All photos taken with the Nikon D5500
When headed to Japan, most people recommend allocating 100SGD for expenses per day you are there. Now I dont know what sort of holiday these people are used to, but that’s pretty luxurious by my standards. So Airbnb boldly halved the recommended budget to see if the BSG could stick to it – and if so, how.
Ergo my budget in yen for the day was 90.09 x 50 = 4504.5yen.
I wrote down every single thing I spent in that day, which I will detail in:
Total spent: 331yen.
Because we were planning to budget it out in an extremely photogenic way, I proposed a picnic in Nara. Penny was really enthusiastic about it because she apparently has this thing going on called #picnicgoals, where she picnics in every city she hits.. but okay. It meant she already had a picnic mat, which was great! All we needed was the food. For that, we went to one of the takeout places in the train station that charge you by weight. This one was called Cook Deli.
Now I know what you’ll say – it’s not fair, you can split everything by five, so of course it’s cheaper, right? Wrong. With more people, you need more food, and so even though the number of people you can split your cost with rises, so does the amount you spend on food overall. And we had two guys with sizeable appetites, so I think it was a pretty realistic gauge.. Generally, from experience, once you have over 2 people in your travelling party, food costs can go quite low because you can split everything.
Total spent: 911yen.
From there, we navigated the train ticketing system (alright, Candice did it, she had the best direction sense of us all) and bought our tickets to Nara!
Tip: Take the private Kintetsu Kyoto Line instead of the JR Nara line. It’s faster and cheaper, taking only 35 minutes for 560 yen. That’s only SGD6++ for a day trip out of Osaka!!! Crazy.
Total spent: 1471yen.
We went to the grounds opposite the deer park to have our picnic first, because they were relatively deer-free and we didn’t want to have to deal with deer trying to eat our food off the ground.
I 100% recommend picnicking because they add a nice cozy twist to any holiday. In Japan though, they’re not necessarily much cheaper than dining in a small eatery. In Europe, however, I picnicked across Salzburg and Switzerland, and it was the cheapest way to see those cities, hands down.
Ok, with lunch done, it was time to get some deer action going!! No entry fees, as mentioned before, so it was really open house all around.
I still think I fared better than my friends though:
Anyway. I decided to go all out and buy a pack of deer biscuits, because they were only 150yen and I wanted to see what would happen if I did.
Which made us wonder – why dont they attack the deer biscuit stalls? There were pushcarts stocked with deer biscuits everywhere, and they didn’t look particularly well protected. If anyone knows, please enlighten me 🙂
Anyway, I decided to nominate myself as the deer whisperer, because I was relatively unafraid of them – they didn’t look like they were the sort to attack people, and I really wanted some good pictures with them HAHA. Priorities!
So that was Nara deer park for us. I think it’s safe to say it was my first time seeing deer up close, and it was really lovely! They’re incredibly annoying and obnoxious without being violent, and remind me of my cat, which is probably my favourite thing about them. When I posted the deer pictures on instagram my dad texted me to say you could get fleas from them and die, but so far I’m ok, so I think all is good. Go forth and hang out with some deer.
We then headed to a sushi conveyor belt place in Nara central which was supposed to be pretty famous, although I dont know the name of the place.
After that we were thirsty so Penny and I split a giant carton of grapefruit juice for 70yen each at a 7-11 store.
Total spent: 2331yen. (sushi + deer biscuits + grapefruit juice)
By this time it was pretty late in the afternoon, so we decided to leave Nara for Osaka Castle, one of those must-see things in Osaka.
Total spent: 2941yen.
We timed it so our visit to Osaka castle would coincide nicely with the sunset, and it was lovely! The castle is quite a walk from the train station, which was a nice way to unwind after the long train ride and shake off the sleepy remains of our nap.
Plus if you stay outside you save on the entry fee, woohoo!
The outside of Osaka Castle, though, was lovely. It’s a modest climb up, which means it affords some pretty awesome views of the cityscape and of the sunset. We stayed for an hour perched on the stone walls surrounding the castle, waiting for the sun to set.
I also wrote down how much it cost in total per person – 630yen. Our train back to Namba, Osaka, where we stayed, was another 240yen.
Total spent: 3811yen.
Back in our area, we walked around for a bit before heading back, which is what we did every night: explore a little bit more of the Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi streets near our place. We discovered the best gyozas in the history of gyozas along the streets of Dontonbori and had some pretty great waffles in Shinsaibashi..
Shared Waffles: 100yen
And much later at night, after lazing around in our apartment and unloading our bags, we went for a midnight supper run at a Matsumo outlet near our place. In case you didn’t read my Keeping with the Kyotians post (TSK), Matsumo is one of the three 24hr eatery chains in japan that are absolutely amazing. You order via a vending machine, which gives you a ticket which the people there collect from you in exchange for hot food. AMAZING.
We had curry rice and a beef bowl, split between Mart, Penny, and I. Didn’t care for the curry rice because I have zero tolerance for spicy food, but the beef bowl was incredible. I MISS IT EVEN NOW. Japanese gyudons are the best!!!
Stuffed and happy, we thus concluded our day and rolled cheerfully back to the apartment 🙂
Total spent: 4274yen.
Picnic food: 470yen
Ticket to Nara: 560yen
Deer Food: 150yen
Shared Sushi: 640yen
Shared Grapefruit Juice: 70yen
Ticket from Nara: 560yen
Ticket topup for Osaka Castle: 50yen
Ticket from Osaka Castle: 240yen
Shared Gyoza: 50yen
Shared Waffles: 100yen
Shared Matsumo Supper: 313yen
Actual amount spent in SGD: $47.5
It came as a mix of relief and surprise that I managed to stick within the budget – honestly, I didn’t know if I would be able to because fifty bucks is quite easily blown for me in Singapore. I think that’s because I cab to my meetings a lot on the basis that time is money, and cab fares accumulate quick. Plus, Japan is known to be a pricy Southeast Asian country, and to me you’re always more liberal with your spending on holidays than at home, because everything is very Once in a Lifetime and all that, you know?
But I think if you read through the post, it’s pretty clear that we didn’t suffer at all from the budget restriction. At no point in the day did I feel like I was missing out on anything because I had a budget limit placed on me – I think that comes through pretty clearly in the post, we basically did a whole bunch of things for very little money. It could have been less, even, if we didn’t indulge in midday sushi or random roadside snacks – but I think that’s the point, that we could enjoy all these little things and still not bust 50 bucks a day.
So, yeah! Very proud to announce that the Jemma x Airbnb 50bucks a day challenge was a success 😀 It is totally doable you guys, so stop thinking that Japan is going to be unendingly expensive and leave you bankrupt, and start planning for your next trip there!