As much as people tend to rag on Jetstar, their discount flights to Japan are undeniably good value, if you can put up with their “quirks” it more than makes the hundreds of dollars in savings worthwhile.  The most common mistake many make when flying a budget airline is to expect it to not be a budget airline!  Yes, they will nickel and dime you to death with fees for everything, right down to threatening the possibility couples may not even sit together if they don’t pay for a preselected seat!  However even with these fees it still works out much cheaper, the real problem lies in the other passengers that fly on the cheap.  The new family with screaming kids, the private primary school excursion class on a plane for the first time, the bogans that stand by the “why walk to a person to talk when you can just yell out to or at them?” mentality and of course the uni students kicking on from whatever mischief they got up to the night before.  Just put in your ear plugs and hope the kid kicking the back of your chair wears themselves out.  All that aside, the flight was thankfully on time and reasonably event free.

The age old problem with travelling is when to go, easy if you’re not timing it to an event but the event we had in mind was the Tokyo International Toy Expo.   At the time of booking there was no official confirmation of the date and having spent our last trip to Japan solely in Tokyo, we thought this time Osaka could be our base with a couple shinkansen (bullet train) trips to Tokyo, that idea however quickly disappeared when the date was confirmed.  We were set to arrive on the Saturday night with the Sunday being the last day of the event!  We could have pulled an Amazing Race and legged it to catch the last shinkansen to Tokyo 40min after landing but not wanting to stress ourselves out the first night there, we decided to take an overnight pit stop in Shin-Osaka (right next to the station) then catch the first service the following morning.

Travel tip: If you’re doing the same or are staying in Osaka and need quick access to the shinkansen, we recommend hotel Hotel Shin Osaka, literally across the road from the station (follow the long corridor) very reasonably priced and with a few eating places and picturesque street scenary near by.




Travel tip: If you plan on catching the shinkansen more than a couple times you cant go past a JR Rail pass.  An almost* unlimited pass to travel on all JR branded transport.   For more info and prices see their website here.  The initial outlay may seem a little steep but after some rough sums you’ll find a 14 day pass pays for itself after about 2 runs between Tokyo and Osaka. Cheaper and more convenient than dealing with transfers to and from the airports.  Also note that unlike the Suica or Pasmo cards you never need to top it up.  Simply flash your pass at the manned ticket gate and away you go (we were only asked for our passports once on the first use).  The slight downside to this is having to deal with people asking questions blocking the manned gate but don’t let them slow you down, show the pass clearly, pause, wait to be acknowledged, head nod bow, thank them and be on your way.

* – pass only available on JR transport, not available in some private subways and buses in further out areas and smaller cities like Kyoto.  Also not available for booked seats on the shinkansen, this option however is available at purchase.

Travel tip: purchasing the JR Rail pass  – this can only be done outside of Japan.  If you’re going through a travel agent they will organise it all for you but if you want to save on price and add ons like $6-8 for registered post from Sydney then finding a local dealer is the way to go.   In Brisbane the place to go is H.I.S. travel in the Brisbane arcade, they can also arrange tickets for Studio Ghibli.

Photo Tip: The scenary between Osaka and Tokyo is littered with photo opportunities from the shinkansen with mountains, rice fields, industrial areas and commercial buildings. About 45min out from Tokyo you may even get the chance to see Mt. Fuji if its not blanketed in cloud. Best advice is to find a seat next to a clean window.


Mt Fuji on a good day :p

So with that, we arrive in Tokyo and hit the muggy and drizzling ground running towards the Tokyo Toy Expo.

If you have any questions on our travels, where to buy, what to do or just want to share your own stories, hit us up on the Soulbridge media facebook page.

Japan 2013 part #1 – Arrival
Japan 2013 part #2 – Tokyo International Toy Expo
Japan 2013 part #3 – Gotemba – Premium Outlets mall
Japan 2013 part #4 – Tokyo – Studio Ghibli Museum
Japan 2013 part #5 – Tokyo – Kichijoji and Nakano
Japan 2013 part #6 – Tokyo – Akihabara
Japan 2013 part #7 – Tokyo – Tamiya HQ, Diver City
Japan 2013 part #8 – Yokohama – Zoorasia
Japan 2013 part #9 – Yokohama – Ramen Museum
Japan 2013 part #10 – Nissan HQ and Yokohama
Japan 2013 part #11 – Osaka – Nanba Shopping
Japan 2013 part #12 – Kyoto
Japan 2013 part #13 – Tokyo – Harajuku, Shibuya
Japan 2013 part #14 – Osaka castle, Umeda Sky building
Japan 2013 part #15 – Osaka Aquarium and Tempozan wheel
Japan 2013 part #16 – Osaka Universal Studios


Comments are closed.