Is there a budget version of Japan?
Replies: 55 - Last Post: Oct 30, 2012 10:46 AM Last Post By: Fieldgate
Sep 20, 2012 3:24 PM
30now 1 US$ = 78 JPY. Remember times when the rate was around 130-140 yen for 1$ ?
Yes, I remember. That's why Japan feels expensive now, at least for travelers using US$ and Euro, because the JPY is at or near unprecedented strength vs. those currencies.
Give me a reason why I should go to expensive Japan
As others have said, Japan really isn't more expensive than other developed countries, even with the strong yen.
if other countries offer much more
Very subjective statement.
Sep 20, 2012 3:50 PM
31I can see this is going to be a futile discussion, and I usually don't feed the trolls, but anyway.
You are that experienced but you seem to have done no research at all before coming to Japan? That might be fine if you have an unlimited/moderate budget but it seems strange considering you seem to be on such a tight budget. Do you do no research before visiting all of these other countries?
Most? They? Europe? Really? You think most visitors to France explore everywhere or see Paris? Most visitors to the Netherlands explore everywhere or see Amsterdam?
Anyway, who cares what "most" people see? The whole point of Lonely Planet and this forum is enabling those travellers who do wish to see more to be able to see more.
I know plenty of others that have been to those places. To be honest Niseko (Hokkaido) especially is becoming popular as a ski destination from here.
I can say the same as you about China, or Thailand or most countries in Europe. Not sure that means very much. Different people have different travel styles. Again, who cares?
Kind of funny because we like going to Japan because it is relatively cheap!
As already mentioned, you had plenty of options to spend less on accommodation and less on train tickets/transport costs. You could have also easily used overnight buses which save you money and accommodation. You could have couchsurfed or camped or chosen cheaper accommodation as pointed out earlier.
Anyway, you didn't like Japan. Fine. Have fun elsewhere! Unfortunately, I think your opinions are based on your poorly planned trip, which doesn't represent how it is possible to travel in Japan at all.
Sep 20, 2012 4:00 PM
No. I said in my previous post that I came with my wife who attended a conference. But, I'm glad I finally made it to Japan. I knew Japan was expensive before I came (and that was the reason why it lasted so long).
Sep 20, 2012 4:04 PM
Sep 21, 2012 1:54 AM
34Part of last line in my #34 got deleted by mistake.
It should read: There are too many other options, places where I haven't been to yet and want to visit.
As to your statement "you seem to have done no research", you should remember that I had a couple of topics on this forum before I travelled. Among others the most exhausting and helpful contribution was from you, acc. Thanks again.
Another thing that you said which I have to correct - I'm not on a tight budget. I can afford any travel, any time, and I travel much more than average person - about 4 months a year, which would be kind of luxury for most people.
As a finishing note, the problem with discussinig this topic (budget Japan) is that too many people will defend the country for wrong reasons. Japan is a fascinating country, but it is very expensive. Some of you are trying to claim the contrary which sounds just wrong.
It's interesting to look at the stats to see Japan's popularity as a tourist destination. I'm sure the low ranking is much influenced by high level of costs.
Sep 22, 2012 6:18 AM
Oct 5, 2012 7:27 AM
36acc has been very helpful in recent weeks as Ive been reading LP intently for my upcoming trip, surprised he has so few posts.
To jump in here, my wife is a doctor, and Im an engineer, and yes, Japan is expensive....based on the current exchange rate (Canada) and hotels...BUT I believe its slightly cheaper then New York, and in "general", Japan looks to offer so much more. We like to mix it up between 5 star and B&B's. This per person charging system though sure sneeks up on ya!...especially at ryokans.
Oct 25, 2012 9:35 PM
37Doesn't the pasmo train pass cover all trains? Don't remember which pass my son gave me, but it worked for all the trains we took, and buses as well. However transportation costs are horrendous. It cost me $100 for 4 days of tootling around; I seemed to be constantly filling the thing. Nice option with the card, though, it worked like a bank card in that you can use it in the vending machines, etc. in the stations.
Ramen cafe meals are relatively inexpensive, sushi bars not so much. Dinner and breakfast was included in the ryokan cum onsen charge, the one I stayed in anyway. The most expensive dinner out was at a Japanese style pub cum diner that specialized in seafood only. But it was soooo worth it!! Pub crawling is another big expense, happy hour beer was $7-$8 a bottle; hate to think of what the price is outside of happy hour. Often picked up packed meals (freshly made) at the local 'supermarket' at reasonable prices.
I think Japan is probably the most expensive country I've visited (love it, though), although my son says London is more expensive; he's lived in both for extended periods.
Oct 25, 2012 9:50 PM
No, mostly just the ones in the Greater Tokyo area (excluding Shinkansen):-
Tootling around where? Tokyo? For most people it would be unusual to spend 1000 yen per day in Tokyo. I think most would spend 500-800 yen.
