A GLIMPSE ABOUT VOYAGIN
Voyagin is an online booking service for tours, tickets and restaurants in several Asian countries founded by Masashi Takahashi from Japan. Being a Japanese company, the widest range of services is in Japan, that includes mobile WiFi rental, SIM card and e-money card purchases. Other Asian countries available on Voyagin are Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Singapore and Hong Kong, with limited city options.
HOW I ENDED UP USING THE SERVICE
My first “encounter” with this company was when I was searching further information about Fujiko F. Fujio Museum on www.japan-guide.com since I’m a huge fan of Doraemon.
The most bizarre thing about it is that the ticket should be bought in advance and there’s no ticket sales at the museum itself. Only when you arrive in Japan can you actually buy it from Loppi vending machines in any Lawson convenience stores.
I left for Tokyo on April 1 and planned to visit the museum the day after, on April 2. In that situation, I probably didn’t want to hassle searching for Lawson on my first day in Japan, although it is said that Lawson is available just a stone’s throw away from any hotels throughout the country. Not to mention that the instructions are only written in Japanese and asking a shop assistant for help could take a lot of time.
Therefore, I decided to get it online prior to my arrival in Japan by clicking the link of Voyagin on www.japan-guide.com, redirected to Fujiko F. Fujio Museum online booking page.
Nonetheless, if you have more time and want to experience using Loppi machine in a correct way, save or print the English instruction before having yourself in front of the machine.
HOW VOYAGIN WORKS
In my experience, booking a ticket through Voyagin is as simple as one, two, three. Click www.govoyagin.com to find the latest offers on tours, tickets and restaurant bookings.
Once you find a desired destination, you just need to choose the available date and how many tickets you want to order.
But before that, it is highly recommended to click “Read Full Description” for more information on specific requirements from the destination you are about to visit (e.g. time slot admittance options, what to or not to bring inside the museum, when to place a pre-order, additional information to submit, etc), as well as the company’s rule on ticket pick-up and delivery.
Since Voyagin offers a ticket delivery to the hotel as part of the service, you should make use of it wisely by informing the hotel name and its complete address, the full name used on your reservation and check-in date to the (Voyagin) officials at least 3 business days in advance. The earlier the better as long as you’re fully confirmed with where you stay when the ticket is delivered.
Otherwise, you could collect it in its office in Shibuya, Tokyo.
(English) Miyamasu ON Building 5th floor, 1-15-8 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
(Japanese) 〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷 1-15-8 宮益 ON ビル 5F
After clicking “Book It” button, complete the next form with your full name, email address, the length of your stay in Japan, ticket delivery option (choose either collect it at its office or at the hotel), special request, additional info (e.g. official entrance options, audio guide language options, etc when necessary) and payment information to secure your booking.
You will receive a confirmation email both in your inbox and your Voyagin account once you sign up that looks like the following:
In case your request cannot be fulfilled, i.e. your entrance time slot preference is fully booked or the preferred date is not available, the officials will inform you within 3 days or less. If everything is okay, then you are set to go! Collect the ticket at the hotel or in its office in Shibuya, your choice.
Should you have more questions, you can chat with the staff using a chat box during operational hours on the right corner of the site, or an envelope sign on a smartphone.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT VOYAGIN
I was fully satisfied with the service from Voyagin because:
- Voyagin shares all information you need to know under one roof. Browsing multiple websites, reading scattered brochures, asking friends and random people about a place you are about to visit will no longer necessary. Moreover, when you receive the ticket, Voyagin gives you an additional information inside the envelope on public transports, bus or train schedules and road directions to your destination. It completely saves your time and energy.
- It delivers the ticket to your hotel. In other words, there’s no need to print the ticket from your email and bring it before coming to Japan. Upon arrival at the hotel, all I had to do is to ask the concierge for the letter with my ticket in it.
- Quick response. Chatting with the officials is very effective and efficient, as questions are replied within seconds during operational hours. When they are offline, you can leave your questions, name and email address, then you’ll get the reply within 24 hours.
- Free cancellation. Voyagin allows a full refund if you cancel your booking, except for last minute and fixed date tickets. Click here for more information about cancellation policies.
HOW MUCH DID I SPEND FOR IT?
Good question! And I’m going to explain it right now.
The original price of Fujiko F. Fujio Museum is ¥1000 (almost $9) from Loppi machine at Lawson convenience store in Japan. Voyagin sells the same ticket for $27 (about ¥3000). I was already well-informed about it before finally using Voyagin service.
When I received the museum ticket from Voyagin, I saw a Lawson logo on the top left side next to the barcode. I wasn’t surprised. I had known from the start that the company would buy it from the same Lawson’s Loppi machine.
So you know the conclusion right away. A ¥1000 ticket sold for ¥3000. Wow! Indeed, it offers a great service that comes with a price.
IS IT WISE TO USE VOYAGIN SERVICE FOR BUDGET TRAVELLERS?
If I knew that it would cost so much more to get the ticket from Voyagin, why on earth did I still use the service as a budget conscious traveller?
First of all, one of my main goals to Japan is to visit Fujiko F. Fujio Museum and I didn’t want to fail it. As mentioned before, I planned to visit it on my 2nd day in Japan. Therefore, I’d rather take a good rest on day 1 before actually began my adventures next day. Unfortunately, I have neither friends nor relatives in Japan whom I can count on to have the ticket bought for me in advance.
I’m not sure when I have time to return to Japan next time just to see the museum. Even if I return to the country, it’s hard to tell whether I’m heading to Kawasaki area, the city where the museum is located, or not.
Time is money, an old saying that is also valid for budget travellers. I get it. As a budget traveller, you may tend to avoid tour operators or third parties to find tickets, hotels and so on to cut cost. Google maps and reading multiple travel blogs are your free guide books. I second that thoughts, too.
Nonetheless, there are times when it is wiser to replace “time” with “money”, especially when you have a tight schedule and spare time could be a luxury. I would rather spend 3 times higher than the original ticket rate, which is still less than $30, than spending another $500 airline ticket for revisiting the same place just because I didn’t succeed to figure out how to use Lawson’s Loppi machine or I couldn’t find the expected date since I’m too late because of late bookings, which is very ridiculous.
In my case, I have made a wise decision. There are still rooms for budget savings during the journey, from accommodation, airline ticket, to food.
Whether Voyagin is wise for you or not as a budget traveller, it depends on your situation. But I can assure you that if no locals can help you for bookings, you have no time or desperate to figure out yourself and prefer to save time and energy by having another party to do it for you, Voyagin could be your solution.