Announcement

Collapse

The GaijinPot Forum Is Closed

Please join us on our new Facebook Group.
See more
See less

Top

Collapse

Budget - need some insider knowledge

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Budget - need some insider knowledge

    Hi everyone,

    I'm planning a trip to Japan and my biggest concern (that i think you can help me with) is my budget.

    I'll be staying approximately 3 months on a visitors/tourist visa throughout summertime and my budget would be approximately JPY 2 million. I'm travelling solo.
    As for what I'm doing there, I won't have a fixed address and I'll be dotting my way across the country by rail, visiting the bigger cities as well as the smaller towns (staying maybe 1-2 weeks in each place). I don't plan on hitting up (too many) bars and clubs, it'll be more sightseeing and just taking it as relaxed and chill as possible, hence the length of stay.

    Now for my questions:
    1. For accommodation, I was looking at mostly staying in business hotels, japan-guide.com has got it down (even on the more expensive side) as JPY 10,000/night, which approximates to a bit less than 1m over the whole stay. Sound reasonable? Should I be looking at something else (a cheaper-ish ryokan)? I'm not sure about accommodation in the smaller towns either, any advice? I know that in the bigger cities you can get by on much less, manga cafes anyone?
    I'm really okay with any sort of accommodation as long as it's moderately secure and has a power point for charging my stuff! I'm too concerned about my electronics to be willing to stay in hostel dorms, but if they have private rooms for cheap that's cool.

    2. For transport, I'm not sure how much the rail system will set me back. I'm staying too long for the JR pass which only goes up to 21 days of consecutive travel and doesn't seem worth it with my itinerary. The Seishun 18 looks okay because I'd get 5 flexible days of travel and it's available during the times I'm staying. Seem like a good deal? I'd probably need to buy a couple depending on how frequently I'd use the trains. How much are the inter-city trains without any of these passes? Should I look at the buses instead? Remember, I'm going to be doing this at a snail's pace, so I don't care about the bullet trains at all and the glacial speed of a bus ride seems quite relaxing tbh.

    3. Food - am I going to be living off of nothing but water and instant noodles on my budget? If half of my funds are spent on accommodation, how much would be left for food, mindful that I don't actually know how much nationwide travel will cost me as per the 2nd point above. I don't have any specific dietary requirements as long as it is somewhat (at least dubiously) nutritious.

    4. Other bits and pieces. Other fees/charges for anything I might be hit with as a gullible gaijin. Stuff like visiting temples/shrines/parks and other miscellaneous touristy things, are these going to add up to a significant amount and should I make room to budget for it? I'd like to keep a bit of cash left over in case anything happens (you know, buying another umbrella if I leave mine on a train), so I was going to lump these expenditures into the same category, but if they're significant enough then I might work them properly into the budget.

    Also, am I over-thinking?

    Thank you so much for ANY information at all.

    Cheers!

    PS: I'm a fairly experienced traveller in the SE Asia area - where everything costs peanuts and you don't concern yourself with money too much. But this trip to Japan will be a first in a few ways, which is why I'm being pretty cautious with my money.
    Last edited by petiatil; 2013-07-23, 06:20 PM.

  • #2
    Isn't that like $20,000 even in AUD? You do not need that much for 90 days in Japan unless you're just being ridiculous. You can find business hotels for like 3,000 to 4,000 yen. Toyoko-inn's and stuff, and you can definitely do cheaper minshuku... Hell, you can probably get small apartments for a week or two for like 30,000. I can even suggest one in Yokohama I use all the time...

    Unless you're planning to party hardy, I don't really see you blowing through that much cash.
    Last edited by Kionon; 2013-07-23, 06:35 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I did initially overbudget just in case and you bet I don't actually want to spend all my cash on the trip, but that's the whole budget if I need it.

      Also note, I just realised that the 2m doesn't include the plane tickets over there!
      I think it's around 3000 AUD for tickets, so that actually drops my budget to ~1.6m, depending on exchange rates.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey,

        Just quickly, the Khao San Hostel chain has prvate rooms for $35-ish per night, plus you get a proper shared kitchen and fellow peoploids. The Toyoko Inn chain shouldn't run you more than about 7000 yen ($75 CAD) per night, and has tons of hotels all over the place, plus free rice ball breakfast (no joke). No bring home allowed should you meet somebody whilst oot and aboot, but that's probably normal.

        Keep in mind that in any smaller town, your options get limited very quickly to Minshuku and country Ryokans, and those are usually about 7-9000 yen with 2 meals, so you might plan to stay in hostels and such in the cities and balance it out that way if you decide to budget.

        Oh, btw, Japan isn't actually as expensive as the horror stories would suggest. It gets expensive when you start moving about.


