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Old 17th January 2013, 03:30 AM
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Default Japanese Budget

Sup,

I'd quite like to head to Japan on my epic prematurely-planned post-grad Asia trip, but I'm kind of worried about cost. If buying a 7-day rail pass, staying in budget hotels and not splashing out too much on food, but still wanting to get a grest Japanese experience and having a good time, what do you think a weekly budget might be? I'm not a big partier so nightclubs and bars aren't really a cost you'd have to factor in. I'm more a culture/history/wildlife kind of gal.

(On that note, what are some must-sees?)

All the best and any help appreciated
Rattybug :)
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Old 17th January 2013, 07:44 AM
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Japan is a country where you can spend a little or a lot. Where a lot can mean really a lot!

Eating out in Tokyo (I'm there on business 3-4 times a year), I find set lunches in izakya tend to be between 600 and 1200 yen including all the tea you can drink. Eating out at restaurants in the evening is much more expensive - a good sushi restaurant can easily cost 8000 yen per person.

Out of Tokyo the prices tend to be lower.
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Old 18th January 2013, 08:25 PM
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I'm not a big foodie and I'm a vegetarian; I'd rather save my dosh on food and accomodation where necessary and go and see things. :) I definitely want to see Tokyo, but also Kyoto, Mt Fuji/Hakone and Osaka as a minimum. :)
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Old 18th January 2013, 08:25 PM
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And what's an izakya? :)
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Old 18th January 2013, 08:32 PM
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Hi,
I hate to break it to you but you might struggle being a vegetarian in Japan. It's a meat-eater's paradise, and whilst vegetarian restaurants do exist in the big cities, you'll have to search them out.

Do you eat fish? If so, then you'll have no problems. Otherwise... it could be difficult :(
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Old 18th January 2013, 08:35 PM
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I was going to say exactly the same as Steve - the Japanese in my experience, have no concept of vegetarianism - why wouldn't you eat meat? They happily eat it while it's still alive!

(I'm inclined to agree with them!)


Izakaya is the name for a Japanese pub.
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Old 19th January 2013, 09:28 PM
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Yeah, I know in some places I'm going to have to eat meat just to get by, but I will avoid it where I can! :p I'm prepared to eat fish where I must. I'm happy to self-cater (i.e. cereal, instantnoodles) a bit to save on money and meat-eating, too. :) Eating out every night makes me feel spendthrift and I just end up longing for something out of a cardboard box. :p

I really want to do Japan independently because all the tours I've seen (they cover the whole country and include transport and accomodation) are just super expensive. Can anyone give me a really rough budget? :)
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Old 19th January 2013, 09:51 PM
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OK, great - if you're not super-picky and willing to accept the possibility of consuming fish (whilst trying to avoid it where possible) then that'll help a lot. Most noodle soups (like ramen etc) in Japan contain fish stock, so even though they might not have lumps of meat within, they will have a fishy base. But you can't taste it, at least.

The ubitiquous convenience store can be quite pricey, but you can get "onigiri" which are triangles of rice covered in seaweed, usually with filling (the cheaper it is, the less likely the filling will be meat-based). These are great "fill me up" snacks to tide you over between meals, for hiking or day trips etc.

There are a couple of fast food chains in Japan that offer cheap, filling rice bowls. These tend to be topped with beef, though! The following place is everywhere, has cheap, filling food and most importantly for Japan, you make your order from a vending machine which has little pictures of the food, which is a godsend...



...because the hardest thing in Japan is conversing with the natives. You have to assume that anyone working anywhere other than a foreigner-orientated hostel or hotel or a train station (and even then, English can be spotty) will NOT speak English. So get ready to learn some Japanese and use body language aplenty!

When ordering food, I usually try to find places with picture menus. When the person comes over (usually looking uncertain/worried about the forthcoming conversation!) I point to the item and say "kore kudasai" (pron. korray koo-dah-sai) which means "this, please". This works really well, and is my number one tip for Japan!

Simple meals like this can be 300-600 Yen. Accommodation can vary, but it's possible to stay in hostels that cost say 2000-3000 Yen/night. Travel is the biggie; a Japan Rail Pass, which gives you unlimited travel on trains and certain shinkansen (high speed bullet) trains costs 37,800 Yen for 7 days, 61,200 for 14 and 79,600 for 21. Pricey, but the trains are amazing and a tourist experience in themselves. Really good if you are tearing around the country quickly. I covered thousands of miles in my first week in Japan by the trains... from Tokyo up to Sapporo and back, and to beyond Osaka and back! Got my money's worth!

If you don't want to take the trains, you can book flights (in advance) on the budget airlines that service some destinations, or take buses, which are cheaper but still expensive. Basically there is no particularly cheap way to travel around Japan.

So even if we can't give you a definitive figure, I guess you're getting more of an idea of what it might cost..?

BTW Japan is my favourite destination on the planet - even more so than Thailand I think, but don't tell the regulars over on the Thailand branch that - so please fire away with any more questions, I'll be only too happy to answer them. I might post some piccies too! If I can find them!
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Old 21st January 2013, 04:30 AM
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You shouldn't have said that - I can ask as many questions as you like! :p What are some must-see sights? I'm determined to see Mt Fuji and the aquarium in Osaka with the whale shark, but beyond that I don't know much about Japan; my knowledge runs out at the Meiji restoration. :p The culture really fascinates me, though.

Are there any cultural things I should be aware of so I don't accidentally offend someone with an action?

That phrase you gave me seems really useful. Apart from the obvious (Hello, help, asking for directions), any other things I should know how to say? :)

What kind of accomodation am I looking at in the 3000yen range? I'm pretty much happy as long as it has a bed, but just wondering what else it might cover. :) Would you recommend trying to find a female only, or should a normal dorm be fine? :)

I would love to see any pictures you might have! :D
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Old 21st January 2013, 12:19 PM
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No problem!

What month are you going? Be aware that Fuji-san is more often than not enveloped in cloud. It's very rare to see it on a completely clear day. I was fortunate enough to do so on my 4th day in Japan - lucky blighter! You can only climb in a narrow band of weeks in July/August, and the mountain is packed. However, it's a very easy climb, despite the Japanese kitted out with their portable oxygen tanks!



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