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How To Get From Singapore To Japan When Backpacking


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Gwynne Stumpf



Backpacking is a thrilling and adventurous way to explore the world, and Asia offers a multitude of captivating destinations to embark on such journeys. One of the most popular routes is from Singapore to Japan, a contrast of vibrant city life and serene nature that promises an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or a first-time traveler, this article will guide you on how to get from Singapore to Japan when backpacking.


Planning a backpacking trip requires careful consideration of several factors, such as the mode of transportation, visa requirements, budget considerations, accommodation options, and must-visit destinations. By taking the time to plan your journey, you can optimize your experience and make the most out of your time in Japan.


When it comes to choosing the mode of transportation from Singapore to Japan, there are three main options: by air, by sea, or overland. Each option has its advantages and considerations, so it’s essential to evaluate them based on your preferences, budget, and time constraints.


Planning your trip

Before embarking on your backpacking adventure from Singapore to Japan, it’s crucial to plan your trip thoroughly. Here are some key points to consider when planning your journey:

  • Duration: Determine how long you want to spend in Japan. This will help you create a rough itinerary and allocate time for each destination.
  • Season: Research the weather conditions in different parts of Japan during your intended travel period. Japan’s climate varies significantly, so pack accordingly and plan activities based on the season.
  • Budget: Set a budget for your trip, considering expenses such as transportation, accommodation, food, activities, and souvenirs. Remember to account for any visa fees or travel insurance costs as well.
  • Interests: Consider your interests and the type of experiences you want to have in Japan. Are you a history enthusiast wanting to explore ancient temples and castles? Or perhaps you’re a nature lover looking forward to hiking in the stunning landscapes of Hokkaido?
  • Transportation: Research the different modes of transportation available in Japan, such as trains, buses, and domestic flights. Familiarize yourself with the transportation network and decide which options suit your itinerary and budget best.

By carefully planning these aspects of your trip, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable backpacking experience in Japan. Take advantage of travel resources, online forums, and guidebooks to gather information and recommendations from fellow travelers who have already explored the same route.


Choosing the mode of transportation

When it comes to traveling from Singapore to Japan, you have several options for transportation. Each mode of transport has its own advantages and considerations, so let’s explore them:

Option 1: By air

Flying is the fastest and most convenient way to travel from Singapore to Japan. There are direct flights available from major airlines that connect Singapore’s Changi Airport to Japan’s Narita, Haneda, and Kansai International Airports. The flight duration is approximately 6-7 hours, depending on the destination.


One of the benefits of flying is that it saves you time, allowing you to reach your destination quickly and efficiently. However, it can be more expensive than other modes of transportation, especially during peak travel seasons. It’s advisable to book your flights in advance to secure better deals.

Option 2: By sea

If you prefer a more leisurely and scenic journey, traveling by sea can be an exciting option. Some cruise lines offer itineraries that include stops in Japan, allowing you to enjoy the experience of being on a luxurious ship while exploring multiple destinations along the way.


However, it’s important to note that sea travel from Singapore to Japan may take significantly longer compared to flying. The duration can range from several days to a couple of weeks, depending on the route and stops. Additionally, this option can be more expensive, considering the cost of the cruise ticket and other onboard expenses.

Option 3: Overland

If you’re up for a more adventurous and budget-friendly journey, traveling overland can be a rewarding experience. This option involves taking various forms of transportation, such as trains, buses, and ferries, to navigate through different countries before reaching Japan.


One popular overland route is to travel by train through countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and China, before crossing into Japan via a ferry or train. This option allows you to witness the diverse landscapes and cultures of the countries en route. While it may take longer than flying, it provides a unique opportunity for exploration and immersion.


Consider your priorities, budget, and travel preferences when choosing the mode of transportation for your backpacking journey from Singapore to Japan. Remember to factor in the time, cost, and experience each option offers to make an informed decision that suits your needs.


Option 1: By air

Traveling from Singapore to Japan by air is the most popular and convenient option for backpackers. With multiple airlines offering direct flights between Singapore’s Changi Airport and Japan’s major airports, such as Narita, Haneda, and Kansai International, this option ensures a quick and time-efficient journey.