Because you mention onsen and ryokan I guess you went somewhere like Hakone? or Nikko? or where?
Oct 25, 2012 10:10 PM
I just felt that your questions were either asked incorrectly or never mentioned anything about being on a strict budget. That was just my impression anyway.
You are welcome.
As mentioned everything is relative I think. I don't think anyone is saying Japan is the cheapest destination in the world or even close to, but it can be appreciated on a realistic budget.
I'm sure the ranking is skewed by a whole variety of reasons. Stats can be interpreted in many different ways. Singapore is a major transit point for many visitors so maybe the stats are higher in Singapore due to that. For example, 1 million Australians visit Singapore, but probably the majority are just due to transit. Half a million from the UK visit it too but most would be transit I think.
Having said that, I agree that most of the reason why Japan is lower in the rankings is due to cost.
Of course, due to its location, the majority of the tourists of Asian countries are other Asians, many of which come from countries that are not so wealthy so that makes sense.
Oct 26, 2012 6:01 AM
40acc, thanks for your reply.
That's not the point.
As I said a couple of times before, Japan wasn't my destination of choice - I followed with my wife who went to a conference, or in other words I just grabbed the opportunity. That fact put the trip in a different light, and even if I had asked questions and got answers on this forum, I was very relaxed about the journey.
Secondly, I'm not on a strict budget. I could afford going by flight or train to any place in the country. However, in my own evalutation I decided it wasn't worth the money. I'm well travelled, a seasoned traveller, who's seen much, and wouldn't chase every new opportunity at any price. That was my third trip to Asia during this year, or fourth, if I count the last 12 months, and I always have something new in the pipeline.
Anyway, my overall impression from the trip was positive. I liked the country, the food, the people being polite and helpful, and the mixture of old and new. If there was anything off-putting, one thing that I didn't like particulary, that would be the expensive transport, in combination with too complicated system of various passes, all with their own rules, and still not such a good bargain at all.
Anyway, it's possible that I'd visit again, and I wouldn't say no if another opportunity turns up again.
Oct 26, 2012 8:36 AM
41It's interesting to look at the stats to see Japan's popularity as a tourist destination. I'm sure the low ranking is much influenced by high level of costs.
I would say that it is rather because of the perception of high costs. Travellers pass around 25 year old anecdotes about $10 orange juices from the Bubble period. With the Chinese whisper effect the numbers get exaggerated for effect. No one bothers checking what the reality is like because relatively small number of travellers come here. It becomes sort of a self fulfilling prophecy. When the subject comes up anywhere I do make the case that Japan is cheaper than they think. But how much difference can one person make. I must be an optimist.
There are multiple causes for the low number of proportional foreign tourists in Japan. I don't blame outsiders alone for this phenomenon. Japan is quite unfriendly to foreign tourism aside from the cost factor. Many tourist operators here would rather not bother with foreigners and wish they'd go away. This is largely due to an ingrained cultural attitude about avoiding the unknown and its attending risks and avoiding "trouble". Foreigners, who may soap in a public bath tubs, are a possible source of "trouble", not potential revenue.
Those that are smart enough to cater to foreigner are just about sufficient to meet the current demand. So virtually none of the stakeholders in the industry are actually dissatisfied with the status quo. I don't see this changing in any major way.
But another reason for the lack of foreign tourism is external. It is this misleading term "Asia". Japan is seen as "Asia". Just look at #42:
That was my third trip to Asia during this year, or fourth, if I count the last 12 months, and I always have something new in the pipeline
So it gets compared to "Asia" and thus concluded it is expensive. Why is Germany not considered expensive even though price levels are roughly the same? Because it is compared to other countries in Western Europe. Rich countries have higher costs; this is simple economics.
Whenever the subject of costs in Japan I stress this point just as much as point #1. "Asia", "Asian" and any of its derivatives IMO have no meaning outside its purely geographical expression "Asian Continent." Asia is one of the most misused, meaningless terms because its constituent parts are so different. Again I must be an optimist.
Oct 26, 2012 9:55 AM
42#40 - I didn't say $100 a day on trains, that was over a 4-day period and we had to keep changing train lines, which puts the cost up. This was not the trip to Hakone, which in itself was expensive but considering the distance ... don't know, haven't got anything to compare it to.
Oct 26, 2012 4:49 PM
We have saunas, where you don't need to be told how to use it.
Anyway, I appreciated those baths, always nice to relax in hot bath.
Still, this topic is about expensive vs. budget Japan. If you look at surveys of the most expensive cities in the world, Japan has three among the top ten.. Here it remains unchallanged worldwide and stays on top.
Edited by: Fieldgate
Oct 26, 2012 9:38 PM
#40 - I didn't say $100 a day on trains,
Nor did I.
Still seems like a huge amount for most tourists assuming we are talking USD, and obviously some of the many day passes would have payed off assuming you stayed within the Tokyo area for those four days.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$234.89 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$24.54 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$219.68 per night