Japan on a budget -- week 9: Tokyo

We got gifts and fancy food this week in Tokyo, and narrowed down our upcoming travel plans. Our Antarctica job paperwork is all in and we are leaving in early October. Between mid-July and early October, we will be in Bali, Singapore, London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Ilkley (England), Mt Pleasant (Michigan), Toronto, and Hawkins (Texas). Our budget is going to get a bit wacky so this might be the last regular update. In the past almost 11 months we have managed to keep it under $50 per day overall!

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: Tokyo, Japan
  • Weekly spending: $478.68
  • Avg. spending per day: $68.39
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $71.59
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $49.75 
Would you care for a delicious octopus snack?!

So what are our living expenses in Tokyo, Japan this week? 
  • Conversion rate: 109 Japanese Yen (jpy)=$1.00 USD
  • Accommodation: $163.02
    • Our cheap room (under $25 per night, found on Airbnb before they changed their Japanese policies) in northern Tokyo is in a lovely neighborhood with a fabulous riverfront park nearby!
Morning coffee in bed
Walking to the park to go for a run

not too shabby!

Utilizing every inch of space, there are lots of terraced/vertical gardens in dense Tokyo.
  • Food and drinks: $237.67
    • Mostly we ate bento boxes and sushi but this week I had my semi-annual I NEED A CHEESEBURGER moment. We found messy burgers at "Juicy All Starz" and satisfied that craving with cheeseburgers, fries, and a Coke, for about 3000yen.
    • We splurged on a fancy date night dinner because we wanted delicious Japanese beef. I'm not sure where it was or what the restaurant genre is called, but we found a place that serves vegetables, tofu, and beef, all raw, then you cook it at the table in a hot tasty sauce, and eat it with a raw scrambled egg. It was mind-blowing and so delicious! It was expensive though, and ended up around $60 for two people to get ultra full and each drink a beer. Not too shabby for restaurants in general, but pricey for us.

    • Sparkling red wine became a thing for us in Australia, and Warren picked up a small bottle to celebrate our Antarctica approval. It was sweet and surprisingly good -- and only about $5!
  • Transportation: $18.35
    • Warren and I both took some trips into town this week so we added 1000yen to each of our subway cards. Trips are pretty cheap if you know which lines to take -- one or two trains for 30 minutes and 240yen (about $2.20) will get you just about anywhere. Google Maps is very useful and Japanese trains are accurate to the second, so just look up your route and when you want to leave. It even shows you prices!
Street views, adorable lights

Notice the train sign: if you drop your hat, WE WILL GRAB IT, don't jump on the tracks dummy

This is a Shiba Inu on a shelf outside a window!!!

Horrifying Tanuki statues are everywhere.

Not to be outdone by Sapporo, these wacky flowers are in bloom.
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous: $59.64
    • Our Antarctica jobs required MORE paperwork to be printed and faxed, at about 2000yen ($18.35). BUT IT'S ALL DONE!
    • We'll be visiting some little kiddos and their parents in the UK, so we spent some money on small gifts at a GIANT store in Akihabara. Trust me, picking out toys in Tokyo is overwhelming.
Japanese vending machines are so funnnn!

Larger-than-life Wonder Woman in the toy store
    • A trip to Japan isn't compete without a cosplay souvenir. I got a Sailor Moon wig for like $10!!!

Tokyo is wacky and expensive and fun. We are wrapping up our budget adventures and are having mixed feelings but this is for sure: we didn't blow our budget, we learned a lot about ourselves and other countries, and sushi is still the best food ever.


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