Sunday, 2 March 2014

How to budget for a trip to Japan!

 An interesting topic I was requested to post about is how to manage a budget for a trip to Japan!

No doubt you will have heard that 'Japan is expensive'. If you have ever expressed an interest in visiting Japan, usually you will be told "but Japan is SO expensive!".
This myth is tied very closely in with business men going to Japan on company trips. Who will be taken to very expensive restaurants, as the company tries to impress clients, and stay in western style hotels in business districts of Tokyo. All of these things are expensive, of course, if I had corporate money to pay for my food, I'd go to expensive restaurants too! But this is probably not the experience we're going to have.

It's very easy to do Japan on a budget, so long as you are happy to eat and sleep japanese style!

(Hotel Edoya - Ochanomizu)
 Instead of expensive western-style hotels, look for a Ryoukan (Japanese-style Inn) to stay at during your trip. They are much cheaper, and you get the added bonus of an authentic experience. You will usually have a traditional room, with futons on tatami to sleep on and a japanese style shower and bath.

(Royal Host beef bowl!)

Eating local food is always cheaper than eating specialist, imported styles of food. So when in Japan, Japanese food will be much cheaper than western style food. If you like things like katsu, ramen and sushi, you can eat for almost nothing. Ramen and Katsudon cafe's are very cheap - often 200-500 yen per bowl, and then your tea or water is free. Conveyor-belt sushi places usually have a set price of 105yen per plate (or similar). Even if you go higher up, and go to proper japanese restaurants, a meal is not going to break the bank. The set pictured was approx 1000yen, for the beef bowl, salad and soup set.

Admittedly, flights will probably be expensive. Depending on where you're flying from it will vary, but if it's going to be a long-haul flight, then it's going to be a little pricey. However, consider that you have to be confined to the flight space for 10+ hours, and it can make all the difference in comfort if you spend a little extra than the bare minimum for a better service.

I hope this has helped encourage some of you to put aside the idea that Japan is a country of extortionate prices that so many people hold. It really isn't! But no matter where you go in the world, local things will usually be cheaper then imported things, and being aware of that can save you a lot of money!

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