The flight duration from Singapore to Japan is typically around 6-7 hours, depending on the destination. This means you can reach your desired city in Japan in just a few hours, allowing you to make the most of your time exploring the country.


There are several advantages to choosing air travel. Firstly, it offers convenience and saves you valuable time. With a direct flight, you avoid the hassle and time-consuming process of transiting through multiple airports. This allows you to arrive in Japan feeling refreshed and ready to start your adventure.


Moreover, airlines often offer competitive prices and deals, especially when booked in advance or during promotional periods. It’s worth researching and comparing different airlines to find the most affordable options that suit your budget.


When flying from Singapore to Japan, you have the opportunity to choose from a range of airlines, including both full-service carriers and budget airlines. Full-service carriers typically offer more amenities and services during the flight, such as complimentary meals, entertainment systems, and more comfortable seating options.


On the other hand, budget airlines provide a cost-effective option for backpackers who are looking to minimize expenses. These airlines offer affordable fares, but it’s important to note that additional costs may be applied for services such as checked baggage, in-flight meals, and seat selection.


Before booking your flight, consider your preferences and priorities. If comfort and convenience are top priorities, opt for a full-service carrier. However, if budget is a significant factor, a budget airline might be the better choice.


Lastly, be sure to check visa requirements and any other travel restrictions before booking your flight. Some nationalities may require a visa to enter Japan, so it’s important to review the necessary documents and apply for a visa if needed.


Overall, traveling from Singapore to Japan by air offers a seamless and time-efficient option for backpackers. It allows you to maximize your time exploring the incredible sights and experiences that Japan has to offer.


Option 2: By sea

If you’re seeking a unique and leisurely journey from Singapore to Japan, traveling by sea can be a captivating option for backpackers. It offers a different perspective and allows you to experience the beauty of the open waters as you make your way to Japan.


There are cruise lines that offer itineraries from Singapore to Japan, providing a combination of relaxation, entertainment, and the excitement of exploring multiple destinations along the way. These cruises often include stops at various ports, allowing you to disembark and explore different cities and attractions.


One advantage of traveling by sea is the opportunity to enjoy the amenities and activities available onboard the cruise ships. From relaxing by the pool and indulging in luxurious spa treatments to enjoying live entertainment and fine dining, a cruise offers a unique travel experience that goes beyond just transportation.


While traveling by sea can be a more leisurely and scenic option, it’s important to consider that it may take significantly longer compared to flying. The duration of a sea journey from Singapore to Japan can vary depending on the route and stops along the way. It can range from several days to a couple of weeks, allowing you to immerse yourself in the cruise experience.


It’s important to note that traveling by sea can also be a more expensive option, considering the cost of the cruise ticket and other on-board expenses. However, some cruise lines offer packages and deals that can make it more cost-effective, especially if you take advantage of early booking promotions or off-peak season rates.


If you choose to explore the option of traveling by sea, research different cruise lines and their itineraries to find one that aligns with your preferences and budget. Consider the ports of call, duration of the cruise, onboard facilities, and the overall experience provided by each cruise line.


Moreover, keep in mind that visa requirements may apply for certain ports of call. Ensure you have the necessary visas or travel documents for all the destinations you plan to visit during your sea journey.


Traveling by sea from Singapore to Japan offers a different kind of adventure, allowing you to relax, indulge, and explore along the way. It’s an excellent option for those who enjoy the cruise experience and want to savor the journey as much as the destination.


Option 3: Overland

For the adventurous and budget-conscious backpacker, traveling overland from Singapore to Japan can be an exhilarating journey. While it may take longer than flying, this option offers a unique opportunity to explore various countries and witness diverse landscapes, cultures, and experiences along the way.


The overland route from Singapore to Japan typically involves taking various forms of transportation, such as trains, buses, and ferries, to navigate through different countries. One popular overland route is to travel by train through countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and China before crossing into Japan via a ferry or train.


