Planning the Tokyo Trip - Planning the itinerary

Sunday, September 20, 2009 Posted by YY on 10:03 AM

Day trips around Tokyo outskirts
Staying in Tokyo itself for the entire 2 weeks can get really really mundane.
There are many railway companies in Japan itself, do a google/wiki search for Japan Railway Companies, visit their site and look for information under welcome/free/day passes. Before purchasing any passes, you may want to check if its worth the value. This is because for some passes it only worth it if you are planning to get down at several stops.

For those who are budget conscious like us, you can consider making use of the free passes provided by the following railway companies:

  1. Odakyu Line
    We took the Enoshima Freepass(¥1430) and Hakone Freepass(¥5000) during our trip so that we can break away from all the urban concrete. To save some costs, we did a day trip as staying at a decent ryokan will cost at least ¥10,000 per person.

    Both passes can be purchased from Shinjuku Station and you can choose to reserve a seat by paying ¥870 extra. We took a reserved seat from Shinjuku -> Hakone only and for the rest of the trips when we did not, we had seats too. Hakone itself has alot of visitors, so it would be prudent to get a reserved seat when going there cos you will not want to stand for 2hours.
  2. Tobu Line
  3. Seibu Line
  4. Metro Line

Day Trips/ Hotel Reservation
It is normal that the Japanese Language site often has more information and promotions than the English version *shrugs*

  1. Jalan.net - Reservation site in Japanese Language
    Comprehensive site with special promotions on and off, however its only available in Japanese.
  2. Odakyu Travel (English Site)
    Odakyu specialises in Hakone mainly and the places that their railway line covers.
  3. Odakyu Travel (Japanese Site)
  4. Rakuten Travel (English Site)
  5. Rakuten Travel (Japanese Site)
    Another great site just like Jalan.net

Other blog links:
If you can read chinese...do a google search for keywords like 东京漫游,东京自助 and lots of Taiwan blogs will turn up in the search results. The taiwanese are really good at F&E Japan planning/reviews.

Some of the links I referenced to while planning my trip:

  1. Wrong Side of Thirty
    A Singaporean Blog on her Tokyo trip in 2008.
  2. http://japan.fjordaan.net/index.html
    Japan 2003 trip review
  3. http://paulstravelpics.blogspot.com/search/label/West%20Central%20Japan
  4. Danny Choo
    For general information on Japan.
  5. 掉入东京的海客
    Information on mainly Tokyo area.
  6. RSS Feeds of Japan Reviews by Taiwanese
  7. 林氏璧和美狐团三狐的小天地
    Very comprehensive guides for first timers in Japan, must read!
  8. pACE
    Japan guides by a HongKong traveller
  9. Backpacker forum
    Lots of information here~


Event Dates
During the summer season around July till August, the whole of Japan is filled with fireworks and Bon Odori/Bon Bance events. This is part of the reason why we stayed in Tokyo for 2 weeks, because we were just in time to attend a bon dance event at Tsukiji Hong Wan Ji Temple and Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival.

One thing to note is that the weather plays a big part in determining if the event will be cancelled or postponed.
  1. Tsukiji Hong Wan Ji Temple
    Check here for Bon Dance event date.
    Bon Dance is actually a fun fair like event with a centre stage, where everyone participating will follow a main dancer. If you are not dancing, you can also go for the fun fair and most importantly, admire the beautiful lanterns.
  2. Kanagawa-Kanto Event Dates
    Event calendar for all year round events.
  3. Hanabi Calendar for 2009 (for reference on events available)
    There are also pamphlets/posters stating the various venues with Fireworks event going on. The posters are mainly displayed in trains and train stations, which I think is due to different railway lines covering a particular event location.

    During our trip, we had the chance to participate in Fujisawa and Shinjuku fireworks event but did not go due to cloudy weather. We finally decided to take the plunge for the Tokyo Bay Fireworks event(on 8th Aug) whereby 12,000 fireworks will be displayed. Initially, we were afraid of getting stuck when people evacuate from the event site but it seems our worries were unfounded.

    Shall write on this later...

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