Planning to visit Japan anytime soon? Or you’ve already booked your flight to Tokyo and wondering how you should maximize your time in this amazing city and the surrounding places? This Japan DIY itinerary is to show you in complete detail how we spent our 5 days and 5 nights on the land of the rising sun.

In summary, this itinerary is a complete mix of urban, natural, and cultural experiences. And since we intentionally visited during the winter season, snow experiences are included as well. I’d like to note also that this itinerary is very personal. Our major goals were the snow experience, Mt. Fuji sightseeing, and Tokyo exploration.

The complete breakdown of expenses is also shared at the later part of this post (but to give you a sneak peek, we only spent around 36k in total per person). I have also included links where we purchased our tickets and passes.

 

Japan DIY Itinerary

Notes:
Time stamps are extracted from our photos (with ±2 minutes tolerance)
Japan Standard Time (JST) is one hour ahead of Philippine Time.

DAY 0 – Travel to Japan
(+ Airport Lounge experience)

08:00 AMArrival at Manila Airport T3; Check-in Baggage; Immigration
09:00 AMCheck-in at PAGSS Lounge, then A Lounge
01:00 PMCheck-out from A Lounge; Proceed to boarding gate
01:45 PM (PHT)Departure Manila to Narita
06:45 PM (JST)Arrival at Narita Airport T2; Immigration; Baggage; Claim transport tickets; Rent pocket WiFi
09:00 PMDeparture Narita Airport T2 via Limousine Bus
10:10 PMArrival at TCAT (Tokyo City Air Terminal)
10:40 PMLate dinner at Hidakaya Ningyocho Restaurant
11:40 PMCheck-in at Hotel Horidome Villa

We arrived at the Manila Airport T3 as early as 8 AM as my brother and sis-in-law had to go somewhere after dropping us off at the airport (and of course, we’re very excited!)

We’re almost 6 hours early for our flight and we happily spent that time at the airport lounge. I mean, we could willingly stay at the departure waiting area, but my credit card has perks including unlimited access to airport lounge.

Plus, we didn’t have to spend money on food! In fact, we had our breakfast and lunch at the lounge. We all know that everything inside the airport is expensive so it was a great chance to cut expenses on food.

I am free to stay (+1 companion) in PAGSS lounge, but it was fully booked that time so Jec and I were transferred to A Lounge which is good as well. We’re both not very used to luxury but we enjoyed the comfort and quiet before heading to our trip!

manila airport lounge pagss A lounge
At the airport lounge, waiting for our boarding time

Also, another travel-related perks from my credit card is the free travel insurance for me and one family member (so Jec was also covered).

Upon arriving at the Narita Airport and passing the immigration (and getting our baggage), we proceeded to claim our transport tickets that we booked ahead of time at a cheaper price via Klook. The tickets were easy to redeem and the staff was very helpful and knowledgeable in giving instructions. We booked the Limousine Airport Bus + Tokyo Subway Tickets Bundle HERE.

The Limousine Airport Bus ticket is roundtrip (Narita to Tokyo and vice versa) and the Tokyo Subway Ticket is for 3-day unlimited access to Tokyo subway which we started using on the 3rd day until 5th day of our trip. You can also choose 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days from the options.

As for the pocket WiFi rental, we did not book for it in advance to avoid mishaps in case of delayed flight. Because the WiFi rentals we saw in Klook are until 9pm only. Our flight itinerary says 8pm arrival but we did not want to risk. Imagine if the flight got delayed, we will need to wait at the airport until the booth opens the next day. Unless we will travel to Tokyo and come back again to Narita (which will cost much and will ruin our itinerary). That’s what we wanted to avoid. But if you have a more favorable flight schedule, you can book your Pocket WiFi rental HERE.

We arrived at Tokyo past 10 PM. The bus dropped us off at TCAT and from there, we started walking to our hotel. Along the way, we looked for a restaurant so we could have dinner first. We found Hidakaya Ningyocho Restaurant interesting and not to mention it’s just a few-minute walk from our hotel.

japan airport limousine bus
(L) Bus staff helping us to put our luggage in the compartment (R) Late dinner at Hidakaya Ningyocho Restaurant

After having our first dinner in Japan, we checked-in at Hotel Horidome Villa which we booked in Agoda ahead of time. Check-in process was smooth and fast (of course, it’s already late in the evening). We stayed in 2 of their double rooms which can accommodate 2 persons each.

