A couple of people have been asking me how much I spent on my Japan trip when I visited the country last March 2014. Usually, I just give them a rough estimate of how much my budget was and what my expenses were on that trip since I don’t know the exact figure by heart.
Actually, ever since I came home from that trip, I spent the next few days summarizing my expenses including my detailed itinerary where I documented all the train rides we rode and more. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, those files got dumped somewhere in my hard drive. Just recently, another friend asked for the same information. So I decided to dig up those files and finally share it here to give you an idea of how much money you should prepare when you travel to Japan.
Before anything else, please remember that the information that I will share here are based on my own buying decisions. I normally go on budget trips to make the most of the money that I have. However, in this case, I went all out and spent for stuff I don’t normally do on my regular travels. So when you find something else on the file that you think won’t apply to you, please scratch it off your list. Just make sure though that you are realistic when making your Japan travel budget.
So what will you see on the report?
I’ve shared 5 sheets with you on this file. Although you don’t necessarily have to go through each of those sheets, I’m just sharing them anyway whether you like it or not (evil laugh). I’m OC like that so I just want to show everything. wahehehehe
The Budget Sheets
The Summary of Expenses (sheet) shows the summary of expenses. Need I say more? Kidding! Actually from the pie chart, you will see where the bulk of the budget goes.
It ate up 57% of my budget. Then food comes in second. With this sheet, you’d get an idea how your budget planning would look like. It also gives you an idea of the total budget spent per item. During my 9-day stay in Japan, I spent a total of 56,009.00 pesos ($1245USD or 125300JPY).
The Complete Expense Table (sheet) is just a flower decor to this file. hahaha. Nah. If you are familiar with Pivots, you will find this sheet useful, otherwise…kroo…kroo…kroo.
In this sheet, I separated all the expenses in Peso and in Yen. Adding the 2 sum total of the currencies will give you the total figure of 56k.
The Detailed Transpo (sheet) shows the mode of transportations I took during my stay in Japan. It also gives you an idea how useful the JR Pass is. If you don’t get it, please analyze it carefully. If not, you can leave a comment and ask me. I’ll try my best to reply only if your question is sensible enough. Deal? 😉
Honestly, looking back at those figures, I no longer understand what they mean. Pramis! Basta, mao na na! 😆
The Expenses (per) Day Report (sheet) will show you a convenient way on how to budget your daily expenses (I think) based on what you will include in your itinerary. It would be wonderful if you find that helpful, otherwise, it’s another flower decor on this spreadsheet, actually. 😆
Oh, I just realized that in this sheet I am showing the itemized list of what I spent the moment we started planning this trip back in August 2013 until the day we arrived and left Japan. This is a daily expenses list, which includes the itinerary and the expenses spent each day.
Yey! Last sheet! The Itemized (sheet) will still show you how OC I am with budget lists. LOL. Well, I have my reasons for that. 1) This is the raw data of the information you’ll see on the Pivot tables. 2) It tells you the items spent each day to show accountability on where the money went. 3) To share it with you guys, of course! 😉 Basically, you will see the purchases I made and how much I spent on each of those.
total travel expenses on my trip to Japan last March 2014
Travel Expenses in Japan
Let’s talk about the items in there. I broke down the items on this expense list according to the following: Transportation, Food, Accommodation, Entrance Fees, Shopping or Souvenirs, Visa, Airport Fees, and Miscellaneous.
57% of my Japan budget was spent for transportation. This includes the Manila to Osaka Cebu Pacific round-trip airfare at Php7,983.76. Since I was travelling from Cebu, I also had to purchase another airfare, this time with AirAsia and spent Php1,594.56 for my Cebu-Manila-Cebu ticket. The JR Pass was Php14,355.88.
We went to a theme park in Gotemba, Japan. We spent 3,600.00 JPY each for the theme park and I included this on the Transportation costs. That amount covers our 2-hr bus ride (round trip) + the entrance fee to Grinpa Resort. What’s in there? Snow and Mt. Fuji! 🙂
Adding the other commutes we made, I spent a total of Php31,978 for the transportation. Please refer to the Complete Expense Table sheet or the Itemized sheet if you want to see this.
