{Travel Tuesday #24} Japan Self-Drive Itinerary (December 2015 Pt 1) – Narita Airport to Chiba to Tokyo

Driving in Tokyo and Chiba - Tips and Itinerary by Bumble Bee Mum

In December 2015, we were in Japan for the 13th (if I counted correctly) time.  Our itinerary is probably not something you would want to follow strictly if you are a first-timer to Japan, because we essentially skipped over places like Tokyo, Hakone, Mount Fuji etc which warrants more days than we allocated.  However, in my posts, I will suggest places that you can visit along the 2000+km route if it’s your first time in the region.

Driving in Tokyo & Chiba

I’ll be frank: Travelling with kids by train in Tokyo is tiring. An innocent train transfer within a station can require a 600m walk up and down flights of stairs. Trains are packed like crazy during peak hours and you’ll be cursed at (though the Japanese are probably too polite to do it openly) if you have a stroller.  Loud noises (I really have NO idea why Japanese kids are so quiet – but my kids are super loud by Japanese standards) on the trains are shunned upon.  If you attempt to keep your kids quiet with a smartphone or tablet, you may get disapproving looks or some stranger may mumble something along the line of ‘Baka’ (true story).

So you may want to consider renting a car and driving in Tokyo.  Which frankly, if you are from Singapore is not that difficult.  Japan uses right-hand drive which is the same side as Singapore.  Tokyo is a crowded city, prone to traffic congestion and endless traffic lights, but we Singaporeans can live with that. In fact, Tokyo drivers are way friendlier than Singapore drivers, so driving in Tokyo is probably easier than driving in Singapore.

The problem is cost. And time. Using the metro is much faster and cheaper. Period. If you don’t mind spending an hour stuck in a traffic jam (in spite having paid a hefty toll fee) and spending more than $10 per hour for parking, go ahead. Drive.  In exchange, you get convenience. Comfort. No need to squeeze. No need to worry about our kids disturbing other people.  No need to carry the kids around when they fall asleep on the train. Stuff like that. You just got to pay the price for the convenience.

Between the two evils (taking the crowded metro and cost of driving), I would stick to the metro in Tokyo.  However if you are planning to take a side-trip to Chiba, that’s when I recommend you get a car.  Toll fees are expensive, but taxi rides are just as bad.  If you are visiting Tokyo with kids at the end of the year, I recommend you rent a car for a day to take a side-trip to Chiba.  Start with a visit to Mother Farm, followed by the illumination at Tokyo German Village in the evening. It’ll be a great day out!

Our Itinerary

Day 1 (1/12/2015) Narita Airport -> Tokyo German Village

We arrived at Narita Airport at 2.40pm and collected our rental car.


Our first destination was Tokyo German Village for the illumination.  We arrived at dusk and already there was a crowd gathered at the vantage point where we could see the entire site. So we joined the crowd and waited for it to get dark.


The illumination at Tokyo German Village is one of Tokyo’s most popular illumination event.  It is not very accessible by public transport, hence we made it a point to visit as part of our self-drive trip.


I wasn’t a big fan of crowds but oh well, that was part of the deal.  Japan’s festivals and events are generally crowded. In winter, the Japanese love their illuminations. Try to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion and having to park very far away.


Day 2 (2/12/2015) Mother Farm Chiba

We planned to spend the whole day at Mother Farm in Chiba.  But luck was not on our side and it RAINED.

Read: Mother Farm Review


We were lucky to get pockets of dry weather between light drizzle in the morning.


But by lunch time, it was pouring. Our initial plan was to stay at Mother Farm till sunset for their illumination. But there wasn’t much we could do at the a farm when it was raining cows and pigs, I mean cats and dogs.


So we decided to go back to Tokyo earlier. We spent the rest of the day shopping at Shinjuku, which thankfully was only drizzling slightly from time to time.


Day 3 (3/12/2015) Tokyo

The rain continued and weather forecast said that it would rain until 1pm that day. We shelved aside our plan for a morning stroll at Shinjuku Gyoen and went to Tokyo Fire Museum instead.

Read: Tokyo Fire Museum Review


By afternoon, the rain finally stopped (Japan’s weather forecast is eerily accurate) and we went for an afternoon stroll at Shinjuku Gyoen.


And I recalled why I had originally planned the garden stroll in the morning.  The kids were tired and cranky in the afternoon and the last thing they wanted to do was to stroll in the garden. Trying my best to block out their protests and whining from my ears, we went on with our stroll because I didn’t want to miss out the famous autumn foliage at Shinjuku Gyoen.


