6D5N Kyushu Japan with ‎Less Than ¥‎30,000

The thought of visiting Japan can be intimidating to some. Others may find traveling there really expensive, others find obtaining visas hard, and others just don’t have the time to plan it.

So, if you really want to visit Japan but you are concerned with the expenses, the confusing transportation systems, and the like, why not explore the less famous areas like Kyushu? It’s like taking a beginner’s course in visiting Japan.

 

Kyushu

Kyushu (九州, Kyūshū, literally “nine provinces”) is the southwesternmost of Japan’s main islands. It is Japan’s third-largest island and has a mostly subtropical climate. It’s known for active volcanoes, beaches, and natural hot springs. Ever heard of Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Beppu, Oita, or Saga? All these are part of Kyushu with Fukuoka as the widely known prefecture.

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2 months ago, I randomly checked for flights as I was planning to go on a solo trip. But then I found a great roundtrip deal to Fukuoka, Japan. I immediately told my friend whom I knew also wanted to visit Fukuoka. We were able to score tickets for approximately 4,000 PHP.

The first week of October came, we arrived in Kyushu’s largest city and Japan’s eighth-largest population center, Fukuoka. We were also able to explore Nagasaki and Kumamoto.

I’m going to share how I was able to explore Kyushu, Japan with just ¥‎30,000 (that’s 15,000 PHP or approximately 280 USD).

Day 1

  • Arrival
  • Check-in
  • Hakata
  • Yatai Stall
  • Gokufumachi

We arrived at Fukuoka International Airport at around 7 in the evening. After going through immigration, we went to the arrival hall to look for a local sim card. I wouldn’t really recommend doing this because you can probably save more if you buy or reserve this ahead of time. But since we were already there, we bought the sim card and had it set up.

Among all of my travels, I’ve tried booking with Klook and Flytpack for Pocket WiFi rentals and I can surely 200% recommend booking with Flytpack or now named as Travel Recommends. It’s not that I don’t like Klook’s deals, it’s because Flytpack devices tend to last longer than Klook’s and in some cases, they come out cheaper. Just do your research and weigh which one’s better for your travel.

We headed to the domestic terminal building by riding their FREE shuttle service. You need to get to the domestic terminal to be able to ride the subway to get to wherever you are headed. You can also arrange private transfers if that’s what you prefer. The airport is situated in the city center and it will only take 10-12 minutes to get to Hakata and Tenjin.

We had to make a stop at Hakata to check-in at the reception. I’m not sure what the rules/laws are in Fukuoka, but I guess they have this regulation among the hotels, hostels, and other property hostings to check-in at a centralized location. After logging in there, we got our keys, grabbed dinner at one of the stalls outside, then headed to our hotel near Gofukumachi Station.

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Expenses

(1 JPY = 0.47 PHP, As of October 22, 2019 12:08PM)

  • Sim Card      3,300/2 = 1,650
  • Fare               260 (Fukuoka Airport – Hakata Check-in Reception)
  • Dinner          1,400/2 = 700
  • Fare               210 (Hakata – Gofukumachi)
  • Grocery        605/2 = 302.50

Total = 3,122.50 JPY or 1,471.33 PHP per person


Day 2

  • Kushida Jinja Shrine
  • Tochoji Temple
  • Nanzoin Shrine Reclining Buddha
  • Canal City Hakata
  • Yakata Stalls – Naka River

Initially, we were planning to get and use the Fukuoka 2Day Pass during our first 2 full days but we weren’t able to find the counter the night we arrived. We adjusted our itinerary and since the tourist spots are located close to each other, we decided to just walk from one spot to another.

After exploring some parts of Hakata, we visited the Reclining Buddha at Nanzoin. You have to pay separately for the fare because it’s not part of the public subway system, (day passes can’t be used to get here).

IMG - 70.jpgFriendly tip: People wearing shorts, sleeveless, and have visible tattoos are not allowed to enter the premises.

We went back to Hakata, explored some more, strolled by the canals, tried their Yatai stalls and watched the water show at the Canal City.

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Expenses

(1 JPY = 0.47 PHP, As of October 22, 2019 12:08PM)

  • Breakfast      237
  • Fare               210 (Gofukumachi – Nakasukawabata)
  • JR Line          380*2 = 760 (Hakata – Nanzoin – Hakata)
  • Snacks           499
  • Lunch            930
  • Dinner          2,000/2 = 1,000
  • Fare               210 (Hakata – Gofukumachi)
  • Grocery        642/2 = 321

Total = 4,167.00 JPY or 1,963.50 PHP per person


Day 3

  • Nagasaki Peace Park
  • Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
  • Urakami Cathedral
  • Chinatown
  • Megane Bridge / Spectacle Bridge
  • Mt. Inasayama Observatory
  • Museum of 26 Martyrs of Japan
  • Hakata Canal City

We were choosing between Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The passes were part of the deciding factor. If we decided to go to Hiroshima, we needed to get the 5-day pass. If Nagasaki, we can avail of the 3-day pass which can cover other northern parts of Kyushu. We weren’t going to explore Hiroshima for the next 5 days so getting the 5-day pass was not ideal. I’ll see you some other time, Hiroshima.

