Last Updated: August 7, 2019
Feeling the #wanderlust again? Like most Singaporeans, I love to travel, especially when there’s food involved.
It’s not hard to see why Japan is one of the more popular travel destinations. Take your pick from theme parks like Tokyo Disneyland, to scenic tours of Mount Fuji, or even cultural activities like traditional dances and more.
With so many things to do and eat in Japan, it can be hard to decide what to focus on, especially if you’re there on a short trip. And you just know it’s going to put a dent in your bank account.
We’ve come up with a 4D3N Tokyo Guide to make the most of a short trip to Tokyo, Japan. Now you can maximise your vacation time AND savings!
I’d recommend visiting Japan in either March/April, or October/November. In spring, you’ll get lovely and delicate cherry blossoms, though the exact dates vary each year.
Autumn brings red, orange and yellow hues of fall foliage, which would look spectacular in photos too.
As a kiasu Singaporean, I’d prefer a flight that lands early in the morning so that I can pack in a full day of activities.
If you’re trying to compare flights, head over to the ‘Air Ticket’ tab on the Changi Recommends website. Generally, the air tickets to Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan would cost about S$500 – S$800, depending on your airline.
Don’t forget to get travel insurance too! You can get it from Changi Recommends too — this one-stop shop really has everything.
With our promo code SLHYFE19, you’ll get 60% off the travel insurance from HyfeAssure. What better way to ensure your trip is worry-free than to just get comprehensive insurance cover?
And since some street stalls may only take cash payment, you’ll want to bring some Japanese yen over as well. Instead of heading over to the money changer and comparing rates, Changi Recommends offers fuss-free foreign exchange too.
Simply select the currency you’ll like to exchange, and pay for it with PayNow or bank transfer. They’ll even deliver the currency straight to your address!
Narita Airport is a distance away from the city centre, but don’t worry. Japan’s public transport is top-notch, making it the most affordable and convenient way to get around.
Your best bet is to get the Japan Rail (JR) Pass, which covers unlimited rides on all JR national trains in Japan, including the Narita Express and Shinkansen bullet trains.
The easiest way is to settle this before you even leave Singapore, and buy it online through Changi Recommends. The only difference between the JR Pass Ordinary (S$350 for 7 days, S$557 for 14 days, S$713 for 21 days) and the JR Pass Green (S$467 for 7 days, S$756 for 14 days, S$983 for 21 days) is that the latter gives you access to first-class carriages.
Trust me, you’ll be using the JR Pass pretty frequently on this trip so don’t forget to grab one!
Changi Recommends: Japan Rail Pass
If you’re too early for hotel check-in, hit up one of Tokyo’s most famous ramen spots instead. Hop on the Narita Express (thank you JR Pass!), and you’ll reach Shibuya in an hour and a half.
Ichiran Ramen is a must-try for visitors, and dining at this 24-hour ramen place in the morning means you don’t have to contend with the infamous queue.
Order your ramen through a vending machine, and you’ll be seated at a booth partitioned with table dividers. Yay for eating in peace!
Ichiran Ramen only serves tonkotsu ramen, and you can choose from the regular Ramen (JP¥890) or the Ichiran Select 5 (JP¥1490) which comes with more toppings. Decide on the richness of the broth, noodle texture, amount of garlic and spicy sauce, and you’re good to go.
Expected Damage: JP¥890 – JP¥1490 per pax
Ichiran Ramen: Iwamoto Building, B1F 1-22-7 Jinnan, Sibuya-ku, Tokyo-to 150-0041 | Tel: +81 03 3463 3667 | Opening Hours: 24 Hours | Website
Take the JR Yamanote Line for only one stop and alight at Harajuku Station. It’s still relatively early in the day, which is great for visiting Meiji-Jingu Shrine.
Located right next to Harajuku Station, this Shinto shrine sits within 170 acres of evergreen forest. Keep a lookout for the big wooden torii gate which will guide you into the shrine.
Built in 1920 to honour the Emperor and Empress of the Meiji era, the spacious main complex is quite stunning. The temple interior also has lovely decorations, but you’re not allowed to take photos.
