Japan’s reputation for being expensive is notorious, but perhaps a little overreacted. When we told our friends and family we were heading to Tokyo, we were faced with the usual ‘oh, it is soooo expensive’ (even though none of them had even visited). Anyway, it isn’t really true.
On our usual mission to keep to budget (and in Japan, this was practically zero), we found that the country is actually fairly affordable if you know what you’re doing. For more information about costs, check out our Tokyo on a budget guide.
Costs are valid as of July 2017
Cost of accommodation in Japan
Accommodation will be one of your biggest costs in Japan. A bed in a hostel will cost around 3000 yen, while a budget hotel room is about 6000 yen. Of course, if you’re on a Japanese Working Holiday Visa, consider working in exchange for accommodation and a bit of pocket money. As a last resort, those with an early flight out of Japan can consider sleeping at the airport as it is widely accepted. We slept at both Narita and Kansai (KIX) airports with absolutely no problem.
Food and Drink in Japan
In our opinion, the best places to eat in Japan are the fast food restaurants. Forget McDonald’s and Burger King, Japanese fast food is on another level! You can expect good-quality dishes, table service and even free drinks. Sukiya and Matsuya are the cheapest of them all, but Yoshinoya is a firm favourite too.
Other expenses in Japan
Every day living in Japan is a bit hit and miss. You could easily spend a fortune on fancy souvenirs, or get something quirky from the nation’s favourite shop – Daiso. It’s a 100 yen store (the equivalent of the £1/$1 store).
Ice creams are another example. A soft serve ice cream can set you back as much as 300 yen, but loads of people just buy them cheaper from the convenience stores.
However, your biggest expense will most likely come in the form of travel. We cannot speak for trains as we chose to hitchhike in Japan, but they say a 1-hour ride on the bullet train will set you back 100,000 yen! If you’re on an extended stay, consider taking a flight to Japan’s tropical islands, Okinawa. Flights are very cheap and may only cost you 50,000 yen. From here, it is also very cheap to travel onwards to Taiwan.
What to know the cost of something in Japan? Ask us and we will do our best to remember!