When I was still in elementary, I remember spending my weekends/ summer months watching a Japanese travel show. I grew up admiring all those cute Japanese things, topping my list of favorite food was their Japanese nissin cup noodles. My mom used to work in Japan, and I have many relatives living there that’s why these influenced my Japan fascination. It was my childhood dream to step into the land of the rising sun and I grew up holding on to that dream. Someday.
Then someday became soon. When Cebu Pacific announced its piso fare early last year, my first choice was ofcourse – Japan! So I booked a seat for me, my husband, and my parents (I wanted my mom to come because she speaks Nihongo well). Imagine for the 4 of us, we just paid a total of Php 14,318. Yup 4 roundtrip tickets for that cost only! The only catch was, we had different flights, because promo fare seats are harder to purchase when you’re in group. How different? My husband, I and my mom flew to Narita, while my dad came in via Nagoya airport. Going back, my parents flew out of Narita, and my husband and I flew out from Nagoya. Not that bad. As early as March 2015, we were booked for a trip that was 6 months away.
Getting a visa
In June, we applied for a visa. When we went to Japan embassy in Bahrain, we didn’t have a hotel booking, because the original plan was to stay at my aunt’s apartment in Ito City. It turned out it would be a lengthy process since I still have to get an original guarantee letter straight from my aunt who was in Japan that time. We were about to leave the embassy when an idea came to me. Right there and then, I booked a hotel via booking.com which had free cancellation policy. So I just asked the lady who attended to us (good thing she’s a Filipina) if I can just email to them our hotel booking, to which she agreed. We submitted an application form (downloadable via embassy’s website), itinerary, flight booking, original passport, copy of our Bahrain residence permit, and 6 months bank statement (stamped by the bank). Processing usually takes atleast 2-5 working days. Ours took 2 days.
Japan here we come!
Then soon became finally. It was September 1 to 8 last 2015 when I had the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream. While we were still in Bahrain, we purchased the 7-days unlimited JR Rail Pass online to maximize our Japan experience. With this pass, we would be able to go city to city at a lesser cost! The thing is you cannot get this pass while in Japan and must be purchased outside from an authorized sales agent. Once you arrive in Narita airport, just go to JR office to get your actual pass (photo in right).
We also ordered online a pocket wifi which we also claimed at the airport. You can return them by inserting the items on a return envelope provided together with these and drop in mailbox at the airport. (Heads up: Just make sure you double check the number of items. We forgot to return the powerbank, so they charged us around Php 2,000+.)Because we had the unlimited rail pass, for the 8 days, we were able to visit Tokyo, Shizuoka, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya.
Bright lights and the big crowd. Just how I imagined Osaka.
Now, I’m wide awake from a Japan dream. But before that, let’s grab all the delicious treats we could get.
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson