Wednesday, July 29, 2015

USING THE JR PASS FOR OUR JAPAN 2015 TRIP

Whenever we have an out of the country trip, I would always want to book much ahead of time so that my family and I would be able to get the best deals. The same happened thing for our JAPAN TRIP. Since I will be paying for four, I was on the look-out for budget fares so that it wouldn't be so costly. I was able to see one online for a round trip flight for Osaka Japan and although it was not a "piso fare" in Cebu Pacific, the price was good enough for me. So since my brothers and sisters have not made their minds yet on what dates to leave, the Chinese Adonis and I went ahead with the booking.

THAT was a good AND bad move for us.

Good because we were able to get a great price for our plane to Osaka, and bad because my siblings decided that their port of exit would be in Tokyo.

BAH HUMBUG!

I'm kinda sensing that they really don't want me to tag along with them. Tee heee!!!!!!

As much as I wanted to be stubborn and just stay put in Osaka, I suddenly became jealous of their itinerary when they purposely made me overhear their plans. With that I told Yub that it would best to make the trip a fun-filled one and go with my sibs around Japan.

But how will be get there?

And THAT is how we came upon the JR PASS!
 

 


The JAPAN RAIL PASS, or more popularly known as JR PASS, is a ride all you can option for tourists using their JR railways. 

What's great here is that you could make use of Japan's Shinkansen (or bullet trains) as much as you want for the same price!




Only tourists could avail of the JR PASS and you could get it online before your trip. This works very well for visitors who want to go around different cities in Japan in 21 days or less. 




My husband and I were actually deciding if we should just change our exit flight to Tokyo instead of getting the JR PASS. We found out from Cebu Pacific that we needed to pay P24,000 for the four of us to do so. 




It's a good thing that children are priced lesser than adults. Mati is a year shy away at being 12 years old and I will certainly miss the days when his hotel accommodations are free. Tee hee!



The total price for the four of us was 690USD and converting that to pesos, it would be around P31,050.00.

My husband and I decided that since we will also be paying for our transportation going around Japan, it would be better for us to just take the JR PASS. We will just go to Tokyo with my sibs and go back to Osaka again for our return flight. At least Andrei will get to ride a bullet train (his ultimate dream) and enjoy some of the famous tourist spots all over Japan!

Yohooo!




So my Yub ordered online for our JR PASS and in about 3 days we received our package bearing our Japan Railways Tickets. Yup! It's THAT fast! Like a bullet I bet!

Wohoo! 

Later on my sibs decided that it would be more economical and convenient for them to get a JR PASS as well (cough gaya-gaya cough). So yey on that point because at least we will all be together in the train!

See??? Everything happens for a reason!!!!




And here we are in JAPAN!!!!




Our port of entry in Osaka, Japan is in Kansai Airport!




After passing through immigration and getting your luggages, ask around where the JR Ticketing Office is. In Kansai Airport it was outside the second floor before the road exits.




When you go inside the JR Ticketing Office, give the attendant your passport and your JR papers. The staffmember would then activate your JR PASS and give you these mini-booklets similar to passports. 

While there, you could already make your reservations for the Shinkansen (bullet train) that would get you to faraway metropolitans such as Tokyo. But it would be a big help if you know already what time and from what station you'll be coming from. 

After much deliberation, we were able to book our rides going to and from Tokyo!

FINALLY!



When you have a JR PASS, you don't need to go through the turnstiles. You just go straight to the windows at the sides and show the attendant your card!




Wohoo! Our first official train ride in Japan!





The little lords are so excited most of all Andrei. He's so crazy for trains!




ERICJAZ FOODIES conquers (well sort of) the railways!




And finally we got out at DAIKOKUCHO station in Osaka. It was only a few meters away to our destination, HOTEL RELIEF NAMBA DAIKOKUCHO!




The next day we were up so early to go to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!




Are we going to take a bus? No! We're going for the subway!




It was a bit of walk going back to DAIKOKUCHO STATON but it was a very cool morning so we didn't mind one bit!




There was no JR RAILWAY subway going to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS so we shelled out about P170.00 each going there.




