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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is Japan expensive?

When I said that I was going to Japan, most of my friends mentioned Fukushima and right after that they said that Japan was very expensive. Surprisingly eating and sleeping in Japan has been really cheap, making the opverall cost of my trip lower than I expected. Here's some ways to make your trip to Japan cheaper:


  • Fly to Japan is very cheap, if you are lucky you can find a ticket for less than 500€ or $600. I visited Japan in the winter and it was very cold. I would not recomment visiting in the winter time, better the spring and the autumn. Tickets before June and after September are still cheap.
  • Plan ahead and buy your JR train Pass in a way that makes sense, you can also buy passes for only certain regions.


In Japan you don't have to pay to use the toilet but for the rest you have to pay. Research about the museums, shrines, palaces and gardens that interest you the most and visit only those.
Remember that there are alternative ways to get to know a country, rent a bicycle, go hiking or go for a walk around the city where the local older generation goes to exercise. Amazing things will happen to you when you get out of the beaten path, just don't forget to greet everybody along the way with a loud "Konichiwa!".


The food is amazing and really cheap. You can easily eat a full meal consisting of a main dish (rice or noodle soup) and gyoza for 5€ or $7, even in Tokyo. The drinks (water or tea) are on the house! This cheap food will save you so much money that you will be able to slurge in something more fancy every once in a while!
It is a little bit sad but I must admit that some of the best food I had was in train stations! Big  train stations like Kyoto or Tokyo have amazing and cheap food!
$7 or 5€ meal in super tourist town Nara, amazing, uh? The cold udon was yummy!


Hotels and ryokans can be expensive, specially in the big cities. I have found that renting a studio is cheaper than staying in a hotel. So here's the alternatives:
  • Renting a studio for yourself, will come with kitchen and full bathroom. Not more than $40 or 30€/night.
  • Airbnb: Japan is slowly opening to Airbnb, stay with a local in their house and have a full cultural experience!
  • Capsule hotels: haven't tried them yet, so I can't say.
  • HelpX: for some days live with a Japanese family, pay no rent, eat for free and in exchange work with them on their business. Win-win!
Stay with a Japanese family and learn about their culture


This is my weak point, I haven't been able to find cheap souvenirs... any ideas?