July 6, 2016 Melinda 0Comment

Takayama Village

We decided to go to Japan on a whim when we found a Black Friday sale on Singapore Air. My daughter had been lobbying to go there for a long time, so the opportunity to fly for just $600 a piece was too great to pass up. I had heard that Japan was expensive, but also that this was a good time to go with a strong dollar and weak yen. I purchased first class Japan Rail passes so that we could reserve seats. To be honest, I was excited to experience the Japanese rail system at it’s best and we had 7 cities to visit, so the extra splurge felt justified. I reserved all of our accommodations two to three months ahead and was pretty careful to balance our needs and budget. I decided to spend about two thirds of our time in Airbnb rentals to give us a bit of extra space, the chance to do laundry plus the ability to cook meals ourselves. During the planning stages, my budgeting felt prudent, not too decadent.
When we arrived, as has happened before, I began to worry that I was spending money hand over fist. I seemed to waffle between one minute throwing caution to the wind, because we may never have the opportunity again and other times running constant numbers in my head. I think because the yen doesn’t simply convert to dollars and taking large sums of cash out at a time saves transaction fees, it was easy to feel like we were barreling through money. So, how did we actually do? When I got home I looked at our spending and jotted down some figures.

 

Airline Tickets (Singapore Air, Black Friday Sale) 1900.

Japan Rail Passes (First Class)                             1648.

Airbnb   Tokyo (4 nights)                                         621.

              Kyoto (3 nights)                                           349.

              Hiroshima (2 Nights)                                 233.

              Asakusa Tokyo (3 nights)                          361.

 

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Ryokans Narita  (1 night)                                         161.

               Kanazawa (2 nights)                                  272.

               Takayama (2 nights)                                 348.

               Yudanaka (1 night)                                     149.

Sumo Tour (Viator)                                                  363.

Starting Cash                                                             500.

Spending Money                                                     2568.

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Total                                                                     $7989.

My conclusion? This was an 18 day trip for three adults, averaging $444 a day. At $2663 per person, it feels quite reasonable. Granted, it’s not realistic to average all costs because accommodations and many meals were split, but I’m still content with the final figures. I think the important lesson is to do my best to plan wisely, include some extra padding for unexpected costs and then relax and enjoy the experience.

 

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