Travel Tips To Tokyo For Fancy but Frugal Families

CONTRIBUTED BY DIANA MIDDLETON

Someone asked in a previous post how to travel from Okinawa to Tokyo in a more “economical” fashion, and I thought it would be a great idea for a main post. Below is a description of “cost savers” that my family has used. Feel free to chime in if you have other ideas to share!

FLIGHT

Space A flight to Yokota from Kadena. We left on a Saturday and came back that following Friday. However, with the change in provider, I believe the departure day has changed from Saturday to Wednesday. The number to the Kadena AMC terminal is 634-2159 (or x0153 to speak with someone). Notes on this: *Request EML orders from your sponsor’s command to get bumped up to a higher priority status. *Sign ups begin as soon as leave begins. *You can check in your luggage the day before the flight leaves. *Once you arrive in Yokota, immediately go to the Operations desk to sign up for your return flight. *You can also check with the AMC terminal on Futenma for flights to mainland Japan.

LODGING

Instead of staying at the New Sanno (which is not a bad price, either), we stayed at the TLF on Yokota. You can reserve up to 30 days in advance for a 3-day period. Don’t worry, this stressed me out, too, because we wanted to stay for the six days until our flight left. But we just called on the 3rd day to request an extension for another three days and we’ve never had any problems with this. Truly, it was easy. Visit their website for more information. Their phone number is: DSN 224-2000. For those calling from off base, to access a DSN number, dial 0425-522-511 + the last 5 digits of the number you are calling, so for Yokota Lodging, it would be 42000.

Other lodging options, besides the New Sanno and Yokota, are Hardy Barracks (DSN 229-3270) and Camp Zama (DSN 263-2775)

TRANSPORTATION

We like to have the flexibility of riding in our own car. We rented a van from Yokota’s Vehicle Operations. The cost for the entire week was $390, which sounds like a lot, but it was really worth it, especially since the rental comes with free toll passes, which you’ll need when driving to places like Disneyland and other places of interest. Now, we really didn’t take the van into the city directly, because nobody wants to drive in a city like Tokyo. You’ll get nowhere fast. For trips into the city, we took the train. Here is the website for the vehicle operations: Here is a picture of the van we rented:

Ov303

Other transportation options: Yokota lodging has a shuttle that goes to the New Sanno every day, once in the morning to take you there and once in the afternoon to bring you back to Yokota. I think they might also have a late night return shuttle. You could also take the Japanese railway. You could also rent a car

A PLACE THAT HELPS

The Yujo Community Center on Yokota is a must-see location. They have sheets of places of interest from everything to DisneyLand to local parks of interest. The greatest thing about these sheets is that they provide detailed directions depending on your mode of travel. If you want to drive to Disney, they have perfect driving instructions with estimated times of arrival. If you want to take the train to visit Tokyo Tower, they have detailed instructions for getting on the train, the train fees, etc. It really is a wonderful resource to have on hand. One time we got lost using the train system in Tokyo and I just called their front desk and asked, “Which train do I get on??” and the guy was very helpful in directing us home (note: no matter how well you think you read maps, don’t try to take a short cut home, it never works! Follow their instructions to the T and you won’t have this happen to you). Even if you have a particular point of interest you want to visit and they don’t have a pre-printed sheet on this location, they will look it up for you and make you a quick map. Visit their website for more information. I would definitely stop by here once you arrive on Yokota!

I hope this helps others in their traveling endeavors!!


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21 Comments
  • July 12, 2011

    I found this website for things to do in Tokyo and it is fabulous tokyowithkids.blogspot.com

    Reply
  • April 6, 2010

    Just a helpful tip…. because I was calling to make reservations on Yokota at the Kanto Inn (TLF)…I have the number for the Yokota AB operator when calling from a cell phone. Thank goodness I never deleted it from my cell phone from when we lived there 2 1/2 years ago! The operator number is 0425522510 then you will be asked to punch in the lasts 5 digits of the phone number on Yokota that you are trying to reach. Hope this is helpful to those of you trying to get a reservation or get info on Yokota!

    Heather
    Reply
  • September 19, 2008

    Yuko, military can rent off base. You can check online or you can call the transportation office above and they might have the number to the agency right outside Yokota’s gate. Hope this helps.

    Diana M.
    Reply
  • September 18, 2008

    Jennifer, thank you very much! We’re looking forward to our trip. We leave in a couple of weeks and will be going space-a and making the best of it all:-)

    Melissa
    Reply
  • September 18, 2008

    For Melissa -http://www.japanhotel.net/data/access_information.asp?HotelID=35&area=TOKYO We stayed at Family Resort Fifties for maihama, and booked through japanhotel.net. It was close to the park 15-20 minute bus ride each way. That way we were able to do a nap in the afternoon and go back to the park in the evening. The room was small, and we were on the basement floor, it had a slight odor to that didn’t go away, and also some mildew on the bathroom ceiling that was calling out for Tilex. The staff were very nice and helpful. We went the first week of japanese summer vacation, so it seemed that many hotels near Disney were booked, so going during the school year might be easier. We did not bring car seats, we did all public transportation. For the younger kids, we liked Disney much better than Disney Sea, the attractions are closer together and it’s easier to navigate.