I’m a food lover. I love food. Super love food! But it pains me to restrain myself from splurging on those yummy treats. *sigh* Basically, I spent Php6,219 on food. I think that’s not bad at all for 9 days. But that means not enjoying so much of the good stuff. You see, I failed to eat some of the best cuisines in Japan. The great thing was our hosts brought us to a ramen place and sushi house. My biggest food expense cost me 1,975.00 yen since my companion and I decided that we treat our wonderful hosts with a sushi feast on our last night at their place to show our appreciation for their hospitality. Other than that, we had to make do with the cheap food finds at convenience stores. But that didn’t mean we didn’t try some of the more affordable food finds in the country coz we did try some. 🙂
Perhaps my biggest frustration with food is not getting the chance to taste their wide selection of rice cakes because of other priorities on my budget list. I’m a huge fan of kakanins and would have loved to try one in Japan. However, a normal 10 peso rice cake here in PH would cost P100 per piece in Japan-japan. *sigh*
One of the reasons why the total of my food expenses were at bay was because we didn’t spend much on food in Kyoto. Our hostel in Kyoto offers unlimited breakfast meals. That one’s a real budget-saver there. Then we also stayed in our friend’s house so we also had free breakfast meals too whenever possible. Our good hosts also treated us to 1 dinner meal when we arrived at the city where they were staying. Then Ada and her hubby treated us to dinner too when we met them. Thank you guys!!!
Because of our guardian angels, we got to save on food. But for your food budget, please allocate at least 600 yen per meal. If you can survive with just eating 1 Onigiri per meal, which is priced at 100 yen (cheaper when nearing the expiration date), then go ahead and do it! 😉
I also thought of that before going to Japan and just follow what I usually do on my backpacking trips – scrimp. But this is Japan we’re talking about! It’s kinda a once in a lifetime experience for me and perhaps for you. So might as well make the most of your trip and splurge on food even if it’s just 1 meal per day. You can eat onigiri for breakfast and lunch then have a feast come dinner time. Promise you won’t regret it! 🙂
So, I only spent P4,541 (101USD or 10,158JPY) on accommodations. This is where we got to save on our money big time. Why? Because out of the 9 nights we spent in Japan, we only shelled out money on accommodations for 4 nights. Our hosts took care of the 5 days as we crashed in their place to sleep. Otherwise, we would have spent and additional Php6,000 or 12,500JPY for the additional lodging expenses.
So if you were to consider the cheapest accommodations in Japan, budget at least 2,300-2,500 yen per night for it, per head ha. Oh, that’s hostel rate, not hotel. But our hostel, which is the Piece Kyoto Hostel, ain’t bad at all. It is an awesome hostel in Kyoto. It’s also wise to make reservations because these affordable hostels usually get booked fast. You should book your accommodations at least 2 months in advance.
Hotels in Kyoto Japan also offer affordable rates and there’s lots to choose from. But since we let our friend take care of booking our stay and we were travelling as a group, it was decided that it was best to stay at a hostel for much cheaper rates. But if you are travelling as a couple or with a family and want a little bit of comfort, then looking for hotels in Kyoto would be a wonderful idea too.
Remember at the beginning when I mentioned something about my own buying decisions, this is where that applies. I spent a total of Php4,513 for entrance fees. This includes fees to temples but what makes this amount bigger is the Studio Ghibli Museum Guided Tour fee and the Toie Movie Studio Entrance fee. We could have saved a lot with the Studio Ghibli fee had we purchased our tickets 2 months ahead. But since those 500yen (or something) tickets sell like hot pancakes, we had to pay up Php2,724.54 to get inside the museum on short notice. As for the movie studio, I think that’s really the normal rate but it was still worth it considering that I get to see the studio sets where most Japanese period films are shot. Also, I think some of the scenes at the movie Rourouni Kenshin where filmed there too 😀
One thing I learned here is if you want to save on entrance fees, just visit temples that doesn’t require any payment and skip those that do. Visiting 1-2 major temples that ask for payment is enough then go and visit those free ones, unless of course you are a history buff and wants to visit all of those historical places.
Whenever I go back to Japan, I’d surely visit Disney and Harry Potter. In your case, if you have some place that you want to go, make sure you add this extra budget when you visit Japan. It’s really worth it.
