If you're planning to visit other regions, there's two approach you can take. And it all depends on how many places you want to go, how long you intend to stay and what you want to do there. The two options are (1) buy a JR Pass which will enable you to take bullet trains anywhere for free or (2) buy travel packages which could give you deals inclusive of bullet train ride plus hotel accommodations or free rentals or activities.
Here’s a simple breakdown to get you going:
1. JR Pass - Unlimited rail pass @ S$350/ea. (Php 12.5K/ea.) for 7 days
2. Packages - depends on where and what you want to do but let's take the packages I bought as an example:
a. Gala Yuzawa - 2 way bullet train + Gondola + Ski wear and gears rental for 2 adults and 1 kid @ S$450 (Php 16.2K)
b. Kyoto - 2 way bullet train + 3D/2N hotel accommodation for for 2 adults and 1 kid @ S$1,000 (Php 36K)
Obviously if you take option 1, you'll have to shoulder your own accommodation if you decide to stay.
I hope I gave you a good start in your planning. As for the food, It’s almost the same price here in Singapore except the portions and quality are way way better. Typical ramen would cost you 500 Yen or S$6 (Php 224). You will be surprise that even packed meals at convenient stores such as Family Mart or 7-11 are of good quality.
So without further ado, dive in to our photos as I share with you our 7 days adventure in Japan. Credits to my husband who finds joy in taking pictures of his family. And don't forget to scroll at down at the last part of this post for more tips! I am very proud of the outcome of this trip and I think our emotions are well encapsulated in the photos.
The Park and the museums are well situated in this place. I feel the park is very beautiful in spring, as of now it's quite dry and dull. The museum is easy to locate but you have to be mindful because there are several museums here. I chose the Nature and Science because it's showcase a lot about Japan; from its first people, to its famous animals, insects, islands and even creatures then and now. I love how their exhibit shows life size replicas. It's really interesting for adults and kids alike.
I think everyone would agree that you need a full day to truly enjoy Disneyland. As expected, it's a magical place which brings out the kid in you. Each of the sections have their own themes as well as food joint so don't get disheartened if the first thing you find is a restaurant serving hot dogs (but the hot dogs are good, just not that filling). Walk a little further and you will find more food options to choose from.
This is not really the plan for that day, we were supposed to travel to Kamakura to see the giant Buddha but the weather didn't permit us to do so. I think from dawn until the end day it was raining. And rain during winter is not really good because it gets even colder. Plus I mentioned the loads of stuff we are carrying right? Imagine that with 3 more umbrellas? Nope, not feasible. So instead of our outdoor plan, we stayed indoors in the Fire Museum and also ate there. It turned out to be a relaxing afternoon. After that, we decided to go to Tokyo station to familiarize ourselves as we need to board the train at 6:45 A.M. the next day. After which, we strolled around the Character street which brought back a lot of happy memories after seeing my childhood super heroes Ultraman and Doraemon.
Both my husband and son requested for a winter trip to Japan so they can Ski and Snowboard. So for days I've been researching which place to go because there's a lot of options. Some are cheaper, closer and some have a majestic view of Mt. Fuji. Knowing nothing about snow or skiing, I asked around what to consider. What I learned was that the consistency of the snow is a factor as well as how big the ski resort is. It shouldn't be so crowded so you actually have a place to Ski. In the end, we chose Gala Yuzawa because it’s the closest that have good quality powdery snow. We bought the package that's inclusive of 2 way bullet train ride + rental of wears (Jacket, pants, shoes & gloves) and gears (Ski/snowboard/sled). I read that their wears are of good quality and are very clean. Now that I've been there, I'm among those who can attest to that. I’m glad we went here for our first skiing trip! This is easily one of our favorite part of the trip!
In any trip, you can't expect things to turn out exactly the way you planned right? At least not all the time. This trip was no exception. We had some issue with the travel agency delivering our Kyoto ticket to the wrong address. In the end, our supposed early morning trip got moved to the afternoon. And we are left with a night stroll at Ponchoto Alley instead of a full day itinerary. We checked in at Karasuma Hotel which is spacious in comparison to other hotels in Japan and my favorite part is the Starbucks right next to the hotel!
aIt was a wonderful day for a stroll on our 6th day, it's snowing at times but still sunny. But it’s definitely colder in Kyoto than it was in Tokyo. I like Kyoto more because its showcase the beauty of nature, more preserved and people tend to be more relax. Especially the walk finding the temples and bamboo grove was really rejuvenating. It was a long walk but a refreshing one. So visiting the temples and bamboos, we headed back to the station and decided to see the surroundings of Kyoto station. We used the outdoor escalators to get to the 11th floor of the building where the Ramen street is. That itself is an experience and of course just like any other food we ate in Japan, the Ramen was superb!
Yep, for our last day in Kyoto, we did a last hurrah and hurried to the nearest temple we can find. And it turned out to be one of the most beautiful temple in Kyoto. As a matter of fact, it is TripAdvisor Traveler's choice winner for 2016. If you asked me to describe Fushimi Inari-Taisha in two words, it'll be grand and lively. It's big and the combination of red orange colored temples and columns plus the plush green trees around it makes it a delight in the eyes and the cameras as well!
Since we have an early morning flight the next day and we didn't really have time to shop for souvenirs, we quickly went home after the 3 hours trip from Kyoto to Tokyo then head out for dinner at Shibuya then went to the only open mini grocery store near our place to shop. Later that night, the sight of the mountain of clothes, toys and groceries I need to pack exhausted me more than anything. But this is part of any trip and packing has always been my assignment so on I went then slept for 3 hours. Then woke up to get the kids ready for our flight.
That concludes our Japan adventure! I wish I have inspired you to visit this majestic country even with your kids! My husband and I already decided to go back hopefully after 2 years to witness Sakura this time. I think Japan is one of those places where one trip would not cut it.
Hope you have a blast in your trip!
Veronica, also known as Gene is a passionate mother, wife, career woman, event planner, artist, adventurer, fashionista, and many more.