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • September 18, 2008

    hi,we plan to go tokyo for vacation.
    i have a question can military rent a car off base?if we can,what kind paper work we have to do befor rent?
    ofcourse, we don’t have a japanese driver license.
    please somebody let me know!
    thank you.

    yuko
    Reply
  • August 31, 2008

    Jennifer, we are planning a trip to Disney and your idea of staying near the parks so that the kids could nap was great. Where did you stay? Would you recommend it? I have a 4-yr old and a 2-yr old. Also, to anyone else that has made the trip – did you do it with kids similar in age to mine? What did you do about car seats? Thanks!!

    Melissa
    Reply
  • August 31, 2008

    Jennifer, we are planning a trip to Disney and your idea of staying near the parks so that the kids could nap was great. Where did you stay? Would you recommend it? I have a 4-yr old and a 2-yr old. Also, to anyone else that has made the trip – did you do it with kids similar in age to mine? What did you do about car seats? Thanks!!

    Melissa
    Reply
  • July 29, 2008

    I’m so happy for you! That’s awesome that you saved so much money and that the trip turned out successful. We love to hear those kinds of stories!! Thanks for letting us know!

    Diana
    Reply
  • July 29, 2008

    We did it! We caught a space a flight, the second day we tried, getting us to Atsugi. We stayed at the Navy Lodge that night (the flight arrived around 10pm) the next day we walked to the gate (no base taxis) taxi’d to the train station and took the train to the hotel we were staying at near Disney. When were were done at Disney(3 days), we started calling Yokota and Atsugi for flights back to Kadena. We did one day out in town, visiting small aquarium and giant ferris wheel, basically a recovery day from Disney. With persistant calling we found a flight returning Monday night, which is when our reservations were ending at the hotel. Space A lodging at Yokota was EXTREMELY tight after the Patriot express came in (people lining up at the desk for first come first serve release of rooms at 1800) if we had needed additional nights in the area, but the airman at the desk expected to be able to house most of the people looking for lodging. The space a flights alone saved us nearly $2000. I didn’t want to risk not getting a night at the New Sanno and having to change hotels mid trip, so stayed on the economy near Disney. We could take a shuttle bus to the hotel for naptime and return to Disney for the evening. The train rides were long to and from the bases, and those days were really just additional travel days, but all part of the adventure.

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • July 3, 2008

    We found a budget hotel close to Disney and made reservations there. Weeknights were less than $100 for a triple room. I am still crossing my fingers that Yokota will have space though…

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • July 2, 2008

    Hi Jennifer, did you try Camp Zama (DSN 263-2775)?

    Diana
    Reply
  • June 27, 2008

    oh ya, Itsugi has opening usually, but it is a nice train ride from disney (like an hour and a half)

    bambi
    Reply
  • June 27, 2008

    Keep calling New Sanno!!! Call them every hour if you have to! We went the week after spring break and had a one night reservation. Through persistant calling I got a second night and the day we were suppose to check out I got our third night. Not ideal, but they do have last minute cancelations that are given away to the first caller!

    bambi
    Reply
  • June 27, 2008

    We are trying this trip for block leave the end of July. The new sanno, Kanto lodge and Hardy barracks are full, not taking space a. Any other suggestions for places to stay? We have our hearts set on taking the kids to Disney (okay, I really want to go to disney!)

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • June 10, 2008

    Wow how funny. We just got home from Tokyo on Thursday! It was actually cheaper for us to stay at the New Sanno than it was to stay at Hardy or Yakota. Plus the service was much better and the train station was only a 5 min walk up the street. We rented a car from the rental place (I should have gotten to the van like you did). We paid $380 for the week but didn’t get the toll pass. That alone cost us around $150! If you go durring July/Aug make sure you hit Mt Fuji. We only got to go 1/2 way up because it still had snow. But the view (what we could see through the fog) was amazing.

    Kristin
    Reply
  • June 10, 2008

    THIS JUST IN …

    Throughout June, the Patriot Express is transiting Yokota every Wednesday and Thursday but in the opposite direction, originating in Kadena. This is what I said before in my post, but it is confirmed just for JUNE!!

    However, the Patriot Express has scheduled only biweekly missions in July and August. The flight will pass through Yokota on July 10-11 and July 24-25 on a roundtrip from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and back. The following month, it’s set to stop here Aug. 7-8 and Aug. 20-21 as part of the same route.

    Somebody who reads code, please translate this!! In my own world, it sounds like you have to schedule a two week trip, i.e. fly out July 10/11 to Yokota and return to Okinawa July 24/25. I’ll try to call the terminal to confirm! If you know, please respond.

    Also, this brings up a good point about traveling Space A. HAVE A PLAN! Both times our family went out, we had money set aside for extra stays in lodging and even a flight back home just in case. Have a “what if” plan and you’ll be okay.

    I’m sure since this news article has been posted, less people will venture out. Please, don’t let it ruin your fun, just go with the flow and adjust accordingly. Most importantly, have a plan! (smile)

    Here is the link to the Stripes story for more info: http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=62696&archive=true

    Diana
    Reply
  • June 9, 2008

    Wow, that was great!! Thanks!

    Reply
  • June 8, 2008

    I love how detailed this post is. I get nervous even thinking about traveling with my children, but after this post, we may just have to plan a trip this summer!

    Kandy
    Reply
  • June 8, 2008

    Thank you so much for all the detailed info Diana. We are planning that exact trip the end of July after your last posting!

    Jennifer
    Reply
  • June 8, 2008

    Just a note: You shouldn’t need to wait until you get to Yokota to sign up for your return flight. The SECOND you are on leave you can email any AMC terminals you might use to be put on their lists right at that moment. Every minute helps!

    Joelle
    Reply