Jun 4, 2014

My Japan Trip Itinerary, Expenses and Anything You Might Want to Know

A year ago, I went to Japan and since I came home, I never spent any days without hoping to be back in Japan. I wanna go back to Japan agaaaaiiinnn, sooooo baaaaaaddd. When I was in elementary school, I went to Japan with my aunt. But again, I was too little to remember the trip. The only things I remember were being in an elevator at Disneyland Tokyo and seeing a man eating a raw chicken at a shrine. A very random memory of my childhood Japan trip.

Since I graduated from college, I don't get financial support from my parents. I don't want them to support meeee because I count my self as an adult so I feel so ashamed if I ask my parents for money hehehe. So I saved my money so hard and being mean to myself. I save 40% of my salary for my traveling saving. My tactic is to collect as much money as I could to afford the flight tickets (on AirAsia promo), so whenever the promo is on, I can just buy the tickets with no fuss. That was what happened when AirAsia had their big sale in the third quarter of 2012. Me, R and my friend book the tickets for our flight in May 2013. At that time, we still had around 6 months to save our money for the travel expenses. So here comes my saving period.

First of all, you need to set your saving goal. My saving target for this Japan trip was at least Rp 15 mio. I did whatever I could. Side jobs (at that time I was still an account executive at Ogilvy), selling more items on Curious, bring my own lunch from home, have dinner at home instead of food courts, take bus instead of ojek for numerous times. I tried to save as much money as possible. At the end of the trip, I spent around Rp 10 mio (round trip flight, hostels, accommodation, and meals 3x a day).

Saving tactic: Instead of telling your self to save Rp 20mio in 8 months, you better set possible goals with smaller amount of saving. Count how many months you have until your trip and set your saving goal. Lets say you want to have Rp 20mio in 10 months, that means you gotta save Rp 2mio per month (this is your monthly saving goal). If you can save Rp 2mio from your monthly income, then congratulatiooons! If you can't, then you gotta do something to earn more money. Garage sale with your friends can be a great idea. Don't forget to spare some money for your living after you come home from the trip. I ran out of money (even coins) when I got back from Japan, because I was so mad to buy all the magazines and cute stationeries I saw in Tokyo. I was so confused how to continue my life for the upcoming month at that time hahahaha.

I got my round trip ticket (Jakarta - Kansai) for Rp 2.3 mio (it was the best bargain ever). Thank you AirAsia!! :)

I didn't sign up to any tour for my Japan trip. I like to make my own travel itinerary instead of joining a tour or travel agency. Because I have the freeeeedoooomm to go anywhere anytime, anyhow.

Itinerary tactic:

  • Search for the places that you'd like to visit. List all the names and exact address.
  • Start grouping places that are near to each other. I prefer to have 2-3 places to visit in a day instead of being overly excited by having 4 or more. Two or three places in a day is ideal, so you won't feel that you run out of time and trying to reach the next destination instead of enjoying the moment and the environment.
  • You can ask my friend, Putri Avicenna. She can create a customized itinerary for you. She'll charge you some Rupiah but its so affordable!

Everything in Japan are easy to reach. Just type the address on Google Maps and it will tell you which train, subway, or bus and what time will they come. I suggest you to combine between train, JR, and bus. Don't take taxi in Japan its not emergency, unless your pocket will be in emergency.

Osaka transportation
I took trains whenever I travel to in Osaka. My hostel, J-Hoppers Osaka is near to Fukushima station, which made me much easier to go to places in Osaka. From Osaka to Kyoto you can take Shinkansen. It is the cheapest fare of Shinkansen, if you want to feel the experience of taking the fastest train in the world, then this is the time. But, Shinkansen is expensive. So I took the regular train (If I was not wrong it was Haruka Express). There are some train options that will take you from Osaka to Kyoto. Shinkansen, Haruka Express (an express train that stops only 2 or 3 times) and the regular one (a train that stops at every station between Osaka and Kyoto).

Kyoto transportation
Everything is reachable with a bus in Kyoto. Taking bus in Kyoto is reaaaallyyyy calming hahaha. Unlike in Jakarta where the bus feels like a roller coaster and the driver takes the bus without manners. In Kyoto, the bus is really safe and the driver are the kindest bus driver you'll ever meet. Ok first you better buy Kyoto bus pass (500 yen for all day pass, available at Kyoto station or some hostels). Once you get in the bus, find a seat or a corner to stand. You will see that the bus is mostly full with the elder ones hehe. If you're arriving at your destination, press the bell, then show your Kyoto bus pass to the driver. The driver will calmly say "Arigatou" to everyone who goes out of the bus. Sooooo sweet hahaha pardon me.