The route was DAIKOKUCHO, HOMMACHI, OSAKAKO, then....









The next day we checked out of HOTEL RELIEF to go to Kyoto!




There was no direct JR railway going to KYOTO so we had to take a subway first that will stop at SHIN-OSAKA STATION!




It's only about P90.00 per adult and you could get tickets at the booth near the turnstile entrance.

Yep! This time you will use the turnstiles! You get entry by putting the ticket stubs into the slots!




Waiting for our subway train.




And here it is! The train came with a strong gust of wind and a loud honk!




Another ride for the little lords!




If the commute system in the Philippines was like this I wouldn't mind doing this everyday to work!




Our stop! Now we need to figure out the train with the JR PASS!

It's actually pretty difficult at first to figure the different routes going around Japan. Good thing my brother Kuya Jon was able to figure it out for us.




Our train!!!!!




And finally we got to the JR train going to KYOTO!




The train ride going to KYOTO via JR RAILWAYS was about an hour and a half.




We were not able to reserve seats but good thing we were able to get available slots at one car. We're really not sure why they didn't take reservations for us going to Kyoto in the JR TICKETING STATION. Our guess is that they only take ultra long rides. We're not sure.




My Kuya Jon said the JR train that we rode in was not the latest model. We didn't mind because it was still very clean and comfortable compared to the other trains (and planes) that we rode on!




There are illuminated signs near the car entrance indicating the train stop.




Some restrooms are located in between cars (just check which car numbers they are location). They are quite clean and fully equipped for the needy traveler.

Like us! He he he he he!




Besides the restrooms you could also find vendor machines for your cold and hot drinks!




It was a smooth and relaxing ride for ERICJAZ FOODIES going to KYOTO!




The same could be said for little Andrei!




When we got to KYOTO STATION, we were so thankful that they had lockers for our bags. 




Priced at the following: Small (Y300), Medium (Y400), and Large (Y500), this was so convenient for tourists in between hotels. We got two lockers for our very big bags. He he he he he!




And off we go!




After eating, we crossed via the overpass to get to our train ride going to Inari Shrine!




What a very clean and cool overpass! There are even Ramen stations along the way!




Like I said, there are really many train lines in Japan that it could get a bit confusing where to ride!




After going up and down then sideways, we finally got to our correct platform!




The long walk made master Mati thirsty.

Well actually we just had lunch! He he he he he he!





The train!!!!!

Our ride would be from Kyoto Station, Shinigawa, and Kamakura!

This was an hour long ride and would cost about P5,000.00 each pax if we didn't get a JR PASS!!!




Oh JR PASS is so sulit!

HAR HAR HAR (Kris Aquino laugh)!!!!




Somebody got sleepy and hugged on a little pillow.

It may seem surprising (since he's so thin and all) but we love hugging Andrei when we fall asleep. Even at 8 years old, he still feels and smells like a baby! So cute!




That didn't sit too well with Master Mati. He he he he he! I wonder why because even though he likes hugging he cannot take it for a long time. He's now at an age where he gets easily embarrassed.

BOO!



 

Here we are at INARI TEMPLE!!!!

Take note more of our Kyoto adventure by clicking HERE!!!!


 

When we got back to KYOTO STATION, we immediately looked for directions going to what Andrei has been waiting for...

 The Shinkansen aka bullet train of Japan!!!!!!



 

Going up!!!


 

And that's where we are going!


 

The route going to Nagoya, Tokyo is Kyoto-Nagoya-Sakae-Tokyo. Travel is less than an hour and without a JR PASS it would normally cost around P2,500.00 each.

But since we had a JR PASS, we could ride to and from Tokyo AS MUCH AS WE WANT! HA!



 

Before boarding, we bought some snacks to eat on the train. 


 

When riding trains in Japan, always remember that the Japanese are VERY punctual. They are never late nor are they early. When your schedule is supposed to be at that time, it will be at that time! I think the expression "on the dot" is very appropriate with them.

Besides, you shouldn't doubt the power of their bullet train! The fastest world record that it held was about 603kilometers per hour. So surely they WILL be on time!!!!



 

My little Andrei is VERY excited!



