care about Disneyland and DisneySea – just the zoo and they’re good to go. My nephew even wore his triceratops costume for this day!

We had our usual sandwich and orange juice for breakfast and headed to Ueno Station. We saw some affordable bento just outside the station and bought some. We immediately spotted Ueno Park where lots of people are relaxing and having a bite. We ate here as well before heading to Ueno Zoo. The zoo offers free entrance to kids so this is really a great alternative to Disneyland lol

We spent most of the day here as well as Ueno Park. We then went to Tokyo Station where we ate dinner. We explored outside a bit and stumbled upon the Tokyo International Forum – a venue for BoA’s The Face Tour as well as Xmas Live 2010. It was crazy going home because it was rush hour.

It was a bit early and my nephew is still hungry so we had pizza party as well as few shots.


Rikugi-en Garden
Nezu Shrine
Shibuya Crossing

It was a fine sunny day and perfect for exploring some gardens and shrines. We went to Rikugien Garden at Komagome but seeing how the trees are frozen, we opted not to enter and decided to come back on an autumn or spring season. We found a good place to eat so we had lunch.

Next stop was Nezu Shrine. We boarded the wrong train so we went back to Komagome Station so we won’t be charged XD. We reached Nezu Shrine where there was an injured kid. They asked me if I have band aid and hey, I have it! Lucky you guys! πŸ™‚ I have never been to Kyoto but being in Nezu Shrine gave me that vermilion torii feels in Kyoto.

Tokyo Itinerary

We went back to Asakusabashi and saw some luggage for sale. I bought one because I have so many Donki pasalubong.Β  We then headed to Ebisu to meet our Japanese friend and she treated us to a snack-all-you-can bar. We walked to Shibuya Crossing and it was crazier at night.

Shibuya Hikarie


Narita International Airport


Alarm set at 5AM to do final preparation. We had our final breakfast at the hostel and said goodbye to their crew who treated us so well during our 9 day stay in Tokyo. We boarded the Keisei Express bound for Narita International Airport and had quick lunch. We used up all our Suica money on Family Mart to buy quick bites and more pasalubong.


Tokyo Itinerary

Buy Pasalubong at Don Quijote stores. They are tax free for foreigners with 5k yen and above purchase. We have been to their Akihabara, Roppongi, and Asakusa branches.

Tokyo Pasalubong
This is a small luggage I bought purely for the pasalubong πŸ˜€

Find cheap restaurants and eat there – they are usually fully packed so they are not hard to find πŸ˜‰

Tokyo Cheap Restaurant

Use up all your Suica credits on Family Mart at Narita International Airport – you can use the credits and top up yen in case the card gets insufficient funds.

Utilize free entrance/passes for kids – example is the Ueno Zoo where kids can enter for free. πŸ™‚

Enjoy Tokyo and if you have more time, have a side trip to Nikko and Yokohama! ❀

Narita Airport to Tokyo by Bus

Tokyo can be overwhelming to most travelers specially for those first timers in this mega city. I was one of those intimidated just by looking at the subway network so I chose to ride the bus to at least narrow down the area.

As three of us are first timers in Tokyo and we are carrying big luggage each, we opted to travel by bus for budget and convenience.

Narita to Tokyo by Bus

For just 1000 yen, one can travel from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station by bus. You can buy this directly from their booth located at the arrival area.

Narita to Tokyo by Bus

Buses are easily found outside the arrival area. Follow the signs leading there.

Narita to Tokyo by Bus

A detailed bus guide, be sure not to miss the last one.

Narita to Tokyo by Bus

There are lots of bays in the airport so check which bay your bus is designated.

Narita to Tokyo by Bus

Here is our bus, our luggage were placed in the compartment and we seated comfortably inside as we travel to Tokyo. Travel time is approximately 1 hour (depends on traffic conditions) and there’s wifi and security camera.

It will stop at Tokyo Station where you can then board a train to your home station.

That’s it. I hope it helps. πŸ™‚

Japan Visa – Schedule of Stay

Some friends of mine heading to Japan have been asking me for the Schedule of Stay document which is required for the tourist visa application.

I usually send them thru email but sometimes I don’t have access and it’s hard to dig to old emails.  There are also times where I tell them that I’ll send the file and then boom forgot about it. (Sorry friends, I’m a very busy person you know lol).

I have been forwarding this document since 2015! So here goes, for everyone’s access – the Schedule of Stay. For now I can only offer Osaka and Tokyo since I haven’t been to other parts of Japan.

