9 Days
Budget: $$$
Spring

I love Japan. Before this trip, I’ve been there twice, in pre-autumn and summer. The next obvious choice for me was either spring or winter. So I decided, why not have both in the same trip? Experience sakura and also experience snow.

Me after the bus left us because we were busy taking pictures

Me after the bus left us because we were busy taking pictures

This trip was in mid-April so sakura was over in Tokyo. What we decided to do was have day trips outside Tokyo and visit places we’ve missed before or wanted to go back to again. Our first sakura sightings were in Hakone. Mt. Fuji didn’t show up that day but the cherry blossoms made us forget about it. They were just as breathtaking to look at.

But the main highlight of this trip was our stay at Nagano. We stayed at Yamanouchi where it was about to be in full-bloom. And a quick bus ride away is the venue for the 1998 Winter Olympics. Sakura? Check! Snow? Check! We only stayed in the resort for half-a-day to ski, but looking back I wish we booked a hotel for even just a night. But still our stay in Nagano was everything I wanted and much, much more.

The last part of this trip was a quick stop at Nagoya where we spent a chunk of it at Nagashima Spa Land. I couldn’t miss this opportunity because I love amusement parks and roller coasters, so to be able to ride one of the highest and fastest roller coasters in the world was important to me.

Full day-by-day itinerary coming up!

Pikachu Center... I mean Pokemon Center Tokyo DX

Pikachu Center… I mean Pokemon Center Tokyo DX

Day 1

  • Flight MNL to NRT
  • Ride Keisei Main Line from Narita to Keisei Ueno Station
  • Check in at Sauna and Capsule Hotel Dandy
  • Lunch at an Izakaya restaurant at Ameyoko market
  • Visit Ueno Park
    • Sakura ice cream
    • Chicken snacks
  • Metro from Ueno to Suidobashi Station
  • Visit Tokyo Dome City Attractions
    • Thunder Dolphin (JPY 1,030.00 per person)
  • Dinner at Matsuya Kourakuen
  • Metro to Akihabara Station
  • Explore Akihabara
  • Snacks at Pablo Mini (‎JPY 200.00 per piece)
  • Metro back to Ueno then walk to hotel
Akihabara at night

Akihabara at night

Day 2

  • Breakfast snacks at convenience store
  • Metro from Ueno-Hirokoji to Nihombashi Station
  • Visit Pokemon Center Tokyo DX & Pokemon Cafe
  • Metro to Harajuku Station
  • Lunch at Ikkakuya Ramen
  • Explore Harajuku
  • Explore Takeshita Street
    • Souvenirs and Purikura!!
  • Metro to Mitaka Station
  • Shuttle bus to Ghibli Museum (JPY 320.00 Round-trip per person)
  • Visit Ghibli Museum (4PM Schedule – JPY 1,000.00 per person)
    • Our tickets were purchased online a month before our trip.
  • Shuttle back to Mitaka Station
  • Metro to Ginza-itchōme Station
  • Dinner at Chibo Yurakucho (Around JPY 2,000.00 per person)
  • Explore Ginza area
  • Metro back to Ueno then walk to hotel
The Iron Giant at the Ghibli Museum

The Iron Giant at the Ghibli Museum

Day 3

  • Wake up early, check out of hotel
  • Breakfast at a convenience store
  • Metro to Shinjuku Station
  • Leave bags at a locker in the station
  • Purchase Odakyu Hakone Freepass (JPY 5,140.00 per person)
  • Take the next train to Odawara (via Odakyu Railway)*
  • Odawara to Gora (via Hakone Tozan Railways)*
  • Gora to Sounzan (via Sounzan Cable Car)*
  • Sounzan to Owakudani (via Hakone Ropeway)*
    • Sightseeing
    • Black Eggs (JPY 500.00 for 5 pieces)
  • Owakudani to Togendai (via Hakone Ropeway)*
  • Togendai to Hakone-machi (via Hakone Sightseeing Cruise)*
  • Late Lunch at Hotoriya Restaurant
    • Special Curry Fillet Cutlet with Dessert (JPY 1,600.00)
    • Honjin Hamburg Steak (JPY 1,450.00)
  • Sightseeing/walk towards Hakone Shrine
    • Explore Onshi Hakone Park
    • Ancient Cedar Avenue
    • Hakone Shrine
    • Lake Ashi Torii Gate (Hakone Jinjya Heiwa-no-Torii)
  • Bus from Motohakone back to Odawara (via Hakone Tozan Bus)*
  • Snacks at Mister Donut
  • Odawara back to Shinjuku (via Odakyu Railway)*
  • Arrive at Shinjuku Station & get bags at the locker
  • Dinner at Sakurazushi (Conveyor Belt Sushi – JPY 100.00~800.00 per plate)
  • Check in at Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule Hotel
  • Rest
  • Explore Shinjuku at night

