Japan Budget Itinerary & Expense - Nagoya, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka

It's apparent that Japan is one of the most interesting vacation destinations , however, it is also one of the most expensive countries to visit making it very difficult for average earner to make this dream come true. Like many of those who have been dreaming about a visit in Japan, it took me some time to think about the budget too and to save for the trip; hence, I made sure that we get the most out of our budget.

I know there are few who've been looking forward to this since I have been asked a few times about how much did we spent in our 11 days DIY winter trip in Japan, and as promised here's the most awaited budget itinerary and expense with bonus tips and guides.

First of all, below are the documents we've had handy for this trip.

  1. Japan Visa
  2. Passport
  3. Proof of Identification (We have company ID and UMID)
  4. Printed Flight Booking
  5. Printed Hotel Bookings
TIP: Printing the flight and hotel booking made it easier to access some information needed during the immigration screening and completing the immigration forms. It also gave me some feeling of security that I will have the information in case my mobile devices fail.

Converted Currency:

We had our peso converted to Yen at Asian FX Foreign Exchange, besides Sanry Money Changer in Market Market, they exchange peso to yen at .48 Yen, .02cents better than Sanry's Rate during that time. It was our best option then since it's holidays and we don't have much time to look for better rates.

  1. Banks offer a better rate. Visit your branch of account and check for options. 
    • I tried requesting from BDO and they will reserve the have to wait to get the currency, however, there's no guarantee of how soon
    • BPI also does, but haven't tried because our branch of account is quite far from the office
    • No information about other banks
  2. Debit Cards, I called BDO to have my card activated for international transactions. According to the agents, international debit card are readily available to be used for international transactions but they recommend to call them for the notice to travel, you will provide them the dates and country to visit. This is just to avoid your international transactions from getting blocked.
  3. ATM at familymart, 7/11 and Lawson are mostly ready for cash withdrawal using your ATM/Debit cards. We tried all three of them, familymart and Lawson converts peso to yen at .49yen with 120-180 yen service charge while 7/11  doesn't have any charges, but with the disclaimer that your bank may charge an international transaction fee.

Pre-departure Process and Fees:
  1. I checked-in via Cebu Pacific's online kiosk - it's faster here
  2. Dropped my baggage at the DROP-BAG Counter
  3. Fill-out the immigration form
  4. Fall in line for immigration clearance
  5. We were asked with the basic information about our trip (e.g. return date)
TIP: We paid the travel tax together with the plane ticket, you will have that option too and I can say it is very convenient.

Arriving and spending the night at Chubu International Airport in Nagoya

  1. While on the flight you will be given a form, it's the disembarkation document, complete the form and keep it with you, you will need this as you pass the immigration counter
  2. Upon exit, we followed the other passengers and fall in line for immigration, there were some officers to help you with the process, so nothing to worry.
  3. The process is fast :) we are ready to pick up our baggage after less than 15 minutes
  4. After picking up the baggage we head to the airport lobby to look for a place where we could eat our dinner
  5. The Chubu International Aiport closes at around 12:00am after its last flight but part of the lobby and the central square is open
  6. Our flight arrived at 9PM and I don't find it practical to book for a hotel because we planned to leave Nagoya early in the morning, so we joined some of the travelers at the arrivals waiting-area just right outside the baggage claims, find our spot and spent our night there
  7. There are drinking fountain, free WIFI, charging station and comfort rooms available close to the waiting area, making it comfortable for a night stay. Lights were on and guards are roaming around from time to time, the TV was on all night too but it didn't bother me and I was able to have good sleep for a couple of hours.
Getting around Japan:

If there is something I am excited about Japan, it would be their transportation system. Japan is renowned for its highly efficient public transport system and it didn't disappoint me. At the first look of the map and the lines, it made me feel a bit scared and overwhelmed but soon got used to it and realize how genius the routing and timing is.

TIP: If you are to spend time planning, focus on the mode of transportation because Japan's public transits are expensive - check google maps to get the idea.

In this DIY trip, I spent time and paid all the attention planning the best route to get from City to City by strategically calculating cost and time. 

  1. Day 1 - 3 - we paid the regular fare in buses and trains
  2. Day 4 - we purchased the Takayama Shinhotaka Open Ticket which is valid for two days
  3. Day 5 - we activated my Takayama-Hokuriko Area Tourist Pass (JR Regional Pass) covering Takayama-Shirakawa-go and vise versa
  4. Day 5 - 9 - Takayama > Toyama > Kanazawa > Kyoto > Osaka transportation cost was also covered by the Takayama-Hokuriko Area Tourist Pass (JR Regional Pass) 
  5. Day 10 - we opted to visit areas that are walking distance from our stay
  6. Day 11 - we paid at a regular rate for the train from Kyoto Station to Kansai International Airport
Notice that we activated my pass in the middle of my trip. This is because those were the time when we need to travel in longer distance and higher frequency and with that we didn't only save money but also the effort because you do not need to worry about buying the tickets from time to time.

