Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is Japan Really That Expensive?

When meeting fellow travelers you undoubtedly discuss each others upcoming travel plans. Over the last few weeks when I would tell someone I was going to Japan they would almost always respond with "Wow, that's so cool! But isn't Japan reallllly expensive?" I had heard that before I came traveling and have heard it many times since, but I have to say that I am not finding this country to be as pricey as I thought/feared it would be.

An amazing view of Mt. Fuji - for free!

Here's a rough breakdown of how much I've spent during six full days in Japan (in the cities of Tokyo & Kyoto):


Accommodation: $20
(I have been Couchsurfing and have technically spent $0 but I bought gifts for my Couchsurfing hosts)

Food: $170
(Considering I have been in the tropics for the last 3.5 months I am finding Japan to be extremely cold and so have been ducking into cafes every few hours for warm drinks and snacks... it has definitely added up)

Transportation: $120
(This is for local transportation, including a day in Tokyo where I made a mistake on the subway and spent way more than I should have, plus a night bus from Tokyo to Kyoto)

Attractions: $15
(Mainly temples, they're not that expensive)

Miscellaneous: $30
(The bulk of this was spent on a pair of pants from H+M)

Six days in Japan has cost me a grand total of approximately (drum roll...) $355 (or an average of about $60 dollars/day).

Hanging with locals (plus an international student!)

There are a few reasons why I haven't had to spend more during my time here: I'm Couchsurfing which means I'm paying nothing for accommodation; I've been walking as much as I can; I'm taking buses instead of the shinkansen (bullet train); I've only been visiting attractions that are cheap or free, and I haven't been eating sushi (not the fancy stuff anyway!) 

Obviously the way I'm experiencing Japan wouldn't suit everybody but it's been working out great for me. Couchsurfing has allowed me to meet lots of locals, walking lets me see more of the cities, the attractions I've seen have all been fantastic, I'm really not a big fan of the types of sushi that cost a lot and the night bus I took was extremely comfortable.

I'm not saying Japan isn't an expensive place (and compared to SE Asia it definitely is!) but so far it hasn't been the financial nightmare everybody kept telling me it would be. Tonight however I'm taking the night bus to Hakuba (also known as the 'Japanese Alps') to do some snowboarding, so I'll be spending quite a bit more after today...

1 comment:

Susan Zwick said...

Grandma Nan would be so proud of you! Your Scottish roots are coming in handy it seems....
Seriously- sounds like you've been amazingly resourceful in stretching your dollars and the generosity of your hosts is truly incredible.