Japan on a budget - week 5: Sapporo

It's been freezing in Sapporo! We checked out a festival this week, and I struggled to find an English speaking doctor, but succeeded in the end. I'm still not sick of sushi and sake, although we mixed it up this week and cooked a hot meal to keep ourselves moving during the 50 degree days.  

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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: Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
  • Weekly spending: $332.10
  • Avg. spending per day: $47.45
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $50.65
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $49.46  

Odori Park has wonderful roses in the summer, and there are lots more all throughout the city.

So what are our living expenses in Sapporo, Japan this week? 
  • Conversion rate: 107 Japanese Yen (jpy)=$1.00 USD
  • Accommodation: $165.47
    • This week we got to test out our heater! It got down to about 9*C for a few nights, and only up to 10/11C in the daytime... and very drizzly/rainy. Pretty nasty stuff for our tropical-accustomed selves, but it turns out that our heater does the trick!
Entertaining ourselves to fend off the frostbite
    • I'd be dying without my Smartwool PhD socks. I've got to say, for being as lightweight and thin as they are, they're amazingly warm when needed! I wish I had always had these socks:
Buy them all.
  • Food and drinks: $153.72
    • We didn't splurge on anything in particular, but we didn't tighten our belts either. What's the point of being in Japan if you aren't going to eat delicious fresh fish, drink Japanese whisky, and test out the 7-eleven snacks?
Turns out, sesame burdock root is one of my favorite things ever!

I already knew I loved tuna sashimi, but did you know you can get it for like $3?!

When you're cold as hell and pork chops and broccoli are on sale at the supermarket
  • Transportation: $0
    • All the walking! No transportation costs this week.

Always a good time

Sapporo Factory shopping area, gorgeous!
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous: $12.90
    • I had to buy my monthly iPhone charger cord, since they break in every country we go to. This is my second in Japan and the most expensive of our six-country trip: 1380jpy ($12.90).
    • Not included? Another two trips to the doctor (if you need one, check this article I wrote). I'm not included the cost because we will be reimbursed. Let's hope my tests come back better than last time and I'll be cleared (don't worry, I'm not ill).
    • We checked out the free annual Hokkaido Shrine Festival and saw some traditional dance, which includes throwing sweets to the crowd. We'll be checking it out again!
Traditional Japanese dance at the festival

We are enjoying Sapporo, where Warren is getting lots of work done and I'm filling my body with raw fish and delicious Japanese milk chocolate. On sunny days, it's a lovely city for wandering around, so we are looking forward to the upcoming beer festival and flower festival. Unfortunately, we are a bit limited in our outings because very few people speak English, and almost no signs or menus are in English (or have pictures). Hopefully we will have better luck with that in Tokyo!


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