Tokyo transportation
Train and subways were my main transportation. Taking subways in Tokyo made me realized that there are tons of people who are walking right below you in Tokyo. The subway station is just like how you see in movies. Even better, there are bird chirping sounds playing all day long.

Inter cities
To save some money in hostel expenses, I took night bus ride (Willer Bus) from Kyoto to Tokyo and Tokyo to Osaka. Willer Bus has an excellent service. I booked mine online via their website.

Don't be afraid to be lost in Japan, you'll find a way either with google maps or with the local help. The locals are sooooo kind to help, even if you don't ask for their help. Here is an easy phrase!
Where is (insert place here)?
(insert place here) wa doko desu ka?

Here are my hostels in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. All of them are near to convenient stores, Yoshinoya, stations and of course very recommended. I booked them all via hostelworld.com. The best hostel award goes to........*drum rolls*...... NUI in Tokyo!

For Google Maps and social media updates, I used E-Connect. They have the mobile wifi which you can rent for several days or weeks. I got mine sent to my hostel in Osaka (they arrived before I arrived in the hostel!) and I returned them back from Tokyo (drop the package at the post office box). They come in a price but also with great service. Excellent connection all day long, highly recommended.

If you want to keep your budget tight, I suggest you to buy your meals at 7eleven or Yoshinoya. The 7eleven meals are delicious! So does the Yoshinoya (of course). You can spend only 300 yen/meal in 7eleven or Yoshinoya. If you decided to eat in restaurants, be prepared to pull out at least 700 yen and more/person. My experience is that I maintained to eat in 7eleven and Yoshinoya when I was in Osaka and Kyoto. But when I was in Tokyo, I couldn't help to eat in restaurants hahaha. I kept telling my self that "I don't go here everyday, so don't waste a day without delicious meals". So there I went to restaurants in Tokyo and it is one of the reasons why I was broke in Tokyo. Just eat everything you see, everything is just so delicious hahahahaha.

If you're a fan of green tea, better stock them up with those matcha products in Kyoto because the ones in Tokyo are far more expensive. And oh the best takoyaki is the one in Osaka (around Namba area), just in case you're a Tako fan like meee. Sushi and ramen are quite expensive, but worth to try. Its in Japan anywaaaay.

I didn't shop a lot because it wasn't my goal in Japan (and the clothes are relatively expensive for me), but I bought some things of course. If you want the high knee socks like Japanese students, they're available in 1000 yen for 3 kind of store. Shibuya 109 is a place to visit, you must go there! Its like the hippest mall for girls (full of stylish and kawaii apparels). EMODA (I'm a fan girl of this brand) is also in Shibuya 109! Vintage stores are easily to be found around Harajuku and everything are in a legit condition. But please don't compare the price to Pasar Senen heheh.

Is just a lovely place to visit. I went there on spring (right after the cherry blossom season ended) and I was mesmerized by the roses. Pink, red, white, yellow, you name it. My heart is attached to Yoyogi Park :)

Here's an example of my Japan visa application form and my itinerary (not the final one). Any questions? Leave a comment down below, I'd like to help!

More Japan trip post in here.


  1. I spent 10 mio for 9 days in Japan last summer (without tour). I bought Airasia for Jakarta - Osaka and Tokyo - Jakarta...It's more convenient because we don't have to travel back to Osaka to go home :)

    1. That's my initial plan actually, Jkt - Osaka and Tokyo - Jkt. Unfortunately the Tokyo - Jkt flight was sold out within a day hahaha I had no luck.

  2. A good article indeed ON Japan. Yet we are in need of anything greater than Bali Driver this. thanks

  3. Hi kak dinda, i'm going to japan next march (early march) and my first taught was checking your itinerary. unfortunately the link doesn't work for me :(, is it expired or something went wrong with my connection? do you mind to give me the itinerary in the other way? thank you before :)

  4. OMG yes agree with you every food in Japan is delicious :9

  5. I agree with you. I hope it was very helpful for everyone. Expat or digital nomad moving to Warsaw, Moscow, Or São Paulo? We are here to help with all specialists and services you need.


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