Traveling overland allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with people in each country you pass through. You can enjoy scenic train rides, taste local cuisines, and visit attractions that may not be accessible when flying from one destination to another.


While it may require more planning and flexibility in terms of time, traveling overland offers the freedom to make impromptu stops and explore off-the-beaten-path destinations. It allows you to experience the journey as part of your overall adventure, rather than just focusing on reaching your destination.


One consideration when taking the overland route is the duration of the journey. It may take several weeks or even months to complete, depending on the route you choose and the amount of time you have. It’s essential to plan your itinerary in advance, considering the time needed for visa applications, border crossings, and transportation schedules.


Another factor to consider is the cost. While traveling overland can be more budget-friendly compared to flying, it’s still crucial to budget for transportation expenses, accommodation, food, and visas. Research and compare the cost of train tickets, bus fares, and ferry crossings to optimize your budget.


Additionally, be aware of visa requirements for the countries you plan to pass through during your overland journey. Some countries may require visas in advance, while others offer visa-on-arrival or visa-free entry for certain nationalities. Ensure that you have the necessary visas and travel documents before embarking on your overland adventure.


Overall, traveling overland from Singapore to Japan offers a remarkable and immersive experience for backpackers who are willing to embrace the journey as part of their adventure. It provides an opportunity to explore diverse cultures and landscapes, making memories that will last a lifetime.


Visa requirements

When planning your backpacking trip from Singapore to Japan, it’s crucial to understand the visa requirements for your destination. The visa regulations vary depending on your nationality and the purpose and duration of your visit. Here are some general guidelines regarding visa requirements for traveling to Japan:


Visa exemption: Japan has visa exemption agreements with several countries, allowing their citizens to enter Japan for tourism or short-term stays without a visa. The length of stay allowed varies depending on the country. For example, citizens of Singapore can stay in Japan for up to 90 days without a visa.


Visa on arrival: Japan also offers a visa on arrival for certain nationalities. This allows travelers to obtain a short-term visa upon arrival at specific entry points. However, this option is typically available for countries that do not have a visa exemption agreement with Japan, and the length of stay is usually limited.


Visa application: If you do not fall under the visa exemption or visa on arrival categories, you will need to obtain a visa in advance. The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose of your visit, such as tourism, business, or study. It’s important to determine the correct visa category and gather all the necessary documents for the application process.


The visa application process usually requires submitting an application form, passport-sized photos, a valid passport, proof of travel itinerary, proof of accommodation or sponsorship, financial statements, and any other documents specified by the embassy or consulate. It’s advisable to contact the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate in your country or region for detailed information and guidance regarding the visa application process.


It’s essential to plan ahead and allocate enough time for the visa application process. Some visas may take longer to process, and it’s recommended to begin the application process well in advance of your planned travel dates.


Additionally, ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Japan. It’s also a good practice to make copies of your passport and important documents in case of loss or theft during your trip.


Visa requirements are subject to change, so it’s crucial to check the latest information and updates from official sources, such as the Japanese embassy or consulate, before finalizing your travel plans.


By understanding and fulfilling the visa requirements for traveling to Japan, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free entry into the country, allowing you to fully enjoy your backpacking adventure.


Budget considerations

When planning a backpacking trip from Singapore to Japan, it’s important to consider your budget to ensure a financially manageable and enjoyable journey. Japan can be an exciting but relatively expensive travel destination, so it’s essential to plan and allocate your budget wisely. Here are some key budget considerations for your backpacking adventure:


Transportation: The cost of transportation can be a significant portion of your budget. Consider whether you will be flying, traveling by sea, or taking the overland route, and research the costs associated with each option. Compare prices, look for deals, and book in advance to save money on transportation expenses.


Accommodation: Accommodation costs can vary greatly depending on your preferences and the type of accommodation you choose. Options range from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to mid-range hotels and luxury resorts. Consider staying in budget accommodations, such as hostels or capsule hotels, to save money on lodging.


