Sunday, December 22, 2013

Japan (Oct2013): Day 1: Singapore to Osaka Kansai. Stay at Osaka.

For my recent solo trip (26 Oct to 6 Nov 2013), here's my itinerary:
Day 1 26/10: Arrival at Kansai Airport. Stay at Osaka
Day 2 27/10: Osaka. Stay at Osaka
Day 3 28/10: Daytrip to Ise's Okage Yokocho and Inner Shrine. Stay at Osaka
Day 4 29/10: Domestic flight from Kansai Airport to Sapporo via Peach Airlines. Stay at Sapporo
Day 5 30/10: Daytrip to Otaru. Stay at Hakodate

Day 6 31/10: Visit Onuma-koen and Hirosaki. Overnight train Akebono from Hirosaki to Tokyo Ueno.
Day 7 1/11: Visit Karuizawa + Shibukawa + J-World. Stay at Tokyo
Day 8 2/11: Visit Yokohama + Tokyo. Overnight train Sunrise Seto from Tokyo to Yonago.
Day 9 3/11: Yonago to Tottori. Visit Tottori. Stay at Tottori
Day 10 4/11: Tottori to Kinosaki onsen. Stay at Kinosaki onsen
Day 11 5/11: Kinosaki onsen to Kyoto. Visit Toyosato and Nagahama. Stay at Kyoto
Day 12 6/11: Visit Kyoto. Kyoto to Kansai Airport.

Misc Expenses:
International Flight (by Singapore Airlines): promo rate S$699 (include tax)
Domestic Flight (1 way Osaka Kansai to Hokkaido Shin Chitose, by Peach Airlines): 6005yen (include tax) -add additional 1600yen for check in luggage
7day JR Pass: 28300yen (S$370 based on the exchange rate on the day of purchase)
5day Kintetsu Rail Pass: 3700yen (bought at Kansai Airport)
B-mobile data sim card (1GB version, can use for up to 14days or until 1GB is used up): 3980yen

26/10, 27/10, 28/10 (3 nights): Osaka's Hotel Raizen South, 5600yen for 3 nights (1900yen per night)
29/10 (1 night): Sapporo's Aspen Hotel, 5000yen for 1 night.
30/10 (1 night): Hakodate's Smile Hotel, 2700yen for 1 night
31/10 (Overnight train Akebono): Free bunks for JR Pass holders were all full, so I had to top up 6300yen for a paid bunk.
1/11 (1 night): Tokyo's Palace Japan Hotel, 3500yen for 1 night
2/11 (Overnight train Sunrise Seto): Free bunk for JR Pass holder.
3/11 (1 night): Tottori's Toyoko Inn Tottori Eki Minami guchi, 5480yen for 1 night
4/11 (1 night): Kinosaki Onsen's Kawaguchiya Honkan, 6300yen for 1 night
5/11 (1 night): Kyoto's Piece Hostel, 3900yen for 1 night

Day 1 (26/10/13): Singapore to Osaka Kansai. Stay at Osaka

Time breakdown:
1345 Depart from Singapore via Singapore Airlines
2045 Plane touchdown at Kansai Airport
2110 Cleared immigration
2120-2150 Went to buy Kintetsu Rail Pass, and then Haruka + ICOCA package, exchanged JR Pass, and made seat reservations for some of my train journeys.
2216 Boarded Haruka Express at Kansai Airport towards Tennoji
2250 Arrive at Hotel Raizan South near Dobutsuenmae station in Osaka

3700yen 5days Kintetsu Rail Pass
4000yen Haruka Express + ICOCA package (2way package)
9450yen Top up for Overnight train Akebono from Hirosaki to Ueno for day 6.
200yen Subway from Tennoji to Dobutsuenmae
590yen Katsudon
796yen Pocari, bottled water, cocoa drink, cup noodle, 2 panda choc biscuits.

Nothing much that's significant on this day, since it was already night time by the time I arrive at Osaka.
In-flight meal. Think it was some sort of fish with rice. Can't really remember. The round rice cracker is really nice though.

Ice Cream dessert.

I liked this rice cracker served with the in-flight meal so much that I asked for a few extras to munch on during the flight.
I was eventually able to find this being sold in Osaka as well as in Singapore.
 Luckily our flight arrived at Osaka Kansai Airport earlier than expected, so I didn't had to rush like mad to the tourist counter at Kansai airport in order for me to buy my Kintetsu Rail Pass.  I was originally planning to give up purchasing that since my flight's arrival time and the counter's closing hours are kinda close.
I tried to purchase this pass from Singapore, but JTB informed me that they had ran out of stock (even though I enquired about it about 3 weeks in advanced to my trip) so my only hope was to buy from Kansai Airport. 
This is the Kintetsu Rail Pass which I bought (3700yen, 5 days version) :

After managing to get my Kintetsu Rail Pass, I then went to the JR office to exchange for my 7days JR pass using the voucher I had bought from Singapore. Since JR office closes later than the counter which sells Kintetsu railpass, so I wasn't too worried about it.  

