Update on my Japan Trip

It has been quite awhile since I have posted on my site.  While I was posting on the site I grew increasingly frustrated with how WordPress handled my posts and images, what you would see when you saw my post was not what I saw when I wrote it.  It was very frustrating when I could write and create a post in 20 minutes but then spend an hour or two just tweaking the videos/pictures/text spacing and after all that I still wouldn’t get it exactly how it should be.

Eventually, I decided to slow down on my posts and then just stopped posting altogether, in other words, the typical lazy actions of someone who didn’t want to deal with it anymore.  Today though something remarkable happened, I woke up and suddenly felt the urge to post on my blog again, I felt like sharing my awesome news, my Japan Trip is a go, airplane tickets are bought and places rented out!!  There have been many changes to my Japan Trip and in this post, I will be talking about my itinerary and budget costs.

When I first posted about my plan or preplanning for the trip I originally was going to go by myself but my best friend decided he wanted to go to.  My initial plans hadn’t changed at all with his admission because he just wanted to go to Japan like I did then about a month later my brother wanted to join me and then his friend joined.  That is when my plans changed, I was just planning on bumming around in Tokyo for 2 weeks but with 4 people involved I would have to make a detailed itinerary, though to be honest, I most likely would have created one just for the sheer fun of it.

Airplane Tickets

I will be going to Japan on March 29th – April 13th.  Initially, I budgeted $1,000 for the tickets, though I was aware that much cheaper tickets would be available but that would be contingent on several factors.  Most of the cheaper tickets were the type where you would fly to China, 12+ hours in layover and spend at least 2 days getting to your destination.  Something I found intolerable, it had to be at least under 20 hours for me to consider it.  Last year during January/February months some very good deals to Tokyo popped up, $499 non-stop round trip fares offered by Delta/United/American.  The only problem with that it wasn’t a guarantee that they would pop up this year too.

To look for deals to Tokyo I used the RSS Feed from The Flight Deal and I also set up price alerts from GoogleFlights, Kayak app, and SkipLagged app.  After setting everything up all I had to do was play the waiting game.  It paid off just last week, my phone woke me up at 2 am in the morning with notifications going off.  Air Canada had dropped their prices by over $200.  Quickly growing excited I checked it out and was able to easily find flights for $575 and 16-18 hours with a 1-4 hour layover in Toronto.  Strangely enough, if I used the Kayak app the prices quickly dropped to $530, even though when I used my computer(iMac) to check the website it showed the $575 price.  I booked using the Kayak app and got the $530 price while making sure that the layover was long enough for customs in the case of a snafu.  I also confirmed with Air Canada directly that it went through.  So now I have my tickets for $530 and a decent flight time, time for me to cover my places to stay.

Places to Stay for my Japan Trip

Last time I had posted on this subject I was going to use Japan Experience and rent a place to stay.  I started running into a few problems, though, there was now 4 people for this trip and Japan Experience had jacked up their prices from when I went to rent from them.  For every person over 2 they would charge an extra $30 a night for them and worst of all I had apparently waited too long to book with them(even though I tried to book 8 months in advance!!)  The places I wanted to rent had at least part of the days I wanted already rented out to someone else, so to stay with them I would have to rent one week at one place and then change to another for the 2nd week, no thanks!!  My plans had also changed because my companions had wanted to visit Kyoto/Osaka area, which I had turned into a 3-day trip and another companion wanted to try a Ryokan.

Switching gears I ended turning to AirBnB.  I was aware that AirBnB does have some problems in Japan, namely, it is illegal to stay in them for under 7 days.  Fortunately, that wasn’t going to be a problem and after looking around on the site, making sure that I was using a Superhost with good reviews I found a place, $350 a person for the whole trip.  It was a 2 bedroom apartment and it even had portable wi-fi included.  With the main accommodations in Tokyo settled my next job was finding places to stay in Kyoto and Osaka.

That turned out to be easier said than done, my original goal was to book a Ryokan(traditional Japanese Hotel.)  That turned out to be way too expensive, apparently everybody wants to stay at a Ryokan in Kyoto during the Cherry Blossom Season, nobody in my group was interested in $350 per a person for a single night.  In fact, it was hard to find decent accommodations in Kyoto without spending more in a single night than our entire AirBnB cost, I did consider renting Airbnb for a single night but I wanted to experience a real Japanese Hotel.  I finally hit on a capsule hotel, it wasn’t too expensive and it would produce an interesting experience, I used Booking.com and did the Centurion Cabin & Spa Kyoto for $81 per a person.

My next choice was in Osaka and it turned out to be considerably easier and cheaper than Kyoto, I decided it would be fun to meet other international visitors to Japan.  So I chose J-Hoppers Osaka Universal for $31 per a person.

You may be wondering what happened to the Ryokan I wanted to do, well another change in the itinerary was eliminating the Japanican Mt. Fuji Tour and doing it myself, I used the money saved to book Mount View Hakone Ryokan.  In total, we will save only $30 with this change but it will allow us to move at our own pace and do what we want to do instead of what the tour guide wants us to do.

This post is getting a little long and I still haven’t covered the full budget and itinerary like I wanted to do, so next time this internet otaku will be talking the Japan Itinerary and Budget.

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