Food: Japanese cuisine is renowned for its delicious flavors, but dining out can add up quickly. To save money, explore local markets, street food vendors, and affordable restaurants. Embrace the opportunity to try local specialties and create a balance between eating out and preparing your meals if possible.


Activities and attractions: Japan offers a wide range of activities and attractions, but some might come with admission fees. Plan ahead and prioritize the experiences that interest you the most. Look for free or discounted attractions, take advantage of city passes or discount cards, and consider exploring natural attractions that don’t require entrance fees.


Transportation within Japan: Japan has an efficient and extensive transportation network, including trains, buses, and subways. Research the most cost-effective options for getting around within Japan, such as using regional rail passes or discounted bus tickets.


Shopping and souvenirs: Japan is known for its unique shopping experiences and high-quality products. Set a budget for shopping and souvenirs to avoid overspending. Look for affordable souvenirs, explore local markets, and consider purchasing items that truly represent Japan’s culture and craftsmanship.


Currency exchange and transaction fees: Be mindful of currency exchange rates and transaction fees when exchanging money or using international debit or credit cards. Research and compare rates and fees to find the most cost-effective options for managing your finances during your trip.


Remember to create a budget and track your expenses throughout your journey to ensure that you stay within your financial limits. Be prepared for unforeseen expenses and consider having a contingency fund for emergencies.


With careful budget planning and some smart choices, you can have a fantastic backpacking adventure in Japan without breaking the bank. Prioritize experiences that truly matter to you, be conscious of your spending, and embrace the opportunity to explore and enjoy Japan on a budget.


Accommodation options

When backpacking from Singapore to Japan, finding suitable accommodation is an essential part of your travel planning. Japan offers a wide range of accommodation options to cater to different budgets, preferences, and travel styles. Here are some popular accommodation options to consider:

Hostels and guesthouses:

Hostels and guesthouses are cost-effective options for budget-conscious backpackers. These accommodations typically offer dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities like bathrooms and common areas. They are a great way to meet fellow travelers and exchange tips and stories. Some hostels in Japan also provide private rooms for those seeking more privacy.

Capsule hotels:

A unique and quintessentially Japanese experience, capsule hotels provide compact sleeping pods stacked vertically in a communal area. This option offers a basic but comfortable sleeping space and shared bathroom facilities. Capsule hotels are convenient, especially in urban areas or for short stays


Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns known for their warm hospitality and cultural experience. These accommodations offer tatami mat rooms with sliding doors, traditional futon bedding, and shared or private baths. While ryokans tend to be pricier than other options, they provide a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese traditions and enjoy kaiseki (traditional multi-course) meals.

Business hotels:

Business hotels are a popular choice for travelers seeking comfort, convenience, and affordability. These hotels offer compact rooms with essential amenities like private bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and often include complimentary breakfast. Business hotels are commonly found in urban areas and cater to both business and leisure travelers.

Apartments and guesthouses:

If you prefer more space and independence, renting an apartment or staying in a guesthouse can be a great option. Many platforms offer short-term rentals, allowing you to have a home-like experience during your stay in Japan. This option is ideal for travelers who plan to stay for an extended period or wish to have a kitchen and more privacy.

Love hotels:

Primarily designed for couples seeking privacy or a short rest, love hotels offer themed rooms and unique amenities. They are typically available on an hourly basis but can also be booked for overnight stays. Love hotels are an unconventional and offbeat accommodation choice for those looking for something different.


When choosing accommodation, consider factors such as location, amenities, proximity to public transportation, and reviews from other travelers. Booking in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, can help secure the best deals and availability.


Don’t be afraid to mix and match accommodation options based on your preferences and budget. For example, you can opt for budget hostels in smaller cities and splurge on a traditional ryokan experience in Kyoto.


With a variety of accommodation choices available, Japan caters to every traveler’s needs and offers a range of experiences. Consider your budget, preferences, and desired level of comfort to find the perfect accommodation options for your backpacking adventure in Japan.