Thankfully the kids warmed up after a while and started to appreciate the “beautiful red trees” as much as me.


There was an avenue of trees that reminded me of my favorite Korean drama, Winter Sonata.  Though it was disappointingly kind of bare by the time we were there in December. Wait, am I giving away how old I am by mentioning Winter Sonata? Anyway Bae Yong-joon is one of the most handsome Korean actors EVER.  But he was coined an ‘auntie-killer’, so I guess that makes me an auntie. Officially.


Next, we visited Jingu Gaien Gingko Festival. Gingko trees turn a gorgeous golden colour in late autumn and there was a row of Ginko trees lining up the road leading to Jingu Gaien.


And no Japan festival is complete without food.  There were rows of food stalls with a centralised area for sitting and dining at the festival.


After we filled our tummies, we decided that the kids had a miserable enough time being dragged through garden strolls against their will.  We rewarded them with a visit to Thomas Town Shinmisato – which was super out of the way and totally not worth the time and hassle imo, but I’m sure the kids would beg to differ.

Read: Thomas Town Shinmisato Review


The next morning, we left Tokyo and drove to our next destination – Gotemba.  (To be continued… Because all good stories are published in parts.. No?)

During our time in Tokyo, we stayed in an apartment at Shinjuku from Homeaway. We chose the apartment because it was near Shinjuku Gyoen station.  We found a 3000yen for 24 hours parking near the apartment and left our car there while we walked to Shinjuku station area, Shinjuku Gyoen and Tokyo Fire Museum.


As I mentioned, driving in Tokyo is terribly expensive.  Hence, it was a deliberate decision to only spend 1 day in central Tokyo while we rendezvous the rest of the time away at Chiba where parking fee was cheaper.  There are many other kids-friendly destinations in Tokyo which you can find in > this post <.   You can also read more about visiting Tokyo with kids from our November 2013 trip.

Links / Telephone Numbers / Map Codes

Below are links of official websites and telephone number / map codes (for GPS) of destinations in this post:

Accommodation Sponsor

Find your perfect vacation home at Homeaway!

Homeaway Logo

Posts from the same trip

 Loading InLinkz …

Pin this up for later!

Driving in Tokyo and Chiba - Tips and Itinerary by Bumble Bee Mum

Like / Follow us on Instagram!

Follow our travels with #bumblebeemumtravels and #bumblebeemuminjapan and blog updates with #bumblebeemumblog !

[Blogged] It's time again for Travel Tuesday! Come share your travel tales and wanderlust and say Hi to fellow travel lovers in our weekly blog hop: http://bumblebeemum.net/tag/travel-tuesday/ (Link to this week's link-up in profile.) Our post this week is a highlight of our experience and itinerary for driving in #chiba and #tokyo . #bumblebeemumblog #bumblebeemumtravels #bumblebeemuminjapan #travelblog #bloghop #sgparentblogger #sgparentbloggers #sgmombloggers #sgmumbloggers #mondayescapes #traveltuesday #wednesdaywanderlust #travelthursday #airhead #airheadsflock #instatravel #instapassport #japan #japantrip #japantravel

A photo posted by Bumble Bee Mum (@bumble_bee_mum) on


Our Japan Travel Blog

Get more tips & tricks on Japan travel on our Japan Travel Page!


Travel Tuesday Linky

Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum
Grab my button:



Welcome to ‘Travel Tuesday‘! Every TUESDAY, I will share a travel post, and at the end of the post, you will find this linky with posts from other bloggers. If you have a travel moment or travel tip to share, simple click ‘Add your Link’ to share your blog post! Do visit some of the other blogs to leave a comment and say Hi. :)

 Loading InLinkz …

A new linky will be up every Tuesday at 00.05 (Singapore Time GMT+8). So check back again next Tuesday for new sharings and to share more posts!

70 Comments on {Travel Tuesday #24} Japan Self-Drive Itinerary (December 2015 Pt 1) – Narita Airport to Chiba to Tokyo

  1. indrani
    January 12, 2016 at 8:41 am (10 months ago)

    Wonderful pictures! The night shots are terrific!

  2. mmlittlee
    January 12, 2016 at 10:01 am (10 months ago)

    Oh that illumination is LOVELY! The Japanese are really really impressive and meticulous with the way they produce things. And haha What In The World Is That at the farm! Super gigantic erm… What’s that!???

