Post Reply Traveling to Tokyo (Planning Ahead for the next 3-5 years maybe)
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21 / M / MD
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Posted 8/15/16
Hello!

So I have me and my group of friends roughly 5-6 people that really want to go to Tokyo hopefully in the next couple of years so I'm planning ahead to see what me and my friends need to do the next couple of years to get ready if we go through with this. So here are some of my questions!


1. I would first like to say first that all of us except for one has really crappy close to minimum wage jobs ($9.00/hr) and would like to know approximately how much cash should we save up for Spending money and other expenses?

2. What is the best and/or cheapest hotel closest to the Akihabara area?

3. Do we absolutely need to learn Japanese?

4. Is there anything else that I forgot or that I need to know?

Thank you for your time and helping us out!
tetrum 
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29 / M / UK/HUN
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Posted 8/15/16
Hi!

I try to answer as much I can (been in April and going again in September). Plus I'm travelling from Europe so the flight price is a little bit different (don't know cheaper or more expensive from the US).

1. Well for spending money, it depend, last time I had 800GBP (1020 dollar) in Yen and brought back about 220GBP (284 dollar) worth of Yen. Ok i wasn't spending like a maniac, so that's why I would say, for a week plan around 1000-1200GBP (1200-1500 dollar) and then you're on a good side.

2. Try this for hotel and flight search: https://www.expedia.co.uk/ Or try Trivago or Kayak. It's the easiest and most practical. And remember the prices always changes, depending on the date. I bought the flight and hotel in May for September and it cost me 900GBP (1160 dollar)

3. Not really, at least if you only want to be in Tokyo, but it's not a bad thing if one of you at least know some Japanese. On the metro, trains and some of the road signs have English as well on them. At the main tourist spots, there is always English speaking stuff, but in some shops, there won't be.

4. When you arrive to the airport buy a Suica or Pasmo card and put some money on it (about 4000 Yen at least), with them you don't have to buy ticket for the metro, just have to swipe the card at the gate. But beware, for the trains from Narita (don't now about Haneda) you need an extra ticket for the trains to Tokyo (Narita Express, Keisei-Ueno line) and for the Shikansen as well.
If you plan to go to an Onsen, be prepared, that if you or one of your friend has a tattoo, they won't let you in. If it's not a big one, you can cover it with a plaster and then they let you in.
To get around, best is to use the metro/train in Tokyo, or rent a bicycle. Taxi is very expensive, so think about them as last resorts. There are some buses as well, but I haven't tried them, so I don't have any info about them.
On the metro, in the rush hour, the first few cars are only for women, so avoid getting onto those ones
Oh and if you guys like bicycle tours, go on one with these guys, I've been with them and their really good and they have a few routes (from the easiest to the real hill climbing all day tour as well) http://www.tokyocycling.jp/index.html
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37 / M / SW Ontario, Canada
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Posted 8/19/16
1. I would first like to say first that all of us except for one has really crappy close to minimum wage jobs ($9.00/hr) and would like to know approximately how much cash should we save up for Spending money and other expenses?

I would really recommend looking into a hostel. It's going to be a lot cheaper than any hotel, especially if you're going as a group, and they often include at least 1 or 2 meals a day. I don't know which ones are good or not, but they are a great place to start.

2. What is the best and/or cheapest hotel closest to the Akihabara area?

I just finished a stay at the Washington Hotel in akiba and it was 100% great. Price was reasonable, location was beyond excellent (about 2 mins from akiba station) and staff were nice. That said, I'd still recommend a hostel if you're really concerned about money. The fact is, the public transportation system is so good in Tokyo that it's actually hard to find a really badly located place to stay. As long as you're anywhere near the JR Yamanote line you're only looking at an hour absolute tops to get from your hotel to pretty much anywhere else.

3. Do we absolutely need to learn Japanese?

No. Knowing the basics helps more on a politeness level than anything else but, especially if you're staying in Tokyo and/or other major tourist areas you don't need to know Japanese at all.

