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Thinking of going to Japan, please help!

Thinking of going to Japan, please help!

Old Feb 7th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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Thinking of going to Japan, please help!

Hello! My Dh and I are planning our yearly May trip. We were thinking of Europe for 12 days, but the euro is so high and if we're going to spend that much, we'd rather go somewhere exotic and new(have previously been to Europe). We are both in our late 20's.

I have a million questions running through my head- I won't ask all of them though =)

Is Japan very expensive? I found a direct flight IAH to NRT for $1200 is this about average? Can I find decent hotels (western or ryokan like) for about $100? We want to spend about 3k for hotels and flight alone.

Where else besides Tokyo can we go and stay within this budget? I'm thinking of doing 8 nights. I love city and country life, love temples, and nature. We're really up for anything as we've never been to Japan.I would like to do Kyoto and other areas, but would that just get more expensive?

As far as meals and transportation goes, how much should we budget? We don't need luxury, just somewhere decent. Ok, enough questions. What do you suggest? I would love to visit Japan, but if it's too expensive, then maybe I should consider something else. Thanks in advance hope you can help!
BELLE0516 is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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There are hotels for every budget. There are business hotels virtually everywhere that are priced around ¥5000 per person, sometimes less. APA Hotels are reliable, as are Tokyu.

Food can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it, just like any other place. Lunch can be ¥200 onigiri from a convenience store, or ¥30,000 kaiseki. Same for dinner. Bakeries are great for inexpensive snacks and lunches.

Trains are expensive as are domestic flights. Check your routing to see if a 7 day JR Pass would save you money. www.hyperdia.com will help you with that. Buses are the most economical way to travel between cities, and are the only way to some smaller villages and towns.

There have been lots of posts about Japan here, both in the question/answer form and trip reports. If you do a search on Japan you should have reading material for at least a few hours.

KimJapan is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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Thanks KimJapan! I will look into the website you mentioned and do some research =)
BELLE0516 is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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My husband and I went last February- Tokyo is great, but you should be warned that it really seemed to us like New York with a different accent. We still loved it and can't wait to go back, but we both thought it would be more different/exotic than it was. We didn't spend that much (we spent more in New Orleans in 4 days than we did in Tokyo in 8 days), but my little sister is stationed there, so we had free lodging with her. We had to check out a love hotel- we liked it better than our room at the New Sanno (4 star hotel for military and their families- we stayed there for one night).

We had the best Indian food I've ever had there (it was cold and rainy, we were starving and it was the first restaurant that was open that we found). There were 3 locations I think, but we ate at the one off of the Hiro-o stop on the Hibiya line. It was pretty cheap. I still dream about their garlic naan (great naan, slathered in butter and sauted garlic).

We really enjoyed wandering around the Ginza at night just window shopping, and just wandering around. The alley close to Ueno Park was great too- it felt like being in the "real" Japan in our minds. Other than that, we pretty much did the standard tourist stuff.

We were there for 8 days, and it was no where close to enough time just for Tokyo. We're doing Kyoto next time (next summer).

And if you decide you need a guidebook, avoid the Rough Guides Japan book.
cocontom is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2007, 08:02 PM
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Here is a link where you can get some ideas:
There are lots of links on that page, not just the ones under the pictures.

Actually, I think it is in Tokyo where your budget would be most challenged. There and perhaps Kyoto. Outside of Tokyo you can find the same quality lodging for less. By "outside Tokyo" I mean elsewhere in Japan. Outside of Tokyo the pace slows down and life is better. There is so much more to Japan than Tokyo.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Old Feb 7th, 2007, 10:14 PM
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Hi, BELLE0516! I was in Japan last May, and spent 4 nights in Kyoto and then 4 nighs in Tokyo.

A previous poster said that Tokyo (prices) were just like New York. Well, I'm from New York and I never felt so poor as I did in Tokyo. I found EVERYTHING to be highly priced. From hard candy/chewing gum to newspapers to the US$4.20 for a coffee at a Starbucks! Believe me, Tokyo is expensive.
easywalker is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2007, 10:30 PM
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It really depends on where you go. A regular cup of coffee at Starbucks in Japan is ¥200. Go fancy, and the price increases from there. A Grande Mocha Latte at Starbucks is less than ¥500, and it's a seriously big drink. Granted, on Sunday, the 3 of us spent ¥1,500 at Starbucks, but we got 3 drinks and 5 food items. Not too bad, to me at least.
KimJapan is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2007, 10:54 PM
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I think it really depends on how you travel as to how expensive Japan is for you. Certainly cheaper than london, Switzerland or Scandanavia IMHO. My restaurant meals are generally about $10. Often picnic out of Department store food sections just like I do in Europe. Trains are an expensive way to get around but a train pass can work quite well if the itinerary is right. Business hotels are inexpensive but rather spartan. The better hotels on the other hand are very good and often much less expensive than similar hotels in major cities in the US. The Westin Ebisu for example is much nicer than the Ritz in New York and considerably cheaper. If you go in May I would try to avoid golden week in early May when many Japanese travel. Rainy season also starts somewhere towards June so mid May may be your best bet.
mjs is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2007, 01:07 AM
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If your flights are $1200 apiece and you want to spend a total of 3K for flights and 8 nights of lodging, you are giving yourself $75 a night for lodging. That is going to be challenging. I'd up the lodging budget.
emd is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2007, 04:58 AM
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You might be able to make your budget if you conisder a ryokan. Im planning a trip to Japan myself and have seen very good reviews for Annex Katsutaro and Ryokan Sawanoya on Tripadvisor, both in Tokyo.
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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I found Japan to be less expensive than I expected.
Tokyo was the most as far as lodging and buying things at the market, but we found plenty of restaurants with 600Y prices (always get the set meal), that's about $6.00.

