12 Jul Second Japan trip bookings
When booking accommodation for our second Japan trip we looked for rooms that had more than one bed. Fletcher was 12 months older and had been sleeping in his own “big boy bed” successfully at home. We had a range of different rooms and sleeping arrangements throughout the trip.
Osaka: We chose to head straight from Narita Airport to Osaka. We weren’t going to spend much time there, only using it as a base to get to other places. For that reason we didn’t want to spend much on the accommodation for this part of the trip. Originally we wanted somewhere close to Shin-Osaka Station. We couldn’t find much accommodation in our budget. We considered a hotel near the Dotonbori area so that we could explore the scene when back in Osaka. Again it was over our low-budget and we could only find small rooms with a queen bed.
We ended up going with the Arietta Hotel Osaka as we could get a room with a double bed and a single bed. The hotel itself was fine and included breakfast but the area really wasn’t convenient at all. We booked the first night, signing up to the hotel website and then when we booked the second night we got 1,000 yen off the room rate due to a points system.
Hiroshima: We were spending one night in Hiroshima in between staying in Osaka. We chose to book a King room at the Sheraton, which is right outside of Hiroshima Station. With our accommodation in Osaka not going to be anything special, we were looking forward to our stay in a nicer room at the Sheraton Hotel Hiroshima. We ended up getting a very nice room by surprise with an upgrade upon check in. Check out the latest prices here.
Shizuoka: We decided to pick up the rental car in Shizuoka. This allowed us to drive up hill and stay at the Nippondaira Hotel which offers fantastic views including Mt.Fuji. We were tempted to book a room with Mt. Fuji views. It was over budget so, we decided against it. We figured we could do with just seeing the view from the hotel grounds and booked a double room (queen bed).
See the hotel and prices here.
Kawaguchiko: We considered splurging on a luxury room with private onsen in a Kawaguchiko ryokan. We decided not to as we weren’t sure about bringing a child somewhere that people may be visiting for a romantic getaway. Although it would be a great chance for us to enjoy an onsen experience, we thought our money would be better off spent elsewhere. I thought we should at least get a hotel by the lake with a possible view of Mt.Fuji.
I ended up choosing Hotel New Century and convincing Tim it was the right choice. It certainly didn’t look like the nicest hotel with dated looking rooms, however it was right in front of the lake and the room had a view of Mt.Fuji. Staying in a room with a possible Mt.Fuji view would increase our chances of seeing the elusive mountain. We booked a Japanese style room via Booking.com. Click here for prices.
Tokyo: When looking for Tokyo accommodation we kept checking for any sales, as that’s how we got a good deal last time. Although we didn’t need to be near Shinjuku station, we wanted to minimise station transfers. Looking at properties on airbnb, we were a little reluctant of the system as it was our first time using the website. We sent questions to a few hosts in regards to building safety and stating that we would have a toddler with us. We almost went with a property in Takadanobaba. The host had many supplies available for children as she had lived at the property with her own. We ended up choosing a more convenient location close to Yoyogi Station, getting a 2 bedroom apartment.
For our second trip we were flying in and out of Narita Airport. The cost of a JR pass is about the same as a return trip from Tokyo to Osaka on a bullet train. We would be using the bullet train several times during our trip so the pass definitely paid off. We ordered our 7 day JR passes from the Travel Japan website and received the exchange voucher in the mail.
Read my post about how the Jr pass paid off for our trip here.
We chose to book through Nissan rent-a-car as we knew they were reliable and the process was simple, from our previous rental car. This time we booked directly through the company as their pricing was cheaper. We went with the same car model, a Nissan March (Micra) and added an English GPS and a child car seat. Read my post about driving in Japan here.
We again went with the same company as our previous trip, Japan Wireless. The pricing was on par with other companies and we already knew they were reliable. Last year we were able to get unlimited 4G, when looking this time we noticed it had changed and all the companies had put a limit on the 4G as well as it being more expensive. We decided to go with unlimited 3G. Unlike the last trip where we had them send it to our hotel, we opted to collect the package from the airport on our arrival.
Ghibli Museum tickets
I really wanted to visit the Studio Ghibli museum. Now that Fletcher was a little older I thought he would also enjoy it. The tickets are sold in Japan a month prior to the date and as we wouldn’t be in the country, it wasn’t an option. A selected number are available to purchase internationally through dealers. JTB is the only authorised seller of Ghibli tickets in Australia. The ticket price is somewhat inflated and includes added charges of service fees and postage cost. Tickets go on sale 3 months in advance, at the start of each month. I ordered ours as soon as they were available.
Cash and Debit cards
For our first trip we had money exchanged while the rate was good but didn’t end up getting very close to it. We also got Citibank visa debit cards to take with us to pay for accommodation. Coming home we had way too much yen left and had the notes exchanged. After choosing to re-visit Japan, I found we had over $50 worth in coin. As we had the coin, we didn’t bother having any money exchanged. We took some cash out at the airport on arrival and only took out small amounts at a time as we needed it. A few times we were almost caught out with no cash as we didn’t want to have yen left over. We used our debit cards to pay for accommodation, the rental car, in convenience stores and to load money onto our ICOCA cards for transport.
To see our full expenses for this Japan trip click here.
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