Another travel to Japan question....
Posted on Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:22 pm


saldiven

Mainstream Artist
Mainstream Artist
Well, my friend and I have nailed down our plans for visiting Japan in August. Trying to go to the Anniversary Concert, though still haven't nailed down tickets. Sigh.

Anyway, airline tickets are paid for, and the apartment rental reservation has been placed with deposit paid. Thankfully, both came in significantly less than I had originally expected. We're also planning on getting a JR pass for the week we'll be there, but we can't order that until we're less than 60 days out, I believe.

We're trying to decide how much spending money to bring. We know that many places don't take cards, and even if they did, there's the problem with every transaction on the card having a currency conversion/international transaction fee tacked onto it. I've done some research online trying to get an estimate, but most of the discussions I have found are several years old, so I don't know how accurate their estimates are.

So, as a question to Scandal Heaven: If you have been to Japan in the last 12 months or so, what would you estimate as an appropriate amount for daily expenses (food, bus fair, snacks, incidentals, etc.)? This is separate from any exceptional expenses like part admissions or special purchases we wish to make. I'm jut looking for a base line amount from which to calculate the total amount of cash to take.

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Re: Another travel to Japan question....
Posted on Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:57 pm


cantacanta

Caless Student
Caless Student
Do you plan to stay a full seven days?  Where do you plan to stay?  Where do you plan to go?  

Depending on those answers, the amount of cash required could vary quite a bit.  I'd even argue that a JR rail pass may not even be necessary.  On our last couple of trips, we found that having a rechargeable Suica card to be a better use of our money.  For example, we took the Odakyu rail to Kamakura and the Tobu rail to Nikko.  There were also plenty of smaller lines within Tokyo that are not covered by the JR rail pass.  If you plan to ride the shinkansen, definitely get the JR Pass.  We first bought our Suica card in 2008 and have saved the remaining balance for return trips.  The Suica card stays good for a 10-year period and that period resets the next time the card is used.  The Suica card can even be used for drink/food purchases around the train stations.  The other big IC card is Pasmo which used to be centered around the Kansai region but is now interchangeable in the Suica regions.  

As for food, most conbini (convenience stores) take credit cards.  We found that our local credit union offered a MasterCard which had no foreign transaction fees and no currency conversion fees.  The topper was that we accrued bonus points for travel expenses.  So, if you are at all familiar with the Japanese conbini, there will be no shortage of opportunities for some kind of meal via credit card.  

That said, there are still many places that take cash only including many of the small restaurants that surround the train stations.  If you don't mind ramen, tonkatsu, curry, soba, etc., many meals can still be purchased for between ~$5 and ~10 depending on your tastes.  Some of these restaurants use vending machines to dispense the meal ticket for your order so that you do not have to even talk to the staff.  I think most street food, i.e. the kind you find outside shrines during festivals, will cost ~$2-$5.  To be more exact, onigiri in the conbini were ~$2 and chips like Jagabee cost about the same.  

If I were pressed, I'd say that I could feed myself for between $10 and $20 a day.  There's always instant ramen right?  For better meals, I'd say you'd be looking to pay between $30 and $50 a person.  I spent about $30 for sushi one time in which I ate a lot.  For our yakiniku meals, I believe I spent about $50.  Though, don't be fooled!  The cow tongue was a very cheap option and tasted great!

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Re: Another travel to Japan question....
Posted on Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:25 pm


saldiven

Mainstream Artist
Mainstream Artist
We're going to be staying a full week surrounding the concert on the 21st. We're staying primarily in Tokyo, but taking the train down to Osaka for the weekend. We're selecting the JR pass primarily because the cost of a one week pass is almost the same (actually a bit cheaper) than just buying a round trip train ticket from Tokyo to Osaka (both are around $300 US). The pass would also give us the flexibility of using the trains the rest of the time we're there without having to pay each time.

When in Tokyo, we're renting an apartment about a 150 meters from Yoyogi park in a block across the street from Harajuku Middle School. It's right on the border between Shibuya and Harajuku. This is where we're staying; scroll down to see the map if you're familiar with the area:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalReview-g1066456-d6017043-Shibuya_Top_Location_Central_Tokyo_Harajuku-Shibuya_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

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Re: Another travel to Japan question....
Posted on Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:05 pm


cantacanta

Caless Student
Caless Student
In general, I'd expect the menu prices to be on the higher side the closer you get to Harajuku and Omotesando.  It's a trendy area.  Though, I wouldn't expect that to be much of a problem because you have access to a kitchen.  The prices for groceries were generally on par with American prices with the exception of some things such as beef, fruit, and cheese. 

We tend to eat in areas frequented by commuters and families.  Much like everyone else they were looking for a quick meal at an affordable price.

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