I found Kyoto to be slightly less expensive and then we stayed in Saijo rather than Hiroshima and our very nice hotel there was the equivalent of $90.00 a night.

I have been researching Europe and I have decided not to go this year. It seems MUCH more expensive because of the exchange rate.

The air fare seems a little high to me, but I got such a deal.

We did 14 days in Japan for around 5K for three people. There were flights and train passes for only 2, but hotel, admission to sights, bus/subway passes, food and drink was for three people.

angethereader is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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Wow! Thanks so much everyone. I didn't expect this many responses.

Ange-5k for 3 doesn't sound bad, so we may be able to do it.

I was looking into Annex Katsura (sp?) seems very reasonable.

Will keep searching....
BELLE0516 is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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I stayed in the Annex Katsutaro when I went to Tokyo in March '04. I highly recommend it - I enjoyed the fact that it was located in a residential area - Yanaka. It was convenient to a subway line and the Yamanote line.

I am also a New Yorker and I did not feel that Tokyo was that expensive. Like New York, you can find restaurants at all price levels. And I don't go to Starbuck's here....
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 07:39 AM
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My wife and I went to Japan in May a couple of years back. I have posted a trip report with some pictures on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com/japan_tokyo.htm and maybe you can get an impression of what to expect from reading that Get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Old Feb 8th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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$1200 for a flight to Tokyo sounds a bit expensive to me. From NY, one can usually get a better deal. You may also want to look for a Japanese travel agent in your area who have specials every once in a while for tkts for as little as $500.
Lodging can be expensive in Japan, especially if you want a large sized room. But if you can make do with a smaller room that is clean and offers standard amenities, you can find better prices. Also, I've found that the length of beds in Japan (esp at non-American chains or non-luxury hotels) can be quite short. So, if you guys are real Texans, you may want to look into that matter
One can eat on a budget quite easily in Japan & the food is almost always good. If you're on a budget, go to Mos Burger, the Japanese equivalent of McDonald's. Their Spicy Mos burger is soooo good!!! You'll love it. You can also try ramen, izakaya, yakitori etc for excellent Japanese cuisine that's also cheap. Kobe beef, good sushi, kaiseki etc can get very expensive & the portions are tiny! I usually have to order 2 entrees & at $75-100 per entree for something like Kobe beef or similar, the price gets very high. Remember that Japan is a place where you can pay $70 for a cubical watermelon. So, if you want to splurge, there's no limit.
mdn is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Just doing a random check on Kayak.com
I see that Continental has a nonstop IAH/NRT rountrip for $1030.00 US.

Travel only Mondays thru Thursdays for better prices

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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I found Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to be the cheapest fares.
angethereader is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2007, 11:40 PM
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I am a non Japanese staying in Tokyo since the past one year. Tokyo is an interesting place in its own sort of way...however a must do would be Kyoto/Nara and Hiroshima and miyajima...and also places around Tokyo...Hakone/ Nikko/ Kamakura (you could give it a miss if you are doing Kyoto). If possible try to stay over night in miyajima/ hakona and Nikko...instead of the cities.

As for accommodations in Tokyo/ any where else one thing that has worked out particularly well for us is renting an apartment for a week. You can take either a weekly serviced apartment...they work out really cheap. Like in Kyoto we paid about 600 USD for a week at high season time (end of November).

As for the ticket...I think you can check the JTB USA website for prices...they often offer very good deals...1200 does seem to be pretty steep to me. The best rates that we have SOMETIMES been able to get are 600USD!!

I have experienced meals to be particularly expensive beacuse I am a vegetarian and its a little tough to find veg food in the local eating places. However if you like japanesefood...there are some very good local places where you can easily eat a full lunch for as less as 6-9 USD!Dinners can be a little expensive...but then again depends on what kind of places you are looking for.

One thing that I must really recommend is the pastries in Tokyo...they are really fabulous...I have a French friend who says that the only place that he has had wonderful pastries/ cakes after France is Tokyo!

Early May is the holiday time in Japan (Golden week). Do book NOW...lots of places will get full pretty soon!

As suggested earlier do get the rail pass....will make it extremely easy for you to go to Kyoto and other places...as it works out to be much less expensive.

Japan is a lovely country...

genie29 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2007, 06:48 PM
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We stayed at the Annex Katsutaro at both the beginning and end of our two week trip to Japan. Website: http://www.katsutaro.com/annex_index.html We highly recommend this hotel. Their rates are reasonable, our room was small but immaculate, the staff is very friendly, and we loved the neighborhood. We are not big city people and the atmosphere here felt more like we were staying in a village. Transportation options are also good. We would definitely stay here again!
Reen is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2007, 03:37 AM
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I think it would be very easy to eat on a budget in Japan and there are lower priced hotels available. Japanese women must not cook-there are restaurants everywhere! Many are modestly priced and the food is uniformly good. Service and cleanliness are impeccable.

Tokyo is a modern, urban city-very exciting if you enjoy that. Kyoto is an amazing experience, like a fairy tale.
drrob99 is offline  

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