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Japan Bonus: Costs

11/18/14 | by Charlie [mail] | Categories: Travel

As with any trip, it's always good to look back and see how much this whole shindig has been costing compared to other places I could have visited. I've actually been really surprised at how affordable Japan has been so far, breakdowns and thoughts below.

Housing: I've been spending around $25 - $40 a night on housing. Most hostels are less than $30, but in several places I've gotten single rooms in hotels for $40 - $45. I suppose at scale they are essentially pretty similar to hostels.

Food: Most of the food I've eaten is less than $20. Breakfast is usually bakery treats or an american breakfast. I'm just such a fan of big breakfasts that I've been a little disappointed with the selection here. "American breakfast" tends to be just toast and maybe an egg. I've started to move to the 2-meal lunch with a main one at 1pm and a snack/secondary at 4-5pm (pre-nap). It's usually $6-10 for a rice bowl or udon or something. Dinner I've tried to do better with, but it's still sub-$20. I can't justify the set meals alone, which are usually $40-50 and when I find friends to go out, we usually end up at conveyor sushi or something for $10-15.

Transit / Out and About: I feel like this is the biggest unknown. I find myself regularly dropping $3 on temples and gardens and subways. A lot cheaper than most of the attractions elsewhere I've been, but I think I generally spend less time at each one and go to more, so it adds up quickly. Public transit might be the most expensive thing relatively speaking, but it could be there are cheaper ways of going about it too (like day passes in Europe) that I just haven't figured out.

All told, based on my withdrawals, I've been keeping it under $100 a day in terms of costs. Averaging about $90 or so, and I haven't been going out of my way to spend a lot or a little either way. Anyways, while on vacation I think you tend to forget about money a little bit, but looking back I've kept it under my baseline which is the better side to be on :)

In addition to those, there's obviously the fixed costs of the rail pass and the flight which would add another $80 or so per day. But those don't really count. You just gotta get the most out of the flight by staying for as long as you can :-P

Surprisingly for everyone who told me that it was really expensive here, I've been pleasantly surprised to see that it's slightly cheaper than most of western Europe, partially due to the exchange rate and partially just because it is. Still no Prague, but at least I haven't lost it all to Pachinko gambling yet!

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A collection of musings from my time at Yale along with some thoughts about my "Freshman year of life" in San Francisco.

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