 

He held on oh so tightly to his ticket issued by JR PASS with our reservation. 



 

And here it is!!!!



 

The Shinkansen!!!!




 

My happy bunsoy! One of the reasons we went to Japan is because he dreamed of riding the bullet train!



 

The bullet train was crowded so it was a good thing we made earlier reservations. 



 

Andrei's first bullet train ride was short and sweet since we had to transfer trains in Nagoya. I'm sure he didn't mind.



  

Nagoya!!!! 



  

My brothers and sisters waiting... waiting...  



 

We didn't mind stopping over Nagoya too. At least it was something we could add to the places we went to in Japan. Tee hee!




 

The view to our left...



  

The view to our front...



 

The view to our left. 

And then we heard it!!!!



 

Our Shinkansen going to Tokyo!!!

Yub took a second by second shot. If you scroll the next pics fast you would think you we're watching a movie!!!




 

Wohoo!!!



  

 Finally we are settled down to a much longer ride.



 

Kuya Jay and his family! 



 

Andrei with his mother, Ate Jojit, and my Kuya Jon!

What??!! 

That's what he claims when he wants to play with her Ipad! He he he he! 



 

ERICJAZ FOODIES with Master Mati! 



 

The Shinkansen experience is almost like a plane ride (if not better). Moments later, a smiling attendant offered some drinks and snacks.



 

Mati didn't get anything since he was so excited to eat his first ever Japanese bento consisting of octopus, vegetables, and sticky rice!!!



 

Yep! That's my son the foodie!!!!



 

As we're traveling at 282 kilometers per hour, in no time we're in Tokyo!



 

Egad. It was so confusing where to go.



 

It would really help if you plot your stops and rides beforehand. That's what we did but we still got a bit lost. 



 

And finally we found it!

Our subway train going to Nihombashi!

This was not included in the JR PASS but it was only about P40 per person. 

CHICKEN!



 

Waiting for our ride with our bags!

Sorry I must say that unlike here in the Philippines, Japan train stations are squeaky clean that it wouldn't be scandalous for a germaphobic to sit on the floor.



 

This may be busy Tokyo but we got the station to ourselves!!!!



 

We didn't care if we were standing up, at least the promise of resting when we get to our destination consoles me. 



 

And here's our stop!!!!



  

 The next day, we all woke up in high spirits from a very relaxing sleep in TOKYO STAY NIHOMBASHI!

Blogpost soon to follow!
 


  

And it's time to move again!





And from Nihombashi, we will be going to SHIBUYA STATION!



 

There was a bit of walk going to the subway to take us back to Tokyo station.



 

Once again, the subway platform was empty. 

Oops except for that small figure at the far edge.



 

There's something about empty places that give a lot of  photographic meaning when you have a picture with it. 

Get what I mean?



 

While waiting for our train, we noticed this metal box that contained something very useful just in case you dropped your hat.



 

Now what if we dropped our jacket huh???

Train is here!



 

When we arrived in Tokyo station we rode this very high escalator that got my knees weak.

Ngiii!!!!



 

Not to worry. Seeing the words "Ramen street" made my anxiety go away.

Blogpost soon to follow!



 

After our delicious Ramen lunch, it's time to go to Shibuya!



 

Tokyo station is definitely one busy area. Everybody moves so fast but would be courteous enough to step aside if you're a confused tourist.

That's not us by the way.



 

The ride going to Shibuya was just about 25 minutes and yes, this was included in the JR PASS!



 

Too bad the JR PASS does not include a picture of the Chinese Adonis clenching up while holding onto the rails. Tee hee!!!




Shibuya Station is where you want to get off to if you want to see the ever famous Shibuya Crossing...

and

Hachiko!

I won't tell you much about that blasted dog anymore unless you want me to start crying again.

Blogpost coming soon!!



 

The kiddies wanted to do some anime shopping so we went to Akihabara station.



 

The ride from Shibuya going here is only about 30 minutes and yes, it is included in your JR PASS! 

If you love anime, manga, Japanese games, models, etc... Then Akihabara is the place for you!



 

Our train ride back to Tokyo station then Nihombashi!

