~ Japan 2017 Planning Pt.1 ~

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I feel that my past few posts have mostly been about me reminiscing about my past travels. There's a lot more to life than appreciating the past so I've decided to journal about my next trip as well. Coming this April it will be my fourth visit back to Japan. My prior visits have been relatively short, 8 days at the most and only consisting of Tokyo. 

This time my visit will be two weeks long (how I wish it could be more!) and I will be visiting four cities. So far the itinerary goes like this:

Osaka (3 days) --> Kyoto (3 days) --> Takayama (2 days) --> Tokyo (5 days)


I had a bit of a rough time finding good flights. The good flight prices fluctuated instantly. I saw some flights that I liked and decided to wait a few hours to discuss it with my travel buddy before purchasing, in about 3 hours time it had jumped up 800$! This actually happened to me twice. On the third time I decided not to risk it and called my friend at 1am, woke them up, and we bought the flights.

I used Momondo to search for flights and bought them from FlightNetwork. It's my second time using Momondo and it is super easy to use, I actually searched for my flights from their app more than their actual website. The only thing is that you have to be a little careful buying from third party sites. Anyone living in Vancouver should also checked out YVR deals since they post flash sales, deals, and have extensive posts included suggested dates of travel for the best flight prices.

These are the perfect flights! Good airline, practically straight flights with good departure and arrival times too. We have a short layover when we get into Japan because we arrive in Tokyo then have to take a domestic flight to Osaka.


Since we're going during Cherry Blossom season finding affordable good accommodations was a bit tricky. I had the hardest time with Kyoto and Takayama. The latter being because I had to decide if I wanted to stay in a ryokan or not. In the end I decided not to and out accommodations list looks like this:

Osaka- Red Roof Plus + Inn Osaka Namba (Hotels.com)
Kyoto- Airbnb
Takayama- Spa Hotel Alpina Hida Takayama  (Booking.com)
Tokyo- Airbnb

If you're using any cashback websites (Ebates etc.), this is a good time to use them since the cashback percentage is quite high. I looked around at various websites to compare prices on Hotels.com, Booking.com, and Agoda.com. I really liked how Hotels.com has the "Collect 10 nights and get one free" deal but during the time that I booked they had a special going on and I decided to save the money now instead of collecting points for a free stay.

I've used Booking.com many times and am most familiar with their system. I love how they display the price of the entire stay with taxes included, so I know exactly what I will be charged for. Make sure you read about the cancellation policies carefully on whichever site you book from. Personally I've only booked at hotels that allow cancellations up to a few days before my arrival. This way you can shop around for better prices or if you have to cancel your trip you money back.

I've noticed that some hotels/ryokans etc. require you to pay when you're there and may only accept cash so make sure you're ready for that. If a hotel you really like is sold out on one website make sure you check around. Often times I've seen a hotel sold out on one website but available on another. I will hopefully remember to comment on my Airbnb experience after I get back.

I think I'll end the post here and write an update when I have more things settled such as transport etc. I'm going to finish off with a photo of the Tokyo Tower from my first Tokyo trip back in 2009 (when I didn't take as many photos as I do now).