So, I'd finally got a chance to go to Japan during last month vacation. My first time going to Japan and I decided to do a backpack traveling. With traveloka, agoda, air bnb and some other traveling mobile applications, I've got no problem at all in finding the tickets and making hotel reservations for my trip. But, then what I found most confusing is when I had to choose which transportation card should I get so that I can have the most economic and efficient way of traveling around the city. Backpacking is all about saving money, economic and efficient anyway right? LOLZ!
1. Making hotel reservation through AirBNB
Things could be a little bit tricky here, some housing pictures might have been edited and you might come to disappointment when you look at the real thing. The only thing you'll have to take note here is that the standard of the room size could be very different for Japanese and us, Indonesian. =D
So if you're traveling by 6 people (I traveled with my family members, in total of 7), you should at least find rooms which can afford to let 10 ~ 15 ppl to stay inside, unless it will to packed and small for your groups.
2. Transportation Card
Here is what makes me confused so much before my trip, since there's too much of information from friends, internet, websites, travel blog, and blah blah blah. Most of the sites and information you find in the internet might suggest you to take JR passes, but from my opinion, if you really want to save money, then you might want to consider the following options:
Tokyo is my first destination. I landed in Haneda International Airport, the immigration lane is super long, but Japanese really have a super efficient way of working. It didn't even take me more than 20 minutes to get pass the immigration gate. Here you can get what they call a Tokyo Subway Pass which look like this :
You can choose whether you'd like a 24, 48, 72 hours pass, which cost you 800 Yen, 1200 Yen and 1500 Yen respectively. You can go through any lines around Tokyo with this pass, though you cannot use JR trains, but it didn't give you any shortage at all. Why? Because the normal Tokyo subway also cover a wide range of the area in Tokyo.
Another thing to note is this ticket is not valid for one day, but for 24 hours. What's the difference? If you use the card starting from, let's say, 22.00 then you can use it until the next day 21.59. So don't throw away your card right away after using it for the day~!
And the most important thing is you can't purchase this card in just any subway station, you can only purchase it either in the airport and some tourist centers. But since the card will only calculate the validation date after you put it inside the ticket machine, once you reach Haneda Airport, and let's say that you're going to stay in Tokyo for 6 days, then you can directly buy 2 tickets for the 72-hour pass.
I travel using a JR Express train which cost me around 11,000 Yen and it takes around 2 hours 20 minutes from Tokyo. In Kyoto, though they have a quite well built subway lines, I would prefer to take buses around here. Reason is you might have to take a long walk if you use subway, but buses take you to the nearest bus stops so you won't have to walk too long before you reach your destination, and besides, Kyoto bus pass is super cheap~!
It'll cost you 500 Yen, and you can take any city bus you'd like to take. The first time you hop on the bus, you'll have to insert it to the machine when you get off the bus. But starting for the next trip, you can just show the back of your card where the date of the card is being printed. It valid for a day, and again you can buy as much as you want since the validation date will only be printed once you put in your pass to the bus ticket machine.
In Osaka here, you have lots and lots of option of transportation passes can choose from. But this one will definitely be the most economic one, especially during weekend. With Enjoy Eco Card, you will have unlimited ride for Osaka subway lines and buses for the day.
It costs you 800 Yen during weekdays and only cost you 600 Yen during weekends. WOW right? You can make the purchase through every ticket vending machine located in the stations. Things to note here is, while other cities ticket vending machine can let you choose your card first before put in the coins, in Osaka, most of the ticket machine will need you to put in coins first before you choose which types of card you'd like to have.
Hope the information above can help you with deciding which passes you'll have to have during your trip in Japan~! ^^ Have a nice holiday~ =D