We did not want to stay in capsule/dorm beds, and we don’t need a fancy hotel either. So I think this hotel is the best for us. It is basic, but we have our own bathrooms to save time in prepping up. And unlike staying in capsule beds, we have our own floors where we could freely open our luggage. We booked our stay at Hotel Horidome Villa HERE.


The first 2 days of our Japan DIY Itinerary was allotted for snow experiences. But if you’re going to visit during other seasons, you can replace these places with other seasonal spots.

DAY 1 – Nikko Day Trip

nikko day trip japan diy itinerary

07:45 AM (JST)Walk from Hotel to Tokyo Station
08:15 AMArrive at JR Tokyo Station; Exchange currency; Claim JR Tokyo Wide Pass; Reserve Bullet Train seats
08:56 AMDeparture Tokyo Station via JR-East (shinkansen)
09:45 AMArrival at Utsunomiya Station; Transfer to local JR-East Line by foot; Wait for next train
10:30 AMDeparture Utsunomiya Station via JR-East (local line)
11:10 AMArrival at Nikko Station; Purchase tickets for unlimited bus ride; Wait for the bus
11:55 AMDeparture Nikko Station via bus
12:05 PMArrival at SHINKYO BRIDGE
01:10 PMLunch at Mikui Dokoro Akui Restaurant
02:30 PMDeparture Nikko Station via bus
03:00 PMArrival at Chuzenji Bus Station; Play in the snow along the way to Kegon Falls
03:30 PMKEGON FALLS
04:15 PMDAIYA RIVER
04:25 PMCHUZENJI LAKE
05:00 PMDeparture Chuzenji Bus Station
06:00 PMArrival at Nikko Station
06:30 PMDeparture Nikko Station via JR-East (local line)
07:00 PMArrival at Utsunomiya Station; Transfer from local JR Line to JR-East Shinkansen; Wait for next train
07:22 PMDeparture Utsunomiya Station via JR-East (shinkansen)
08:20 PMArrival at Tokyo Station
09:00 PMDinner at Hidakaya Ningyocho Restaurant
10:00 PMHotel Horidome Villa

Since we’re set to use our Tokyo Subway Tickets on day 3 onwards, we still can’t use it to go to Tokyo Station. So from our hotel, we walked for about 20 minutes + a lot of chitchats and photo ops along the way to the JR Tokyo Station.

At the JR Tokyo Station, we needed to split the tasks to save some time. Jec and I went to claim our JR Tokyo Wide Passes while Gel and Sel went to the currency exchange to get some cash. Then after that, we reserved our seats for Shinkansen ride. Seat reservation is free of charge as long as you have your JR Pass of course.

You can purchase your JR Tokyo Wide Pass HERE.

The earliest departure schedule for Tokyo to Utsunomiya Station was 08:56 AM and it was already 8:45 AM when we were reserving seats. We decided to push through and rush our way to the train platform and thankfully we arrived on time despite going on circles looking for our train car. The feeling was like we won in a game!

At the Utsunomiya Station, we transferred to the local JR Line by foot (it’s just a couple of minutes walk). We did not need another ticket since it is covered by our JR Pass, and no need to reserve seats.

Read full story about our day trip to Nikko here.


DAY 2 – Karuizawa Prince Snow Resort

karuizawa japan diy itinerary

09:32 AM (JST)Departure Tokyo Station via JR-East (shinkansen)
10:32 AMArrival at Karuizawa Station; wait for the bus
11:00 AMDeparture Karuizawa Station via free shuttle bus
11:15 AMArrival at PRINCE SNOW RESORT; inquire and observe
11:40 AMLunch at Clove Cafe
02:00 PMSnow Park (sled, tubing, play in the snow)
05:00 PMDeparture Prince Snow Resort via free shuttle
05:10 PMArrive at Karuizawa Station
05:50 PMDeparture Karuizawa Station via JR-East (shinkansen)
06:50 PMArrival at Tokyo Station
07:30 PMDinner at Tokyo Station
09:00 PMHotel Horidome Villa

For our Day 2, we were supposed to visit Gala Yuzawa but had to cancel after the announcement of strong winds. We opted to have a detour to a place having gently sloping hills which is Karuizawa. It is just an hour’s journey from Tokyo via Shinkansen.

At the Karuizawa Station, free shuttle is available to take passengers to the Prince Snow Resort admission. Then from there you can avail any activities they offer such as skiing, lift sightseeing, sledding, and more.