Must-visit destinations in Japan

Japan is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offering a diverse range of destinations to explore during your backpacking trip. Here are some must-visit destinations in Japan that should be on your itinerary:


The bustling capital city of Japan, Tokyo, is a vibrant metropolis that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. Explore the energetic neighborhoods of Shibuya and Shinjuku, visit iconic landmarks like the Tokyo Skytree and Meiji Shrine, and indulge in delicious street food at Tsukiji Fish Market. Don’t miss the chance to experience Tokyo’s unique blend of ancient temples and futuristic technology.


Known for its traditional charm, Kyoto is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Stroll through the historic streets of Gion, visit stunning bamboo groves in Arashiyama, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Japanese gardens and traditional tea houses. Kyoto offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage.


Famous for its vibrant food scene and lively atmosphere, Osaka is a city that captivates visitors with its culinary delights and modern attractions. Experience the bustling shopping and entertainment district of Dotonbori, explore Osaka Castle, and indulge in local street food favorites like takoyaki and okonomiyaki. Osaka offers a unique blend of history, modernity, and mouthwatering cuisine.


A city with a powerful history, Hiroshima is a must-visit destination to witness the resilience and peace-seeking spirit of its people. Visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, pay homage at the Genbaku Dome, and take a ferry ride to the serene Miyajima Island with its famous Itsukushima Shrine and floating torii gate.


If you’re a nature enthusiast and love breathtaking landscapes, a visit to Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is a must. Explore the stunning national parks of Daisetsuzan and Shiretoko, soak in the natural hot springs of Noboribetsu, and witness the beauty of lavender fields in Furano. Hokkaido offers a tranquil escape and an opportunity to experience Japan’s expansive wilderness.


These are just a few highlights of the many incredible destinations that Japan has to offer. Each region and city has its own unique charm, attractions, and local specialties. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, cuisine, or modern culture, Japan has something to satisfy every traveler’s interests.


As you plan your backpacking adventure, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden gems beyond the well-known destinations. Keep in mind that Japan’s transportation system makes it easy to navigate between cities, allowing you to explore multiple regions and experience the country’s diverse offerings.


Packing essentials

Packing smart and efficiently is crucial for a successful backpacking trip from Singapore to Japan. Here are some essential items to consider when packing for your adventure:

Appropriate clothing:

Japan experiences diverse climates throughout the year, so pack clothing suitable for the season and region you’ll be visiting. Layering is key to adjust to varying temperatures. Include comfortable walking shoes, a waterproof jacket or umbrella, and a hat for protection against the sun or rain.

Travel documents:

Keep your passport, visa (if required), and any other necessary travel documents in a safe and easily accessible place. Make copies of these documents and store them separately from the originals in case of loss or theft. Having a digital copy on your phone or email can also be useful.

Electronics and adapters:

Bring essential electronics such as a mobile phone, camera, and charger. Japan uses Type A and Type B electrical outlets, so consider bringing a universal adapter to plug in your devices and ensure they can be charged. A portable power bank can also be handy for charging on the go.

Travel essentials:

Include travel-sized toiletries, a small towel, and a travel-sized first-aid kit with basic medications. It’s also helpful to pack a reusable water bottle, a travel lock for securing your belongings, and a travel-sized umbrella or poncho.

Money and banking:

Carry enough local currency, as well as a credit card or debit card that works internationally. Notify your bank and credit card company about your travel plans to avoid any issues with card usage. It’s advisable to keep some cash in multiple locations for emergency purposes.


Consider bringing a portable Wi-Fi device or purchasing a SIM card in Japan to stay connected. Having a basic knowledge of common Japanese phrases or carrying a pocket-sized phrasebook can also be helpful for communication.

Travel backpack:

Choose a comfortable and durable backpack that fits your needs and provides ample storage space. Look for a backpack with multiple compartments for easy organization and accessibility. Consider packing cubes or compression bags to maximize space and keep your belongings organized.

Other essentials:

Include a travel guidebook, a reusable shopping bag, a travel adapter for your phone or tablet, and a multi-purpose tool like a Swiss army knife. Don’t forget important personal items like prescription medications, travel insurance information, and a spare set of glasses or contact lenses if needed.


