July 15, 2011

2010 Japan Christmas and New Year Tour Itinerary

We got this itinerary from our travel agency. Personally I prefer planning my own trip because its cheaper and more exciting. But since this was a family vacation and a treat from my sister and brother in law, It would be easier and convenient for everyone if we let the experts plan the vacation. The travel agency was also the one who applied our Japan travel visas. Which is better since they can help you with the requirements and tips on how to make sure that you get approved.

We flew PAL(Philippine Airlines) Business Class and arrived at Narita Airport. We were informed that there are no direct PAL flights from Manila to Tokyo. Our tour for from December 29 to January 1 costs around $863  per pack, excluding the additional day we requested and plane tickets. I'm not sure how much was added on the additional day, since I wasn't really the one handling the payments. We extended another day to have a morning tour of Tokyo via Japan Gray Line Morning tour. We went back to manila January 2 instead of January1.

What I hated about the trip was that the travel agency didn't inform or warn us of certain things that we would likely encounter traveling on a New Year holiday in Tokyo, Japan. Which I felt we were ripped off.
  1. One thing was Tokyo Disneyland was so crowded that we only got to ride 3 attractions. We waited in line for 2-3 hours for a single ride. We didn't know that this was "normal" during holidays at Tokyo Disneyland. We should have been there earlier.
  2. Another was that since it was winter we could only get to mount Fuji's second station, normal days the bus can climb until the fifth station which what was indicated on our itinerary.
  3. There was no New Year celebration whatsoever in Tokyo. It appears that most Japanese celebrate New Year at home. I asked around were we can go to celebrate the new year, and most suggested Odaiba. We went there and all we saw was a Christmas tree light show when it struck 12 midnight. No fireworks, no noise, nothing!
  4. Most shops was closed on January 2, which was our extended day.
  5. On our January 2 morning tour, the imperial palace was closed. There was preparations for the viewing of the King which only happens twice a year. Our last drop off was in Ginza, and all shops were closed that day.
Itinerary Sent by the Travel Agency:

Upon arrival to Narita APT transfer to your Tokyo Hotel. You will be taking the limousine bus to Sunshine City Prince hotel on your own. Proceed to APT Limousine Bus Counter and purchase your ticket. Ticket rate for ADT is JPY3000.0 per way (approx $38/ADT) and child - JPY1500 per way (approx $19/CHD). Travel time is about 110mins.

After breakfast inside hotel move to Tokyo Disneyland via private service (driver not English speaking) with the 1Day Admission Ticket. The driver will meet you at the hotel lobby carrying the signage. Spend the rest of the day inside Tokyo Disneyland with your unlimited 1Day Pass. Lastly meet the driver and transfer back to your Tokyo hotel.
We did get an English speaking driver. Though not fluent, we can still understand each other. After Disneyland, we ate dinner at Joe's Shanghai Restaurant Sunshine 60.

After breakfast at the hotel, proceed to your Mt Fuji & Hakone Full Day Tour by Grayline.
Pick up time is 7:30AM at Sunshine City Prince Hotel Lobby. You will be pick up by the Grayline Tour Representative. Please be there 15minutes earlier. 
Mt. Fuji & Hakone Full Day Tour:
  1. Tomei Expressway Fuji Sky Line-5th Station - Enjoy scenery of rural Japan driving along to Mt. Fuji and a panoramic view from the 5th station. (Approx. 8,000 ft. altitude)
  2. Lunch at Hakone Lake Hotel - A western-style lunch (Grilled Chicken) at Hakone Lake Hotel. Vegetarian Menu is available on request. The location of the restaurant and the menu might be change due to operational reasons. 
  3. Hakone Sky Gondola - Enjoy a double wired gondola with 360 degree panorama for a breath-taking view of the volcanic Hakone Mountains.
  4. Owakudani Valley - Ancient Crater where you can smell sulfurous fumes and see clouds of steam rise from crevasses. Have approx. 20-minute visit.  You can try black colored shell eggs boiled in sulfurous hot spring water.
  5. Pirate Boat Cruise on Lake Ashi - Cruise across peaceful Lake Ashi and enjoy the picturesque and serene natural beauty of the Crater Lake.
  6. Return to Tokyo - Return Service included also.
After the tour we went by ourselves to Odaiba to celebrate the coming New Year.

After the tour we went by ourselves to Roppongi Hills

After breakfast at the hotel take the APT LIMO BUS going back to Narita APT. Please purchase your ticket at the hotel front desk ahead of time. Ticket Fare is JPY3000/ADT/way & JPY1500/CHD/way. Please note the pick up time and be at the lobby 10mins earlier. Travelling time is 110mins. 

Our Travel Agency
Rakso Travel
112 Rico Building Aguirre St., Legaspi Village Makati City
Tel# 632 812 9667 Loc 304  /  Fax# 632 8402484

More details on our 2010 Japan Christmas and New Year Tour


Pinay Travel Junkie said...

Sad to hear about your disappointments. Some agencies, if not most, only care about selling their tours. Which unfortunately will only give them negative feedback. Hopefully it didn't dampen your spirits. I'm sure you guys still had an awesome time in Japan. Hope to make it there someday.

Unknown said...

Yes, we did still had a great time. They say Osaka is way better. Maybe you can try going there first..:)