• Traveling to Tokyo with the entire family on a budget

      Want to visit the land of the rising sun but think itís too expensive for the entire family? Japan is expensive specially Tokyo but there are a lot of ways to help you make the trip more affordable. Japan has so much to offer for the entire family, itís a must-visit.

      Hereís how we were able to lessen costs when we traveled to Tokyo. We've rounded-up interesting places you can visit for free, how you can reduce transportation and food costs.

      Streets of Shinjuku

      1. Book tickets during airline seat sale. We got our round-trip tickets during PALís anniversary sale last March. We bought the ticket in March but we traveled in December. Price was little higher compared to other low-cost carrier but still a lot cheaper compared Philippine Airlinesí regular fares.

      2. Go for Airbnb. On our first trip to Tokyo, we got a hotel and it was expensive. It was roughly, P4000 per person per night. So this time, we opted for Airbnb. We got a two-story house with 3 rooms, a living room, a fully functional kitchen, 2 toilets, and bath. The entire house can fit up to 10 people. There were 5 of us and it was only about P4000 per person for the entire week. Airbnb is better when you have kids that need to move around. Hotels in Japan are really small, kids will feel restricted with their movements.

      3. Stay in an accommodation near a train station. The Airbnb that we got was 5 minutes walk to a train station in Shinjuku. This way, you can save on transportation. If you choose to stay in a hotel, make sure thereís a train station within 5 minutes walk to your hotel. Riding a bus and transferring to trains is a difficult option. English translations are rare in buses. Aside from being near a train station, it will also be nice to have grocery and convenience store near your chosen accommodation. Ours was in a quiet residential area in Shinjuku but it had a grocery, pastry shop, and 7Eleven within 5 minutes walk.

      4. Visit places that will not require entrance fees. We have gone to so many places in Tokyo during our stay and most were free entrance. There are some that with entrance fees like museums but very minimal. I can suggest the following interesting places: Meiji Shrine and Takeshita Dori in Harajuku, theyíre right across each other, and next to Harajuku Station. The walk going inside Meiji Shrine is interesting, it has century-old trees along the path.

      Takeshita Dori is a street lined with interesting food shops, retails shops, and cafe. You can also find one of the biggest Daisu with multiple floors of shopping for 100YEN items. If you have sweet tooth, Takeshita Dori is a good place for food tripping. My daughter had the giant cotton candy from Totti Cotton Candy.

      Giant Cotton Candy from Totti Cotton Candy in Takeshita Dori.

      Gingko trees of Harajuku.

      If you are a fan of samurais and their history you may want to visit the grave of the 47 Ronin in Sengakuji Temple.

      Sengakuji Temple

      Graves of 47 Ronin in Sengakuji Temple.

      To get a good view of Tokyo, visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Building in Shinjuku, the viewing deck is for free.

      If you are traveling with kids, going to a park is good for them. Parks in Tokyo have huge open spaces where kids can run around. Shinjuku National Garden, Tokyo Imperial Palace, and Ueno Park are good spots.

      We were in Japan early December and theyíve started their Christmas Illumination. Christmas displays and lights are all over. Visit Shinjuku Terrace, Omotesando in Shibuya, and Tokyo Dome. Lights go up as early as 5:00 PM, itís beautiful, you shouldnít miss it.

      5. Get a Suica or Pasmo card and save 50% for kids fare. Going around Tokyo will require you to get on trains. Save on time and money with a Suica or Pasmo card. These are reliable cards that you can tap on the on the ticket gate. It will automatically deduct your fare as you exit the train station. You donít have to worry about getting another set of train tickets during transfers since the card will automatically deduct. The best part is, the fare is 50% off for children. But you have to get the Suica or Pasmo card for children at a manned booth in a major train station and show the childís passport. This is a great way of saving on transportation cost for the kids. Train rides in Tokyo cost between Y170 Ė Y750 or higher per way depending on the distance.

      6. Book online packages. My family wanted to visit Mt. Fuji and go skiing at Snow Town Yeti. Since it is a lot more expensive to book a package in Japan, we took advantage of online packages. We booked through Klook two weeks prior to the trip and saved around thirty percent. The package we book included roundtrip transfers to the resort in Mt. Fuji from Shinjuku, a ski package with ski boots, ski poles, and ski or snowboards. Mt. Fuji is around 2 and half hours from Tokyo, it would be difficult to go there without the packaged tour especially if you have kids with you.

      Beginners' slope at Snow Town Yeti.

      7. Save on airport transfers. The cheapest way to go to and from Narita Airport is by Keisei bus. Itís only Y1000 and goes to Tokyo Main Station and Ginza. But it takes longer to reach Tokyo by bus. If you are in a hurry, you can take the Narita Express itís a little more expensive but fast, and convenient. It gets you to Tokyo in a little over an hour. The fare is around Y3000 per way. For us, since the owner of our AirBnB offers airport transfers we opted for his services. It was the best option for us since our flight arrived at night and flight back was early morning. It was also too cold to walk to the train station. We paid around Y4500 per way but less hassle; no transfers needed and no need to walk from the train station with luggage in tow. I canít imagine having the kids walk going to the train station at 4 am in a 2 degree Celsius temperature.

      Narita Airport Terminal 2. Note that the airport closes after the last flight at night and reopens at 5 am.

      8. Eat in small shops in food alleys. You donít have to burn your Yen in big restaurants. Tokyo has a lot of small ramen shops and restaurants in their food alleys and street corners. The Japanese take pride in their cuisine and these small shops in food alleys is where you will find the best ramen, sushi, and katsu. And if possible stay away from the giant fast food chains like McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC. You are in Japan, you have access to the best cuisine in the world, enjoy it! We also took advantage of marked down food items in the grocery. It's usually at 30%-50% off at the end of the day. The kids love the katsu with curry. You just pop it in the microwave and itís ready.

      Mt. Fuji

      Japan is a beautiful country and it has something interesting for the whole family. If you have kids, you may opt to visit Disneyland or DisneySea. For us, we chose to go outdoors and tried skiing. It may not be cheap but there are a lot of ways you can reduce costs on accommodation, transportation, and food. If you have questions about Tokyo itinerary, let us know. We at istorya.net are happy to help. If you are wondering how to get a visa, check out this post -https://www.istorya.net/forums/conte...ist-visa-1822/.
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