    Loving your photos! Which camera and lens are you using? I need a camera update… Sick and tired of the current one.

    • bumblebeemum
      January 12, 2016 at 11:28 am (10 months ago)

      It’s a Capybara! I learnt that from the Mother Farm visit. Apparently they are quite friendly as long as you don’t stand in front of it and stare at it. That’s why the kids are keeping to the side / back. :p

      What’s wrong with your camera? Your photos still look good. I’m using Sony A6000. I brought 3 lenses for the trip so the photos are from a mixture of them: The standard kit lens, SEL50f18 and SEL55210. They are not really professional camera / lenses.. More like hobbyist range.

      • mmlittlee
        January 13, 2016 at 10:20 am (9 months ago)

        U brought three lens! Haha I can’t even handle two lens with two kids although I’d love to! What lens did you use for the Jump Shot? Actually… I think lens is the key. Well, what’s wrong w my camera? It died on me 4 times last year. Too many trips to the service centre.

        • bumblebeemum
          January 13, 2016 at 11:12 am (9 months ago)

          Ooo.. Then it’s time to change camera! Yeah, the lens matters of course. The standard kit lens that came with the Sony A6000 is not fantastic because maximum aperture only 3.5 and can’t zoom far. The jump shot was taken with SEL50f18. But the camera also made a difference because of we used the continuous shot function for the jump shot. A6000 can take 11 frames per seconds.

          • mmlittlee
            January 17, 2016 at 11:11 pm (9 months ago)

            Thank you! I’ll check it out!

  3. Angie.S
    January 12, 2016 at 10:15 am (10 months ago)

    Your photos are gorgeous!!! Thanks for sharing your Japan travel tips, very helpful for families 😀

    • bumblebeemum
      January 12, 2016 at 11:30 am (10 months ago)

      Hope you get to go for your Japan trip! I would love to see the photos David takes. :)

  4. Waiwai
    January 12, 2016 at 8:24 pm (9 months ago)

    It has been 6+ years since I last stepped into Japan, I miss it! The parking fee in Tokyo is so expensive!!

    • bumblebeemum
      January 13, 2016 at 12:26 am (9 months ago)

      Hoho.. I also thought parking in Tokyo was expensive. That was until we reached Kyoto. -_-

  5. Meen C
    January 12, 2016 at 8:31 pm (9 months ago)

    The illunination looks awesome. Such pretty pics. I think my kid will be thrown off the trains in japan. Haha. He is loud beyond imagination.

    • bumblebeemum
      January 13, 2016 at 12:27 am (9 months ago)

      The Japanese are too nice to throw your kids off the train. You will be made to feel so paiseh that you will throw them off yourself. :p

  6. Lydia C. Lee
    January 13, 2016 at 5:35 am (9 months ago)

    What’s with the giant animals.?????

    • bumblebeemum
      January 13, 2016 at 10:20 am (9 months ago)

      Capybara! It is a huge rodent apparently.. Haha… Learning something new everyday.

  7. Lyn Lee
    January 13, 2016 at 8:41 am (9 months ago)

    The illumination lights are so pretty. Given their attention to packaging, I’m not surprised the light designs are so well thought through! That capybara is like nothing I’ve ever seen before – massive rodent!! Hubs and I are planning a couple trip to Japan for our 10th anniversary next year. Already anticipating it. :)

    • bumblebeemum
      January 13, 2016 at 10:37 am (9 months ago)

      Awww… couple trip?? I’m so envious. I’m sure it’ll be a great trip!

  8. the hOOter
    January 13, 2016 at 9:35 am (9 months ago)

    I was caught by the pretty illuminations! Must have been quite a sight when you guys were there. Seems like so much fun, even for the boys :) Time to plan a visit when the kids are older… the last time I was in Japan was during my Primary school dayssss :(

    • bumblebeemum
      January 13, 2016 at 10:40 am (9 months ago)

      YOUR Primary school days??? OMG… that’s so long ago!!! The boys complain a little when we go for illuminations because it’s cold and late and they just want to go back to the hotel to sleep.. Hah! But okay lah, they do enjoy them for a while.. Maybe an hour max and they want to leave.

      • the hOOter
        January 14, 2016 at 10:11 am (9 months ago)

        Was having trouble replying via WordPress :(
        Hahaha yea, donkey years ago, right! There were a few more planned trips along the way, but circumstances made it impossible to travel… so i’ll have to wait again 😛 The cold weather is such a love-hate relationship, eh? But glad the boys had a wonderful experience there :)

        • bumblebeemum
          January 14, 2016 at 9:08 pm (9 months ago)

          Yeah, I don’t know what’s wrong with my blog but people can’t reply using WordPress.. So annoying.