ABOVE INFORMATION ARE BASED ON HOW WE DID IT FOR THIS TRIP. Please feel free to drop your clarification on the comments section or maybe if you have better options that you would like to share.

And here's the complete itinerary with the actual expenses in Japanese Yen (JPY) and Peso (PHP).

Nagoya, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka - Budget Itinerary & Expense
Day 1
***Conversion rate is .48 PHP/ 1 JPY   JPY   PHP 
NAIA Terminal 3 - Chubu International Airport (Nagoya, Japan)
11:00 AM Grab Taxi  770.83  370.00
Predaparture Procedure
1:00 PM (MNL TIME) Immigration Procedure  -    -  
2:00 PM (MNL TIME) Late Lunch  312.50  150.00
3:00 PM (MNL TIME) Departure from Manila via Cebu Pacific  20,168.75  9,681.00
9:00 PM (JPN TIME) Arrival at Chubu International Airport (Nagoya, Japan)  -    -  
9:20 PM Arrival Imigration Procedure  -    -  
9:40 PM Baggage Pick-up  -    -  
10:00 PM Dinner (Familymart)  416.67  200.00
10:30 PM Bought Heat Packs  125.00  60.00
11:00 PM Overnight at Chubu Internation Airport  -    -  
Total Day 1  21,793.75  10,461.00
Day 2
Nagoya, Japan
6:00 AM Breakfast  520.83  250.00
Coffee  187.50  90.00
Heat Packs & others  1,041.67  500.00
WIFI Rental but ended up buying Sim Card with 3 GB Data  3,958.33  1,900.00
Chubu International Airport to Nagoya Station  1,230.00  590.40
Exchanged the Takayama - Hokuriku Regional JR Pass  7,152.08  3,433.00
Locker at train Station  700.00  336.00
Meal  416.67  200.00
Walk to Nagoya Science Museum  -    -  
EscaMall (Snowboots and Pasalubong)  10,416.67  5,000.00
Meal  520.83  250.00
6:00 PM Nagoya Station to Takayama Station (via Nohi Bus)  2,980.00  1,430.40
9:00 PM Arrival at Takayama Station
9:15 PM Check-in @ Soy Guesthouse  10,000.00  4,800.00
Total Day 2  39,124.58  18,779.80
Day 3
Takayama Walking Tour
7:30 AM Breakfast  -    -  
Check-out @ Soy Guesthouse
Check-in @ Sora-Ama Hostel  8,835.00  4,240.80
Lunch (Hana-Chan Chinese Restaurant)  1,000.00  480.00
Walk @ Takayam Old Town
Takayama Jinya
Yoshijima Heritage House
Hifo Takayama Traditional Private Village
Nakabashi Bridge
Sake Brewery
8:00 PM Dinner  562.50  270.00
Supply for Breakfast (Familymart)  395.83  190.00
Total Day 3  10,793.33  5,180.80
Day 4
Shinhotaka Ropeway
7:30 AM Breakfast  -    -  
Prepare for Shinhotaka (-18c per checking)
Bought supplies from familymart (gloves,umbrella,chocolate)   937.50  450.00
10:40 AM Takayama - Shinhotaka Ropeway (Open Ticket)  5,900.00  2,832.00
1:00 PM Lunch (Lunch Coupon from Open Ticket)  -    -  
1:30 PM Ropeway 1  -    -  
2:00 PM Ropeway 2  -    -  
3:15 PM Ropeway 2 -1  -    -  
4:00 PM Snack & Shop (shopping coupon from Open ticket)  -    -  
Supposed to have free Onsen but opted not to due to heavy snowfall & limited time  -    -  
4:45 PM Left Shinhotaka
6:30 PM Early Dinner at Ebis CafĂ© & Pachinko  1,250.00  600.00
8:00 PM Played Pachinko (my meal includes 1000 pachinko balls)  -    -  
11:00 PM Bed Time  -    -  
Total Day 4  8,087.50  3,882.00
Day 5
Hida Shirakawa-Go
6:00 AM Breakfast  1,000.00  480.00
Prepare for Shirakawa-go (-9c per checking)  -  
9:00 AM Bound to Shirakawa-Go via Nohi Bus (covered by Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass  - JR Regional Pass)  -  
11:50 AM Shirakawa-go
Snack & Shop (shopping coupon from Open ticket)  1,000.00  480.00
Picture Souvenir  1,500.00  720.00
Shirakawa-go - Observatory (Vice-Versa)  200.00  96.00
Hida Shirakawa-go Nagase-ke Gasho-Zukuri House  300.00  144.00
3:30 PM Left Shirakawa-go
7:00 PM Dinner (Familymart)  490.00  235.20
Total Day 5  4,490.00  2,155.20
Day 6
Hida-Takayama > Toyama > Kanazawa
5:00 AM Breakfast  400.00  192.00
8:00 AM Miyagawa Morning Market
Tako Yake  200.00  96.00
Mitarashi Dango  90.00  43.20
Souvenir  3,830.00  1,838.40
10:00 AM Takayama - Toyama (Covered by Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass - JR Regional Pass)
Toyama Station Locker  600.00  288.00
Lunch @ Saboten - Toyama  1,566.00  751.68
Bus to Fugan Canal - Kasnsui Park  200.00  96.00
