As I was planning my trip to Tokyo, I was told numerous times that it was a ridiculously expensive city. I ended up bringing about ¥35,000 in cash for food, drink, and whatever else I wanted to throw some dollar bills at (not including my hotel), and only had about ¥2,000 left after five days. I’m a fairly money-conscious individual, but do like to indulge every once in awhile. While there were certainly things I didn’t do while in Tokyo given my time constraints (the Robot Restaurant, for example), I left feeling like I did everything I had originally wanted to and was able to really enjoy my time here. So, if you’re wondering “how much money should I bring to Tokyo?”, keep reading for the breakdown of all my expenses over five days.
Transportation, dinner, and drinks
Our flight touched down at Narita International Airport Saturday night and we had a bit of a tough time sorting out transportation to our hotel in Shinjuku. If we had more time (and if there was actually information in English), I’m sure we could have found a much cheaper way to get to our hotel, but we were tired, frustrated, and just wanted to get out of the airport.
After we checked into our hotel, we decided to wander over to Memory Lane for a late-night bite to eat. This is where we discovered a little shop selling the most delicious soba noodles (this was our cheapest meal of the trip). We then wandered over to the well-known area of Golden Gai for a glass of sake before passing out for the evening.
Suica Card, the best falafel sandwich I’ve ever had, Family Mart snacks and drink
Despite the wet weather, we wandered over to Harajuku with a beer in hand (gotta love the liquor laws in these countries). We later stopped by for a very sweet milk tea shaved ice dessert at Ice Monster.
After a bit more wandering around, we went to Kuumba du Falafel for the most incredible falafel sandwich I have had (and likely will ever have). Since the weather was absolute crap and we were exhausted, we decided to hit up a 7-Eleven for some drinks (read: wine and beer) and snacks (a mix of mochi, onigiri, and other odd things we wouldn’t fully know until opening the package) to take back to our hotel.
¥190 – breakfast danish
¥500 – money added onto my Suica Card (used for the metro)
¥500 – dessert at Ice Monster
¥135 – beer to-go from Family Mart
¥1200 – the best falafel sandwich I’ve ever had at Kuumba du Falafel
¥636 – hotel late-night snacks (wine, mochi, onigiri, beer)
Day 3 :
Tsukemen, sake in a cup, cherry blossoms, ice cream
We started our day with a tsukemen ramen meal at Fuunji. For those who haven’t tried tsukemen before – it’s life-changing. Plus, Fuunji is meant to serve some of the best tsukemen in Tokyo and, after trying it, I would have to agree.
Since we were in Tokyo during sakura season, we went to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden to surround ourselves with all of the beautiful cherry blossoms. On our way home, we decided to try one of the restaurants in the metro for dinner, as we had heard they’re all meant to be really good. Unfortunately, my miso katsu wasn’t fantastic (the only meal I didn’t love in Tokyo), but thankfully my triple-tiered ice cream afterwards hit the spot.
¥1200 – Tsukemen ramen at Fuunji
¥238 – cup sake from 7-Eleven (literally the best thing)
¥200 – entrance into Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (for the cherry blossoms)
¥1000 – recharge of my Suica Card
¥1100 – dinner (miso katsu in the metro)
¥470 – soft serve matcha, strawberry, and Hokkaido milk ice cream
Tsukiji Fish Market, omakase lunch, hilarious dinner
We were cursed with yet another day of rain, but it was our last chance to head to the Tsukiji Fish Market since it was closed the following day. So off we went, umbrella in hand, to devour all of the snacks and sushi from the market. By 10:00 am, we had eaten our fair share of snacks as we wandered around, but saved just enough room to enjoy a fantastic omakase lunch at Sushi Katsura.
For dinner, we went to well-known Narukiyo. There was penis paraphernalia everywhere, great music, a hilarious chef, and just all around super fun vibes. Although on the expensive side, I think the experience alone at Narukiyo is well worth it.
¥906 – snacks from the Tsukiji Fish Market (strawberry mochi, corn fritters, salmon onigiri, tomago)
¥280 – coffee at a local cafe
¥1340 – lunch at Sushi Katsura
¥596 – 7-Eleven snacks and drinks
¥10000 – dinner and drinks at Narukiyo
Cooking class, Sensoji Temple, Ippudo Ramen
I began my day incredibly hungover (thanks to three flasks of sake at Narukiyo, followed by a night of dancing in Shibuya), but managed to make it to my wagyu kaiseki cooking class at Cooking Sun (the cost of this class would typically be ¥8,500 per person, but it was sponsored by Flight Centre).
After a few cups of coffee and some food, we made our way over to the Sensoji Temple where we walked around the area and ate plenty of snacks. We found an Ippudo Ramen nearby, and while there is one in Hong Kong, we figured we’d try the “real deal” here in Tokyo. As expected, it did not disappoint.
¥538 – amazing instant coffee from our hotel, found at a grocery store
¥150 – coffee at 7-Eleven (which was surprisingly good)
¥560 – Suica Card recharge
¥960 – snacks from the Sensoji Temple
¥890 – Ippudo Ramen lunch
¥185 – pastry dessert
7-Eleven haul, coffee, flight back to HK
We had an early morning flight to make, so we were up at 4:30 am. After a quick 7-Eleven haul (including the most heavenly matcha choux cream puffs), we made our way to the Ginza line. We were headed to Ueno Station to catch the first train (Keisi Skyline) to the airport that departed at 5:58 am. The train is super fast, and we made it with a bit of time to spare (our flight was at 8:40 am).
¥660 – 7-Eleven haul before heading to the airport
¥200 – Suica Card
¥2200 – Keisei Skyline to the airport transfer
¥130 – vending machine coffee
I chose to stay at the Washington Shinjuku Hotel Annex for a number of reasons. Namely, because it was in a central location and it was one of the more reasonably priced hotels (you could definitely find cheaper if you want to stay in a capsule hotel). You can read my full hotel review here.
Total for five nights at the hotel: ¥48,925 (per person)
Grand total for five nights in Tokyo: ¥81,877