Head over to the Iris Gardens — which were actually designed by Emperor Meiji for his wife — to see 150 species of blooming irises in the summer. Entry costs JP¥500, so take your time to stroll through and relax.
Spring brings azaleas, red-and-gold hues in autumn, and snow-covered yukitsuri (bamboo “umbrella”) cover the pine trees in winter.
If you’re lucky, you might even see a tanuki! This cute lil’ creature looks like a racoon and is featured prominently in Japanese folklore.
Entry Fee: Free admission for the shrine, JP¥500 for the Iris Gardens
Meiji-Jingu Shrine: 1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-8857, Japan | Tel: +81 03 3379 5511 | Opening Hours: Sunrise – Sunset (differs each month, roughly 5am – 6.30pm) | Website
Feeling hungry? Gobble up some lobster rolls from the famous Luke’s Lobster. This New York lobster roll joint definitely attracts long queues.
Choose either the Regular (JP¥1058) or the US Size (JP¥1706) which is more substantial. Mouth-watering chunks of lobster meat covered with butter and ‘special seasoning’ top the toasted and buttered bun.
Mmm, doesn’t it make the queue worthwhile?
Luke’s Lobster: 6-7-1, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo | Tel: +81 03 5773 3747 | Opening Hours: 10.30am – 8.30pm (Daily) | Website
There are dog cafes, and cat cafes, but have you ever been to an owl café?
Head over for an afternoon tea-break with some feathered friends at Café & Bar Owl Village in Harajuku.
For JP¥2000 – JP¥2500 per hour, you can spend 35 minutes playing with the owls. You’ll get a free drink and a glass craft souvenir as part of the package too.
Make sure you have enough data to upload their adorable owl faces to Instagram ASAP. You can get your SIM card (S$21.90) from Changi Recommends beforehand for greater convenience and 25% savings.
Unlimited data for eight days is more than enough for your trip, so start snapping and uploading!
If you prefer to keep your own SIM card instead, choose ChangiWiFi instead. The router costs S$5 per day for Japan, but with our promo code* 2FREEDAYSSETH you’ll get two days’ free usage of the router!
Café & Bar Owl Village: 4F HARAJUKU-ATM Building, 21-15, Jingumae 1 Chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0001, Japan | Opening Hours: 11am – 7pm (Daily) | Website
The final stop of the first day is a feast for your senses. Enter: Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant.
Nestled among other nightlife spots in Shinjuku, this isn’t so much a dining place as it is a performance.
It’s Power Rangers meets Cirque du Soleil, with an explosion of glitter, robots and strobing laser lights. It’s absolute insanity but pure fun, and you’re bound to have a good time here.
Tickets often sell out, so purchase them beforehand. Buying them online on Changi Recommends grants you up to 40% off the original price. They have four showtimes, with the 3.30pm slot priced at S$67 and the 5.30pm/7.30pm/9.30pm slots priced at S$72.
Expected Damage: S$67 – S$72 per pax
After an exciting first day, head back to your hotel to rest. When you’re picking hotels prior to the trip, be sure to pick an area that’s convenient, safe, and within your budget.
Check out the ‘Hotel Booking’ tab on Changi Recommends, for good deals. I’d recommend staying in the Shibuya or Harajuku districts for the convenience and nightlife.
Psst, use our promo code** SETHSTAYS for 10% off (capped at S$100) your hotel bookings!
Changi Recommends: Hotel Bookings
There’s just something magical about Tokyo Disneyland that keeps people coming back, regardless of age.
If you’re headed there from Shibuya, take the JR Yamanote line, change to JR Keiyo and alight at Maihama Station. From there, hop onto the Disney Resort Line, which is a loop service that covers Disneyland, DisneySea and the hotels.
The JR Pass isn’t valid on the Disney Resort Line, so you’ll need to get a separate monorail pass. The fares range from JP¥260 (single ticket) to JP¥650 (day pass).