*Included in the Hakone Freepass

Lake Ashi Torii Gate

Lake Ashi Torii Gate

Day 4

  • Morning rest
  • Fall in line at 10:30 AM outside Nakajima Restaurant
  • Lunch at Nakajima (Michelin starred restaurant)
    • Yanagawanabe Set Meal (JPY 900.00)
  • Train from Shinjuku to Kamakura Station (Around JPY 900.00++ per person)
  • Snacks at a bakery at Kamakura Station (Best Melonpan we’ve had!!)
  • Walk to and explore Hase Area
    • Visit Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura) (JPY 200.00 per person)
      • Enter inside the Buddha statue (JPY 20.00 per person)
    • Hase-dera Temple (We skipped this but the admission fee is JPY 300.00 per person)
    • Kamakura Yuigahama Beach
  • Train from Hase Station back to Kamakura Station
  • Explore Komachi Dori (Shopping area)
  • Visit Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu
  • Back to Kamakura Station
  • Train from Kamakura to Shin-Yokohama Station (JPY 550.00 per person)
    • Kamakura to Yokohama (Yokosuka Line)
    • Yokohama to Shin-Yokohama (Yokohama Line)
  • Walk to Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
  • Visit Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (JPY 310.00 per person)
    • Dinner at Muku Zweite (Around JPY 900.00 per bowl)
  • Train back to Shinjuku (Around JPY 545.00 per person)
    • Shin-Yokohama to Kikune Station (via Yokohama Line)
    • Kikuna to Shinjuku-sanchome Station (via Tokyu Toyoko/Fukutoshin Line)
  • Visit arcades (Taito Station, etc…)
  • Snacks at Donaiya
    • 8 Pieces Takoyaki (JPY 350.00)
  • Back to hotel
Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura)

Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura)

Day 5

  • Wake up very early
  • Breakfast at a cheap restaurant near Don Quijote (Sorry we forgot the name)
  • Scheduled Bus ride from Shinjuku Bus Terminal to Nagano Station
    • 7:55-10:38 AM via Keio Bus (JPY 3,200.00 per person)
    • Tickets were purchased online at Highway Bus [link]
  • Arrive at Nagano Station
  • Lunch at Pomme’s (Around JPY 1,300.00 per person)
    • Omurice with Burger
    • Omurice with Katsu
  • Train to Yamanouchi
    • Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station (via Nagano Dentetsu Line – JPY 1,160.00 per person)
  • Local bus to Shibu Onsen
  • Check in at Nozaru Onsen Hostel
  • Explore Shibu Onsen and nearby areas
  • Dinner at Ramen Tokumi (Around JPY 2,000.00 for 2 people)
    • Gyoza (amazing!)
    • Tonkatsu (it’s good too)
    • Karaage (hands down the best karaage I’ve ever had… ever!!)
  • Back to hotel
Me playing at a playground in Yamanouchi

Me playing at a playground in Yamanouchi

Day 6

  • Brunch at Ramen Tokumi again (it’s the only restaurant open at that time)
  • Bus to Shiga Kogen (There is a fixed and limited schedule for this bus, better check the schedule at the bus stop first. JPY 1,100.00 per person)
    • Wait at the Shibu Onsen bus stop
    • Take the bus with “Okushiga Kogen” sign
    • There was a stop-over where we had to go down and wait for the next bus. While waiting we visited the Shigakogen Nature Conservation Center and the small Winter Olympics museum
    • Arrive at Okushiga Kogen Ski Resort
  • Ski at Okushiga Kogen Ski Resort
    • Gears and ski wear half-day rental for around JPY 5,000.00 per person
    • We arrived late in the afternoon so our rental fees were discounted
    • We didn’t buy lift passes because we were only at the beginner’s area
  • Bus back to Shibu Onsen
  • Dinner at Koishiya Cafe & Bar (Around 6,000.00 for 2 people)
    • The most expensive and underwhelming meal in all of my trips to Japan ever lmao
  • Play at a local arcade
    • It’s very manual with only 1 game which is a target shooting game
Wayne slipping halfway through the beginner's slope

