Travelogue by – Navankur Chaudhary
We all have seen Japanese anime and cartoons from our childhood and had a dream to visit Japan once in life to feel and see that country which made our childhood great. I also had the same dreams. My dream came true in September 2018 when I applied for Japan Visa and got it approved. I finally got to visit in October 2018 and spend 12 days in Japan.
Flight fare from India to Japan
Japan Flights from Delhi and Mumbai usually range from Rs 40,000-50,000 (Return fare). So I had to find a cheaper option. I searched for the flights with layovers. While doing so I also considered the layovers should be in those countries whose visa could be obtained easily being an Indian.
Leg 1 | Delhi to Singapore
Initially, I was thinking of travelling via Hong Kong. This was Air Asia flight costing 11,000 INR connecting through Kuala Lumpur. But this time I wanted to travel with some airline other than Air Asia. So I took flight with Singapore Airlines. The ticket cost me 14000 INR with a 16 hours halt in Singapore. This was going to be my second experience in Singapore. Check my travelogue to know how I travelled on a budget for 8 days in Singapore and Malaysia.
Singapore gives free transit visa for 96 hours if you have a valid Japanese visa.
Here is a video based on my flight from Delhi to Singapore
Singapore Airport is Voted as Best Airport in the World.
Leg 2 | Singapore to Hong Kong
The second leg of my Journey was from Singapore to Hong Kong which was also with Singapore Airline in morning. Another wonderful journey with Singapore Airlines.
Immigration in Hong Kong
On landing, I went through smooth Immigration in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Visa is also free but you have to do one Pre-Arrival Registration before arriving in Hong Kong and it is valid for 6 Months for Multiple Journeys. I had only one day stay in Hong Kong so I decided to take rest.
Leg 3 | HongKong to Tokyo with ‘HongKong Express’
Next Day I went to Hong Kong Airport to catch my flight to Tokyo. I booked Hong Kong Express which is a budget carrier like Air Asia. Flight ticket from Hong Kong to Tokyo was 3300 INR.
After landing in Tokyo
I landed on Narita Airport of Tokyo. This time I didn’t use my ATM card but I had US dollars. I purchased 72 hours metro card of Tokyo metro from airport and combo Airport Shuttle Express which cost me 2400 Japanese Yen (100 Yen = 65 INR). Mobile Sim card in Japan is expensive so I didn’t buy it.
Tokyo Airport to city centre
I took the Airport Shuttle to reach the City Centre and from there I took the Tokyo Metro to reach my apartment. But after reaching the apartment I didn’t find the apartment’s owner. I was stranded there for around 3 hrs. Only after that I got the keys. This apartment cost me 7000 YEN for 3 Nights for 2 People.
2nd day in Tokyo
Next day I decided to visit the most touristy place of the Tokyo city with Shibuya crossing and Shinjuku Area. This is very famous and also known as the Times Square of Japan. I used the metro to travel all over Tokyo as I had 72 hrs Tokyo Metro pass. Infact, I did not use the bus at all in the whole of my Japan trip. In morning we went to a nearby indian Restaurant and had Lunch as the day started pretty late for me. Lunch in the Indian restaurant cost around 800 YEN.
3rd day in Tokyo
3rd Day in Tokyo Started with a visit to Odaiba Island of Tokyo City which is famous for Robotics Museum. Views are similar to Manhattan, New York. They also have their own ‘Statue of Liberty’. To visit this island you need a separate ticket of the futuristic train which operates on this island and costs around 320 yen one-way.
In the night I went to see the Tokyo Tower which was mesmerizing In it’s Orange colour. While withdrawing money, I got the worst ever exchange rate. I used Mizhuo ATM.
4th day in Tokyo
Today was our last day in Tokyo City. In Evening I had to leave for Hamamatsu so I decided to go to Akihabara district in Tokyo by using Tokyo Metro. It was the main Anime and Gaming district in Tokyo. I don’t remember which restaurant I went to but that was the best chicken I had in my life.
My experience in Japan’s Bullet Train
Now was the time to take the world’s famous ‘Bullet train’. Its official name is Shinkansen. That day due to an unfortunate mishappening all train from Tokyo to South Japan got delayed by 2 hours. But after reaching Hamamatsu, to my surprise, Japan Railways refunded 3380 Yen from my total ticket cost 8090 Yen. It was a great way to compensate the passengers for the delay.
