Hi there, I'm Antoinette, your average human being, working a day job and taking vacations occasionally to refresh myself. Now, nobody asked me to write this “10 Days Japan Itinerary” but since I'm fresh out of job (thanks COVID-19!), I decided to document my past travels, including budgets, routes and places to visit and share it with anyone willing to read.
My style of vacation or traveling if you will is super laid back and family-friendly. I usually travel with my parents, both in their late 50s or with my boyfriend's family and that includes his nephew who is now 6 years old. You get the picture, not the backpacker, action-packed traveling style. I like staying in a comfortable but affordable accommodation strategically located near places I would like to visit, and going around by taking public transportation or walking.
Travel essentials when you have a child in tow: bring a lightweight foldable pram and always have snacks or light meals in your bag. I guarantee you, these two are life-savers!
Alright, that's enough introduction for this entry. Without further ado, here's my 10 days mini trip to Japan:
Budget per person: $2,331 (All price in Singapore Dollar, 1 SGD = 0.75 USD)
If you're traveling to Japan for a week or more, I recommend getting the Japan Rail Pass. This pass allows tourists to have unlimited use of JR trains, including Shinkansen (high-speed bullet-trains) for long-distance train travel within Japan. However, some train companies are not included in this pass, please check the details before you buy one.
Disclaimer: I don't receive any commission from recommending the spaces on Air BnB or Booking.com. I just thought that these places (and the host of course!) were genuinely very nice during my travel.
Route: Tokyo – Kyoto – Hakone – Tokyo
I find this route doable with a nice, not so tiring pace for four adults and a 4-year-old boy. You have enough time to go sightseeing, sneak in a little shopping, enjoy parks, lakes and onsen (hot spring). If you don't have kid/s that travel with you, you can even go for a day trip to Osaka and your schedule still won't be too packed.
I flew from Singapore with my boyfriend and met with his family (who flew from Rome) at Tokyo Narita airport. We then took a taxi ride to where we stayed in Shibuya because it was late, super cold (about 0 degrees Celcius) and raining. The taxi cost us 100 Singapore dollars from the airport to our Airbnb. I have to say, it's worth it when you have a tired group and a child in tow.
Here's where we stay in Shibuya, Tokyo: Shibuya Cozy Apartment
The location was great, near a cute little local shrine, walking distance to a supermarket and train station.
If like us, you only have 1.5 days in Tokyo, I recommend you to visit:
– Shibuya for its famous crossing and Hachiko statue (if you like this particular story). Experience first hand how Japanese shops do their promotions and greetings, accompanied by loud music
– Harajuku for the cosplay culture, vintage clothing shops and underground sub-culture
Omotesando for more refined shops, cafes, super modern or minimalistic architecture
I highly recommend buying the JR pass because it covers most public transport and certain bullet trains (Tokyo – Kyoto, Kyoto – Odawara, Odawara – Tokyo in our case) I bought 7 days pass and activated it when we were about to leave for Kyoto. That way our bullet-train trips to Kyoto and Hakone were covered within the 7 days and we maximized the use of our JR pass to cover the most expensive travel using bullet-train.
In Kyoto, we stayed at: A solitary house in Kyoto City
The host K, was ah-ma-zing! I informed him a few weeks in advance that my brother (who worked in Yokohama) was going to join us to stay in Kyoto (so we are 5 adults and 1 child traveling from Tokyo now) and he told me that it's fine, the space was big enough and there won't be extra charges. He even picked us up from the Kyoto Station and dropped us off at the house. His hospitality was on another level, seriously. The space was beautiful, spacious and located near various nice eateries (yes he gave good food recommendation too). If you're traveling with families, or a group of friends, I will recommend staying at his place).
Here are the places that we visited:
From Kyoto Station, we took the bullet train to Odawara Station (nearest shinkansen station to Hakone. Then we took another train and a bus ride to reach the place we stayed at called Kinokuniya. It's a secluded 300 years old inn with hot springs and spas. We also opted for having traditional Japanese dinner served for the 2 nights we spent because the place was quite remotely located from the main attractions in Hakone. The dinner though was delish. I could eat their meal 7 nights straight with no problem!
Hakone's main attraction, lake Ashi, is about 20 minutes bus ride from our inn. I would recommend getting Hakone Freepass as it covers everything from train, buses, cable car ride, Sightseeing cruise on Lake Ashi. It's worth the price if you're staying there for 2 days.
What we did in Hakone:
And We're Back to Tokyo.
We took the bullet train from Odawara to Tokyo, then continued our trip to Narita with another train. We decided to stay nearby the airport so we can rest after the trip back.
Where we stayed: Narita Tobu Hotel Airport
There was a free shuttle bus that will take you to a duty-free shopping mall, and that's where we spent the evening for dinner and last-minute shopping. The guys went back to the hotel straight after dinner and left us women to shop. Of course, we missed the last shuttle bus to our hotel and had to take a taxi back. We flew back to Singapore the next day.
After we meet at our bike location, we take off as a group to our first stop called "Yoshikien", a garden gathering 3 styles Japanese gardens in a unique location; a way to enjoy and rediscover the place at every season. Then, we stop by "Nandaimon gate" to admire the Buddhism style building and walk around the place, petting and feeding the deers.