We purchased our Kyushu Pass from Klook. We redeemed our passes at Hakata Station. We were allowed to reserve 10 shinkansen or bullet train rides. We were able to reserve 6 rides out of the 10! Knowing how much a shinkansen ride could cost, getting this pass for approximately 3,800 PHP was not bad, right?

Nagasaki Prefecture, embraced by mountains on one side and bordered by the sea on the other, is located in the southwest of Japan. It is full of historical, traditional, and cultural riches. Nagasaki played an important role in Japan’s international relations and even contributed greatly to the modernization of Japan.

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Nagasaki is easily navigated by tram and on foot. It is served by four tram lines which provide easy access to most of the city’s main attractions. The trams run approximately every 5-8 minutes from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM. When riding the tram, enter from the back, exit through the front. The flat fare is 130 yen per ride regardless of the distance. You can also get the tram day pass for 500 yen.

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Expenses

(1 JPY = 0.47 PHP, As of October 22, 2019 12:08PM)

  • Breakfast      448
  • Fare               210 (Gofukumachi – Nakasukawabata)
  • Tram             500 (Day Pass)
  • Lunch           1,029
  • Ropeway      1,250
  • Dinner          964
  • Fare               210 (Nakasukawabata – Gofukumachi)

Total = 4,611.00 JPY or 2,172.72 PHP per person


Day 4

  • Kumamoto
  • Mt. Aso
  • Hakata (Yodobashi)

The plan was to go see Mt. Aso and spend the afternoon in Kumamoto but this changed when we arrived at Kumamoto Station. We were supposed to ride the train headed to Aso Station but the line was broken and the only way we can get there is by bus. We had to think quick. We still decided to push through with our plan and rode the bus going to Aso Station.

After arriving at the Station, we were greeted with another bad news. If you haven’t known, Mt. Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan and is among the largest in the world. It’s located in Aso Kujū National Park in Kumamoto Prefecture. You can actually see the crater closely, there’s even a ropeway so you can see the crater from above. BUT… when we got there, all these were unavailable because they raised the eruption level to 2 so tourists weren’t allowed to go near the crater.

IMG - 39

We had another option, to see it from Kusasenri Observatory. Since we were already there, we rode the bus to Kusasenri and it didn’t disappoint. Yes, we were not able to see the crater up close but the view going to Kusasenri and seeing Mt. Aso from afar was already enough for me!

Our entire day was spent in Kusasenri, we went back to Kumamoto had snacks before heading back to Hakata.

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Expenses

(1 JPY = 0.47 PHP, As of October 22, 2019 12:08PM)

  • Breakfast      120
  • Fare               210 (Gofukumachi – Nakasukawabata)
  • Bus Fare       1,020*2 = 2,040 (Kumamoto – Aso Stn – Kumamoto)
  • Bus Fare       570*2 = 1,140 (Aso Stn – Kusasenri – Aso Stn)
  • Lunch           450
  • Snacks          510
  • Dinner          799
  • Fare               210 (Hakata – Gofukumachi)

Total = 5,479.00 JPY or 2,581.72 PHP per person


Day 5                               

  • Suizenji-jojuen
  • Kumamoto Castle
  • Fukuoka Castle Remains
  • Ohori Park
  • Tenjin Central Park
  • Fukuoka Tower
  • Don Quijote

We still had some unfinished business in Kumamoto. We were so happy we got to make the most out of our 3-day Kyushu pass! Hakata to Kumamoto takes only less than 30 minutes by Shinkansen so we spent half of our day in Kumamoto and half of the day exploring the rest of Fukuoka.

IMG - 58.jpgOur first stop was at Suizenji Jojuen Park, a traditional Japanese garden landscaped around a natural spring pond. It was the original site of Suizenji temple constructed in 1632 by Lord Hosokawa Tadatoshi of Kumamoto. The placement of the pond, trees, and hills was meant to represent parts of the 53 stations of the Tokaido, a route that ran from Edo to Kyoto.

After spending some time in the garden, we went to see Kumamoto Castle.

Japan has been known for earthquakes. With this, a lot of historical structures suffer, some survive the tremors, and some suffer serious damages. This included the Kumamoto Castle. They say it will take 20 years to repair the castle.