        I'll add more if anything comes to mind.

        Comment


        • #5
          Great thanks for the info.

          Your comment on moving about concerns me a little, as that's pretty much what I intend to be doing the most of and I can't find too much info on standard fares.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by petiatil View Post
            Great thanks for the info.

            Your comment on moving about concerns me a little, as that's pretty much what I intend to be doing the most of and I can't find too much info on standard fares.
            Catch the local trains (as compared to the bullet trains and/or express trains), and the train fairs won't eat too much into your budget.

            Comment


            • #7
              1. Business hotels ran me 5000 yen on a three-week vacation, not 10,000.

              Other accommodation abounds, but it is up to you to decide whether it is for you. Hostel? Love hotel? Manga cafe? Couch surfing?

              2. See www.hyperdia.com for pricing.

              3. Eat what you like. Just know where o eat cheap. Convenience stores have packaged meals, as do supermarkets. Noodle shops, curry houses, etc. thrive near high traffic areas like train stations.

              4. Get a guidebook to see what the fees are. Hiroshima eave museum is the cheapest at 50 yen, I think. Figure most temples and shines are free. Castles are a few hundred yen at most.

              Comment


              • #8
                The suggestion by Kionon about Toyoko Inn is a good one. Have a relative that uses it frequently. If you join their club/package plan thingy you get a free night for every 5 or 6 nights (forget the exact number) you stay.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mr. Ludd View Post
                  The suggestion by Kionon about Toyoko Inn is a good one. Have a relative that uses it frequently. If you join their club/package plan thingy you get a free night for every 5 or 6 nights (forget the exact number) you stay.
                  Oh yeah, I forgot about that! But that is a really, really good point.

                  I love Toyoko Inn. Just what you need and nothing more. I use them all the time for stuff.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kionon View Post
                    Oh yeah, I forgot about that! But that is a really, really good point.

                    I love Toyoko Inn. Just what you need and nothing more. I use them all the time for stuff.
                    Yeah. They're great. Always clean. They don't mind if you arrive a little early and want to leave your bag there before checkin too.
                    The membership thing is really worth it. Means you can check in an hour early too.

                    You'll want to get plenty of Ryokans in too though. Business hotels are good but bland.

                    Food is quite cheap. The Ryokans will usually give you a good breakfast. Lunches and dinners can start at about 300 yen for a simple bowl of soba or a beef bowl. You'll probably by dying for vegetables after a week though.

                    My tip is ALWAYS have a bento box and at least 2 cans of beer (you can buy them on board) on any shinkansen ride. You won't regret it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by petiatil View Post
                      Also note, I just realised that the 2m doesn't include the plane tickets over there!
                      I think it's around 3000 AUD for tickets, so that actually drops my budget to ~1.6m, depending on exchange rates.
                      I think you are grossly overpaying on airfares. Generally, a return ticket between Japan and Oz is about $700 flying Jetstar. Also, I'd recommend taking another look at hostels. While I appreciate you are fond of your electronics, my extensive experience with staying at hostels suggests your gear will be fine. As a rule, other travelers have no interest in stealing your stuff. They probably have their own laptop, MP3 player, camera, smartphone, etc in their locker.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mr Fantastico View Post
                        I think you are grossly overpaying on airfares. Generally, a return ticket between Japan and Oz is about $700 flying Jetstar. Also, I'd recommend taking another look at hostels. While I appreciate you are fond of your electronics, my extensive experience with staying at hostels suggests your gear will be fine. As a rule, other travelers have no interest in stealing your stuff. They probably have their own laptop, MP3 player, camera, smartphone, etc in their locker.
                        I had a very different experience. I stopped using hostels because something would end up missing every single time. As soon as I stopped going to hostels, the disappearances stopped. Amazing.

                        I'm too old for that crap anyway.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am writing this from a Toyoko Inn.
                          5400~ for a non-smoking, ekimae room with breakfast (riceball and some sausage concoction).
                          Get a member's card and get a free night every 10 stays.....should add up to $450ish by the end of your 3 months.
                          This chain also has beer and laundry in the lobby.
                          Rooms are small, but clean and cold as ____.
                          Fred

                          PS edit> I guess I should read the other posts before posting....
                          Last edited by shonanfred; 2013-07-24, 12:18 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by petiatil View Post
                            Great thanks for the info.

                            Your comment on moving about concerns me a little, as that's pretty much what I intend to be doing the most of and I can't find too much info on standard fares.

                            Yeah, it does add up. There ways to economise there, too, though: there are discount airlines that connect regional and major cities, so with good planning, you could take flights over longer distances and use your destination as one hub for seeing that area. A problem might be that the deeply discounted tickets are usually only available on the internet, and you might have trouble reserving them unless you do it quite far ahead, and without a Japanese issued credit card (not sure about that one, but they can be notoriously insular with that stuff).

