Everything Travel, Japan

Free discount coupons for Don Quijote in Japan

If you're headed to Japan for the holidays (or anytime in the coming months), here's some FREE shopping coupons you can use at Don Quijote! Click here to get your free coupon! Don Quijote is a chain of stores that sells a huge variety of items from houseware, to apparel, to souvenirs, to cosmetics. If there's something you need, you'll probably find it there. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nina/7157542925 The…read more
Japan, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Japan 2014

After traveling to Japan twice already, I knew exactly what I was getting into when I was planning for this trip. I prepared as much as I can, always on the lookout for the best rates, working out a budget that would let me enjoy certain luxuries, while keeping the costs down, I’m quite happy to find out that I’m able to keep this trip way below what I spent during my first trip to Japan.

Sayuri with Mon-mon and Ron-ron
Sayuri at Matsumoto with Mon-mon and Ron-ron

Maybe the cost can be attributed to a weaker yen (or a better performing peso), but I like to think I maintained better control of my personal spendings this time around. I indulged in a bit of shopping, but the most extravagant thing I bought was a ceramic knife. No more toys for me this time around. No Kit Kats either.

It definitely helped that I shared the cost of most of my accommodation with friends, and the fact that I relented to going back to the dorms. Hostel dorms in Japan (at least the ones I’ve been to) are really nice. What savings we had there though, were put towards more upscale accommodations in Magome and Iwami. We stayed at a minshuku in Magome, and a huge suite in Iwami (probably given to us when they found out Khursten went there all the way from Australia just to fangirl), both with inclusive dinner and breakfast.

Japan is still not the cheapest destination, but with careful budgeting (and some saving up), it’s definitely doable!
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Destination, Japan

Chubu Trip Wrap-up

What a trip to cap the year! I have been looking forward to this trip for months, and speculated endlessly about our itinerary. When I received the itinerary, I ended up having to Google every place listed, because I did not know any of them, apart from Nagoya, Takayama, and Shirakawa-go, which was actually perfect, since I’m all too happy to go off the beaten tourist path, specially in Japan.

Dai-o Wasabi Farm at Azumino
A section of the Daio Wasabi Farm where Akira Kurosawa filmed the “Village of the Watermills” segment in his movie “Dreams”

The Chubu region shows plenty of promise, and it’s an amazing place to explore. If you love history, heritage, nature, and small towns and cities, this is the place for you. I liked Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo, but it can get too crazy and crowded there, so I take refuge in smaller, quieter places in between.
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Destination, Japan

Souvenirs from Japan

Like Filipinos, the Japanese has a tradition of bringing home pasalubong everytime they go on a trip. That’s why you’ll always find souvenir shops with beautifully wrapped goodies, even in the supermarket (there is usually an area for souvenirs right at the entrance). The souvenirs are always locally made, unique to their region.

Gujo City souvenir shop
Souvenir shop in Gujo City

Here are some of the souvenirs you can pick up when you travel in Japan.
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Destination, Japan

Meitetsu Department Store

If you’re flying in and out of the Chubu Centrair International Airport and you’re taking the ยต-Sky Airport Rapid Limited Express train to get out or get in the airport, you might as well make Meitetsu Department Store your first and last stop.

Meitetsu Department Store
One of the entrance to the Meitetsu Department Store from the Meitetsu-Nagoya Train Station

Connected to the Meitetsu-Nagoya Station, the department store entrance is just a few steps away from the turnstiles. The Meitetsu Department Store has two buildings: the main building with over 10 floors of retail, and the 6-storey Men’s building.
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Destination, Japan

Shinhotaka Ropeway

The Shinhotaka Ropeway is in the far reaches of Takayama. About an hour and half drive away from the city center, the ride took us through and up the mountains. The snow-capped mountains we saw in the distance were now looming over us, and white blobs of snow can be found in the road side.

Shin-Hotaka Ropeway
Shinhotaka’s No. 2 Ropeway as seen from the top

If you want to experience snow without the heavy snowfall and double-digit sub zero temperatures, late Fall or early Spring would be a good time to go. In late November, we were lucky to experience a combination of the Fall foliage, and a liberal dusting of snow on the mountain.
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