Shopping @Marier Toyama  -    -  
5:00 PM Toyama - Kanazawa via Hokuriku-Shinkansen (Covered by Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass - JR Regional Pass)  -    -  
5:30 PM Arrival @ Kanazawa Station  -    -  
6:00 PM Check-in @ Blue Hour Kanazawa  700.00  336.00
Dinner (Bought nissin cup because we are still full and got tamad)  150.00  72.00
Total Day 6  7,736.00  3,713.28
Day 7
9:00 AM Breakfast   370.00  177.60
9:30 AM Bus to Higashiyama District (Covered by Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass - JR Regional Pass)  -    -  
Higashiyama Walking Tour
Kanazawa Gold Museum  400.00  192.00
Geisha District
Gold Leaf Ice Cream (Hakuichi)  891.00  427.68
Check-out @ Blue Hour Kanazawa 
Lunch (familymart)  450.00  216.00
1:30 PM Kanazawa - Kyoto  (Covered by Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass - JR Regional Pass)  -    -  
3:30 PM Arrived in Kyoto station
Took sometime to figure our way out, decided to walk for 30 minutes only to find out I pinned the wrong place
Taxi from somewhere in Kyoto to Stay-inn Kyoto Gojo  800.00  384.00
6:00 PM Check-in @ Stay-inn Kyoto Gojo  12,600.00  6,048.00
Dinner  560.00  268.80
Total Day 7  16,071.00  7,714.08
Day 8
8:00 AM Breakfast  -    -  
Relax  -    -  
Laundry  -    -  
11:00 AM Off to Kyoto Station
Boarded the wrong bus lol!  230.00  110.40
Boarded the right bus :)  230.00  110.40
Kyoto Station - Osaka Station
Osaka Loopline - Osakajokoen Station
1:30 PM Osaka Castle
4:20 PM Late lunch   1,500.00  720.00
Osakajokoen Station - Shin-Imamiya Station (Covered by Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass - JR Regional Pass)
Shin-Imamiya Station (Nankai-Koya Line) to Namba Station  150.00  72.00
Namba City
Dinner  750.00  360.00
Souvenir (pasalubong is life)  -    -  
10:00 PM Namba Station (Nankai-Koya Line) to Shin-Imamiya Station  150.00  72.00
Shin-Imamiya Station to Osaka Station (Covered by Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass - JR Regional Pass)
Osaka Station - Kyoto Station (Covered by Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass - JR Regional Pass)
12:00 AM Kyoto Station - Tambaguchi Station (Covered by Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass - JR Regional Pass)
Total Day 8  3,010.00  1,444.80
Day 9
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
8:00 AM Coffee  420.00  201.60
11:00 PM Brunch - Ramen  650.00  312.00
12:00 PM Kyoto Station -Torokko  Arashiyama Station  240.00  115.20
2:00 PM Went Back to Osaka (Decide to relax and shop instead :)) All fare expenses covered by the JR Regional Pass)
Dinner @ Yoshinoya in Dotonbori  720.00  345.60
Total Day 9  2,030.00  974.40
Day 10
Kyoto (no energy at all)
8:45 AM Breakfast  500.00  240.00
11:00 AM Walk to Nijo Castle
1:00 PM Lunch @ Sukiya  450.00  216.00
2:00 PM International Managa Museum
3:00 PM Nishiki Market
4:30 PM Relax with Coffee and Sakura cake @Mc Donalds  1,100.00  528.00
7:00 PM Dinner (Ramen store, looks like a local favorite, unfortunately we can't read the name of the store)   820.00  393.60
Total Day 10  2,870.00  1,377.60
Day 11
Kyoto to Manila via Kansai Internation Airport (Osaka)
8:00 AM Breakfast  350.00  168.00
10:00 AM Check-out @ Stay-inn Kyoto Gojo
10:30 AM Kyoto Station
12:00 PM Lunch  500.00  240.00
2:30 PM Kyoto Station - Kansai International Airport Station  1,880.00  902.40
5:00 PM Snack  350.00  168.00
7:00 PM (JPN TIME) Departed Kansai International Airport to Manila  16,462.50  7,902.00
11:29 PM (MNL TIME) Arrived at NAIA International Airport Terminal 3
12:00 AM NAIA Terminal 3 - Home  652.08  313.00
Total Day 11  19,844.58  9,525.40

Another TIP: Japan's rate during Sakura Season and Autumn is double and even triple the rate compared to winter. So if you are on a budget, wanted to visit Japan and would also like to experience a winter then Japan Winter is perfect for hitting these three birds in one stone.

Arigato gozaimashita!

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