4. Is there anything else that I forgot or that I need to know?

If you have the option to fly into Haneda instead of Narita, it's easily the better option. Also, don't think you need to buy a JR Rail Pass just because you're going to Japan. The JR Pass is really only worth it if you're planning on taking more than 3 or 4 long distance trains during your trip. It can be a hassle to get one and it's fairly expensive, so don't worry about one if you don't need one.
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35 / M / Kansas
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Posted 8/27/16 , edited 8/27/16
1. You can get around Japan for extremely cheap. I'd say you could make due on $200 per person just fine if you don't plan on doing a bunch of shopping or eating at nice restaurants. You'll spend about $2-$5 per meal if you eat at convenience stores or ramen stands. The costs don't really add up unless you want to eat nice food, catch shows, buy cool stuff, travel to another town, ect. You can easily kill a day or two just walking around Tokyo and taking in the sights. I would suggest however bringing $1000 or more to spend.

2. For room and board I always suggest Airbnb. I've used it both times I went to Japan with no problems. There are people who'll rent their apartments for pretty cheap. If everyone chips in you can probably rent a nice penthouse for less then the cost of a hotel. The only problem is Japanese apartments are fairly small so you might want to get the dimensions of the place beforehand to make sure it'll fit everyone. You can also stay at pod hotels. You probably won't want to do that for more then a day or two but if you book in advance you can get places for as low as $14 at night. In Akihabara the cheapest will probably be around $30 though.

3. You need to know zero Japanese if you are staying in the city or visiting tourist attractions.

4. My advice would be to go to Japan as soon as you can. I had wanted to visit Japan when I was a teenager but I didn't get actually go until I was 33 because I always thought it would be too expensive. I would have enjoyed the trip so much better if I had gone in my early 20's when I was an Otaku. So, my advice is to not procrastinate. Just go to Japan next Spring or Summer. Don't make grand plans, don't wait on your friends (most will bail out anyway), just save up and go. Even if you are broke during the trip you can always go back again and do the things you missed out on.
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37 / M / SW Ontario, Canada
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Posted 8/27/16

Chrismishima wrote:

1. You can get around Japan for extremely cheap. I'd say you could make due on $200 per person just fine if you don't plan on doing a bunch of shopping or eating at nice restaurants. You'll spend about $2-$5 per meal if you eat at convenience stores or ramen stands. The costs don't really add up unless you want to eat nice food, catch shows, buy cool stuff, travel to another town, ect. You can easily kill a day or two just walking around Tokyo and taking in the sights. I would suggest however bringing $1000 or more to spend.

4. My advice would be to go to Japan as soon as you can. I had wanted to visit Japan when I was a teenager but I didn't get actually go until I was 33 because I always thought it would be too expensive. I would have enjoyed the trip so much better if I had gone in my early 20's when I was an Otaku. So, my advice is to not procrastinate. Just go to Japan next Spring or Summer. Don't make grand plans, don't wait on your friends (most will bail out anyway), just save up and go. Even if you are broke during the trip you can always go back again and do the things you missed out on.


1.) This is very true. Food/drink is probably the area in which you can easily save the most money or you can blow your entire budget without even realizing it. Tokyo has so much variety when it comes to food but just because it has 5 star restaurants doesn't mean you have to spend anywhere near a lot of money on food, and you can still eat pretty well. I'd budget a little bit extra for food just so you can try some cool different unique stuff but be sure to set a daily limit and stick to it. Don't underestimate the usefulness of convenience stores for decent cheap food, and bring refillable water bottles with you where ever you go so you're less tempted by the omnipresent drink vending machines. That 100 to 150 Yen per drink doesn't seem like much individually but if you\'re on a tight budget it can be a killer.

4.) Very very much this. I also waited until just last year to finally go and my only regret is that I waited as long as I did. It was such an amazing trip and such a great place that easily surpassed any expectations I had. It can be scary or stressful if you've never really traveled before (and maybe even if you have) but it's so worth it, or at least it was for me.

Also, even if you're going as an otaku, I'd still suggest exploring a bunch of not only Tokyo outside of Akiba but also getting outside of the city if you can. Even just a half day tour group trip to Mt. Fuji or something is a must so you can see a little of the Japanese countryside.

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