Read full story about our day trip to Karuizawa Prince Snow Resort here.


DAY 3 – Mt. Fuji Sightseeing Ft. Oishi Park

mt. fuji japan diy itinerary

07:20 AM (JST)Departure Kodemmacho Station via subway; Got lost in Tokyo 😅
07:55 AMArrival Tokyo Station
08:30 AMDeparture Tokyo Station via JR-East Line
09:35 AMArrival Otsuki Station
09:55 AMDeparture Otsuki Station via Fujikyuko Line
10:55 AMArrival Kawaguchiko Station
11:15 AMDepartue Kawaguchiko Station via bus
11:50 AMArrival OISHI PARK
12:40 PMLunch at Sansuien Restaurant
03:00 PMOishi Park Cafe soft serve ice cream
04:25 PMDeparture Oishi Park via bus
05:00 PMArrival at Kawaguchiko Station
05:05 PMDeparture Kawaguchiko Station via JR-East Limited Express Line
06:55 PMArrival at Tokyo Station
07:00 PMDeparture Tokyo Station via subway
07:20 PMArrive at Akihabara Station; Night stroll around AKIHABARA
08:45 PMDeparture Akihabara Station via subway
08:50 PMArrive Kodemmacho Station
09:05 PMHotel Horidome Villa

Day 3, and it’s time to use our Tokyo Subway ticket! Kodemmacho Station is the nearest station from our hotel so from there, we took the subway to reach Tokyo Station. Travel time should only be about 10 minutes but due to being inexperienced, it took us about 30 minutes. We boarded the wrong train lines and got lost countless times before arriving at Tokyo Station. Thankfully, our subway tickets are unlimited and we could ride the subway as many times as we needed!

The JR-East Limited Express train that goes directly to Kawaguchiko Station was sold out. So we had to take the JR train going to Otsuki Station, then ride a local train bound for Kawaguchiko Station.

This Mt. Fuji Sightseeing tour is purely DIY. The route is Tokyo Station – Otsuki Station – Kawaguchiko Station – Oishi Park. Then going back to Tokyo, we took this route: Oishi Park – Kawaguchiko Station – Tokyo Station.

After the Mt. Fuji sightseeing tour, we took a night stroll around Akihabara before going back to our hotel.

Note: For the whole trip, we used the subway at least 5 times, and the JR Tokyo Wide Pass twice.

Read full story about our DIY trip to Mt. Fuji here.


DAY 4 – Tokyo City Tour Part 1

tokyo japan diy itinerary

tokyo city tour japan diy itinerary

08:45 AMDeparture Ningyocho Station via subway
09:00 AMArrival Asakusa Station; Walk to Hanaka Kimono Rental
09:10 AMArrival at Hanaka Kimono Rental; Choose Kimono; Kimono dressing
10:00 AMStart ASAKUSA tour
10:10 AMArrive at Kaminarimon Gate
10:20 AMWalk through Nakamise Street
10:45 AMHozomon Gate; Photo ops
12:00 PMHanaka Kimono Rental; Return kimono
12:35 PMDeparture Asakusa Station via subway
01:20 PMArrival Shibuya Station
01:25 PMSHIBUYA SKY
03:20 PMSHIBUYA CROSSING
03:35 PMOne Piece Straw Hat Store
04:00 PMHACHIKO MEMORIAL STATUE
04:40 PMDinner at ICHIRAN RAMEN
06:00 PMDeparture Shibuya via subway
06:20 PMArrive Tokyo Station
06:30 PMHotel Horidome Villa

To complete our Japan DIY Itinerary, we have to explore its amazing capital city which is Tokyo!

We allotted the first half of the day for kimono-wearing experience and exploring Asakusa. Read more about our kimono experience here.

Then the next half of the day was for exploring Shibuya. This city tour is also pure DIY. You can read more about our Tokyo City Tour here.

Note: We used the subway at least 3 times for this trip.