After Kumamoto, we went back to Fukuoka and explored the rest of the spots we haven’t visited. We went to see the Fukuoka Castle remains, Ohori Park, Fukuoka Tower, and the Tenjin district.

Kyushu is a perfect example of beauty in ruins. A lot of the places we visited were beautiful despite their sad stories or tragedies.

IMG - 50collage 5.jpgcollage 2

Expenses

(1 JPY = 0.47 PHP, As of October 22, 2019 12:08PM)

  • Breakfast      383
  • Fare               740 (2-Day Pass)
  • Tram             500 (Day Pass)
  • Park Fee       400
  • Lunch           563
  • Dinner          1,518
  • Fare               210 (Hakata – Gofukumachi)

Total = 4,314.00 JPY or 2,032.77 PHP per person


Day 6

  • Daizafu
  • Tenjin Underground

Days before our trip started, I already saw the weather forecast in Japan. It said that one of the biggest and most dangerous storms would hit Japan on the last day of our trip. I was still praying and hoping that it would just move along or move slower so we can leave before it even touches the ground.

I kept monitoring the weather and gladly, we didn’t experience any rain the entire trip. We only experienced strong winds the night before our last day. It was so strong we decided to stay indoors because if we walk outside, it seemed like we will be taken by the winds.

Our flight back to the Philippines was still in the evening. We still had time to go out before heading to the airport. We left our bags at the coin lockers in Fukuoka Domestic Airport. We kept monitoring our flight status as some of our friends who are in other parts of Japan contacted us about their situations. Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, canceled most of their flights. Fukuoka did at some point but ours pushed through and we even landed earlier than our ETA.

Expenses

(1 JPY = 0.47 PHP, As of October 22, 2019 12:08PM)

  • Brunch          500
  • Fare               820 (Tenjin Nishitetsu – Dazaifu – Tenjin Nishitetsu)
  • Dinner          1,016

Total = 2,336.00 JPY or 1,100.73 PHP per person


FUN FACTS & TIPS

  • Fukuoka offers free WiFi almost everywhere. If I had known, I’d think twice about purchasing a sim card.
  • Fukuoka is a combination of Kyoto – Nara – Kobe when it comes to being laid back and chill. Stores open late and they close early, except for pubs and food stalls.
  • Fukuoka’s rush hour starts at 9 AM.
  • The Sailormoon uniform originated in Fukuoka.
  • Fukuoka is closer to South Korea’s capital than Japan’s.
  • Japanese Zen was born in Fukuoka.
  • In Fukuoka, eating at a Yatai stall and dining in a restaurant will cost you the same amount. Sometimes, eating in a restaurant will even save you more money.
  • The Tenjin underground is a sight to see! One must definitely visit! (Lakas maka-Harry Potter!)
  • The first Ichiran store was in Fukuoka.
  • “Fukuoka is Hakata, Hakata is Fukuoka.” Back in history, Hakata and Fukuoka were two separate towns but at some point, they had to merge. The people voted for the new name but it resulted to a tie. The leader that time was from Fukuoka so he named the merged city Fukuoka.
  • Fukuoka has been destroyed ten times during wars and each time the city recovered it became even more prosperous than before.
  • Nagasaki is best explored by tram, get the day pass for only 500 yen. The ticket information desk is right outside Nagasaki JR Station.
  • Also, avail of Kumamoto’s tram day pass for 500 yen. You can purchase one from the driver or go to the information desk at Kumamoto Station.
  • Nagasaki is greatly influenced by European/Dutch and Chinese culture. Most of their food is Chinese-inspired and their structures are European inspired.
  • The language barrier is greatly evident in Fukuoka and other parts of Kyushu, but the Japanese, as polite in nature as they are, will try their best to help you. Especially when you are lost or when you lose something.

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SUMMARY OF EXPENSES

Day 1 3,122.50 JPY or 1,471.33 PHP per person

Day 2 4,167.00 JPY or 1,963.50 PHP per person

Day 3 4,611.00 JPY or 2,172.72 PHP per person

Day 4 5,479.00 JPY or 2,581.72 PHP per person

Day 5 4,314.00 JPY or 2,032.77 PHP per person

Day 6 2,336.00 JPY or 1,100.73 PHP per person

TOTAL EXPENSES: 24,029.50 JPY or 11,322.78 PHP per person

(Shopping, Kyushu Pass, Hotel and Airfare not included)

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Babalik-balikan mo talaga ang Japan. It’s my third time visiting this country and I’m still not over it. I hope this article can help you plan your next visit to Japan! You will love it there.

Feel free to leave comments or message me via e-mail if you have any questions. If you like this article and want to see or know more about my Japan trips, or other explorations, trips and tips, follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

 

xo,

dee signature text

 

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