I often wish people would be more transparent and just tell me how much they spent on things, so I’m here to do that for you today. Whether you’re genuinely curious, nosy, or just want to know what to expect when planning trips, here are the details.
Before getting into it, I do want to mention that Japan is a notoriously expensive country and I was gone for just under a month. There was a lot that I did to save money, but at the same time, there were definitely ways I could have saved even more. I think it’s important to find a balance so that you’re not being so cheap that you don’t have an enjoyable trip. Here it is:
Transportation is one of the two big expenses, so a significant amount of my money went into this category. Local trains sometimes were and sometimes weren’t included in my Japan Rail Pass and I took a taxi once, so I actually spent a little more than this (maybe up to $100 more?).
|Drive to Toronto airport (gas)||$130|
|Air Canada economy flight Toronto to Shanghai||$707|
|Air China economy flight Shanghai to Tokyo||$465|
|21 Day Japan Rail Pass||$529|
Accommodation is the other big expense of a trip. Admittedly, I stayed with friends for 6 nights total, saving me a lot of money (but even better than that – visiting friends and getting a more authentic picture of Japan). Otherwise, I stayed in all-female dorm rooms other than in Shanghai, where I stayed in a decent-but-weirdly-cheap-and-not-close-to-anything-a-tourist-would-want-to-see, regular hotel. The prices on the right are totals for the number of nights listed, not per night.
|Shanghai Deco Hotel – 2 nights||$84|
|K’s House Ito Onsen – all female dorm – 2 nights||$64|
|K’s House Mt. Fuji – all female dorm – 2 nights||$55|
|Piece Hostel Sanjo, Kyoto – all female dorm – 8 nights||$261|
|Kaname Hostel, Kanazawa – all female dorm – 4 nights||$128|
I really didn’t spend much on entertainment, especially when you consider the fact that I was gone for nearly a month. Japan is a fantastic country for just walking around, and I went to so many temples and shrines, which were usually free. All of the pictures above are from free places.
As you can see, most of the things I paid to do were pretty cheap. The only three things that I paid more than $20 for were definitely well-worth it, too. The first was a bus ticket to Shirakawa, a gorgeous old village of traditional buildings. One section of the train ticket there would actually have been covered by my Japan Rail Pass, but recent flooding had closed part of the track so I had to take the bus instead. The second was Tokyo Skytree, and I love going into towers, so I’m basically always going to pay for them when I go to cities. Calling the third, teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum, the most interesting museum I’ve ever been to would be an understatement. It was a museum of lights and projectors and it was wonderful.
I didn’t keep up with my exact expenses during my trip, but here are attractions I paid to get into and things I paid to do.
|Ito Hotel Museum||$2|
|Mt. Fuji World Heritage Loop Bus Pass||$10|
|Iwatayama Monkey Park||$5|
|Arashiyama sightseeing train||$6|
|Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum||$2|
|Kanazawa to Shirakawa Roundtrip Bus Ticket||$36|
|teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum||$32|
I’m not going to have a chart for food simply because I didn’t track it. I found restaurants to have fairly similar prices to the ones here in the United States. I could easily find expensive restaurants, and could just as easily find cheap ones. I got lunch and occasionally dinner from convenience stores or grocery stores, which would only cost a few dollars.
In the end, I spent around $3,000 to go to an expensive country for nearly a month, which I think is pretty good. I know there are ways to do it for even less, but I’m happy with how it all went, which is what matters. Even though it is very different from the United States, I didn’t find it difficult to get around and I highly recommend a trip to Japan.
I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.Anthony Bourdain
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