DAY 5 – Tokyo City Tour Part 2

japan diy itinerary tokyo city tour

10:00 AMDeparture Kodemmacho Station via subway; Kayabacho Station via subway
10:20 AMArrive Otemachi Station; IMPERIAL PALACE GARDEN
12:00 PMNIJUBASHI BRIDGE
12:20 PMDeparture Kasumigaseki Station via subway
12:40 PMArrive Kamiyachoten Station; Lunch at Tonkatsu Maruya Kamiyachoten
02:10 PMTOKYO TOWER
03:20 PMDeparture Kamiyacho Station via subway
03:50 PMArrive Akihabara Station
04:00 PMDon Quijote Akihabara (last minute souvenir shopping)
04:35 PMDeparture Akihabara Station via subway
04:40 PMArrive Kodemmacho Station
04:50 PMPickup luggage at hotel front desk; Departure Hotel Horidome Villa via Taxi
05:00 PMArrive at TCAT
05:20 PMDeparture TCAT via Limousine Airport Bus
06:30 PMArrive at Narita Airport T2
08:00 PMDeparture Narita
01:47 AM (PHT)Arrival at Manila

Before we go to our first destination, we did an early check-out from our hotel and we left our luggage at the front desk. So that we don’t have to hurry back to the hotel at 12 NN just to check-out.

We spent the first half of the day exploring the Imperial Palace Gardens and Nijubashi Bridge. After that, we headed to Tokyo Tower, and then we went back to Akihabara for last minute souvenir shopping at Don Quijote.

We picked up our luggage at the hotel front desk and hired a taxi right away to save time. We needed to catch the next bus schedule at TCAT which was 5:20 PM, or else, we will be too hurried for our 8 PM flight. Take note that the Airport Bus always leaves exactly on time and won’t wait.

Note: We used the subway at least 5 times for this trip.

Read full story about our DIY Tokyo tour here.

Japan DIY Itinerary ends here.

 


Breakdown of Expenses

Note:
Everything is in Philippine Peso, just as how they appeared on our card transactions.
Cash transactions are also converted into Peso to simplify the computation.

TransportationCost
(4pax)
Cost
(2pax)
Cost
(1pax)
Roundtrip Airfare Cebu Pacific6,357.05
Roundtrip Baggage Allowance2,3101,155
Travel Tax1,620
JR Tokyo Wide Pass6,060.96
Roundtrip Limousine Airport Bus
+ Tokyo Subway Ticket 3 Days
2,776.65
Nikko Unlimited Bus Ticket871.27
Fujikyuko Train Fare
(Otsuki to Kawaguchiko)
437
Bus to Oishi Park212
Bus to Kawaguchiko Station212
Taxi from Hotel to TCAT317.9679.49
TOTAL19,781.42
Hotel/Activities/RentalCost
(4pax)
Cost
(2pax)
Cost
(1pax)
Hotel Horidome Villa 5 Nights13,003.046,501.52
Hanaka Kimono Rental1,229.95
Shibuya Sky Ticket819.65
Karuizawa Snow Park873
Pocket WiFi Rental2,000.761000.38
TOTAL10,424.5
Food / PasalubongCost
(4pax)
Cost
(2pax)
Cost
(1pax)
Dinner
Hidakaya Ningyocho
406.66203.33
Lunch
Mikui Dokoro Akui
1,053.24526.62
Dinner
Hidakaya Ningyocho
691.56345.78
Breakfast
Family Mart
441.68220.84
Lunch
Clove Cafe
997.22498.61
Pocari Sweat73.8236.91
Dinner
Tokyo Station
1,052.92526.46
Breakfast
Family Mart
438219
Lunch
Sansuien Restaurant
405405
Oishi Park Cafe
ice cream
18592.5
Dinner
Family Mart
304152
Lunch
Family Mart
362.38181.19
Dinner
Ichiran Ramen
892.07446.035
Lunch
Tonkatsu Maruya Kamiyachoten
707.55353.775
Takoyaki248.862.2
Water263.28131.64
Pasalubong
Souvenirs
3,443.241,721.62
TOTAL6,123.51

OVERALL TOTAL = 36,329.43 per person

 

Here are links where we purchased some of our tickets/passes and other recommendations.


 

If this Japan DIY Itinerary has helped you, save this for future reference and share it with your travel buddies!

 


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Dea Mariano

About Author

Hi, I'm Dea! A traveler who loves good food and an electronics engineer based in PH. I like creating itineraries and daydreaming about the places. As weird as it might sound, I find the planning part as enjoyable as the trip itself. I love sunsets, beaches, and staycation trips. And I'm a worshipper of God—the source of my everything! I once wandered aimlessly in life, until Jesus found me! Now, I just wander around wonderful places as I marvel at His creation ❤️

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