A 12-Day Detailed Itinerary For Japan Under ₹80,000 Trip Cost

by Yogita Chainani
A 12-Day Detailed Itinerary For Japan Under ₹80,000 Trip Cost

I was always fancied by Japan in multiple ways. And after having been enticed by its culture and food through videos for over a year, I finally decided to experience its intrinsic culture in person. From a truly delectable traditional cuisine to the awe-inspiring Bullet train, it is amazing how Japan has managed to tie tradition and modernity with a single thread. It’s a perfect place for solo travellers, friends, couples and even families. Despite the language barrier, Japan surely knows how to mesmerize you. 

So, if you’re someone who has been fascinated by Japanese culture, or if you’ve grown up watching Anime, then count me as your friend! I am Yogita Chainani, a travel lover, and I went for a 12-day trip to Japan along with my sister in April 2019. We went to Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara, and this is how we planned our trip at ₹80,000. Here is our itinerary for Japan. 

Things To Keep In Mind While Planning A Trip To Japan

Flight Cost: We were tracking the flight costs for over a month before finally booking it. We booked the flight tickets through SkyScanner, and the return flights cost us ₹ 26,000 per person. 

Visa: When it comes to Visa, the process was quite simple. We paid ₹500 per person for a single entry visa, which was valid for a month.

Also Read: Japanese Visa for Indians, Indian Passport: Types, Application Fee, Form, Requirements And Visa On Arrival

Stay: Keeping the budget in mind, we chose to stay in a hostel over a hotel. For Tokyo, we booked the DEN hostel, which is nestled in the Kanda area of Tokyo and is around 50 minutes from Haneda airport. While travelling for 6 nights and 7 days, we paid ₹10,000 per head, which is decent for the quality of the place. In Kyoto, we booked the Len Kyoto hostel, and for 4 nights and 5 days where we paid ₹8,000 per head. As for Nara, we made a day trip, so we didn’t have to make any bookings. We used the HostelWorld app to book both the hostels. 

Transfers: Travelling in and around Japan is expensive. Hence, to save up on the travelling cost, we had bought a Japan Rail Pass for ₹18,000. The pass covered most of our travel expenses in the country. Right from local JR lines to selected Bullet train rides, everything got covered with this pass. Apart from this, for private buses and metros, we spent an additional ₹5,000 per person. For transfers from the airport to the hostel in Tokyo, we took a limousine bus, which cost ₹650 per person. 

Food: We set a budget, and roughly spent ₹4,000 (₹2,000 per person), which is about 6000 Japanese yen on food per day. Sometimes it was a bit more, and sometimes it was less. So, our overall food cost was ₹ 20,000 per person, which also included drinks. 

Itinerary for Japan

Best Time to Visit Japan: Japan is known for its Cherry Blossom season and if you intend to visit this futuristic country, then plan your trip between March-May. Not only March to May, but September to January is also an ideal time to visit Japan. The weather is quite pleasant, humidity is low, and the cold climate makes it easy for travellers to explore the place throughout the day. I travelled to Japan in April, and here’s my 12-days, day by day itinerary.  

Also read: Japan Asks Theme Park Visitors To Avoid Screaming On Roller Coasters

Day 1:

We boarded the 11PM flight from Terminal 2- Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai to Singapore Changi Airport, from where we took a connecting flight to Haneda Airport, Japan. We flew with Singapore Airlines, and I must say, it’s my favourite. The flight from Mumbai to Singapore was about 5 hours and 40 minutes. We had about an hour and 10 minutes of layover in Singapore, and the flight from here to Haneda was about 7 hours and 30 minutes. After reaching Haneda airport, we cleared our immigration, activated our Japan Rail Pass and took a limousine bus to reach Tokyo. The bus ticket cost us ₹630 per person. 

Day 2:

We checked in the hostel, DEN, on Day 1 and passed out immediately. The next day, we woke up early with the faint rays of the sun, got ready and spoke to our hostel manager, who guided us to the nearest metro station. Kanda metro station was at a walking distance from the hostel. On our way, we grabbed some hot coffee, sandwiches and a bottle of water from a nearby Seven-Eleven. These are convenience stores that are open 24×7. 

I must say Seven-Eleven is a hit in Japan, and right from a cup of Joe to hearty Ramen meals, you can find everything at an affordable rate. After sipping some coffee, we took a train to Harajuku station. Our first spot of the day was Takeshita Dori, which is located at a walking distance from Harajuku. 

Itinerary for Japan

Takeshita Dori will take you one step closer to the famous Japanese Pop and Kawaii Culture. Right from street artists to a plethora of picturesque cafes and side stalls, Takeshita is a street that you cannot miss. And while you are there, don’t forget to try the delicious crepes. From Chocolate to Bacon Crepe, there are tonnes of options to choose from. We had a lip-smacking crepe at Santa Monica Crepe, and it was worth every bite.

