How much did a 7 day tea/gourmet trip to Japan cost me?

7 days in Japan. Will it ruin you or just flatter your family budget?

The trip took 11 days in total (2 days Prague – Brussels – Madrid – Tokyo / 7 days in Japan / 2 days Tokyo – Madrid – Frankfurt – Prague).

The original plan went a bit awry… 2 times I ran out of money. I went to Japan with 65,000 yen (pretty old-fashioned cache), I ended up making up about 30,000 yen extra at ATMs.

Could I have done it without that? Absolutely. But while I was there, I wanted to enjoy Japanese gastronomy and not be “hungry” or satisfy my cravings. And add to that buying tea, gifts, … You know the drill :).

For simplicity, I’m converting the prices in Japanese yen : 5 to CZK.

Travel there and back

  • Flight tickets (Brussels – Madrid – Tokyo, Tokyo – Madrid – Frankfurt) – 6 500 CZK
  • EU connecting flights (Prague – Brussels, Frankfurt – Prague) – 4 000 CZK
  • But with the cheap flights also comes the cost of 2 nights in Madrid – 3 700 CZK

Transfers in Japan

  • One week Japan Rail Pass = 7,090 Kč (paid in the Czech Republic via JTB Czech)
  • Bike rental for 2 days with insurance = 2,200 yen = 440 CZK

Accommodation

  • 3 nights ryokan, 1 shared room and 3 nights capsule hotel = 20,700 yen = 4,140 CZK

Internet

  • Japanese data sim bought locally – 5 GB (I had to buy another 2 GB later) = 5,500 + 4,000 yen = 1,900 Kč

Food and drink

  • Onigiri, bento boxes, kaiten sushi, gyoza, ramen, … = 20,000 yen = 4000 Kč

Tea, ceramics, accessories, tea candies

  • Sencha, Kabuse, Gyokuro, 3 handmade Kyoto teapots, Kohaku sweets = 18,000 yen = 3,600 CZK

Enjoyments

  • Trees, gardens, tea ceremonies, .. = 7,750 yen = 1,550 Kč

Gifts/Souvenirs

  • 12,000 yen = 2,400 Kč

// Yes some thousands of yen are still missing from the total 🙂 I wrote down the expenses, but apparently I missed my daily notes somewhere… ///

Total: 40 290 Kč

That’s a high price tag – a lot of it is the travel and on-site transfers alone. But it’s not just a price tag for 7 days in Japan, I was away for a total of 11 days and also visited Belgium (half a day) and Madrid (2 nights and a full day). The tea flavor of my whole trip added its part.

A bit of travel math: if you kept to the cheapest price level for accommodation in Japan (capsule hotels win at about 2,000 yen per night), one temple/experience per day and a full day’s food, you could get to about 5,000 yen = 1,000 CZK per day. But if you have a week-long flight, add another 1000 yen to that 1000 yen price tag for accommodation, food, … (7 day flight for about 7k) = 2,000 per day for 1 person.

What can you cut on that?

Mainly the price of the flight = if you buy it for more days and therefore in the overall budget the price tag per day will decrease (with 21 days JRP you will get to about 666 CZK per person after budgeting for 1 day). Also multiple-person accommodation can be cheaper (if there are more of you, you buy a bigger room and sleep cheaper), …

But for me, the experiences, teas and travel experiences outweighed the price tag, so I’ll take it as a great trip. I’ve been to Brussels, Madrid and Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Uji. I’m already planning on going (yes plural) for at least a month next time because you can’t do much in 7 days.

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