How to Travel Japan On A $40 Budget - Day 10 Kyoto 1/6

Can you travel Japan on just $40 a day? We have 1 month in Japan to figure that out. Follow our blog to see how we travel Japan on a tight budget.

Where in the world are we today?

Kyoto, Japan

We left Nagoya early in the morning and spent the majority of the day in transit to Kyoto. Toting around our backpacks commuting all day tired us out, so we were relieved when we finally made it to Kyoto.

Traveling around with everything we own on our backs, we realized how little we truly needed. If you’re wondering what’s essential in your life, perhaps it’s not as much as you think. What would you carry around on an eternal march?

Where did we stay in Kyoto?

Sticking to our budget plan, we scoped out the cheapest lodging option on Hostelworld. We came across Kyotokko and decided to give it a shot.

Although the layout took some getting used to, we ended up having a pleasant stay at Kyotokko. We actually stayed here the longest among previous hostels, as it was the most affordable lodging in Kyoto.

If you're looking for a hostel in the area, we'd suggest maybe doing a quick tour through Kyotokko to see if it's the right fit for you!

With the 200 yen accommodation tax in Kyoto, finding a budget hostel just keeps rising. There are great places to go, and many sites to see, so don’t be afraid to move around a bit. On a budget, we were tied to Kyotokko for its affordability.

What did we explore today in Kyoto?

Higashi hongan Temple

Higashi hongan temple is absolutely breathtaking in size. You have to be there to feel it.

Higashi hongan temple is absolutely breathtaking in size. You have to be there to feel it.

En route to the hostel, we came across the mighty Higashi hongan temple. Free of charge, visitors are permitted access to the temple grounds and are welcomed to explore around the temple and admire the enormous wooden structures.

We then headed back to our hostel for the afternoon and dropped our bags off. Relieved from the weight of our packs, we went to explore the nearby Nijou Castle.

Nijou Castle


We ran over to the Nijou Castle unsure of what time it would be open til. Upon our arrival, we found out that there was a ceremony happening soon after closing hours, so the staff were trying to guide visitors out a bit sooner than usual.

With a little over a half hour to spare, we went ahead and bought a ticket anyway. Having not doing much but chugging along on the train all day between cities, we figured it was a good change to spike the adrenaline and explore the castle anyway! 

Free of larger crowds near closing, we wandered through the courtyard and the palace with ease. Due to our tight schedule, we didn't linger too long in any particular area. We navigated around the premises and walked along the guided routes inside the buildings, exiting with just a couple minutes to spare.

The big question is: was it worth it? On a $40 budget, no. If in the area, we recommend appreciating the richness of Nijou Castle from afar and investing the ¥600 elsewhere. There is plenty more to see in Kyoto for free, so take advantage!

How much did we end up spending today?

Food: ¥1967 / $17.53

Transport: ¥4836 / $42.71

Lodging: ¥2011 / $17.76

Sightseeing: ¥600 / $5.34 (Nijou Castle)

Other: $0

Total: ¥9438 / $83.34

Did we make our $40 budget today?


Not even close.

As with most days transiting and shuffling around on the trains, our budget seems to go through the roof.

For the distance, the affordability of the train system can't be beat, but when factored into a daily price, the numbers don't sound too pretty.

The train fares coupled with a decent grocery haul tipped us over to double our budget. We plan to stay in Kyoto for a bit, so we won't be using too much public transportation and will be doing the majority of our cooking at the hostel to save some cash.

So check back in on the blog tomorrow to see how we manage! Also, don't forget to subscribe to our Instagram and Facebook pages, where we will post tons of photos of our trip. Until then, safe travels!