Just click below to download:

Osaka Schedule of Stay 

Tokyo Schedule of Stay

Quick note when you edit:

The date on the top right should be the date of your visa application
The dates on the first column should be the actual dates of your trip to Japan.
The Activity Plan are your day-to-day itinerary.
The Contact is your contact person but if you don’t have it, just put the name of the hotel.
The Accommodation is your hotel/guest house/hostel.

Print it on an A4 size paper and you’re done with one of the requirements for your Japan Visa Application!

I hope it helps! Good luck! πŸ™‚

japan travel schedule form
japan itinerary pdf
schedule of stay japan osaka
schedule of stay japan tokyo
schedule of stay japan fukuoka
daily schedule in japan (taizai yoteihyo )
sample osaka itinerary for japan visa
sample schedule of stay in nagoya japan
osaka schedule of stay

Where to Stay in Tokyo, Japan?

Looking for a place to stay in Tokyo, Japan? Check out Hostel EAST57 ASAKUSABASHI

Click Image to Book

Conveniently located near Asakusabashi Station, just a station away from Akihabara / two stations away from Tokyo Station. The staff here are really nice and very helpful.

We’ve been to Japan twice this year, November and back again this December to watch Utada Hikaru’s Laughter In The Dark Tour concert in Makuhari Messe. We loved our first stay and was back again for the second stay.Β  My friends also booked here during their December stay.

The hostel’s address is 1-15-5 Yanagibashi, Taito-ku, Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, 111-0052.


– One train ride to and from Narita International Airport via Keisei Main Line
– very friendly and helpful staff! They also speak English.
– Very affordable (less than 1k pesos per night)
– very comfortable stay
– very clean
– 2 to 3 minutes walk from Asakusabashi Station
– tons of restaurants and convenience stores nearby.
– You can borrow coffee mugs / utensils
– FREE stuffs inside the fridge. I loved the peanut butter here lol
– Free toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, cotton buds and others)
– Free and very fast wifi

– sometimes the other guests are noisy especially during the night.
– small space for luggage and things
– the room doesn’t have a door, it is only covered with a curtain

Book now thru Agoda!

Here are some pictures taken during our stay.


The outside view of the hostel


The front desk



House rules and amenities


I badly want to steal this lol Coin bank for tips




The rooms


The Bar – coffee, beer, breakfast, meals, you name it πŸ™‚


Some maps / printed materials that can help you navigate Tokyo.


The fridge – be sure to name your food/drinks and also check out for free stuffs inside labeled “FREE” πŸ˜‰


The elevator – the logos say it all πŸ˜‰


The map for 2nd floor


The floor is protected by a security card


The hallway. The rooms are only covered with curtains.


The outlet for chargingΒ  as well as the earphone jack for watching TV.


There’s also a safe in case you need to put a treasure πŸ˜€


Each bed has a television πŸ™‚


The toilet – it’s automatic!



The 5th Floor is where the shower and toilets are located. The male and female section are separated. Everything is so clean! ❀


There’s a vending machine in case you need a drink.

Book now thru Agoda!


Tokyo, Japan – 7 Days for Less Than 20k

Back in 2016, I saved 1k per payday and traveled to Osaka, Japan with 25k budget. This year, I again managed to travel to Japan by saving 1k per payday. I saved for a year and found myself back in the country I love most. Let’s explore Tokyo do-it-yourself style.

EXPENSES Philippine Peso Japanese Yen
Roundtrip Airfare (Pisofare) 2856
Baggage Allowance 1900
Travel Tax 1620
Suica Card 2324 5000
Keisei Bus (NRT to Tokyo / Tokyo to NRT) 930 2000
Accommodation for 7D6N at Hostel East57 Asakusabashi 5538 11915
Showa Kinen Park Entrance Fee 209 450
Tokyo Tower Main Deck Ticket 418 900
Food and Pasalubong 3951 8500
TOTAL 19745 28765

You can also add Nikko and Yokohama if you have more time. πŸ™‚

Here is a screenshot of our pisofare payment details. 8567.94 pesos / 3 persons = 2856 pesos roundtrip each. Booked December 2017 for a November 2018 flight.

cebu pacific pisofare

Here is a quick guide on how you can score cheap promo tickets to Japan!

Here is a screenshot from our Agoda booking. 16612.92 pesos / 3 persons = 5538 pesos for 7D6N accommodation. This is actually for 4 persons but we failed to find another one to join us in our trip, we could’ve saved a thousand pesos πŸ˜‰ I highly recommend Hostel East57 Asakusabashi for your Tokyo stay.