Itinerary for Japan

After spending a good 2-3 hours in Takeshita Dori, we explored the Harajuku area of Tokyo. For lunch, we kept it light and ate some Mozzarella Sticks from a roadside stall while sipping on some famous Japanese bubble tea. At around 5PM, we headed to the famous Meiji Jingu Shrine, which is known for its unmatchable beauty. The entry to the shrine is free, and the entrance from the massive Torii gate for this shrine will inevitably transport you to a different world.

Itinerary for Japan

After getting bewitched by the spellbinding magnificence of this shrine, we made our way back to Harajuku. We went for dinner to Cafe Lagoon in Harajuku and ended our night on a merry note. Post that- we headed back to our accommodation. 

Day 3:

For us, Day 3 was all about exploring the culture of Japan. Hence, we decided to explore the Asakusa area of Tokyo. We grabbed some coffee from Seven-Eleven and headed to Kanda station to board a metro for Asakusa. We got down at Asakusa station and walked for 10 minutes to reach the pristine Sensoji Temple and I can never forget that sight. Sensoji is one of the oldest temples in Japan, and the entry to the temple is free. 

Itinerary for Japan

We walked around the temple, observed the locals for a while and headed to Nakamise Dori, which was just 2 minutes from the Sensoji Temple. 

Nakamise Dori is known for its local cuisine, souvenirs shops and also gives you a stellar view of the Tokyo sky tree. By the time we finished exploring the street, it was already lunchtime. So we gave local Japanese cuisines a try and savoured some red bean, Hello Kitty Pancakes and Ramen in Nakamise Dori.

Post that, we headed straight to the Tourist Information Center of Japan, which again was a short walk from the temple. Tourist Information is also famous as an observatory. The entry to the observatory was free.

Itinerary for Japan

We bought some coffee from the cafe and observed the magnificent Tokyo skyline from the top. It was around 6:30 pm, and we decided to explore more of Asakusa. We manoeuvred around the area and headed back to the hostel by 12:30 am. 

Day 4:

After spending three glorious days in Japan, Tokyo had already become home. We woke up with lots of excitement, chit-chatted with our fellow hostellers and ventured out to visit the famous and the most luxurious street of Japan, Ginza. Right from Louis Vuitton to Prada, you’ll find all the high-end stores in here. We shopped a bit from Gap and Adidas, we got some top-notch quality products at insane prices.

Itinerary for Japan

After exploring Ginza, we went to Shibuya. While Shibuya is known for the world-famous Shibuya Crossing, it’s also known for Hachiko Statue, the beautiful Yoyogi Park and theme cafes. We explored the area, spent some time at Yoyogi Park and by that time, it was already evening. So we headed straight to witness the iconic Shibuya crossing- a crossing where hundreds of people – and at times thousands of people – cross at a time, coming from all directions at once.

Itinerary for Japan

Once done enjoying the Shibuya crossing, we shopped a bit from Zara and Forever 21 and headed to TGIF in Shibuya. We ate, shot some pictures for the gram and enjoyed the nightlife in Shibuya. 

Day 5:

On day 5, we decided to take it a bit slow. We chilled in our hostel for a while, interacted with fellow travellers from London, South Korea and Canada, and left the hostel at around 1PM for Shinjuku. We visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which again is a famous observatory in Tokyo, and on a clear day, you get to witness the sight of Mount. Fuji from the observatory.

Itinerary for Japan

The entry to the observatory was free. We spent some time appreciating the majestic Tokyo skyline and then explored Shinjuku for a while before catching a bus for Akihabara.

Itinerary for Japan

If you love Anime and arcade games, then Akihabara is for you. I wanted to win at least one Dragonball toy, but I couldn’t, hard luck! After the gaming session, we went to the famous Yodobashi Camera centre in Akihabara and shopped for some Bluetooth headphones. We ended the night by eating pizza, ramen and sipping some sake in Akihabara. 

Day 6:

This was the day when I shopped till I dropped, and I am not kidding. I had researched about outlet malls in Tokyo and had decided to buy things from there itself. The outlet mall was on the outskirts of Tokyo, but the ride was completely worth it. We boarded a train for Mitsui Outlet Mall at Tokyo Station and got down at Kaihin-Makuhari Station. From there the outlet mall was at a walking distance. There was a 60% off deal going on for all items in the mall. I treated myself to a Michael Kors wallet at flat 90% off.

Itinerary for Japan

We spent around 8 hours in the mall, and in the end, we were too exhausted to go anywhere else, so we ate something at McDonald’s, and headed back to our hostel.