You could tell that the kiddies had a great time shopping with the looks on their faces.  I guess the same could be said for my Kuya Jon with his box of KFC!

Poor guy on the far side getting squished on his chair.



 

I'm not sure if Rocio is sneezing here from her allergy to Yub!

Tee hee! 


  

The next day we were up and early again for a much craved about food trip!



 

Now what train to ride???



 

Have you figured out where we are going yet?




Yup! We're going to Tsukiji market every foodie's dream!!!

The ride going here is not covered by JR PASS but it is still very affordable at P60.00 each.

There's only one stop from Tokyo Stay and that is just from Nihombashi Station to Higashi/Ginza. You'll just be walking over to Tsukiji Market.



 

Our last day in Tokyo! Huhuhu!


 

My brothers and sisters took us to the train station going back to Osaka! 

Waaaah!



 

Good thing that we were able to make earlier reservations for our trip back to Osaka because THIS greeted us when going in the JR railways.

Yup! People booking their trips in the Shinkansen!



 

Like I said, when you have a JR PASS and with reservations, you only have to pass by here!



 

There was an enclosed waiting area near for the Shinkansen going to Osaka.



  

Train is here!



 

When our train arrived, these ladies in pink immediately got in to clean the Shinkansen.




We waited while they did their job. It was only about a 10 to 20 minute wait to get everything spic and span.


  

It doesn't get more than 5 minutes to get me sleeping though.




 

And when they were done, they gave a very respectful bow to the conductor. 

You gotta hand it to the Japanese. They find honor in everything. I really respect them for that.



  

It was so spacious and bright inside the Shinkansen that you would think you were on a domestic flight flying first class!




 

Inside, Mati was so happy again with his bento box!



 

As for Andrei, his excitement to ride the bullet train kept him full for the whole trip.

REALLY.



 

 I bought some sandwich and coffee to munch on for the 2 hour and 30 minute train ride.

It is a one way ride going to Shin- Osaka. This is the area that is near Osaka Castle.


  

Wohooo!!!



  

When in a bullet train, you could figure out where the lavatories and vendor machines are from the table in front of you. 



 

Great legroom for my fat legs too!



 

The Shinkansen we rode in is very new compared to the other one from Kyoto. This had push buttons for the automatic restroom doors. 



 

Clean faucets...



 

and spacious throne... Tee hee!!!


 

On our way back to Osaka, Yub saw Mt. Fuji!!!! 



  

This was such a relaxing train ride!




 

Poor Andrei missed half of the fun since he passed out. He slept while hugging his new train.



 

Time to exit!



 

We were all alone now but Yub did a good job figuring out which station to go to. 



 

Our train station had an exit via a mall so when my bunsoy saw this, Andrei asked to have a picture with this cute dog. Tee hee!



 

On our last day, we packed up our bags after our Osaka Castle trip and headed for our last train ride for that Japan 2015 vacation!



 

As usual, Mati brought some snacks to chomp on during the ride.



 

While Andrei wanted us to take a picture of something he didn't want to forget. Like this mall fountain.



 

We had a quick subway ride first.




 

Good thing Japanese trains are spacious enough for our big bags.



 

Otherwise, it all goes on Mati's lap.

Kidding! 



 

Andrei was still ecstatic for our last train ride for that trip.



 

It was about 45 minutes going to Kansai airport via JR railways. Yup! Your JR PASS will be also good here.



 

Say good bye Andrei!




 

In no time I was asleep again.

In my defense, Japanese trains move so smoothly that it's like I'm being cradled by a Transformer.

Tee hee!



 

The ride is a very comfortable one that you could watch movies or play with your gadgets and NOT get a head-ache.



 

The view!



 
I loview....

Tee hee!!!



 

Kansai airport is a man-made island (!!!!) so we passed over some waters. 



 

And we're here!





 

When you plan to go around different Cities and faraway areas in Japan, I strongly recommend getting the JR PASS. It may be a bit pricey but we found it to be very convenient and economical especially if we compare the total price of paying the regular fares. Plus the Shinkansen is something you need to experience even just for this lifetime.

SO THERE.

I-JR PASS MO NA!

Tee hee! Now that sounded like a different commercial!




 



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