Wayne slipping halfway through the beginner’s slope

Day 7

  • Wake up at 6AM
  • Borrow a Yukata from the hotel and walk around Shibu Onsen
  • Light breakfast at the hotel (cup noodles)
  • Hike to Snow Monkey Park
    • The whole journey was about an hour on mostly pavement road. We started at Onsenji Temple and just followed the road until it ends at a parking area. From there we just followed the signs to the park.
  • Visit Jigokudani Yaen Koen/Snow Monkey Park (JPY 800.00 per person)
  • 20-30 Minute walk to the bus stop
  • Take local bus to Shibu Onsen (JPY 190.00 per person)
  • Check out of hotel
  • Lunch at Ramen Tokumi again (it’s the best)
  • Local bus to Yudanaka Station
  • Train to Nagano Station (via Nagano Dentetsu Line – JPY 1,160.00 per person)
  • Snacks at Mister Donut
  • Go to Meitetsu Bus Stop
  • Scheduled Bus ride from Nagano to Nagoya Station
  • Arrive at Nagoya Station
  • Walk to hotel
  • Check in at First Cabin TKP Nagoya
  • Dinner at an izakaya near the hotel
  • Buy snacks at a convenience store
A Japanese Macaque by their hot spring

A Japanese Macaque by their hot spring

Day 8

  • Walk to Meitetsu Bus Center
  • Take the next scheduled bus to Nagashima Spa Land (or Nagashima Onsen)
  • Whole day at Nagashima Spa Land (JPY 5,000.00 per person)
  • Take the bus back to Meitetsu Bus Center in Nagoya
  • Dinner at 千龍別館店 (That is the exact name at Google Maps)
  • Buy souvenirs at Daiso
Steel Dragon 2000 aka the best coaster I've ever been on

Steel Dragon 2000 aka the best coaster I’ve ever been on

Day 9

  • Free breakfast at the hotel
  • Checkout and leave bags at the hotel
  • Metro to Shiyakusho Station
  • Explore Nagoya Castle (JPY 500.00 per person)
  • Metro back to Nagoya Station
  • Lunch at Tempura Shinjuku at Nagoya Gate Tower
    • Tempura Set (Around JPY 2,400.00 per person)
  • Last-minute shopping at GU (a cheaper alternative to Uniqlo)
  • Back to hotel to get bags
  • Walk to Nagoya Station
  • Take the Sky Limited Express to Chubu Centrair International Airport
    • First Class seats (JPY 1,230.00 per person)
  • Arrive at Chubu Centrair International Airport
  • Check in for flight
  • Flight 5J 5039 back to Manila!
Nagoya Castle

Nagoya Castle

Expenses

Roundtrip Flights
via Cebu Pacific
Manila to Narita and
Nagoya to Manila
PHP 9,479.82
per person
Ueno Accommodation
for 2 Nights
Sauna and Capsule Hotel Dandy
PHP 2,459.955*
per person
Shinjuku Accommodation
for 2 Nights
Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule HotelPHP 3,057.47*
per person
Nagano Accommodation
for 2 Nights
Nozaru Onsen HostelPHP 2,771.43*
per person
Nagoya Accommodation
for 2 Nights
First Cabin TKP NagoyaPHP 2,882.96*
per person
Shinjuku to Nagano BusKeio BusPHP 1,602.135*
per person
Nagano to Nagoya BusMeitetsu BusPHP 2,002.67*
per person
Ghibli Museum Ticketspurchased onlinePHP 499.03*
per person
Food, Transpo, Souvenirs, etc...JPY 60,000.00
per person
PHP 29,100.00**
per person
Total ExpensesPHP 53,855.47
per person

*Converted amount reflected on our credit statements
**Estimate exchange rate of JPY 1.00 = PHP 0.485

This guide covers multiple prefectures and cities, click here for a Tokyo-focused travel guide and DIY itinerary.

View of the sulfur vents from the Hakone Ropeway

View of the sulfur vents from the Hakone Ropeway

We actually brought JPY 70,000.00 per person to Japan, but we had a 10K leftover after the trip. Since our hotels and bus rides were all pre-booked, our pocket money was mostly spent on food and local transportation. We even got to bring home a bunch of souvenirs.

It was great to not think much about budgeting our trip and just spend on whatever or wherever  we want. Of course we still had limits, but we allowed ourselves to be less strict and be more carefree. The 9 days we spent on this trip left us wanting more but still very much satisfied with everything we’ve experienced.

~

The question is, what’s next in Japan for us? With so much options, our only choice is to set the date and plans. So make sure to click the Like button on our Facebook page and watch out for more DIY guides straight to your timeline!