With seven different themed lands within the park, this is a full-day affair. To maximise your time here, get your tickets beforehand through Changi Recommends. The one-day admission pass (S$90 for adult, S$59 for child) includes FastPass so you can skip the queues. Bonus: you’ll get 10% off through Changi Recommends.
Plan your time well to make sure you hit all the popular spots. Some must-try rides, especially for first-time visitors, include Space Mountain, Haunted Mountain, It’s A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean.
On the third day, we’re headed back to Disney Resorts for Tokyo DisneySea!
Like Tokyo Disneyland, there are seven themed ports here for you to explore. To save yourself some time, purchase your tickets online through Changi Recommends at S$90 for adults and S$59 for children. You’ll save 10%! This comes with FastPass too, so you can breeze through the rides.
Thrill-seekers need to go on the Tower of Terror with a heart-stopping 40m-drop. The Raging Spirits rollercoaster has a vertical 360-degree roll, and Journey to the Center of the Earth zooms along at 75km/h — that’ll get your blood pumping for sure.
If you want something a little more light-hearted, Toy Story Mania! and the Mermaid Lagoon Theater are great attractions for some nostalgic fun.
Alternatively, if one day at Disneyland was enough for you, take in the sights of Mount Fuji on Day Three instead.
The Spectacular Mt. Fuji 1-Day Bus Tour will bring you on a scenic trip to Lake Kawaguchiko, one of the five Fuji lakes at the foot of Japan’s highest mountain.
Afterwards, head over to Oshino Shinobi no Sato (Ninja Village) where you can learn all about these famous silent assassins. You can even try your hand at throwing ninja stars at the Oshino Shuriken Dojo!
The bus will then drive up to Mt. Fuji 5th Station, which is 2,300m above ground. It’s the closest station to the peak, so you’ll get a pretty good view. Catch breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji through the Fuji Airways 4D Flight Simulator to end off the tour.
Tour Fees: S$165 (adult, with lunch), S$153 (adult, without lunch), S$130 (child, with lunch), S$119 (child, without lunch)
Mount Fuji: Kitayama, Fujinomiya, Shizuoka 418-0112, Japan | Tour Tickets
For the last day of your Tokyo trip, relax in a luxurious hot spring theme park.
Oedo Onsen Monogatari will take you back in time to the Edo period. Pre-purchase the tickets on Changi Recommends with 45% off (!), and it’s actually quite affordable at S$20 per adult.
Once you arrive, you’ll get an electronic wristband and a yukata (light summer kimono). You can pay for any food, drinks or entertainment with the wristband, so you can stow most of your belongings in the locker.
Munch on some snacks like takoyaki, okonomiyaki and more from the food hall, but don’t rack up a huge bill.
There’s a wide variety of baths from jet pools, to oxygen bubble baths and steam saunas — you’ll be tempted to try them all.
Soak your worries away and relax those muscles before your flight back to Singapore.
Who says planning for trips has to be stressful? Changi Recommends offers a wide selection of services, including the following:
Browse through this one-stop-shop, and preparing for your trip has never been so easy.
*This post is brought to you in partnership with Changi Recommends.
*Book by 31 Oct for travels by 31 Dec 2019. | Minimum of 4 days rental, except for Australia, U.S.A. or Europe & U.K. | No minimum rental days required for rentals to Australia, U.S.A. or Europe & U.K. | Valid for single countries rental and Europe packages only. | Not applicable for package rental. | Fair data use policy applies. This is a regulation by the local network provider to prevent data abuse and network congestion. | In case of dispute, the decision of Changi Recommends is final. | Changi Recommends reserves the rights, at its discretion, to remove and cancel the promotion without prior notice.
**Valid for bookings by 31 Oct 2019. | Valid for participating hotel properties | Discount is applicable to room rates only, excluding local taxes, service fees and additional charges | Limited to the first 5,000 redemptions | This promotion cannot be used together with other deals, offers and discounts. | In case of dispute or abuse of promotion, the decision of Changi Recommends is final. | Changi Recommends reserves the rights, at its discretion, to remove and cancel the promotion without prior notice.