I was asked by Amy to help with:
- End of March
- Cherry blossom season
- 2 people
- Flying from Manchester
- 2 weeks
- £1500 each
As someone who has visited Japan in cherry blossom season and booked it all pretty last minute – not advised, by the way – I know that this can be done!
Cherry blossom season is always super popular – with both tourists and natives – and Tokyo usually starts flowering in March. You can check out the exact timings for Tokyo and other cities here.
For our trip, I was so lucky as I found our flights for just £258 (ridiculous, I know!) and so the first hurdle is gonna be getting Amy to Tokyo on a budget…
So, let’s crack on.
So, as Amy wants the end of March, it does make things a bit pricier (it’s getting close to Easter!) so as a quick aside, if she could fly between Thurs 12th – Fri 27th March, she’d pay £133 each less.
But anyway, onwards!
£670 may not seem a great price initially but actually, according to the stats on Google Flights, it’s not too shabby at all!
What about other UK airports?
Alright, alright, I suppose I can help a few others out as well.
Edinburgh to Tokyo
Tues 24th Mar – Tues 7th Apr
It does involve a 19 hour layover in Amsterdam on the way out but it’s timed really nicely for you to enjoy an evening there and get up with loads of time for your early afternoon flight.
What is the Japan Rail Pass?
The Japan Rail pass – also known as the JR Pass – is a special discounted ticket available for tourists.
It offers unlimited travel on trains operated by Japan Railways Group and includes the high-speed service known as the Shinkansen, or the Bullet Train.
|Type||JR Ordinary Pass||JR Ordinary Pass||JR Green Pass|
|JR Green Pass|
Prices correct as of December 2019
Where should I buy my pass from?
If you’re outside Japan, the easiest way to buy your pass is online. There isn’t one website but instead a bevvy of third parties that sell on the passes.
I went with Japan Travel Centre because they offered free UK delivery and the option of picking up the passes the same day from their London office.
Can you get money off a JR Pass?
I searched high and low and found that most third parties offered very similar pricing though it may be worth checking Klook which, at present is showing slightly higher prices than above but sometimes the site in general offers discount codes.
Should Amy get a pass for 7 or 14 days?
For a two week trip, I think 7 days feels too short and 14 feels too long!
If you’re trying to save money, think about doing a stint in Tokyo either side of your travels (that’s what we did!) so you can go for the 7 day pass.
However, I’m going put Amy down for the 14 day pass just so she’s got more options.
Two Week Itinerary
25th – 29th Mar / 4 nights / Tokyo
29th Mar – 1st Apr / 3 nights / Kyoto
1st Apr – 3rd April / 2 nights / Hiroshima
3rd April – 5th April / 2 nights / Osaka
5th – 6th April / 2 nights / Tokyo
As Amy’s flight arrives in a day later, we actually need to find 13 nights accommodation for this trip. Given that the total for flights and a rail pass is already £931 each (jeez) this means we have £519 each left for places to stay.
That’s just £43.67 a night each.
Can we do it?
YES WE CAN!
Things to know before booking accommodation
A good way to keep to budget is to change accommodation every couple of nights or so.
This allows you to explore new areas, work around a hotel’s busy availability calendar and also save money on some nights and splurge on others.
Due to this, I’d also recommend packing light. I actually only took my 45L Patagonia rucksack and James took a small wheelie case and a backpack. It can be done!
Please be aware that Japanese rooms are generally MUCH smaller and if you’re staying in an Airbnb, it can feel pretty basic if you’re on a budget, but it’s a great insight into how many live in the city.
Also, make sure you check out some pod hotels because they are AMAZING/BIZARRE AF.
I’ve done some searching for you to show what kind of places you could book for your Japan trip – cherry blossom season or not.
Places I've stayed
Places I've stayed
From £15 a night
Places to stay
Places to stay
So much for only choosing one hotline a week to save time – I think that was the most epic holiday search I’ve ever done!!
But I hope it goes to prove that Japan definitely can be done on a budget EVEN when the flights are coming through pricey.
I hope that helps Amy and whoever else is planning a Japanese getaway!
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