Japan on a Budget - week 3: Kyoto

Our last week in Kyoto was pretty lovely. We kept our budget under control (about $60 per day for two people), visited the monkey forest and bamboo forest and, of course, temples... and drank a bottle of the worst wine of all time. Turns out, even if wine says it's delicious, it isn't necessarily true. I feel lied to.

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Our goal: $50 per day total, including transportation, accommodation, visas, and bills back home. For two people.

In every budget update I will add a prorated estimate of our bills back home (loans, phone plan, etc. which may vary slightly by month), to include in our $50/day travel budget. I am not including travel insurance -- this would add about $5.75 per day to our total.
  • Days: 7
  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • Weekly spending: $399.23
  • Avg. spending per day: $57.04
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $60.24
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $48.71
A horrifying welcome mural at the Aeon mall across from Kyoto Station.

So what are our living expenses in Japan this week? 
  • Conversion rate: 106 Japanese Yen (jpy)=$1.00 USD
  • Accommodation: $228.10
    • We spent another five nights in our Kyoto Airbnb at around $39 per night.
    • We got one free night because we were on the overnight bus... So, there's a silver lining to spending all night on a bus. 
Be good to yourself before getting on an overnight bus.
    • Between our bus trip and flying to Sapporo, we stayed with a lovely lady in Tokyo for $34.48 for one night.
  • Food and drinks: $131.93
    • Food 'n stuff. We did our egg sandwich/coffee breakfast every day, usually got a prepared lunch of rice, fish or chicken, etc. from the grocery store (about $3-4 per meal) and picked up 50% discounted sushi for dinner. I will never stop eating sushi.
    • We got a bit bold with our alcohol choices and tried out some "delicious" wine, which was awful. It was also about $4, so you get what you pay for. Oh, same with sake... the cheapest sake available WILL give you a headache.
    • I asked Warren for a Dr. Pepper and he got me "the closest thing", which turned out to be a Peach Coke. It's exactly like it sounds: confusing.
Garbage wine

It's like Coke, then it's peach, but it's also Coke. 5/10.

The Devil's sake. He looks hungover, and I was the next day.
  • Transportation: $28.87
    • We left Kyoto on Thursday evening, and took the overnight bus back to Tokyo. Next week we will be in Sapporo!
    • Booking with kosokubus.com was easy, and by far the cheapest way to go between Tokyo and Kyoto. Its relatively painless, considering it's a bus.
Kyoto city walks
    • We did A LOT of walking this week, getting between AirBnBs and train/bus stations. It wasn't exceptionally far, but we were carrying our 7kg per person the entire time, plus we got rained on for a while and had to wear our stuff under raincoats. Very cool!
I've got bags of crap under that raincoat, CAN YOU TELL?

Stumbled across Holy Resurrection Cathedral while walking around Tokyo. It shouldn't surprise me to see literally everything in the world's largest city.

Tokyo city views
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous: $10.33
    • We spent some money on entertainment this week because WHO CAN SAY NO TO MONKEYS?
Even the grumpy old ones are cute
    • The Arashiyama Money Forest was 550jpy per person entry, which is a bit steep for us. Luckily, that's the only thing we did that really cost any money (other than eat and drink, of course).
Arashiyama Monkey Park is a nice spot to hang out, take in the sights, and watch the monkeys play in the water (and on the roof).

In Japan, the people are in the cage.

...and the monkeys enjoy the views.
    • Near the monkey park, you'll also find the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, which is free. It would be much more peaceful and zen if there weren't as many laughing teenagers... oh well!
Just a totes normal selfie

OK, that's more normal.

It's probably amazing when there aren't many people.
    • The walk around Arashiyama is also nice. There are parks, temples, and lots of Japanese people dressed up in kimono.
A quiet street in Arashiyama district

The beautiful river had lots of boats, ducks, tours, etc.

Arashiyama Park is immaculate and VERY nice. It's right next to the bamboo forest.

It also has an observation deck!

Nearby Sanshuin temple

I love the Japanese aesthetic.

Kyoto is an incredibly relaxing, lovely place, as long as you get away from the tourist spots. We spent our two weeks in the western part of the city, and made short trips into the overpopulated tourist areas to see the sights. It was cheaper, more authentic, and incredibly calm. We highly recommend seeing all the big sights of Kyoto, but staying away from the city center. It's very walkable and friendly, so get out and meet the locals!


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