Day 7:

It was our last day in Tokyo, and we wanted to make the most of it. We explored our neighbourhood, went to see the Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower. For us, we didn’t buy a ticket for the observatory since we had already enjoyed a free view of the majestic skyline from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in Shinjuku. We visited a few cafes, tried some Matcha Ice Cream and headed back to the hostel.

Day 8:

The time had arrived to bid adieu to the vibrant city of Tokyo. With heavy hearts and a bucket full of memories to cherish for eternity, we checked out from our hostel, brought some snacks for our train ride and headed to Tokyo Station. And finally, we boarded the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Itinerary for Japan

It was a smooth and pleasant ride, and guess what – the bullet train had wifi too!

Also read: Luxury Japanese Sleeper Trains Are Travel Goals!

We reached Kyoto at around 5PM, and from there caught a bus for Kawaramachi- the area where our hostel was. It was 6 pm when we reached the hostel, we checked in, freshened up, spoke to our roommates and headed out to explore the Kawaramachi area of Kyoto.

Itinerary for Japan

For dinner, we ate some food at the hostel bar and called it a night. 

Day 9:

After exploring the nightlife and pop culture of Tokyo, it was time to experience a mellow version of Japan by exploring its former capital, Kyoto. We had planned a list of things, and hence we ventured out at 7.30AM itself. 

We grabbed a bite from the nearby Seven-Eleven and headed straight to the salient Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest. The forest is both locally famous and world-renowned and the entry is free.

Itinerary for Japan

From dense forests to cherry blossoms to throbbing autumn Kyoto colours, Arashiyama was a visual delight during this season. We explored the tranquil forest area and visited a few other spots in the nearby locality.

Itinerary for Japan

Post that we headed to the famous Nishiki Market. Almost 400 years old, this place is a fresh food market and is lined with over a hundred restaurants and shops. The market was lively and allowed us to taste Japan’s culinary culture at its finest. After savouring some food and drinking some OG bubble tea, we headed back to our hostel, which was at a walking distance from the market.

Day 10:

We left early and headed to Fushimi Inari. This place is known for its tunnels of more than 10,000 closely-spaced orange torii gates that wind over the hills of Mt. Inari beyond the entrance to the shrine.

Itinerary for Japan

One can also dress like Geisha and explore this beautiful place. We went a bit late to this place and couldn’t grab good pictures.  But if you want to take some fab shots for the gram, then try visiting this place as early as possible.

Itinerary for Japan

After getting spellbind by the captivating beauty of this place, we headed to the famous Gion district of Kyoto. We manoeuvred around and got to know more about Geisha culture while exploring some beautiful alleys of Gion district.

We celebrated our time in Kyoto by tasting some Japanese beer and absorbed the traditional culture on the banks of Kyoto’s scenic main waterway. Post that, we went to the famous Pontocho Alley, where traditional culture and Geisha still thrive.

Day 11:

It was officially our last day in Kyoto. And since we were short on time, we boarded a train to Nara, which is known for its slow-paced life. On the way to Nara, we enjoyed the sight of the beautiful fields and quaint villages of Japan.

Itinerary for Japan

We visited the famous Kasuga Grand Shrine and also explored the old  Nara market. After exploring the streets of Nara for a few hours, we headed back to Kyoto. Post that, we ate something, packed our bags and slept early that day. 

Day 12:

We checked out of our hostel in Kyoto and headed to Kyoto station. We caught our bullet train for Tokyo station. After reaching Tokyo station, we again took an Airport liner for the Haneda Airport terminal. We spent the final few hours at the Haneda airport before bidding goodbye to the exalted country of Japan. 

Things I haven’t included: I went a bit crazy with shopping, so haven’t included the detailed pricing for the same.

Final Thoughts on Japan:

Japan has been exceptional in distinct ways. Just in 13 days, this country managed to give me the memories of a lifetime.

Itinerary for Japan

Japan will always have my heart. It is a country that taught me language is just a medium of communication. And people can still help each other without knowing the language. The amicable town of Kyoto made me fall in love with the culture, while Tokyo made me feel livelier than ever.

Also read: The 10 Most Romantic Destinations In The World

Things To Remember: 

We wanted to visit Robot Cafe, but couldn’t, because we didn’t know that the tickets had to be booked online at least 15 days in advance. So if you intend to visit Robot Cafe, book your tickets in advance. 

If you are planning to go in March or April, do carry a thick jacket and an umbrella with you. The weather gets unpredictable at times, and you don’t want to freeze in the cold. 

We visited Japan in April, which is also a month where people across the country get a one-week holiday, it’s known as their Golden week. Hence, we skipped crowded cafes and Disneyland. 

People in Japan are warm, helpful and kind. So when in doubt, always ask for help! 

Lastly, do not litter on the streets and trains; it’s highly looked down upon. Also, if possible, avoid taking calls on the train- it’s considered a bit rude.