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  • Budget advice?

    I will be either spending roughly 33 days in Tokyo, or three weeks in Tokyo/two weeks in a couple other cities - depending on my budget.

    This is my budget for the 33 days, it comes to 160,000JPY total (or roughly $1780 AUD) - I will have around $2500 AUD, so if the budget is correct I can afford a 14 day Rail Pass and see other places. But many people have told me that even $2500 (220,000JPY) isn't enough, so I'm thinking I may be wrong or missing something on my budget.

    45,000JPY - attractions/spending
    43,500JPY - accommodation
    24,000JPY - base food (two convenience store onigiri+one sushi pack/day)
    15,000JPY - extra food (restaurant meals, street food, coffee etc. probably a rare occurrence)
    20,000JPY - public transport
    12,000JPY - return transport to Nikko, Fujiyama, Yokohama and Kamakura from Tokyo.

    How does this look? Am I missing something?

  • #2
    Your accommodation should just about cover sleeping in the public parks. Your extra food is way short for restaurants - but if you skip them, then OK. I didn't see beer or smokes... Overall, I'd say that you seem to be planning to be on a diet...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TJrandom View Post
      Your accommodation should just about cover sleeping in the public parks. Your extra food is way short for restaurants - but if you skip them, then OK. I didn't see beer or smokes... Overall, I'd say that you seem to be planning to be on a diet...
      My accommodation was based on what it'd cost to stay 33 days at the JGH Tokyo Hostel, which is where I planned on staying the entire time. But I underestimated that a bit, just worked it out then and it came to about 52,000JPY. I gather hostels may be a little more in other cities, but I don't plan on sleeping at a proper hotel. I don't smoke and only drink occasionally, but I'll also up my food budget a bit too. Thanks.

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      • #4
        When you are out and about - please don't feel embarrassed if your fingers find their way into the return change slots on vending machines, and if your eyes wonder to the ground around them. I know a homeless person who eats rather well this way. Please do enjoy your tripc.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TJrandom View Post
          When you are out and about - please don't feel embarrassed if your fingers find their way into the return change slots on vending machines, and if your eyes wonder to the ground around them. I know a homeless person who eats rather well this way. Please do enjoy your tripc.
          I... I'll keep that in mind.

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          • #6
            Hello Athenry,

            I think what TJR is saying is that your budget is really a survival level budget, and if you come to Japan with that in mind, you won't be too shocked when you get here. Really, if we forget about the arbitrary divisions of base food and extra food, you are looking at a food budget of less than 1200 per day for 33 days. It isn't impossible. If you had access to cooking equipment and a refrigerator, you could probably do OK on a budget like that - especially if you knew where to shop and where the good deals were.

            But for a traveller fresh off the boat, staying at a hostel, it is a very tight budget. Since you have a bit of buffer between your budget and your cash, I would suggest doubling the food budget.

            Let me say again, 1200 yen a day is not impossible, but... damn.

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            • #7
              Why do people come to Tokyo with a Bali budget?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CommonSense View Post
                Why do people come to Tokyo with a Bali budget?
                Yeah, 160,000 is enough to travel Japan for ~16 days, at 10,000 a day. Even that's tight, but if staying in a hostel, doable. 33 Days is far too long on that budget.

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                • #9
                  Yeah, cut your trip down to 2 weeks and you'll be more comfortable. You'll see everything you could want to see in Tokyo in that time, plus a few side-trips. Why not go somewhere cheaper and save Japan for when you have more money? It is one of the worst places in Asia for budget travel.
                  If you insist on coming make sure you get travel insurance.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CommonSense View Post
                    Why do people come to Tokyo with a Bali budget?
                    I'm not. I'm coming here for advice, well in advance of my trip for the explicit reason of avoiding that scenario. Also I spent half this for the same amount of time in South East Asia, if that's a 'Bali budget' then you're definitely overspending in Bali.

                    Originally posted by Majestic View Post
                    Hello Athenry,

                    I think what TJR is saying is that your budget is really a survival level budget, and if you come to Japan with that in mind, you won't be too shocked when you get here. Really, if we forget about the arbitrary divisions of base food and extra food, you are looking at a food budget of less than 1200 per day for 33 days. It isn't impossible. If you had access to cooking equipment and a refrigerator, you could probably do OK on a budget like that - especially if you knew where to shop and where the good deals were.

                    But for a traveller fresh off the boat, staying at a hostel, it is a very tight budget. Since you have a bit of buffer between your budget and your cash, I would suggest doubling the food budget.

                    Let me say again, 1200 yen a day is not impossible, but... damn.
                    Okay I'll definitely expect to pay more for food. It's hard to translate costs though. I spent $3/day for food in SEA, I spend $5/day for food here in Australia, I figured $13/day for food in Japan would be fine, but more won't hurt; so more it'll be. Thanks.

                    Originally posted by Esoteric View Post
                    Yeah, 160,000 is enough to travel Japan for ~16 days, at 10,000 a day. Even that's tight, but if staying in a hostel, doable. 33 Days is far too long on that budget.
                    That's just what my budget estimate came to. I'll be taking roughly 220,000 - up to 250,000 if I'm lucky. On that budget would you recommend spending all of my time in Tokyo or cutting ~50,000 for a 14 day rail pass and seeing a few other cities while I'm there? Everyone tells me that I need to see more cities, everyone also tells me that I need to be frugal. I can only pick one. What would you recommend?