          I brought my #2 to Japan when he was 10 months old, so… You need not wait THAT long… hahaha…

  9. Ruth
    January 13, 2016 at 10:58 am (9 months ago)

    What an envy! Japan is only a short flight from you guys. It will be awesome to visit for the weekend. The photos of the German Village are amazing. I would love to go to something of that magnitude. I was not expecting to see the capybaras. It is not something that come sin mind when you thing of Japan.

    • bumblebeemum
      January 13, 2016 at 11:16 am (9 months ago)

      Oh well, your envy for us being able to go to Japan easily is the same as us being envious of people who live in the States or Europe. 😉

      Yeah, it’s pretty strange to have capybaras in a farm in Japan. But oh well, it’s nice to be able to see an animal that we don’t usually get to see here in Asia. Better yet that we could even pet them!

  10. Pinay Flying High
    January 13, 2016 at 7:39 pm (9 months ago)

    “Tokyo drivers are friendlier than Singaporean drivers” LOL.
    I haven’t been to Tokyo but the drivers I encountered in Singapore weren’t too bad – in fact, I found them polite. Of course you would know better. :p

    Sounds like the best way to travel is clearly renting a car in Japan if traveling with children.

    • bumblebeemum
      January 14, 2016 at 8:57 pm (9 months ago)

      Wow, did you drive a special car that says “I’m a tourist, please give way to me!” when you were here? But then again, I guess Singapore drivers are still polite compared to other countries in Asia. Now that you say it, I think it’s Japan that’s an outlier.

  11. choonie71
    January 13, 2016 at 11:45 pm (9 months ago)

    Hi saw that you stayed in an apartment booked via homeaway. Is it similar to airbnb? Is it reliable to book via this website? We’re looking for an apartment in Osaka

    • bumblebeemum
      January 14, 2016 at 9:03 pm (9 months ago)

      Yes, it is similar to Airbnb. It’s very reliable – I booked 3 apartments and all the hosts and apartments were fab! Important thing when you book apartments, regardless of the website, is communication with the host before booking. Check reviews and chat with the hosts to see if they are friendly and responsive before you book.

  12. Debs G
    January 14, 2016 at 8:55 am (9 months ago)

    Whoa! Did you find navigating the streets in the car difficult? Did you use a GPS system?

  13. PrayerFull Mum
    January 14, 2016 at 9:37 am (9 months ago)

    Wow, the illumination at Tokto German Village are spectacular! Amazing how it’s your 13th visit to Japan and you can still find interesting places to visit!!

    • bumblebeemum
      January 14, 2016 at 9:07 pm (9 months ago)

      Yah, I’m amazed too! And there are still so many places in Japan that I have yet to visit! Coz I always end up going to the same places like Hokkaido and Mount Fuji as I like them so much. Plus Japan is so different in each season, every place is worth visiting again and again in different seasons.

  14. Carmen
    March 28, 2016 at 11:14 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi Bumblebeemum, if we would like to visit Shirakawa-go, can u suggest us a route for 10 days or so? We have not been to main Japan. And u helped us with our trip to Hokkaido last year. Thank you!

    • bumblebeemum
      March 29, 2016 at 3:03 pm (7 months ago)

      Which dates are you planning to go? In summer, I would highly recommend the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route together with Shirakawa-Go. But the alpine route is closed in winter. Also, which airport are you planning to fly via?

      • Carmen
        March 29, 2016 at 11:03 pm (7 months ago)

        Hmmm actually we havent decided … if end Oct or end Nov for autumn – is that good? I would like winter but afraid too cold. Also I am not sure whether we shd fly into Osaka or Nagoya, as a first trip to main Japan?

        • bumblebeemum
          March 30, 2016 at 10:54 am (7 months ago)

          Ah… End October will be a perfect time to visit the region for autumn foliage!

          If you can, fly in to Osaka or Nagoya (not much difference but I think Osaka would give you more flight options) and out from Tokyo, travelling along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route followed by the Japan Romantic Road. I highly recommend going all the way to Nikko in autumn! So what you can consider is this:

          1) Nagoya – Kanazawa (train)

          2) Kanazawa – Toyama (train) and follow the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route:

          3) Toyama – Ueda (train), rent a car and follow the Japan Romantic Road:

          4) Return the car to Utsunomiya and train back to Tokyo.

