Japan 2017: an Amateur’s guide

I’ve been a constant daydreamer when it came to imagining myself strolling on the streets of Tokyo. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been a fan of Japan’s vibrant culture, its people, and most specially, Anime. Who would’ve thought that the day I’ve been dreaming of would finally come! I just came home from an eight-day vacation in none other than my favorite country in the world – JAPAN! *cries*

I’ll be sharing with you guys the itsy bitsy parts of my whole trip starting from gathering  pre-departure requirements to dealing with your separation anxiety because you don’t ever want to go back to your home country anymore. (yes, it’s that hard)


First things first – booking tickets. This was actually a spur of the moment decision for me. My cousin convinced me to take a leap of faith and book that round trip flight to and from Manila to the country of my dreams a year ago. We got a promo fare from Cebu Pacific which costed us roughly around 11 thousand grand. It wasn’t bad considering that most round trip flights to Japan costed around 15k and above. A few weeks before our flight, we also got round trip tickets with CGY-MNL-CGY routes for just P3,700.00, also from the same airline! Secondly, we started gathering the necessary documents needed to get a tourist VISA. Here’s the list of requirements:

  • Original copy of Birth Certificate (National Statistics Office authenticated with official receipt obtained within the year of application)
  • Valid Passport ID (must not be expired)
  • Bank Certification
  • Latest Income Tax Return (I used my 2016 ITR and attached an explanation letter why I could not get a 2017 copy yet)
  • approved leave form (for employed applicants)
  • Japan Visa Application form (you can get it here). It must be encoded & not handwritten.
  • Japanese passport photo (to be pasted on the Visa application form)

After completing everything, we collectively passed our requirements through an accredited agency, paid a processing fee of P1,200, and waited for about a week before we got our approved Visas. A few months before our trip we started finalizing our itinerary and budget for food, accommodation, transportation, and pocket money. All in all I shelled out an approximate of P60,000 grand. Yes, it hurt a lot to minimize on my regular food cravings but it was definitely worth the sacrifice!

While in your favorite country:

I daresay all the while I was there I was completely awestruck every single time. Everything was just so beautiful and clean and fresh it felt like I was in a completely different world, seriously.

Anyway, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to accommodation, but during our stay we decided to rent out an apartment instead of booking a regular hotel or, more popularly, the capsule hotels in Japan. Aside from the fact that it was cheaper, you can get to do groceries and cook your own meals instead of always dining outside which will definitely kill your pockets. Trust me. We booked the apartment through AirBnB which was owned by ms. Sei. It’s conveniently located just near Kinshicho Train and Bus Station, and it had many neighboring convenience stores – not to mention their 7/11 looked like a big grocery store here in the Philippines.

Okay. I’ll be guiding you through our eight-day trip on a per day basis so as not to make this a one heck of a long post! Without further a due, let me introduce you to the Land of the Rising Sun.

  1. Day 1: Kinshicho Ave. – Asakusa -Sensoji Temple

Kinshicho Avenue is home to hundreds of people from all walks of life. Its streets come alive from the break of dawn as people walk to and fro.

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Tokyo Sky Tree

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The usual modes of transportation in the district are bicycles, buses, and trains. Seldom do you see regular people driving cars.

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This was a small canal which allowed the waters from the Sumida River flow freely.

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A street magician wearing an all-white getup.

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Luna at 4:00 post meridiem
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Sumida River was a big expanse.


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i’m on top of the world.

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A pirate ship in the middle of the city
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4:30 post meridiem

We also went and visited a nearby temple, the Asakusa-Sensoji Temple. It was jam-packed with many local and foreign tourists alike. The temple’s beautifully designed shrines, numerous food stalls, and spacious walkways are what attract people to visit it everyday.

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This alley takes me all the way to “Spirited Away” where Chihiro was dragged by Haku. ❤
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I still have a lot of photos but I’ll save them for the next few days! Thank you so much for sticking around and reading my first entry about my memorable trip to Japan! 🙂

Much love,

Iva ❤

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