How expensive is Japan really, and is it worth a visit?

“No one is coming to Nikko after earthquake,” Yoshiko told us sadly last night as we paid the bill for four nights at the Nikko Cottage Fu Sha. This bill came to almost $600 between us. The Sakura Fleur hotel in Tokyo came to roughly the same each for three nights.

So how expensive is Japan? Well, for a week in Tokyo and Nikko I spent $550 on flights from and to Bali and $600 on accommodation, and I’m estimating around $700 on expenses. Was it worth it? Hell yeah! It’s all just so exciting, especially Tokyo. I mean, even a walk around the pharmacy is a thrill ride; just look at this poster and these colorful, fabulous pills.

I was so excited at the prospect of having a cold after seeing this that I went and caught one, so both me and Noah spent our time in Nikko sneezing and spluttering… yet still feeling utterly grateful for getting to spend our sick days tucked up tight in these authentic futon beds.

We also got a mini kitchen at the Fu Sha, plus Yoshiko drove us everywhere and also bought us little snacks to take out with us. Bless our Japanese mummy!

So yes, it’s expensive but you really do get what you pay for in Japan. The people are all so hospitable and friendly too. It makes me feel a bit ashamed for wishing they wouldn’t clog up Ubud in their buses, so tomorrow when I get home I am going to make friends with them and maybe even help them read their maps.

Seriously though. It does make me look at things a bit differently. Hmm.

Back to the lack of tourism in Nikko. I kind of gathered that there was something amiss – walking around town was like being in an abandoned theme park most of the time. Scores of shops seeming to sell nothing but vacuum sealed pickled objects and packaged black eggs rolled in cake were standing empty. Even this man selling grilled fish wasn’t doing much business at Nikko National Park yesterday.20130623-180529.jpg

This might have had something to do with the fact that his fish cost 500 yen each, which is $5. In Thailand they’d cost 50 cents. Probably less. And also, people in Nikko National Park tend to fish for themselves anyway.

Our bus from Nikko to the National Park was set to cost 200 yen (about $2) according to Yoshiko, so with pockets full of tissues and our noses running harder than Michael Johnson we set off on “the local bus” yesterday, only to be charged $30 for our two tickets. That’s $15 each, one way, for a 45 minute bus ride, with people cramming in the aisles all the way there. We had to pay as much to get back, too.

WTF? Oh, and the train from Tokyo to Nikko cost us about $55 one way. You can do it cheaper if you “accidentally” skip over the barriers like we may have done on the way there, but Yoshiko helped me pay for mine on the way back, making sure I knew how to get to Haneda airport, so I couldn’t really go all cheapskate on our hostess with the mostess.

Still, the park… Yes, it was a lovely four hour walk in the rain, getting mud splatters all the way up my legs and onto my arse cheeks. I didn’t complain once (ahem).

I liked both Tokyo and Nikko and while both were expensive, where else can you cram into a 6×6 foot bar and sing karaoke with strangers?

Where else can you fish for your dinner in a posh restaurant and eat it served as sashimi in five minutes flat?

And where else can you witness large groups of curious Japanese people in one amazing place?!

Well… Alright…

One thought on “How expensive is Japan really, and is it worth a visit?

  1. I don’t fully agree. Japan isn’t that expensive, you compare the prices with underdeveloped (but developing) countries like Indonesia and Thailand but is that reasonable? Japan is a highly developed country so its prices are more or less in line with other highly developed countries like the US, Australia and Western Europe. How much does a hotel room in New York cost?

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