          • Carmen
            March 30, 2016 at 11:22 am (7 months ago)

            Thanks! Meaning we skip touring Osaka and Kyoto for this trip? Approx how many nights are needed for this route? And can you suggest which town to overnight for the route?

            • bumblebeemum
              March 30, 2016 at 11:35 am (7 months ago)

              Let me try to estimate:

              Day 1: Arrive Osaka
              Day 2: Osaka – Kanazawa
              Day 3: Kanazawa (day trip to Shirakawago)
              Day 4: Kanazawa
              Day 5: Kanazawa – Toyama
              Day 6: Toyama – Alpine Route – Matsumoto
              Day 7: Matsumoto – Takayama
              Day 8: Takayama
              Day 9: Takayama – Ueda
              Day 10: Ueda – Shima Onsen
              Day 11: Shima Onsen – Nikko
              Day 12: Nikko
              Day 13: Nikko – Tokyo

              The towns you will spend overnight will be:

              Osaka (1 night)
              Kanazawa (3 nights)
              Toyama (1 night)
              Matsumoto (1 night)
              Takayama (2 nights)
              Ueda (1 night)
              Shima Onsen (1 night)
              Nikko (2 nights)

              If you have more time than that, you can spend more days in Osaka at the start of the trip to explore Osaka and Kyoto.

              • Carmen
                March 31, 2016 at 3:10 pm (7 months ago)

                I think we may not have time for a long trip, if say for a 7 to 10 day trip what do you suggest we cut? And what about 1 or 2 nights at Shirakawago? Also should we take return Osaka or return Tokyo? Becoz return airfares are cheaper … thank you ?

                • Carmen
                  March 31, 2016 at 5:29 pm (7 months ago)

                  If let’s say we make a 9 day 8 nights trip, thanks …

                  • bumblebeemum
                    April 1, 2016 at 12:35 am (7 months ago)

                    I would probably opt to fly return Tokyo then, since Tokyo airfares are usually more competitive and hence cheaper.

                    If I fly Tokyo, I would probably do this:

                    Day 1: Tokyo
                    Day 2: Tokyo – Nikko (Train with 1 transfer at Utsunomiya)
                    Day 3: Rent a car, drive Nikko – Shima Onsen (romantic road)
                    Day 4: Drive Shima Onsen via Ueda (romantic road), drop car off at Nagano. Train to Matsumoto (Direct).
                    Day 5: Matsumoto – Alpine Route – Toyama
                    Day 6: Toyama – Kanazawa (Direct Train)
                    Day 7: Kanazawa (day trip to Shirakawago or stay at Shirakawago if you can get accommodation)
                    Day 8: Kanazawa – Tokyo (Direct Train)
                    Day 9: Flight back

                    You can use the 7-Days Japan Rail Pass for this from Day 2 to Day 8.

                    • Carmen
                      July 14, 2016 at 12:14 pm (3 months ago)

                      Hi again…I would like to ask if we fly into Osaka for 8 days 7 nights…how many days should we spend exploring Osaka n Kyoto n do we need to split the nights in different hotels? And do we have time to explore out of Osaka n Kyoto n what do u recommend? Thank you!

                    • bumblebeemum
                      July 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm (3 months ago)

                      I feel Osaka and Kyoto are close enough to just stay in one hotel in either city. You can visit Kobe and Nara which are nearby. You can even go as far as Hiroshima and Miyajima with the Kansai-Hiroshima Pass.

                    • Carmen
                      July 14, 2016 at 5:07 pm (3 months ago)

                      Thanks for the info. If we get the 5 day pass, how do we travel for the other 2 to 3 days? The train to n fro airport would be a different tic? Any recommendations for hotels n ryokan? Thank you.

                    • bumblebeemum
                      July 22, 2016 at 4:08 pm (3 months ago)

                      Yeah, you would probably have to purchase separate tickets to the train to and fro the airport and do the longer distance travels on the 5 days when you are using the pass. For hotels, I usually just search on hotel booking sites to find a hotel within my budget – preferably near train stations if I were using the rail a lot.

  15. Evie Quah
    April 3, 2016 at 9:45 am (7 months ago)

    Hi bumble bee mum!

    we had a great time in hokkaido last year thanks to your comprehensive online Iti! our friends were so envious of the ‘secret places’ that you found..i directed them all to your blog when they enquired about how we found these places haha you’re a real travel guru when it comes to Japan!

    We are planning another trip to Tokyo, Chiba and Hakone and need your advice.

    We touch down in Narita on 6th june morning at 830am and I plan to drive to Chiba to visit Kanogawa Seaworld and German Village in the later afternoon but you did recommend the Seaworld at all. Did i miss it or it’s not worth the trip? I couldn’t understand the German Village website haha but i gathered front the pictures that there will be things to do in the afternoon for the kids right? haha

    I plan to visit Mother Farm the next day and don’t know if I should make the drive to Fujiya (the hotel in Hakone you suggested) at night cos it’s a 2hr+ drive or stay one more night in Chiba and drive the next morn to Open Air Museum.

    Will my Iti make sense?

    6th- Kanogawa Seaworld n German Village
    7th- Mother Farm
    8th- Open Air Museum and Yunessun
    9th – Safari Park
    10th- Fuji Q Thomas Land
    11th- Morn thomas land afternoon Lake Saiko area
    12th- Food Park Milk Land
    13th – Disneyland
    14th – Disneyland
    15th-18th Tokyo

    • bumblebeemum
      April 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm (7 months ago)

      I haven’t explored Chiba that much frankly. We only had one day in Chiba during our last trip and we decided to go to Mother Farm because I generally prefer places that are less touristy and off the beaten track. Plus Kamogawa is further from Tokyo than Mother Farm. If I had an extra day in Chiba, sure, I would check out Kanogawa Seaworld. It looks nice on the website. :)

      I don’t think you have time to go to German Village after Kanogawa Seaworld actually. They close at 5pm with last entry at 4pm in Summer. Furthermore, this is the day after a red-eye flight, I would go back to the hotel after the seaworld to rest. Maybe you can find a hotel near Kisarazu and after taking a shower + resting a bit in the hotel, you can still do some shopping at Mitsui Outlet Park Kisarazu in the evening.

      I would do the drive from Mother Farm to Hakone on the 7th so that I have a full day at Hakone for OAM and Yunessun. If you do the drive on 8th, you may not have enough time for both OAM and Yunessun. Which again is why I think you should skip German Village and have a good rest on the 6th so that you are well rested for the long drive from Mother Farm to Hakone.

      11th: You’re going Thomas Land for 2 days? I think one day is good enough. Go drive around the Fuji Five Lakes region instead. It is very scenic. If the sky is clear, you can take the Kachi Kachi Ropeway at Kawaguchiko for a great view of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko below.

      12th: I assume you are driving back to Tokyo on this day after visiting the food park and milk land?

      Your itinerary looks good.

      • Evie
        April 6, 2016 at 12:15 am (7 months ago)

        Thanks! Of cos itinerary is good! It’s yours! Haha I just changed the dates 😉 yep we’ll be heading to our accommodation in tokyo on 12th before going to Disneyland the next day:)

        Thanks for your input once again!!

        • bumblebeemum
          April 6, 2016 at 2:13 am (7 months ago)

          Is it my itinerary? Gosh, I go Japan so often that I can’t really remember my own itineraries. Lucky I keep a blog. But I didn’t go Mother Farm and Hakone / Fuji Five Lakes in the same trip. Good improvisation! Haha..

  16. Fiona
    May 10, 2016 at 10:07 am (6 months ago)

    Hi Bumblebee mum,

    We had an enjoyable Hokkaido trip last year! Thank you for your vaulable contributions! My kids loved the ice village at Tomamu so much!!

    We are planning for a Tokyo Trip in end December this year for about 12 to 13 days. I was thinking to self drive this time with my 3 kids, (9years and 7years old twins). Last year we took the JR and subway, I was so stressful, keep on telling my kids to lower their volume!!?

    I am planning to go Sensoji temple, Tokyo Tower, Nissim cup noodle musemum, Tsujiki fish market, Disney Sea, Tokyo Fire musemum and Shinjuku. I was thinking to do a side trip to Chiba for the Mother Farm.

    From Tokyo I would like to drive to Hakone for lake ashi cruise and rope way and go to gotemba premium outlet. After which will drive to Mt Fuji for the Fuji Safari park and lake Kawaguchiko.

    We also thought of driving to Kyoto spend about 2 days there, one of the days will bring my boys to USJ. Do you think 12 to 13 days can cover for many places?

    I need you advice on the followings:-

    1) If we arrive at Tokyo, when we take the flight back, do you think I should take from Osaka or Tokyo?

    2) can you assist to advise how many days she we stay in Tokyo, Hakone, Mt Fuji and Kyoto?

    3) need your advice on where should we stay in these places. I prefer home stay as we have 5 pax!!

    Looking forward to heard from you soon!!

    Thank you!!

    • bumblebeemum
      May 10, 2016 at 10:04 pm (6 months ago)

      I totally get what you mean about getting kids to keep quiet on Japan trains!!!

      I do think 12-13 days to cover Tokyo to Osaka by car is a bit rushed. I would actually recommend you going as far as Mount Fuji only. You can explore Chiba more. There are fruit farms and a Sea World:

      Day 1: Tokyo (Sensoji Temple, Asakusa / Ueno / Akihabara Area)
      Day 2: Tokyo (Tsukiji Market, Tokyo Tower, Odaiba)
      Day 3: Tokyo (Shibuya, Harajuku, Shibuya, Tokyo Fire Museum)
      Day 4: Tokyo (Disney Sea)
      Day 5: Tokyo (Day trip to Yokohama, Nissin cup noodle factory)
      Day 6: Tokyo – Chiba (Mother Farm, Tokyo German Village Illumination)
      Day 7: Chiba (Kamogawa Sea World)
      Day 8: Chiba – Hakone
      Day 9: Hakone / Mount Fuji
      Day 10: Hakone / Mount Fuji
      Day 11: Hakone / Mount Fuji – Tokyo
      Day 12: Flight back

      At Tokyo, I pretty enjoyed my stay our apartment in Shinjuku:

      At Chiba, you can try Chisun Inn Chiba Hamano R16 Hotel. Chisun Inn chain is generally very cheap and offers free parking and welcome kids. You will need 2 rooms, but I think it will still add up to a very reasonable price.

      At Hakone / Mount Fuji region, most ryokans should have rooms that can accommodate up to 5 people.

      At Hakone / Mount Fuji region, most ryokans should have rooms that can fit 5 people.

      • Fiona
        May 13, 2016 at 10:56 pm (5 months ago)

        Thank you for your valuable comments!! I saw the apartment in Shinjuku from your blog, it’s looks good!!what I like most was the washing machine ?!!

        Can I check with you, what season is it if am to travel from mid Dec to end Dec? Do we need winter clothings? And how far is it to drive from Shinjuku to the areas that you have mentioned to visit Tokyo? I heard the parking in Tokyo is expensive?

        Thank you once again!

        • bumblebeemum
          May 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm (5 months ago)

          Hahaha.. Yeah, I LOVE the washer-dryer! Clean, dry clothes to wear everyday!

          Yes, you will need winter clothing. Not the sub-zero kind but definitely you need a decent winter jacket for temperatures that may hit zero at night.

          Oh yes, parking in Tokyo is EXORBITANT. Just try not to think about it and bring enough money to pay for parking. :p To get an estimate of driving times, you can use Google Map to estimate.

  17. Fiona
    May 17, 2016 at 7:14 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank you for your reply! Guess what, my hubby just asked me is it expensive to park in Tokyo? ? But I think with the 3 kids around, it will b more convenient to travel with a car. Will we be able to see snow? ?

    • bumblebeemum
      May 21, 2016 at 7:37 am (5 months ago)

      Neh, it doesn’t really snow in Tokyo. If you do see snow, please go and buy Toto. Haha…

  18. Fiona
    May 21, 2016 at 3:42 pm (5 months ago)

    Orh.. i tink my kids will still enjoy anyway! Thank you for your reply!! I need to start planning for the trip soon!!

  19. Fiona
    June 28, 2016 at 1:33 pm (4 months ago)

    Hi BumbleBeeMum,

    It’s me again. I would like to check driving around Tokyo itself, is it convenient to find parking lot at the areas that you have recommended? Is there any signage in English to guide us where to park etc.? My husband is worried that finding parking lot is an issue.
    Thank you in advance for your advice!!

    • bumblebeemum
      June 30, 2016 at 1:24 pm (4 months ago)

      It is not difficult to find parking. It is just terribly expensive.

      • Fiona Wong
        June 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm (4 months ago)

        Thank you for your reply!! The itinerary that you have recommended in tokyo itself, are they accessible by train? My husband was thinking to drive from Tokyo to Chiba, Hakone and Mount Fuji region only.

        • bumblebeemum
          July 2, 2016 at 1:30 pm (4 months ago)

          Yup, most of Tokyo is accessible by train so there is no real need to drive within Tokyo.

          • Fiona Wong
            July 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm (4 months ago)

            Thank u Bumblebee mum!

  20. Fiona
    July 17, 2016 at 11:06 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi BumbleBeeMum,

    I was trying to reserve the apartment tat u have recommended me at Shinjuku. However when I went into the website of homeway, there were a lot of apartments. Thus, can I check, is there any name or address for this apartment to enable me to search?

    Thanks u very much in advance!

      • Fiona
        July 26, 2016 at 10:22 am (3 months ago)

        Hi BumbleBeeMum,

        Thank you very much for the help.

        I have a few more queries to check with you:-

        1) what mode of transport will you advice when we arrive at Narita Airport, going to the Airbnb? Via cab or JR?

        2) on Day 11, we will drive back from Hakone/Mt Fuji to Tokyo. Will be staying a night at Tokyo b4 flying back to SG. Which hotel will you recommend that is near to Narita airport?

        3) can you assist to recommend car rental company?

        Thank you!

        • bumblebeemum
          July 26, 2016 at 11:58 am (3 months ago)

          1) Please don’t use the cab from Narita Airport – it’s crazy expensive. The easiest way to get from Narita Airport to Shinjuku-Gyoenmae station is the take the Narita Express until Tokyo station and transfer to Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line. If doing the transfer with luggage and all is too much of hassle, then take the Narita Express until Shinjuku station and cab from there. While it is possible to walk from Shinjuku station, you will probably get lost if you are unfamiliar with the area. Shinjuku station area is crazy confusing!

          2) The nearest hotel to Narita Airport seems to be Narita Airport Rest House:

          What time is your flight? If it isn’t too early, you can stay near Ueno station instead and catch the Keisei Line to the airport the next day. You can try Super Hotel Ueno-Iriyaguchi:

          3) I rented my car from TIMES car rental and they are pretty good.

  21. Fiona
    July 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm (3 months ago)

    Thank you BumbleBeeMum!

    My flight from Narita is 6pm. Therefore, do you think it’s feasible that on Day 11 , we still stay in Hakone/ Mt Fuji and drive back on Day 12 to Tokyo, return the car and take flight back to Singapore?

    Thank you in advance!

    • bumblebeemum
      July 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm (3 months ago)

      Yup. If I have an evening flight out, I would return the car to the airport on the day of departure too. That’s what we did. :)

  22. Fiona
    July 27, 2016 at 7:22 pm (3 months ago)

    Thank you for your advice!!

    In this way, it will be more convenient to us. Is it possible for us to collect the rental car in Tokyo and return it at Narita airport?

    Thank you once again!

    • bumblebeemum
      July 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm (3 months ago)

      Yes it’s possible. Just that there will usually be a drop-off fee.

  23. Fiona
    September 26, 2016 at 10:39 am (4 weeks ago)

    Dear Bumblebee mum,

    We have made some changes to the itinerary and seek your advise on the changes.

    Day 1: Sin – Tokyo
    Day 2: Tokyo (Sensoji Temple, Asakusa / Akihabara Area)
    Day 3: Tokyo (Tsukiji Market, Tokyo Tower, Odaiba)
    Day 4: Tokyo (Shibuya, Harajuku, Shibuya, Tokyo Fire Museum)
    Day 5: Tokyo (Day trip to Yokohama, Nissin cup noodle factory)
    Day 6: Tokyo (Disney land)
    Day 7: Tokyo (Disney Sea)
    Day 8: Chiba (Mother Farm, Tokyo German Village Illumination)
    Day 9: Chiba – Hakone
    Day 10: Hakone
    Day 11: Hakone – Mount Fuji
    Day 12: Mount Fuji
    Day 13: Mount Fuji to Narita Airport (Flight back)

    We have booked 7 nights stay in Shinjuku area. Now I was thinking to book 5 nights stay in Shinjuku instead. On Day 6 we drive to Disney land and after which we will stay at Chiba for Day 6 to Day 9. Is it more convenient and nearer to stay at Chiba and drive to Disney land / Disney sea compare to Shinjuku? I want to save the hassle of taking JR from Shinjuku to Disney land/ Disney sea during the peak hours with my 3 boys!

    Thank you!


    • bumblebeemum
      September 28, 2016 at 2:14 pm (4 weeks ago)

      Yup, staying at Chiba to visit Disneyland would make sense too. Accommodation and parking is generally cheaper in Chiba. But parking at Disneyland would be expensive, and I’m not sure if there would be traffic jam along the way if you’re talking about driving in peak hour.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *

CommentLuv badge