Hi guys, thinking of going to Japan for a few eeks in my next trip. Was curious as to everyday prices for things such as, cheap food options, bottle of water, local buses/taxis/trains between major cities/a beer in a bar and any other things u can think of.
It wasn't as expensive as I would have though. I think I ended up spending around US$ 100 a day on accomodations, local transportation (subways, buses, etc.) food and drink, and I'm not much of a budgeter, frankly.
I had a seven day rail pass, so I didn't factor into my daily expenses, but that was another $US 300 (approximately) prior to leaving. Obviously, the more your travel town-to-town, the more it's going to cost.
Accomodation in cheaper hotels and inns can run from $US 20 - $US 40 per night, but it pays to do a little advanced planning. I'd usually try and find something a day or two before arriving, though I did okay getting a place in Kyoto and Nagoya day of.
Food can be cheap if you go to local places and don't eat at the fancy restaurants. Beer and alcohol is pretty expensive in bars and restaurants. I ended up drinking in my hotel before going out so that I didn't spend a lot out at the bars.
Check out this recent thread: Capsule Hotels in Japan and other prices, as well you could check out my Japan trip report.
Japan can be a decent deal if you do it right. If you want to go, not worry about what you spend, drink every night, stay in hotels, and eat in restaurants then you will find it rather expensive. If however your priority is seeing the sights, and don't mind doing so by eating cheaply, staying in hostels, and watching what you drink, then it won't have break the bank.
A few prices: 1GBP = 230 Yen
500ml bottle of water: 105-130 Yen
Sushi bought at 711 or a supermarket: 300-500 (at supermarkets they are often 1/2 price in the evenings)
Pack of Instant noodles - 85-250 Yen
Most food in supermarkets are pretty much on par with other Western countries, so expect to pay around the same as you would at home.
A hearty meal of Ramen or some sort of rice dish at a cheap restaurant - 600-900 Yen
A beer from 711, a vending machine, or a supermarket - 135-200 Yen. I haven't been to too many bars yet, but the ones I have been to have charged somewhere around 400-600 for a beer.
A dorm bed in a hostel - 2500-3000 Yen
For trains check out this site and type in a few cities where you plan to go. You will probably find that on a shorter trip that covers alot of ground, a rail pass purchased at home will be your cheapest bet.
I would agree with both of the above comments.especially the advanced planning part. It helps to be able to use Japanese to find the best deals ect or get help from someone who does, or get some expat inside info ect. For that reason I would reccommend you at least research a couple of cheap deal hotels b4 you go if possible, or find a gaijin bar and drill the local expats for info. Alternatively, if you can hook up with someone online who wants to practice English or even hang out with foriegners, ( suprisingly common in Japan ) you might be able to email em for help if in trouble.
Minshuku, and business hotels are a good fall back if you cant find cheaper hostels and capsules. ( Even some capsules are not that cheap really. Another fall back is getting a late night deal at a love hotel, often they are cheaper after 10 or 11 pm. Love hotels are easy to spot and congregate at major train stations and road interchange zones, and some tourist areas, business hotels are the low key ones usually on the quiet side of major stations. "Minshuku" can be anywhere, but especially tourist zones, catch is most info is in Japanese so could be hard to track down alone.
Minshuku are often much cheaper if you are in a bigger group, cause you can share a room with 4 or even 6 buddies.
As for food, at a stretch you could live on "convenience store" food, like a lot of Japanese do, some of which is very cheap, especially onigiri and steamed buns ect. ( usually about 120 yen..)
Regarding taxis, these are good for getting somewhere you dont know ( like a minshuku in the area )as they are world wide, but be warned that a long trip will cost a shitload of cash, and even a short trip can easily run to 2000 or 3000 yen. As such if you get stuck after the Tokyo trains stop at a bar somewhere,... ( bizarre as it is, they do stop and early ) You'd be better off staying till 5 am and keep drinking than catching a cab in most cases if its far from home...
If you find you run out of time on your train pass and need a cheaper way to get to a distant town, consider using the night buses, which are about half the price but usually at least twice the time. ( if you take a slower shinkansen it may be better for your sanity,and not cost that much more, which is what I would do in future, but I hate long bus trips.)