Shopping or Souvenirs
So it seems that this list shows that I spent Php3,451 for shopping and souvenirs (*wink*wink*). It says I bought a postcard, a ref magnet, socks on sale!, Totoro stuff toy and also pre-ordered winter accessories from our host which includes ear muffs, gloves, beanie, thermals, socks and my UGG-look-a-like boots.
I’m not really a pasalubong person. I actually planned this to be a budget trip but because it is Japan Japan, the land of the rising sun, I also want to spoil those people close to me and those who made this trip possible, thus spending on extra stuff. And the truth is, I spent more than that amount mentioned above and I won’t share here what the figure was. 😆
So what did I buy? Let’s just say that there were stamps, Hello Kitty, food for pasalubong and then stuff for my family.
The items I placed in there are estimates of what a normal-minded traveller would probably spend for souvenirs. 😉 But if you were to decide, I’d encourage you to add more to your travel budget for Japan. There are lots of cheap finds especially when you know where to look *cough* Uniqlo *cough* H&M 😉
I spent Php 2,000 to process my Japan visa with Friendship Manila at their Cebu Branch. Since our hosts, invited us to visit Japan, I had to pay that amount. I guess it only costs P1,200 if you will apply as a tourist visa.
Airport Fees spent are the usual Travel Tax of Php1,620 and Terminal Fee of Php550 at the the NAIA T3.
I spent Php1,138 on miscellaneous items. My companion and I decided it’s best to upgrade our luggage to avoid paying extra. Since it was winter when we visited the country, we had to bring a luggage instead of my normal backpack to stash those thick winter clothes. It is also easy to move around because you’ll just be dragging your luggage especially when you are too cold. The downside is that it’s really heavy when you carry it while climbing a flight of stairs because you failed to realize that there’s an elevator nearby as you were in a hurry to catch your train ride. LOL.
Anyway, I also paid for locker rental at the theme park because of an oversight. Then those excess and shortage stuff in the list is just me being forgetful of what I spent and ended up wondering where my money went.
Whew! I didn’t expect this article to be long but there you have it. This is the summary of my travel expenses when I visited Japan from March 4-13, 2014. This budget covers my travels within the Kansai Area (Kyoto, Nara, Osaka), East Area (Tokyo) and the West Area (Hiroshima).
Here is the spreadsheet showing my detailed expenses during my Japan trip.
Please click the link to download the file.
Let’s have an experiment, shall we?
So what if you are Manila-based and there are things you want removed on the expense list…
- AirAsia Cebu-Manila-Cebu (with 15 kilos check-in & 7 kilos hand carry)
- CebuPac baggage upgrade (15kilos)
- AirAsia baggage upgrade (10 kilos)
- Studio Ghibli Museum Guided Tour
- Taxi to OMP (250 divide by 2)
- Our Melting Pot (OMP ) 1 night stay
- Socks at GU (5-in-1) – on sale!
- Scarf at GU – on sale!
- Toie Movie Studio Entrance
- Pre-ordered winter accessories from our host, Debbie (ear muffs, gloves, beanie, thermals, socks, boots)
- Entrance to Grinpa Resort
- Locker rental at theme park
- Totoro stuffed toy
- Lunch: Wendys
- Dinner: KFC
- Postcards at Osaka Castle (2 pcs)
- Ref Magnet bought at Osaka Castle
Removing everything above gives you a total budget of Php42,481.48. You just have to add in the estimated budget for lodging for 5 days and add more on your food budget to make it more realistic in case you have no friends in Japan where you can stay at no cost. Throw in a safe emergency fund of P10,000-P15,000 too and that’s how your budget should look like for a 9-day trip to Japan covering 5 major provinces from Central to Southern Japan. If you love to go shopping, add an extra P15-20k in your budget (*wink*) Okay? Okay! 😉
If you plan to travel to Japan soon, better start saving up for you will surely need a lot of money to fully enjoy your stay.
Oh, and as I’ve said earlier, you really don’t have to spend a lot. It’s a matter of great budgeting skills and awesome network of friends who’d be willing to adopt you should your travelling feet find its way to Japan.
Let me know if you have questions and I will try to answer as best as I can.
P.S. I hope you don’t get overwhelmed by what you see in the spreadsheet. hehehe. Leave me a comment if it helped you in one way or another. Would love to hear your feedback 🙂 Happy travels guys!