                            Oh, crap, I almost forgot. JAL and ANA both offer domestic air pass style discount tickets at about $100 per flight, and you can get up to 5 I think. One of them is called a OneWorld Pass or some such, and it is under the YokosoJapan tourist promotion programme, so look at that.

                            The Bullet Train is expensive, but worth it. You could get a JR Rail Pass that allows Bullet Train riding, but the longest one of those is 3 weeks, and I am not sure if you would be allowed to buy 2 at once (to make for 6 weeks of rail pass travel). They also work on regional JR buses in boondock areas without rail lines. As Esoteric mentioned, local trains are cheap, and you can get a Shinkaisoku (Ltd Pseudo-express) for the same fare, which could be useful when travelling from city to city within one region. I wouldn't want to do it for more than 2 hours or so, but it is a different and slower way to see the country.

                            Anybody know if they still have the Seishun 18 thingy???

                            Long distance buses seem rather reasonable, but if you are tall or have long legs they can be hellish. I outright refuse to even consider them based on the discomfort factor alone.

                            Also, moving about a lot in Japan gets tiresome and boring rather quickly, so you might want to plan at least 5 nights or so in any bigger city or place you are particularly interested in. Keep in mind you will be terribly confused a lot of the time because you will be unliterate, Japanese do not speak much English, and available English information can be spotty, non-existent, or just plain wrong.

                            Which normally means you'll want some time to recharge your batteries before gallivanting off to the next roadside attraction.

                            I agree with Mr. Fantastic about hostels: they're good, they're cheap, they're clean, and they have like minded people in them, about half of whom will be Japanese, btw. I don't use them much because of my advanced age, but you should think about it.

                            Speaking of recharging batteries, if these electronics are that much of a worry, why not leave them at home and actually be in Japan while you're there? I would think that one of these new bible sized Imac thingys would be more than sufficient for normal traveller needs unless you have rather specific need of a proper PC.

                            And there we have it.


                            Originally posted by Kionon View Post
                            I had a very different experience. I stopped using hostels because something would end up missing every single time. As soon as I stopped going to hostels, the disappearances stopped. Amazing.

                            I'm too old for that crap anyway.
                            I never had a problem with theft at hostels, but I find the age thing a touch tiring. That and being either the designated interpreter or being told not to speak Japanese at all. Usually a very nice bunch of kids, though.


                            SFred,

                            Don't eat that sausage thing. That makey me go Delhi Belly a few times.

                            But yeah, esp. in regional cities, Toyoko Inn rocks. A shame about the non-smoking room, though
                            Last edited by kurogane; 2013-07-24, 12:27 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kurogane View Post
                              Yeah, it does add up. There ways to economise there, too, though: there are discount airlines that connect regional and major cities, so with good planning, you could take flights over longer distances and use your destination as one hub for seeing that area. A problem might be that the deeply discounted tickets are usually only available on the internet, and you might have trouble reserving them unless you do it quite far ahead, and without a Japanese issued credit card (not sure about that one, but they can be notoriously insular with that stuff).

                              Oh, crap, I almost forgot. JAL and ANA both offer domestic air pass style discount tickets at about $100 per flight, and you can get up to 5 I think. One of them is called a OneWorld Pass or some such, and it is under the YokosoJapan tourist promotion programme, so look at that.

                              Anybody know if they still have the Seishun 18 thingy???
                              Discount airlines - recently bought some tickets from Skymark to and from Hokkaido for August. You don't need a Japanese credit card - you can print out a slip (all internet cafes I've been to have printers), take it to a convenience store and pay in cash. The English website of Skymark is OK too. The heavily discounted tickets are only available on the internet and in peak season the competition for them is fierce! You can get the tickets 2 months in advance from 9.30am. I logged on exactly at 9.30am, the website suddenly went very slow and I was still only able to get the second cheapest tickets. (Still a good deal though, 12800 for a single from Haneda to Sapporo).

                              I bought a Seishun 18 ticket last year, they are still around. 5 days worth of unlimited travel on local trains on any date within a specific period for 11,500 yen. I've done Tokyo to Osaka in a day (about 11 hours) but the OP's budget seems enough to avoid such masochism - I was travelling with my younger brother who was on a very tight budget at the time.

                              Another option not mentioned so far in this thread are ferries - off season, the cost of an economy class ticket from Oharai (about 60 miles north east of Tokyo) to Tomakomai in Hokkaido is not much different from a night in a Toyoko Inn.

                              Accommodation - the OP should also spend at least one night in a capsule hotel just to say he's done it (2-3000 yen a night).

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X