So by now you’ve read parts one and two of this guide series on Japan! You may have even bought tickets already for your own Japan travels. But trust me when I say you’re going to want to read on to know exactly how much 10 days in this beautiful country cost.
You’re reading this straight from one of the most budget-conscious Virgos on this planet, aka frugal. Look, I will always try to rationalize why I shouldn’t spend $3 on shipping, even after a generous spending spree. But I’m really proud of the monetary breakdown for 10 days in Japan. Especially since it allowed us to see three of the most beautiful cities between Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.
Round-trip airfare – $760
7-day Japan Rail Pass – $275
10-day Pocket Wifi rental – $30
10-day Air BnB – $285
3 nights in a hostel – $72
1 night in a capsule hotel – $50
Food Money – $350
Additional transportation – $100
Souvenirs/Emergency cash – $228
For a total of…drumroll…$2,150.
Note: Costs like Pocket Wi-fi and Air BnB are split amongst two people.
Averaging at $215 a night, for all of your excursions, it’s hard to beat the price and depending on where you’re flying from and the time of year, you can potentially shave $100 to $300 off of the airfare. My original budget was $2,500. Like I’ve said, I like to ball on a budget and managed to get everything I wanted for myself and loved ones and still came home with some money in the bank. If I can do it, so can you!
So what exactly did I do? Well, after making our Air BnB and Japan Rail Pass purchases, my best friend and I were battling with using our pass to visit other parts of the country.
Travel tip: You would be CRAZY to not use your Japan Rail Pass and visit other parts of Japan. While we didn’t spend all 10 days in our Air BnB we thought it wise to keep it the whole time. We packed mini duffle bags into our main luggage and when we decided to take three days to go to Kyoto and Osaka, we simply packed the other bag and left the rest in Tokyo.
Kyoto and Osaka are about a one-hour Bullet Train ride from one another so it was easy to do in a one or two-day trip while staying in the hostel in Kyoto. That handy-dandy JR Pass is looking pretty good, yea?
So now I can get into some of my favorite parts about Japan and while I couldn’t get to everything, I know I’ll definitely be back.
Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite animal is the owl! Japan is known for it’s different animal cafes so one of the first things we did was check one out! For $15 you get a beverage and 30-60 minutes to play with these adorable hoot-hoots!
Gamer and Anime PARADISE! Arcades that are several stories high, Gashapon shops, and go-karting while dressed as your favorite Nintendo characters. This place was heaven and where I managed to find a lot of souvenirs for my friends.
Souvenir Tip: Gashapons! Gashapons! Gashapons! Need a good souvenir? Find these vending machines. They’re small and very well-made toys that are $1 and up and they make the perfect souvenirs. You can find just about any kind of fandom in them so you’re friends and your wallet will be happy.
If I had to describe the Meiji Shrine in one word I would say, “breathtaking”. Located in the middle of Tokyo, this shrine is like the Central Park of Japan. It’s hidden by trees and has cool history to read as you walk through and take a break from the busy city.
Need more souvenirs for your less nerdy friends? Go here! Asakusa is kind of like an outdoor mall. Great place for lunch and this is also where I got to finally try dango. You know that pink, white and green emoji? That’s it and it’s delicious!
Cellphone Travel Tip: You’re probably wondering how my phone stayed alive or how I posted all of these pictures to my Instagram without the wrath of a high cellphone bill. Y’all…two words: Pocket. Wi-fi. Pick it up at the airport post office for the duration of your trip, connect your phone and turn on airplane mode and you’ll instantly have fast wi-fi your whole trip! Also, it doesn’t hurt to bring a portable charger.
I have no words for how amazing being in this temple made me feel. I also hardly have any pictures as I spent much of my time being present and in the moment. The Sanjusangen-do temple is known for containing one-thousand life-size statues of The Thousand Armed Kannon. It also doesn’t allow any pictures inside the temple. You’re just going to have to take my word on this one. Go!
I spent much of my time being present and in the moment. The Sanjusangen-do temple is known for
My absolute favorite shrine! Also the shrine that you will get the most exercise on. It starts at the base of the mountain called Inari and goes up, around and down. Along the way you will see several smaller shrines, cats, and shops.
Another outdoor area, Dotonbori is primarily made up of street food! It’s also a sweet place for pictures as the signs of most of the shops feature abnormally large props.
Dotonbori Tip: Less is more when it comes to food. Buy the smallest and then if you’re still hungry, get more…or go try the vendor right next door.
Japan is truly a wondrous country. Since coming back I often ask myself if it even happened. Being able to cross it off the bucket list was one of my biggest accomplishments since graduating college. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted but when I was boarding my flight back home I just knew it wouldn’t be my last time there. So as I do with every new place I go to, I bought myself my signature souvenir, a key(chain) to the city to which I’m visiting.
This simple keychain always makes me feel like I’m welcome back any time. I hope this 3-part guide has come in handy for you! You’re now fully prepared to head East!
Last Travel Tip: Quit reading this and get going!
This article was originally published for Quirktastic, Inc., 2018 and has been edited/updated for accuracy.