Budgetting and expenses

Japan is often cited as being an extremely expensive country. In truth, it’s only as expensive as you make it. At this point in time (August 2014) the yen is pretty weak making a visit to Japan considerably less expensive than it used to be.

Cheap meals can be had everywhere and if you budget a bit you can visit Japan without breaking the bank. Hostel nights can be had for ¥2500 (about 25 US dollars) if you plan a bit in advance. If you don’t mind cooking your own food or surviving on ramen, you can visit Japan for as little as ¥4000 a day.

If you spend a lot of time enjoying nature you can even spend less, especially if you go camping. Be careful though, the best nature spots often have few places to stay and end up charging a premium in high season.

If you chain together several activities, things can get expensive. If you sleep in a budget business hotel (¥6000-18000), go to an aquarium (¥2000), followed by going up Tokyo skytree (¥2200), eating out (¥2500) followed by a few beers at a bar (¥2400) you can easily spend ¥20000 (about $200) in one day.

However, a day spent getting breakfast at 7-11 (¥340), strolling around Asakusa (free), enjoying the sights of Shinjuku Koen national garden (¥200), taking the subway (¥300), grabbing a coffee from a vending machine (¥130) cooking for yourself (¥750) and sleeping in a hostel (¥3000) your total day expenses will total ¥5020 (about $50) which could definitely be considered affordable.

Because I was curious what I would actually spend in Japan, I tracked my expenses for 23 days and averaged about €80 (US$106) a day.