Tokyo, Japan

Planning your trip to Tokyo, Japan? Here are some frequently asked questions when traveling to Japan. I normally ask these question...

Planning your trip to Tokyo, Japan?

Here are some frequently asked questions when traveling to Japan.

I normally ask these questions too. And I find the advices from my friends very helpful!! So now I'm doing my part by helping back. :)

1. Where to get Japan Tourist Visa?

    Japan Tourist Visas are issued by accredited agencies by the embassy.  I got mine at Universal Holidays for P1,200.  Just click the link for the requirements, forms etc.   Service was quite good and efficient, and they'd tell you if your requirements are incomplete or if you missed any details on the application form.

  They're located at Dusit Hotel in Makati.  If you find a long line, don't worry, there's another agency beside Universal Holiday. ;)

2. What's the best time to go to Japan?

  •    Autumn - October to November.  We went around November.  The trees were starting to change color to red, yellow, and orange. And the weather was pleasant.
  •    Spring - Cherry blossoms.  It's around March to May 
   In between these months, it can be very rainy, hot or winter.  It's a nay for me. :)

3.  Should I buy a JR train pass here in Manila?

   Some travel agencies will offer you a JR pass and they'd claim that it is an unlimited train pass all over Japan.  That's true, but it only works for JR lines.   Found out that are several more lines operating in Tokyo! The trains are owned by different companies, hence it means different cards too.  So your JR pass will not work all the time.  We thought there'd be a universal card, but we didn't find one!  So I suggest, just buy individual tickets at the train stations depending on where you want to go.  You can also buy a whole day pass for a specific line too.  So plan your trip well to save money on train tickets.

4.  Where to stay in Tokyo?

  For tourists, it's best to stay in these areas - Shibuya or Shinjuku.   There are close by malls, ATMs, parks, restaurants, etc.  We stayed at Shinjuku area. Just make sure you stay at a place which is close to a train station (if possible, Yamanote line as tourist spots are mostly on this line).

5.  What hotel?

  Our trip was in November and got our Visas 2 months before it.  And to our surprise, the hotels which are within our budget were already fully-booked at that time!  The only remaining ones were the capsules and of course, the 5-stars.

But then there's AirBnB which we tried first time. It didn't disappoint us. It's quite homey actually and near to convenience stores.

Booking the place comes with a pocket wifi which was VERY helpful for us.  I didn't plan for a detailed itinerary because I thought it'd be easy and there'll be maps everywhere. Good thing there's pocket wifi!!   Else, we'll be stuck in a mall. LOL

If you're still interested where we stayed at, here's the owner's profile and condo units for rent.  Shinji of Shinjuku (AirBnb) 

Here's where we specifically stayed at.
It's clean and well-maintained.
It's in korean town and 2-3 blocks away from the train station (Shin-Okubo - Yamanote line).
We paid around P4,500 per night plus cleaning fee.

And don't worry about the directions, the owner will give you the exact instructions including pictures.  It's really easy!

6. Is the food affordable?

  YES. Contrary to popular belief that Tokyo has very expensive food, there are actually tasty but cheap food in Tokyo.  Before this trip, I was expecting that a single meal would be as much as P1,000 for a cup of rice and a piece of meat. But nope! There are P200-P300 meals complete with tasty meat and veggies.  YAY!  You can also buy from 711 - ramen, rice, veggies, coffee, bread.

A photo posted by Travel With Chichi (@travelwithchichi) on

But if you want to go authentic, I suggest you go to these places in Shinjuku though a lil bit pricey.  Hard to find but worth it (so better get a pocket wifi).

Of course, we researched for these places as the best of the best before we went.  :)
    (Click play)

A video posted by Travel With Chichi (@travelwithchichi) on

7.  Where to go?

  Well it depends on what you want to see.  (Note: I'm not a fan of temples).

  I really enjoyed the following (no particular order):

  • Cat Cafe - There are several cat cafes in Tokyo.
  • Meiji Shrine - I saw couple of weddings there as we went on a Sunday. 
  • Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden 
  • And best one is Hakone where you can see the majestic Mt. Fuji and the Little Prince Museum (my personal favorite).  Although Hakone is outside of Tokyo.  I might post a separate blog about Hakone as it was the highlight of our trip. 

Other options:

  • Edo Castle 
  • Piss Alley - for Yakitori food trip (quite pricey) 
  • Odaiba - to see Gundam and the replica of Statue of Liberty 
  • Akihabara - electronic city in Toyko
  • Roponggi - for bars and clubs
  • Shibuya crossing - to see Hachiko's statue and shopping

Last few tips:  If you get lost in Shinjuku train station, don't worry, you're not alone.   :)  It's the busiest train station as it connects to a lot of railways.  We got lost carrying our baggage as it was our first day in Tokyo. It was horrible!   But conquering train stations in Japan is one hella achievement! Lastly, eat as much as you can. You'll certainly miss it when you get back.

And that's it!! I wish you good luck on your trip!! Have fun and eat lots!


PS. Additional Questions:
1. What's the voltage limit of sockets in Japan?

The standard voltage in Japan is 100 Volts. Most chargers, plugs, gadgets are already in "auto-volt".  Meaning, it can be plugged as long as it's within the specified range, example from 100 V to 260V.  You can check it on the label of your charger or appliance. 

Iphone, Ipad, Mac chargers work fine without adapters. Though I bought a new hair iron for this trip as my old one is not an auto-volt.  :)

Additional reference: World Plugs

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