Hamamatsu – Local sight seeing
In Hamamatsu, I stayed with one of my friends. We travelled with his local Japanese friend who actually had travelled in India. He was very keen to know more about India. I have recorded the conversation in this video in which he shares his thought about Indians.
The same day we went to some of the tourist places in Hamamatsu like Airforce Museum and Limestone Cave. At night we had dinner in one of the Japanese Restaurants. I learnt how to hold the chopsticks the right way. Food in Japanese restaurants for dinner costs around 700-800 Yen
I learnt Japanese!
We are fascinated by the Japanese, Korean and Chinese language characters as they are totally different from all other languages. So I learnt a few of these words from my Indian friend who has been living in Japan for 2 years. There are around 20,000 Japanese alphabets which are called as Kanji in the Japanese Language.
2nd day in Hamamatsu
Next 2 days in Hamamatsu were kind of rest days for me because I had to travel for another 10 days. So I decided to only go for a walk around the Washizu Village. I was staying in Washizu which is a small town near Hamamatsu. While walking I learnt about Japanese Culture and why japan is so clean.
I always like to explore the Supermarket in the country which I visit. So at night, we went to explore a supermarket. I wanted to see what all things are sold to eat as I heared that Japanese also eat Octopus. There is a famous shop in Japan which is called as ‘Daiso’ which has all things for 100 or multiple of 100 Yen.
Hamamatsu to Kyoto in a local train
After resting for 2 days at my friend’s place it was time to head for the next destination – Kyoto. Kyoto is the old Capital of Japan. I had already experienced the Bullet train so I decided to take a cheaper option which was the local train. There were around 4 stops between Hamamatsu and Kyoto. This journey gave me the actual experience of an average Japanese’ daily lifestyle. It took around 4hours to reach Kyoto from Hamamatsu.
I stayed in a Capsule hostel
Next adventure which was on the way was experiencing a Capsule hostel. However, Capsule Hostel are nowadays available everywhere in World but they started in Japan. So it was worth to stay for 1 night in this hostel. They are generally more expensive than the normal hostels. I paid 2360 Yen.
Experiencing the cultural capital of Japan – Kyoto
I reached Kyoto around 1 pm. After taking rest for around 2 hrs I decided to go and explore the cultural Capital of Japan. I was literally stunned to see the cleanliness on the streets. They were actually cleaner than those I saw in Tokyo. Kyoto is famous for the Temples and Shrines. After searching for the places to visit in Kyoto, I visited a hilltop, suggested as #1 attraction on Google. I never saw such clean streets in my life. I also tried the green tea Ice cream for 350 Yen. In Japan, you can find everything with Green Tea in it.
Next day I was left with only half day for Kyoto. I had to leave for Osaka thereafter. So I decided to visit the Bamboo forest and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Fushimi Inari is the place where you will find the largest number of shrines together in the world. Bamboo forest was also breathtaking. Major tourist places in Kyoto are accessible by the Metro. Japan is very famous for different types of trains and I observed that in Kyoto.
Kyoto to Osaka
In the evening I had to catch a local train to reach my host’s place, located on the outskirts of Osaka. Train from Kyoto to Osaka costs 580-700 Yen depending on the destination you want to go. I had to change 2 trains to reach to my host’s place. I reached around 10 pm and I felt very safe while walking in the streets of Japan.
Next day I went to Osaka castle which was in the main city. I had to take a JR train and metro. I had to walk of around 1.5km to reach Osaka castle from the metro. The walk itself very great. Osaka Castle is a great place to visit. I am not a fan to visit castles and temples. Entry fee for Osaka castle was 600 Yen. So instead of going inside the castle, I took a 20 minutes session of Samurai classes which was for 2000 Yen. I recommend every tourist to take Samurai class. I enjoyed it a lot.
Osaka is like Mumbai of India whereas Tokyo is Delhi and Kyoto is Varanasi. So had to enjoy the nightlife of Osaka. I went to Dotonmbori Street which is the best street to enjoy Nightlife of Osaka. Here you can shop, walk, take photos, eat or dance or whatever you want! It is so big that you can’t cover it in one night. It is parallel to the Dotombori River.