Remember to pack light and prioritize essential items that can be easily carried throughout your journey. Japan has excellent convenience stores where you can purchase any additional necessities you might need along the way.


As you pack, consider the activities and destinations on your itinerary to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable backpacking adventure in Japan.


Tips for a successful backpacking trip

Embarking on a backpacking trip from Singapore to Japan requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable journey:

Research and plan:

Research your destinations, transportation options, visa requirements, and local customs before your trip. Create a rough itinerary to make the most of your time and allow flexibility for spontaneous adventures.

Pack light and smart:

Traveling with a backpack means keeping your load as light as possible. Pack versatile clothing, prioritize essentials, and consider using packing cubes or compression bags to save space and keep your belongings organized.

Stay connected:

Having access to the internet can be incredibly helpful during your trip. Consider renting a portable Wi-Fi device or purchasing a SIM card for your phone to stay connected and navigate efficiently.

Immerse in local culture:

Respect and appreciate the local customs and traditions of Japan. Learn a few basic Japanese phrases, practice good etiquette, and be mindful of social norms. Engage with locals, try traditional foods, and embrace cultural experiences.

Stay safe and stay insured:

Take necessary precautions to ensure your safety while traveling. Avoid walking alone at night, secure your belongings, and be vigilant in crowded areas. Purchase travel insurance to protect yourself from unforeseen circumstances.

Budget wisely:

Create a realistic budget and stick to it. Research affordable accommodations, try local street food, and take advantage of discounted attractions or transportation options. Use budgeting apps or keep track of your expenses to avoid overspending.

Be flexible and open-minded:

Traveling is full of unexpected surprises. Embrace the journey with an open mind, be flexible with your plans, and embrace the spontaneous moments and interactions that make travel truly special.

Take care of your health:

Stay hydrated, get enough rest, and take care of your physical and mental well-being. Carry necessary medications, use sunscreen, and practice good hygiene. Incorporate downtime and self-care into your itinerary.

Respect the environment:

Be mindful of your impact on the environment and practice responsible tourism. Follow Leave No Trace principles, dispose of waste properly, and support eco-friendly initiatives. Leave the beautiful places you visit unspoiled for future generations to enjoy.

Enjoy the journey:

Above all, savor every moment of your backpacking adventure in Japan. Embrace the challenges, embrace the connections you make with fellow travelers and locals, and create lifelong memories in this enchanting country.


Remember, every traveler’s journey is unique, and these tips provide a general framework for a successful backpacking trip. Adapt them to your personal preferences and travel style, and most importantly, enjoy this incredible adventure across Singapore and Japan!



Embarking on a backpacking trip from Singapore to Japan offers a world of adventure, culture, and unforgettable experiences. From the vibrant streets of Tokyo to the tranquil landscapes of Hokkaido, Japan has something to offer every type of traveler.


By planning your trip carefully, choosing the right mode of transportation, considering visa requirements, and budgeting wisely, you can ensure a smooth and successful journey. Research the must-visit destinations in Japan, pack smartly, and embrace the local culture and customs. Stay connected, stay safe, and take care of your health throughout your adventure.


Immerse yourself in the beauty of Japan’s temples, gardens, and natural wonders. Sample the mouthwatering cuisine, wander through vibrant shopping districts, and connect with locals who will make your journey even more special.


While this guide provides valuable tips and insights, it’s important to remember that the essence of backpacking lies in the freedom to explore, discover, and embrace the unexpected. Be open to new experiences, step out of your comfort zone, and allow yourself to be captivated by the wonders of Japan.


As you navigate from Singapore to Japan, let the diversity of landscapes, the rich history, and the warm hospitality of the people guide you. Take your time, soak in the beauty of each destination, and make memories that will last a lifetime.


Whether you’re marveling at the bright lights of Tokyo, immersing in the tranquility of Kyoto, or hiking through the rugged landscapes of Hokkaido, your backpacking journey from Singapore to Japan is sure to be an adventure to be cherished forever.