                    Originally posted by twelvedown View Post
                    Yeah, cut your trip down to 2 weeks and you'll be more comfortable. You'll see everything you could want to see in Tokyo in that time, plus a few side-trips. Why not go somewhere cheaper and save Japan for when you have more money? It is one of the worst places in Asia for budget travel.
                    If you insist on coming make sure you get travel insurance.
                    I didn't think things through 100% - I took a deal on flights that was much cheaper than anything else I could have gotten. But comfort will always be a low priority for me, I can skip a meal or get some rough sleep here and there without a fuss. I would prefer to spend more time there, with less souvenirs and ____ than the opposite, so I'm not really too worried about that.

                    I've also seen a lot of South East Asia and wanted a change. The benefits of going to low-cost nations outside of Asia would have been cancelled out by the extra cost of flights from Australia. Plus I've always wanted to go to Japan, when I have an opportunity to do something that I've wanted to do since I was five or six I try to take it, even if it will be rough, who knows if this is the only chance I'll have? So yeah, that's why I chose Japan. Flights are locked in so I can't really change now unfortunately, I probably wouldn't if I could though.

                    I do have travel insurance though, I've never needed it before, but I'd rather have a safety net just in case.
                    Last edited by Athenry; 2013-08-19, 12:16 AM.

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                    • #11
                      With a hostel stay you could get by for 6,000 per day without many optional activities, which could give you 3 weeks.

                      Also, email the hostel you plan on staying at and ask about doing housekeeping for a free bed for a week or 2. You'll be cleaning out hostel toilets, so you know. The short term newbies always do.

                      And so you know, that "Base Food" idea you floated in the OP is starvation level rations. Absolutely no way you will enjoy yourself living like that. You will be moving around, and half stressed out while doing it (nothing's written in English except Hello Kitty!, so you know). You need a normal intake of about 2,500 calories per day. Your plan gives you about 1,500 I would say. That's no way to enjoy Japan. Also rice meals go through whitey like the old jokes about Chinese food. And again, university cafeterias are cheap and good.

                      I would strongly recommend budgeting for 1,500 yen a day for food. You can scrimp and save by cooking simple meals at the hostel, and pasta can be quite cheap if you go to a Yamaya or similar foreign food store and buy the big bag. Canned tomatoes are also rather cheap at those places, so you could easily get by on simple tomato sauce pasta. Vegetables are pretty cheap, too, as is Tawfoo. Don't shop much at 100 yen stores. They make their money selling poor people tiny portions that are just big enough to make it look like a good deal, though the discounted fresh food can be a good deal.

                      As it stands, you could easily end up starved and broke for about 10 days of your planned 4 week trip. Rather than half starve for longer, why not shorten your schedule and enjoy yourself to the full?

                      IOW, plan your stay length to fit your budget, not the other way around.

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                      • #12
                        No doubt you'll have a lonely planet but get one of the free 'Tokyo Handy Maps' when you arrive. (Tourist information offices) Just by looking at that you should be able to find some interesting walking routes.
                        There is a lot to be seen in Tokyo just wandering around. Yoyogi Park on the weekends is a great source of free entertainment.
                        The Tsukiji and Ueno markets are free and always interesting (Ueno is also a good place to buy cheap food)
                        If I were you I would consider forgetting the rail pass and looking at Jetstar flights (They fly domestic routes in Japan and often have extremely cheap flights -Like $60 then choosing one other city (like Fukuoka or Sapporo) to go to. You could fly both ways or look into ferries. (They are usually very cheap) buses or hitchhiking to get back to Tokyo.
                        You could probably live without seeing Nikko.

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                        • #13
                          I doubt Jetstar will work: the super dooper cheap tickets need to be bought quite a bit ahead of time it seems. Most seem to go by a month or more ahead of the flight date. After that, it isn't all that cheap.

                          Another cheap flight option is that Yokoso Japan! air pass. Ask when you buy your ticket to Japan. It's 10,000 yen per one way flight up to 5 flights.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Athenry View Post
                            That's just what my budget estimate came to. I'll be taking roughly 220,000 - up to 250,000 if I'm lucky. On that budget would you recommend spending all of my time in Tokyo or cutting ~50,000 for a 14 day rail pass and seeing a few other cities while I'm there? Everyone tells me that I need to see more cities, everyone also tells me that I need to be frugal. I can only pick one. What would you recommend?
                            I'd recommend staying in Tokyo, and cutting your visit by some. If you have 10000/day, and you are staying in a hostel, then that gives you enough to do a bit of this and that, without starving yourself. As Kurogane mentioned, you could theoretically get by on 6000/day, but I can't imagine traveling like that.

                            I'd recommend this book if you can get it as well: http://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-Free-Sus...yo+for+free%22

                            It's been about 15 years since I read it, but I remember there were many good suggestions at the time. Not sure if it's been updated since then or not.

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                            • #15
                              33 days JUST in Tokyo? What an incredible waste of an opportunity to see a great country.

                              2 onigiri and a sushi pack per day for food? Ugh. That'll get old by day 3. Trust me! Even the Brits packed limes on their sailing vessels to prevent scurvy, and they drank tea (not in your budget).

                              Get out.
                              See more.
                              Pay more, but that's life.

                              Go to the Lonely Planet's Thorntree site for advice from seasoned travelers, too. (BTW, LP recommends 8,000 yen per day as a base figure for the non-stingy. Souvenirs are not included.)
                              Last edited by Glenski; 2013-08-19, 07:44 AM.

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