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 did we end up today in Japan?
It’s a Thursday on the 8th of November, 2018. Today we moved hostels as our two nights were up at Ikidane House.
Where did we stay the night in Osaka?
We took a 30 minute walk over to Hostel Wasabi, located near Dotonbori. The staff was very friendly and accommodated us with our baggage upon our 1200 arrival. Normally trying to check-in a bit earlier to hostels can give us trouble, but they locked up our bags and everything!
This saved us the hassle of lugging the our packs throughout the city and attempting to squeeze in between crowds and tight corners. Shout-out to the awesome staff!
What did we explore today in Osaka?
Simmering down on our ambitions to see every nook and cranny of the island, we decided to keep it local.
We got our geek on in Nihombashi
Walking through the streets of Nihombashi in Osaka, the enormous buildings are plastered with graphics of anime characters from iconic Japanese shows, and welcoming staff ushers you in the shops to take escalators up into the unknown. So, you hop on, strap down, and prepare for a ride of adventure.
Each floor is like a portal into another dimension. Manga, anime, hentai, and calendars on one floor. CD's, DVD's, and records (who still buys these things?) on another. You don't want to know what's on the third floor...
We tried our hand at kaiten-zushi in Japan
Kaiten-zushi, or "rotation sushi", restaurants were all around us, so we chose a random one and got to it! We learned that this particular restaurant received 30% of their profits from foreigners, and we were two of them!
For the price of 100 yen per plate, we could fill our bellies without breaking the bank. We grabbed 10 plates each, keeping our budget for this meal below $10. Not bad for sushi!
We were intrigued to learn that, traditionally, neither soy sauce nor wasabi is eaten with sushi. More surprisingly, conveyor belt sushi actually originated in Osaka in 1958!
It seems that we learn about cultures through our own distorted lens of the world. Being in Japan has eliminated a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes we had about the country, and we can now begin to see it for what it truly is.
We found peace at the Hozen temple
The temple is just off the main road from shopping centers, Pachinko slot machines, and vendors shouting, "irrashaimase!" at every corner. The contrast from the city stimulus to the temple tranquility is surreal, transplanting you into your inner stillness.
The Hozen temple offers a peaceful area to take a breather from the constant bustle of the city center and revisit some mindful practices.
Businessmen and women, along with other hurried people, rush in and bow, saying a quick prayer before returning to the busy workday. Among all the distractions in daily life, it's nice seeing others stay true to their own personal mindfulness practices.
We discovered our largest tanuki ever!
What’s the deal with these things?
You see them everywhere! From the doorsteps of Japanese homes to outside the street shops, Tanuki line the curbs in Japan.
In yokai, or traditional Japanese folklore, Tanuki is originally understood as a shape-shifting creature with a mischievous personality. Now, though, they are said to promise prosperity and good fortune, similar to red crown cranes.
While resembling raccoons, tanuki are actually part of the canine family, related to wolves and foxes—a bit vicious, we would say.
Okay, okay… but why the enormous testicles?
It is said that their skin used to be wrapped around gold nuggets, which would then be hammered to create golden leaves.
Their scrotums were realistically large for their size, so it seems to have some real merit.
We tried a soy latte after picking soybeans WWOOFing
We enjoyed a coffee break to rest our feet before checking into the hostel at 1500. Although it’s a bit unusual for us to sit at cafés and have a toast with our expensive drinks, it worked well for us today.
Sipping on the soy lattes, we were reminded of our days on the farm plucking beans. Knowing all of the effort that goes into it we appreciated the beverage that much more.
We dashed in on some ¥220 soba udon
Hungry again, we set out to explore our food options.
There are endless restaurants scattered among the streets, but we were on a quest to hunt out a good deal. Shops displayed entrées with ¥1000 price-tags, which wasn't too convincing for us. Until one caught our eye...
Upon witnessing this shop’s prices drastically cut from most, we dashed inside and sat down to have our orders made within a minute. We both got soba udon, and it was awesome. Talk about excellent service!
Off we went again to browse the endless options of food available to us. Still hungry after the udon, we were on the hunt for some reasonably priced okonomiyaki. There was plenty available upwards of ¥1000, but we were determined to find some for half that price.
Two hours later, bellies hungry and tired from walking, we plopped down at a shop and ended up paying ¥1200 for some.
It was amazing, but our budget took a big hit for some squid pancakes.
It was totally worth it, though...
How much did we spend traveling in Osaka today?
Food: ¥2741 / $24.53
Lodging: ¥2127 / $18.72
Total: ¥4906 / $43.25
Did we make our $40 budget in Japan today?
Hmm… not quite.
Moving locations saved us money by walking, but we spent a bit much on food. That's exactly what we wanted to do, but we need to keep a closer eye on our spending habits.
To see more of how we manage to travel with a $40 budget in Japan, be sure to follow our Instagram and like our Facebook page!
We’ll see you tomorrow!