A quick note right up front... Tokyo is NOT expensive. No need
to be defensive for it simply just isn't. It may be more expensive
than other, less busy cities of Japan but, and especially compared
to the prices in America and the EU, it's fairly cheap.
Another quick note... which will uncover the mystery on how come
every single information you got about Tokyo prices were the exact
opposite of this fact. The answers are quite simple.
Main reason... you better stop being like a tourist
First of all most western people who visit Japan are tourists,
and tourists tend to be less observative of the fact that they
are still on the face of earth, and are still within the same
human society, only a bit further down the usual road.
Now what would happen if you'd ignore the fact that there ARE
places in your hometown which are said to be of higher class,
or more in the center than others, and that these places used
to serve the public on the same, or only a little higher level
than others, bill you five to ten times for it ? You'd go broke.
If you'd pretend that there's no difference in price for the same
simple restaurant meal in a historic district as opposed to the
one in your neighborhood, start running down on the main street
for groceries instead of going to the supermarket, buy your necessities
in the last minute and right on the spot where you'll need them,
for example a photo camera in the shop below Tokyo Tower... just
what can you expect ?
Some local street knowledge, just the same common sense you use
at home will not just let you know the city better, be a lot of
fun while exploring everyday traditions but also will lower the
budget to half at least. No kidding, there are an awful lot of
differences between social classes and the associated costs in
Tokyo. But again... this goes the same for every society that
is in fact one of the economic leaders of the world, doesn't it.
If you don't have anyone to follow you through these tiny little
things of everyday life, all you need to do is get a GOOD guide
on Japan, that at least tries to fit you in... as opposed to tell
you a tale on history and misrepresent everything you see to its
Even more common reason... get accustomed
When in Japan, trying to lead a lifestyle you're used to overseas...
your daily costs will be as high as... trying to lead Japanese
lifestyle in the west.
Even though when mentioning Japanese and western lifestyle don't
expect the difference between the two to be that much big. It's
the little things that take up your daily expenses anyway. Don't
worry you don't need to exchange your bed for a futon, neither
to start on sitting on your six tatami floor, unless that's your
While Japan, and especially Tokyo may be quite an international
place to be, some things that the country has caught on only recently...
meaning only a couple of hundred years... may be less rooted in
its economy than others, thus be more rare, hence more expensive.
On the other hand things you were used to overseas to be more
expensive because they originated from Japan or its neighborhood
will be much more cheap.
In case you'd like to learn more about how to cut down the costs,
take our guide as general hints on at least the basics of doing
so, but try to do some research on your own, if only by chosing
the right travel guidebook. As mentioned before we recommend Lonely
Planet publications on Japan.
Visa, border entry, what to bring and be prepared with
- Japanese maps,
Navi mobile navigation, easy orientation for travelers
stores, the resupply stations that sell everything
- Japanese Vending
machines, for drinks, tickets, cigarettes and more
- Japanese Food, and
all kinds of food in Japan, restaurants, fast food, cheap food...
- Tokyo - as we see it
- Budget Tokyo
apartment rental, accommodation, let go of the concern
- Tokyo Prices, the
real cost vs. western legends, how to make most of your budget
- Cheap Tokyo Stores, bargain
tips, where to find what, fashion to electronics
- Tokyo Cafe life, a
guide to Cafes serving as meeting points, hangouts and life-savers
- Tokyo Parks
and Gardens, well maintained icons of tranquility, tradition
or having fun
- The Tokyo crowd...
escaping from Tokyo to Tokyo, evading downtown rushhours