Originally, the itinerary I submitted to the embassy was just a draft – the locations were far from each other. Special thanks to my Japanese friend who arranged the final itinerary. Most of our destinations are free of charge that’s why everything was spent on food and pasalubong. We are a very relaxed (lazy and slow to be exact lol) group and really took time in each of these spots. We wake up around 7AM and we leave the hostel by 10AM. Ideally, you can add more to this itinerary to maximize Tokyo πŸ˜‰

Let’s go!


Arrival in Narita International Airport

Tokyo Japan Itinerary
My Mom’s first international flight. Touchdown Japan!

We arrived 1130AM in Japan – just in time for lunch. Grabbed a quick bite at 7-11 first. Bought Suica Card and booked a bus ride to Central Tokyo. The express bus is stopping at Tokyo Station so we had to take a train to Asakusabashi Station where our accommodation, Hostel East57 Asakusabashi is located. After unpacking and a quick rest, we familiarized ourselves in the area during dinner time when we were looking for a place to eat.


Imperial Palace
Kitanomaru Park
Nippon Budokan
Tokyo Dome City

I really wanted to see the Nippon Budokan mainly because of Utada Hikaru’s 2004 concert here. Fandom first you know :P. The Imperial Palace East Garden was closed during our visit but the good part is that the Imperial Palace is surrounded by lots of parks so our visit was not a waste. We then went to Akihabara (just a station away from Tokyo Station) for dinner. Akihabara is a must for anime/video game fans. There’s Square Enix cafe and Gundam Cafe just near the station. πŸ˜‰


Shibuya Crossing
Hachiko Statue
Meiji Shrine
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Viewing Deck

Of course, a Tokyo visit would not be complete without Hachiko! ❀ It was fun watching the people in Shibuya Crossing, it feels like everything is on fast-forward mode. Don’t forget to time-lapse here. We then dropped by Harajuku to look for the Sailor Moon Store, a request of my friend. We went to Meiji Shrine and then off to Shinjuku – another busy place with lots of buildings and lights. We had hard time finding the Tokyo Metropolitan Govt Building and we’re lucky to have one Japanese student who accompanied us. It was a long walk from Shinjuku Station. I apologized for causing her trouble and she said that it was no trouble at all. We went to see Tokyo’s night lights from the building’s viewing deck. We had dinner on one of the restaurants near the station before heading home.


Showa Kinen Park
Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center
Asakusa Shrine / Sensoji Temple

We saw an autumn forecast on one of the tourist information center and decided to go to Showa Kinen Park which is located in Tachikawa City. It was an hour ride from our home station. There is a 450yen fee to enter the park. We spent most of the day here because the autumn leaves were really beautiful and the park is really a huge one. We then went to Asakusa to meet our Japanese friend and she toured us around the area.


Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Tower
One Piece Tower
Don Quijote

We went to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea but we did not enter lol. Mainly because it was expensive (7400 yen / 3426 pesos per theme park per person) and also we need to be here as early as possible but it’s almost noon time when we arrived. We then went to Tokyo Tower – sadly, the other half side of the main deck was under construction so I feel like the ticket was a waste. There’s also One Piece Tower (2200 yen entrance fee), One Piece Store, Detective Conan store and a general anime store. We then walked to Roppongi and passed by a 100yen store and of course, Don Quijote where we shopped for pasalubong, tax free!


Diver City Tokyo Plaza
Unicorn Gundam
Statue of Liberty
Odaiba Marine Park

Another must-see in Tokyo is the life-size Gundam! Odaiba is like a city from the future. The train here from the Yurikamome line is fully automated – be sure to get to the front seat of the train to get the best view. There’s also a supermarket here that’s called “OK Everyday Low Price”, be sure to check it out so you can grab some pasalubong πŸ˜‰


Narita International Airport
Mactan-Cebu International Airport
Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Tokyo Itinerary

Too much airport for a day lol. The pisofare I grabbed has a stop-over in Cebu but I’m not complaining. Our flight is at 1PM so we checked out at 9AM and arrived at Narita International Airport past 10AM. If you have time, you can check the Observation Deck to see the planes landing / taking off. There’s also a Pokemon Store here so if you haven’t been to the Pokemon Mega Center, be sure to stop by here.


Expenses on food will truly hurt your wallet. Find the cheapest restaurant and eat there πŸ˜‰ They are usually fully packed so you’ll find them easily. For pasalubong, 100 Yen, Don Quijote and those tax free stores will save you thousands of yen. πŸ˜‰ You’ll find them when you’re not looking for them πŸ˜‰

Tokyo Itinerary

Enjoy Tokyo! ❀

%d bloggers like this: