Tuesday, October 31, 2023

There and back again... A Japan Business Trip Story...

Just came back from another business trip to Tokyo. A red-eye flight on a Monday night out from Changi returning on a Friday night flight back from Haneda. That gave me the full 4 days from Tuesday to Friday in Tokyo.

A few observations I made during this trip:

1) Massive influx of foreigners working in frontline service roles.

2) Food is great and still very affordable, especially with the cheaper JPY

3) Shopping for clothes (e.g. UNIQLO, GAP etc), easily cheaper by 20-30% compared to Singapore

4) Never seen such a great number of European/American tour groups

Kobe Beef course meal for 9,800yen? Sure~

Love the place to bits but hotel has been a bit expensive the last week. Glad the company was paying because I will not be flying into Tokyo and staying there during the peak season. After 4 days of walking and eating I was pretty tired (more due to the overnight flight and shopping for the missus than the work...) and was ready to go home.  But it also invoked a thought in me. We might enjoy Tokyo for a long weekend more than a Phuket or Bangkok trip.

I probably can get away with short 4-day getaways like this in future flying into Tokyo on a Thursday night and returning on a Monday evening. A quick check on Google Flights and Booking.com revealed that a ticket on Zipair would cost S$574/pax (or S$1,148 for 2) and a hotel room at Sotetsu Fresa Inn Ueno-Okachimachi (incl breakfast) for 2 will cost S$466 for the 3 nights from 12th Jan 2024 to 15th Jan 2024.

That works out to S$1,614 for 4 days in Tokyo from Friday to Monday. How would you spend those 4 days? I would probably do the following:

Friday - Arrival, rent a car and drive over to Atami or Kawaguchiko for a night's stay at an onsen ryokan or maybe do a night of glamping at QOONEL+. (Note: that will increase the hotel cost since any accommodation at those tourist area will cost more than Tokyo's business hotels)

Saturday - Check out from Onsen ryokan or glamping site, spend half a day sightseeing before going back to Tokyo. Check-in and start roaming the streets of Tokyo.

Sunday - More shopping, more eating, one can take a walk at Asakusa and Tokyo Sky Tree or Meiji Jingu Shrine and Omote-sando. Find a nice cafe and chill the afternoon away.

Monday - Check-out, have a nice breakfast followed by shopping at Ueno Ameyoko before going to the airport.

Tuesday - Go back to the office with a refreshed mind and body!

I figured the entire trip will work out to slightly more than S$1k/pax excluding shopping. It's definitely a bit tiring on the overnight flight but for the quality of the food and climate I think its a big upgrade over any South East Asia destination. 

Would you do it?

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