Hostel in Osaka
Next day I went from my host’s house to a hostel. My host was able to host me for only 2 days. I slept for the whole day as in night I had to meet one of my Indian friends in Osaka. We decided to roam around Dotombori Street whole night from 10 pm to 5 am. He showed me a different Japan which a tourist can’t see. Around 3 am I forgot my wallet somewhere. I lost all my Bank cards and around 150$ which was upsetting me. But during the entire journey, I travelled with an Indian friend. He helped me. Though by chance I had $50 left in my pocket.
Osaka to Hiroshima
After returning to my hostel at around 7 am I had to get some sleep. I had planned to go Hiroshima from Osaka around 12 pm. I took the metro to Kyoto Main Station to catch the train to Hiroshima. You can get tickets directly to Hiroshima from Metro Station also. In this journey, I had to change 5 trains and it cost 5600 Yen otherwise for the same route Bullet train costs 13000 Yen. Local trains took 7 hrs to reach Hiroshima. It was also a memorable journey as I saw different types of trains. I am a big fan of trains. After getting off at the Hiroshima main station, I took a tram to reach my hostel. My hostel was in the outskirts of the city. So it took another 1 hour to reach. It was already 8 pm. At this time the streets become deserted in Japan.
You would have seen Japanese homes in anime. I got a chance to stay in one of them. The hostel I stayed in was a Japanese Home which was converted to a hostel. While staying there It felt like I had become Japanese.
Hiroshima Nuclear dome site
Next morning I went to see the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome. Yes, it is the same place where the world’s first Atomic Bomb was dropped. Now watching the city does not even feel like an Atomic bomb was detonated here. But thinking about that day just gave me goosebumps. I was approached by a volunteer guide whose father died due to radiation of the Bomb. She was so humble and polite throughout the tour that I won’t forget anything she told about Hiroshima city and the Atomic bomb.
Hiroshima to Hongkong flight
In Evening I had a flight back to Hong Kong. I took Airport Shuttle Bus to the Airport and reached just 30 minutes before departure. But the great staff of HK Express allowed me to board the plane. So I did not have to go back to Tokyo which saved my time and money. Flight from Hiroshima to Hong Kong by HK Express cost me 3300 INR.
Free Night stay at HongKong Airport
I reached Hong Kong in Night at around 10 pm. So decided to sleep at the airport only & not paying for the Hotel. Next morning I took the bus N21 to reach Tsim Tsa Tsui Street and booked a hotel room in Chungking Mansion which is ‘Mini India’ of Hong Kong. Even the Hotels are owned by Indians and Pakistanis. In the evening I went to see the Skyline of Hong Kong. I never saw such a large skyline before. Next day in the afternoon I had to leave for Macau as I had booked my return flight to India from Macau.
Hongkong to Macau in a ferry
Next day around 11 am, I left my hotel towards the Macau Ferry Terminal. Walked for 1.5KM in search of fridge magnets. I generally collect from every country but I was unable to find it there. HongKong to Macau Ferry cost between $150 HKD to $170 HKD. I took the ticket for 160$ HKD and immigration for HongKong is done in that building itself. The ferry took around 1 and a half hour to reach Macau. Macau Immigration is done after you deboard from the Ferry. Macau visa is free for Indians on arrival. I had whole evening and night to explore as Macau is popular for its nightlife.
In Macau, you can store your bag in any casino for free for unlimited time
After enjoying Macau for a short period of time I took Uber from somewhere in Macau to Macau Airport which cost 50 MOP. MOP is Macanese Pataca which is Macau currency which is equal to Hong Kong Dollars. I slept from 12-6 at airport and morning did check in and took my flight back to Jaipur from Macau via Bangkok. It cost me 9500 INR. The layover was for 3 hrs.
How much money did I spend on this trip?
I spent around 75,000 INR on this 18-days long trip. This cost includes flights, visa, hotels, food, Sightseeing and other charges.
- 12 days in Japan (focus country of this trip).
All other countries were bonus due to cheap flights
- 3 days in HongKong
- 1 day in Macau
- 1 day in Singapore