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The Ultimate Guide: How to Travel to Tokyo from Manila on a Budget

Tokyo is definitely a top place to visit for tourists. No one can deny its charm. But, there are many buts. What if it’s too expensive? So much “what ifs”. Today is a great day to debunk all those Japan myths and start planning about this dream already.

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1. Making Your Itinerary / Where to go? What to do?

We’ve made a couple of ready-to-print itineraries here at OurKawaii.Tokyo that you can just follow, alter or use as an itinerary inspiration.  (Click here)

You may also check the blog of our friend Raisa for her “DIY Tokyo, Japan 5 Days/ 4 Nights Tour for less than 30,000 Php” informative entry.

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2. Applying Japan Visa by Justin (Click here)

As you would know, Japan Embassy in Philippines doesn’t accept Tourist Visa applications via walk-in. You need an accredited agency to process the visa for you. In my case, I went to Reli Tours to process my visa for me. They have multiple branches in the metro but I opted to go to their Dusit Thani Hotel branch in Makati because it’s near my office. These are their numbers: 632-893-9226/ 0906-280-6666

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In most of my calls with them, a Filipino-speaking Japanese operator will talk to you and help you with the process. I applied for a Tourist Visa w/o a Guarantee Letter. If you will apply for a Tourist Visa with Guarantee Letter, you will need to submit additional requirements and a different handling fee (a little more compared to the regular Tourist Visa). The requirements are as follows per Japanese embassy which the agency will require: (Tourist Visa w/o guarantee letter)
  • Philippine Passport (It should be valid for more than 6 months before expiration from the time you leave and go back to the country.) The agency will warn but proceed processing your visa application even if you do not meet the above requirement. However, you might encounter problems with the Philippine immigration upon leaving the Philippines
  • Visa Application Form (The agency already has a copy for you to use. You may also print it if you want.)
  • Photo (2×2 photo and must be pasted on the application form. I submitted 1 copy with a white background. Do not choose the Japan visa format picture advertised in some studios. That is not the required photo. Use 2×2 photo only.)
  • Birth Certificate of Applicant (Original copy from NSO I applied for a birth certificate online. It costs Php 315 and it will be delivered after 2-3 working days. You may pay in BDO branches.)
  • Daily Schedule / Itinerary (There’s a format for this. I don’t think you need to strictly follow everything you write here. But the embassy would like to know your activities during your stay in Japan.)
  • Bank Certificate (There’s no monetary requirement given by the embassy. I think the goal of the embassy is to check whether you have the capability to survive during your stay in Japan. A bank certificate will range between Php 50-100 depending on you bank. You can do it over the counter in your account branch.)
  • ITR (Form 2316) I submitted a photocopy of the latest ITR document. Obviously, they want to know if you’re employed and paying taxes.
  • Employment Certificate (This will let the embassy know that you are employed and gives them assurance that you will come back after your vacation. Ensure that your Employment Certificate indicates your role, start date and tenure, contact number of your HR, address of your company and salary.)
UPDATE: Japan tourist visa now cost Php900 only. If you’re applying for the second time around, you might get a multiple re-entry visa as well!

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3. Booking Your Flight via LCC (Low Cost Carriers)

Tips when booking:

  • Cebu Pacific and Jetstar flights are always cheaper but you might also want to consider Manila-Haneda flight via PAL, it could also save you airport transfers and time (of course).
  • Avoid peak season if you’re on a tight budget! Fall/Autumn (especially weekends of mid October – November) and Spring (especially first week of April for Cherry Blossom viewing) are the best time to visit Japan, sure, but on these dates everything is HYPE up so don’t expect things to be cheap or easy.

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4. Affordable Accommodations

Price range: For capsule hotels, it will be from ¥1500~ (Php540)
For hostels, ¥3000~ (Php1,080)
For budget hotels, ¥5000~ (Php1,800)

Note: You may also try renting places in Tokyo via AIRBNB. ^_^

If you have hotel suggestions you’d like to add to our list, please feel free to comment below too! : )

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5. Other Tokyo Travel Essentials

How to Get a Pocket Wi-fi in Japan?

  1. Although, it’s highly recommended to reserve the device before your trip, getting it at the airport is not that difficult because there are a LOT of wi-fi companies offering the same services. For Narita International airport, you can check the list of the wi-fi brands available and their location here. You can get one directly from their booth and just return it at the same booth or if you’re departing from another airport (which isn’t Narita or your base airport), you can just leave it to their booth at that airport. It’s just simple as that!
  2. You can also reserve in advance and have the pocket wi-fi device delivered to your hotel/hostel lobby and you can just easily ship it back to them in the end. Here are some wi-fi brands that you might want to check out, just click their links for ordering information. (For more information, click here)
  3. If you’ve missed your chance on reserving before hand, getting an internet at the airport, and have a mobile phone with you. Luckily, you still have chance to get internet connection by getting a local sim card at electronic shops such as Yamada Denki, Yodobashi, etc.
  4. If everything else fails but you have your device with you (mobile phone, laptop, iPad, etc), try going to Starbucks, they have a leaflet on how to access their free internet.

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If you are able to get a visa (Php900), round trip ticket for Php15,000, Php1620 travel tax, stay in a capsule hotel for two days (Php1200),  eat at convenience store and skip pocket wifi, you could probably visit Tokyo for approximately Php25,000 (inclusive of train rides and entrance fee for the main tourist spots such as Tokyo Tower ¥800).

Another tip: Find a travel buddy so you can share everything with them!

As always, let us know if you have any questions!

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