A huge part of my Japan trip was inspired by anime. I guess there is nothing more cliche than going on a pilgrimage to the location basis of one of my fave show, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni! So I went to Shirakawa-go, the basis of the cursed Hinamizawa town in the anime.
From Atami, I took the shinkansen to Nagoya and boarded a local train to Takayama. It will be a 2h30m journey from Nagoya so make sure you are full or you have a bento ready before you board!
I saw a lot of people going to Japan lately and I saw a lot more wondering why there’s a sudden boom of Japan visits for the past months, comparing how it is like going to Hong Kong now (HK is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Filipinos, I think because it is the nearest country with a cold weather, without any visa requirements).
Visiting Japan is my greatest (and most feasible) dream. I’ve been always told that I need a lot of money to go there because everything is expense most especially the airfare and you need to have a high amount of ‘show money’ for the visa. I was actually told that I needed to prepare Php300k for the show money and was given a safe estimate of Php100k for an all-in 7 days trip to Japan! Given that I am just a starting employee, fulfilling my dream to go to Japan seemed to be far-fetched.
HOWEVER… the odds suddenly became all in my favor and will you believe, I managed to spend only a little above Php40k all-in on my 7D6N Japan trip! In this series of blog posts, I will tell you about my Japan experience and how I managed to spend that little for a country that is notorious for having everything expensive.
Let’s start with my preparation in the Philippines!
Step 1. Airfare
You might be surprised why this is my #1 step in preparing for my Japan trip but I would not be going on this trip if I wasn’t able to stumble upon this ridiculous airfare discount— Cebu Pacific’s Piso Fare! For my non-Filipino friends, piso fare means that the base fare for the selected flights of Cebu Pacific will only cost Php1 (piso) which is like, USD0.023! They usually release on days with something to celebrate (i.e. holiday season, national holidays and heck, even Pacquiao’s win) so I suggest you do this:
Cebu Pac and other budget airlines in the Philippines like AirAsia usually release their promo fares at midnight, but it depends as I got to know about the promo fare that I availed while derping on Facebook at around 7 in the morning. (Cebu Pac didn’t pay me for this or anything, I am just a satisfied customer 🙂 )
Overall, my roundtrip airfare for MNL-NRT-MNL with 15kg baggage allowance on both trips was Php6574 (USD149)! Generally, this is already such a big bargain but I think you can now go lower than this because they have removed the fuel surcharge after the long weeks of low fuel costs earlier this year. They released a Piso Fare without a fuel surcharge in January I think.
It was my first time with Cebu Pac and I was prepared with my contingency plans if ever my flight got cancelled or delayed. We departed not exactly as scheduled but we arrived a little earlier! If you are skeptical, check the flight history of 5J5054 here.
Take note that what I did was a gamble, because I do not hold a visa yet and this ticket is basically, non-refundable and non-transferable. Even name change is not allowed. I do not recommend flying on a budget airline during peak seasons, I haven’t experienced it but have seen that it is such a pain in the ass.