Other than exchanging for my JR Pass, I also bought the Haruka + ICOCA package:
This package is actually quite value for money if you are planning to take the JR Haruka Express train and don't have any other railpass coverage for your journey between Kansai Airport and Osaka/Kyoto. 
Haruka Express train is the airport express train operated by the JR company which travels between Kansai Airport to Tennoji, then Shin-Osaka, then Kyoto station. ICOCA is kinda like our Singapore's EZ-link card, which is like a card with stored value in it, and you simply use it to tap in/tap out of gantries at train stations. There won't be any discounts in the train fares since it's not a railpass, but by using this card, you won't need to buy a single trip train ticket every time you want to take a train/subway.

That being said, Haruka Express is not the only airport express train linking Kansai Airport to downtown Osaka though. There's another airport express train operated by the Nankai company, which travels from Kansai Airport to Shin-Imamiya and Namba in Osaka. However, this train doesn't go to Kyoto. So if you are going Kyoto (or travelling to Kansai Airport from Kyoto), then Haruka Express is the train which you will take.

Anyway, after my 35mins train ride from Kansai Airport to Tennoji station in Osaka, I had to simply take a short subway transfer to Dobutsuen-mae station where my hotel for my first 3 nights is located at.
Hotel Raizan South is a no-frills "hotel" for travellers on a budget. There are no ensuite toilets/bathrooms, and instead, you will have shared toilets on every level...whereas the shower rooms are on the ground floor. 
Each room is really small (see pic) but for the price of about 2000yen a night (about S$24), I found it adequate for my use. There's even a tv and a mini fridge in my room, so I preferred this over sleeping in shared bunk beds in hostels.

I nearly always try to find Katsudon as my first meal in Japan for every trip. And this time is no different :)

Cute bottle of tea, sold at convenience stores.

Go to next entry (Oct 13) Day 2: Osaka


  1. hi,is it better to purchase international and domestic ticket ?will it be cheaper?

    1. Can't say for sure...because sometimes I get international and domestic flights together with the same airline during booking, sometimes I get them separately from 2 different airlines. I just go with whichever's cheaper.

  2. Thanks for the reply,as is my first time going to tokyo and ashikawa ,recently i saw SQ having promotion to japan for 2016 ,which is $666. i read that if buy SQ,can get ANA experience fare for 10800yen? however i do not know if the promo will extend or not, i check JAL pricing is $967 for tokyo and ashikawa,but return trip will be redeye flight ,can advise which will be a better choice?

    1. Hmm, which flight timings is preferable to you?
      I would probably go with SQ + the ANA option since I like SQ. :)
      But really, if the price difference is not that much, then I'll just go with whichever's flight timings is better to me.

    2. SQ is much better? (i never take before both T-T) price not big difference if ANA 10800yen fare extend till 2016, if not SQ + ANA will cost more
      if choose SQ will be 7.40am reach narita, if JAL will be 5.30am reach haneda
      so if SQ will need to take bus from narita to haneda to catch domestic flight
      from narita to haneda is it take limobus ?
      actually is taking red eye flight back better than day flight?
      Thank so much
      Thank so much

    3. So for JAL, you won't need to travel between Narita and Haneda for your flight transfers?
      If that's the case, then I'd go for JAL because it's going to be quite a hassle to travel between Narita and Haneda since both airports are about 1hr apart from each other.

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  4. hihi! thanks for your blog :)
    but i would like to check with you, B-mobile data sim card where can i get it? :)

  5. Hi, may I know roughly how much did u spend in the entire trip? I really like your itinerary btw :)

    1. Sorry, I can't really remember, since I don't really keep track of all my expenses for all my trips.
      I tend to be more lazy towards the end of the trip so I usually stop taking notes of expenses halfway thru the trip. :p

  6. Hi Sam, Sorry to be asking as your trip is quite sometime back, not sure if you remener. Re ICOCA + Haruka packing, I am a little confused despite reading up quite abit.

    If I am going from KIX all the way to Kyoto, then the package is a good deal? How about if I am going from KIX to Osaka Shinsaibashi, then the next day to to Kyoto, few days back from Kyoto to Shinsaibashi for another 2 days stop before flying out from KIX, is it still worthwhile getting the ICOCA + Haruka package?

    In short, I m not travelling direct to Kyoto from KIX but on separate day trip out from Osaka, so should I buy still buy this package?

    A return package means it must be A to B and then B to A?
    Can I use this package from Shinsaibashi Osaka to Kyoto then back to Shinsaibashi Osaka again?
    Lastly, a silly question, if I am going from KIX to Osaka, does it mean getting ICOCA + Haruka is not worthwhile since I am not taking all the way to Kyoto?

    Sorry for asking so many questions.. m very lost.

    1. If you are going from KIX to Shinsaibashi, then instead of Haruka Express, the Nankai Rapid train might be a better option.
      If that's the case, then you won't need the Haruka package.

      If you are going from Shinsaibashi to KIX on the last day of your train, u can also use the Nankai Rapid train instead of Haruka Express.