Monday, November 12, 2012

Japan Preparation: Baggage, JPY, Japan Rail Pass

Packing: Backpack vs. Wheeled Luggage
I did Europe in a backpack, then switched to a wheeled luggage during the trip.
I did Indochina in a backpack, I survived.
This time, I decided I would use a wheeled luggage. Most travellers didn’t seem to have any issues dragging these things around Japan. True enough, there were lifts and escalators when I needed them. Plus, a luggage has a more “glam” effect than a backpack. Mas bagay din sa boots. :P

I used a separate small backpack for my laptop

Exchanging PHP to JPY (Philippine Peso to Japanese Yen)

After securing my Japan Visa, I started to accumulate all the Japanese Yen. You can also withdraw the JPY overseas but that would just hassle me when I arrive in Japan, so I decided to be hassled here.

Czarina Forex – You have to call their main branch and tell them you’d like to purchase Yen, and which branch you’ll get the JPY. The branch will start to accumulate your JPY order, then they’ll call you once ready. I asked for JPY 140,000 but they were only able to accumulate JPY 40,000 in the first week and JPY 20,000 in the next week. I had to resort to other Forex dealers to get my JPY.
Czarina Forex Phone Numbers: +63.2.811-1875; +63.2.811-1895; +63.2.811-1859

Sanry’s Money Changer – just proceed to any Sanry’s branch and tell them you want to purchas Yen. They will give you the selling price of their Yen (this rate is not the one posted in their outlet, you have to ask).

Luckily, my workplace is near both Forex dealers. The JPY rates that I got (around October 2012):

Forex Dealer
Exchange Rate

Japan Rail Pass
Pricey. Probably the most expensive transportation pass that I bought my entire life. But what is the Japan experience without the bullet trains? Plus, I relied heavily on Japan Guide’s itinerary

[Who is eligible for a JAPAN RAIL PASS?
You are a foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad for sight-seeing, under the entry status of "temporary visitor."]

You have to buy the Japan Railpass OUTSIDE of Japan. Actually, you are buying the Japan Railpass Order, then you’ll exchange that for the actual rail pass once you land in Japan.

The Japan Rail Pass Order + Official Receipt

List where JPR is sold in the Philippines. Just hit Ctrl+F and type “Philippines”

I have these options:

2nd Floor, 6788 Ayala Avenue, oledau Square, Makati City, Philippines
TEL (02)886-6868
H.I.S.(Philippines)Travel Corp.
SERENDRA-Shopping Arcade 2F Serendra, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global,Taguig City, PHILIPPINES
TEL (02) 915-0351
FAX (02) 915-0354
Universal Holidays, Inc. Makati Office
3rd Floor, Dusit Hotel Nikko, Ayala Center, Makati City, PHILIPPINES
TEL 632-8593888
FAX 632-8403756
Universal Holidays, Inc. Manila Office
Ground Floor, Shopping Arcade, Century Park Hotel, Pablo S. Ocampo Sr. Corner M. Adriatico Streets Malate, Manila, PHILIPPINES
TEL 63-2-526-4681
FAX 63-2-521-8775

I started to call them up to ask for the PHP rates of a 7-day OrdinaryJapan Railpass. The JPY cost is 28,300.
  • JAL Manila only sells to Japan Airlines passengers. Won’t be buying there.
  • H.I.S. Travel offers a good rate, but their office is in Serendra. I wan’t too keen on going there to get the pass.
  • Universal Holidays Inc. (UHI) – a good walk away from the office. Sold! Do call first before going to their office - especially if you plan to go during your lunch break.

UHI requires you to present your Tourist Japan Visa to buy the Japan Rail Pass. They have a PHP rate, and they also accept credit card payments. Since I got my Yen at a really good price, I decided to purchase the pass in Yen. However, my lapads were all in 10,000 denominations and they have no yen for my change. They gave me Php 850.00 (JPY 1,700) as change, using their in-house exchange rate. Boo. 

The actual Japan Rail Pass

Now I'm ready to conquer Japan!


  1. Thanks for sharing! Do they give you the exchange order for the JRpass upront after paying?

    1. Hi Mayu! Yes! They give the exchange order upon payment.

  2. Thanks! One more question, do all parties need to be present when purchasing the pass or is it okay for one person to buy for the group?

  3. Hi Mayu, I think one person can buy for all provided that their visas will also be presented. You can try checking directly with the travel agency.

  4. Travelling in Japan is a very nice experience. So if you want to visit and have a vacation in Japan, you can go to our website: to see our affordable package tour price, Japan Rail Pass and Japan Tourist Visa! Also, fill-up our inquiry form for us to easily assist you! Thank You!

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