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Japan travel guide, transport, food, prices, shopping

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Shibuya at night

Japan is one of the great destinations in Asia and knowledge is a must for any adventurous traveler. The impression is that it is an expensive country, but that is only an impression. There are some expensive things and some completely normal ones. The first obstacle is undoubtedly the price of the plane ticket, but once it is overcome, the truth is that it is a magnificent country to enjoy and ideal for different types of budget.

With time I would say between three weeks and one month is ideal, but thanks to the efficiency and speed of Japanese transport, two weeks, or even a single week, can be used to quickly see the most outstanding and popular. Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Yokohama, Kamakura and Hakone and with more time, the farthest Hiroshima. These cities are my personal selection for a first trip to the land of the rising sun.

how to go to japan

Tokyo Airport

By plane, of course. There are many airlines that arrive in Japan from all over the world, but the further you are, the higher the ticket price will be. A flight between Madrid and Tokyo costs between 350 and 2000 euros, one-way, depending on fare type and airline (data from Iberia, which operates with British Airways and Japan Airlines), for example. If you are traveling from South America, the fares are between 1,500 and 3,000 euros, depending on the date of purchase of the tickets.

Narita-express

From Europe, the flight lasts about 15 hours but from South America, you have to double the flight time. It’s the antipodes so it’s the longest possible trip. If you want to save, it’s a matter of paying attention to the sales and offers, but for that you need to have time available and not be tied to dates. Too bad because the average person is not in this situation. Airlines like Emirates, for example, usually do a lot around October, so if you have the cash you can find good prices.

Getting around in Japan

Transportation in Japan

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Another of the expenses that can be significant in Japan is that of internal transport. But as strangers we have the advantage of tourist passes. The best known of them and the one that covers the most means of transport across the country is the Japan Rail Pass. It is always purchased outside the country and when you arrive you exchange it for the ticket itself which will allow you to travel. There are three versions: 7, 14 and 21 days. The most expensive, the 21-day one, costs around 500 euros.

Trains in Japan

The truth is that I recommend your purchase because you stay another week if you want to take advantage of the shinkansen, the Japanese high-speed train and go to Kyoto or Osaka, you can easily amortize the cost of the pass. The high-speed train is expensive and the pass covers it. And these two cities are two and a half hours away so they are very easy excursions to do if you are in Tokyo.

In addition, the pass allows you to go around the main corners of Tokyo using the Yamanote Line, a train with a station in Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Asakusa, Ueno, Akiharabara and other popular areas for tourists.

Japan Rail Pass

Tokyo also has many other train lines, some also covered by the pass, and many subway lines. The metro has fares that start at two euros, more or less, but you pay more depending on the distance you travel. Also there are daily passes and regional passes so with a good plan the transport problem is solved. Of course, note the Japan Rail Pass. For me, it’s still number one.

What to do in Japan

streets of tokyo

Browse. Walk. See. Enjoy. Wonder. I’m not one to go into museums, but if Japan were it has many museums otherwise interesting. About history, art, swords, beer, plastic food making, anime characters, cars. There is a lot to visit and tickets usually cost between six and 10 euros.

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The duckThe shopping centers like department stores, so shopping is another thing we can do. Or go out and look, Japanese fashion has its quirks. The costs? There is everything, Japan not a cheap shopping paradise like China so I would say that the prices of clothes start at 20 euros for blouses and sweatshirts and go up to 70, 80, 90 for coats, pants, shirts. It depends on the brands.

Uniqlo

For simple and unpretentious clothes my advice is to go directly to Uniqlo and Gu. They are two sister brands and the second is cheaper than the first. The classic Uniqlo coats, the ones that you roll up and put in a bag, cost around 52 euros. Sweatshirts are around 9 euros and spring clothes (skirts, thongs, raincoats) are between 17 and 34 euros. In Gu, the prices are lower, and sometimes there are even better models.

Uniqlo can be found at almost every station on the Yamanote line and sometimes next to it is Gu. If you want more Japanese designs, the prices are much more expensive and you surely won’t find them in malls. If you like sneakers, there are thousands of New Balance and Nike models, but my sneaker recommendations go to the Onitsuka Tigermade here by Asics, and the tiger bread100% Japanese brand.

Bookstores in Japan

And if you like them japanese comics bookstores will be your paradise. There are volumes, they cost between 5 and 6 euros, there are illustration books and many merchandising of the most popular series. Bookstores are everywhere, but for this particular theme, it’s best to go to Akihabara or visit the Mandarake stores in Shibuya and Nakano.

eat in japan

fast food in japan

Nothing easier. On a tight budget the restaurants in the street with their machines to buy the menu are the first option. They have prices between 690, 870 and 1000 yen (6, 7 and 9 euros, 2016), for a classic three-course Japanese menu: rice, soup and noodles or breaded chicken pieces. All very tasty. There are restaurants everywhere, at the top and in the basement of the buildings, so do not run away from the possibility of discovering them.

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Beverage vending machines

If you want to sit down and be comfortable, you should be encouraged to take the elevator or go down the stairs. There are very elegant restaurants with lunch menu at a reasonable price between 9 and 10 euros. All these prices are without drinks, that is, nothing Coca Cola or beer, but Japanese restaurants They provide free ice water so you don’t need to buy a drink. Bright! And no one looks down on you!

7 eleven

A glass of beer costs between four, five, six or eight euros depending on the bar and the time. If you buy a can, it’s around 5 euros. If you prefer to stop at a convenience store (7 Eleven, Lawson, Family Market), you can buy meals prepared and reheated on site or at the inn for half the price of a restaurant. And they are very tasty.

Ultimately, the cheapest accommodation you can find is a hostel: they have rates between 30 and 40 euros per night in Tokyo and in other cities it may be cheaper. If you are traveling with another person Rent a floor (one bedroom as we say around here), for me it’s the best option. Airbnb offers great apartments for less than 90 euros a night in the best areas of the best cities in Japan.

The truth is that with airfare, accommodation, and transportation pre-arranged, all paid for, you can easily manage the budget. I would say that with 50 euros a day you are calm and with 100, more relieved and with money to spend on outings and gifts.

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