4 days in Japan for Two: a Tabinu experience

Hi everyone! Boy, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

The past 5 months have been quite a ride for me — and quite sadly, robbing me of any time to keep up with blog posts! Since July, I’ve moved to a different state (New York), taken on new responsibilities at work (requiring, unfortunately, working weeknights and weekends 😦 ), and found time to travel all around the US, Canada, and most recently, Costa Rica. 😀 #blessed

One of my biggest trips this year was a wonderful 2 week vacation with my boyfriend to Japan and Taiwan. Four nights and six days of that trip were spent entirely in the Kansai region: Osaka, Nara, Kobe, and Kyoto. While it would have served us better to spend more than 4 days, we couldn’t pull the time together. But we were still able to see most of the popular (albeit touristy) sights and places.

fushimi inari shrine

Torii gates at Fushimi Inari

We owe much of the success of my boyfriend’s inaugural trip to Japan to tabinu: a company that specializes in building highly-personalized itineraries for those looking to make the most of their time and budget in Japan. The team at tabinu has taken their years of experience living and working in, and traveling throughout Japan to help you create your ideal trip.

Since they speak both English and Japanese fluently, they were a big help with, for example, navigating Japanese websites to look up train timetables, and finding local restaurants that offered vegetarian options, since being vegetarian in Japan is notoriously difficult. They even created a mini handbook of Japanese phrases relevant to where we would be going (or what we were eating)!

Moreover, we had total control over the cost of our trip. My boyfriend and I had a ceiling of $700 between the both of us, including lodging. I am still amazed with how much we were able to accomplish on such a restrictive budget. Under tabinu‘s guidance and careful planning, we were able to secure comfortable, clean, and convenient lodging, transportation for all 6 nights, meals, entrance fees for attractions, and even buy souvenirs all within $700! We actually had some trouble using up the rest of our yen at the end of the trip.

lunch at tenryu-ji temple

A delicious, healthy, and vegetarian (!!) kaiseki meal at Tenryu-ji Temple

We opted for an itinerary that was around 40/60 guided to self-exploration, which means we were mostly provided suggestions on what to see and when, so that we maximized our time and our Kansai Thru Passes (a 3-day pass for public transportation). The hour-by-hour, day-to-day minutiae of our trip I opted to do myself, but I was very dependent on the tips tabinu provided regarding how locals travel, eat, and see Japan.

If you are looking for a more all-inclusive experience (with airfare, lodging, and daily activities all planned for you), the experts at tabinu have finessed the balance you’re seeking between guided and self-exploring.

The service fee for creating our 4-day itinerary was USD$150, which I think was really reasonable given the amount of time and thought that was put into our trip by tabinu! They charge per itinerary, so prices will be different depending on the length and complexity (perhaps?) of your trip.

Himeji Castle

World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle — would not have known how to get to this place without tabinu’s help!

We truly had a wonderful trip and a positive experience working with tabinu, and I want to give the team credit where credit is due. So if you are planning a trip to Japan any time soon, I highly recommend checking them out!

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