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One month in Tokyo | March 2024 Travel Budget Breakdown

I recently spent one month living in Tokyo! Because this year I’m focusing more on writing and working on my blog(s), I knew I wasn’t going to do as much sightseeing as I did last year. That means I’m looking for places to stay where I have access to life’s necessities as well as easy-to-reach tourist things if and when I want to do them.

After finding a cheap ticket from Los Angeles to Narita, I decided my first stop on my “digital nomad” year would be Tokyo.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I get a small percentage of that at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.)

Where I stayed

Because I’d decided to stay for one month in one city, I knew I’d save money booking a single place for 28+ days, as that’s when monthly discounts kick in.

I also knew from my visit to Tokyo last year that I wanted to stay somewhere more residential, near a train station, and with a kitchen/washing machine. I’d previously stayed in a hostel near Asakusa and really liked that area, so I narrowed down my search to apartments near there.

Because I’m a budget traveler, I also knew I’d probably be stuck with a tiny studio– small apartments are typical in Japan anyway, but in Tokyo they can get particularly small. Luckily for me, I found a studio apartment just outside of Asakusa, 15 minutes walking from a train station and with all the amenities I wanted.

It had two grocery stores nearby, plus several convenience stores (including a Lawson right across the street), and overall was everything I wanted. After negotiating a small discount, I snagged it for about $29 USD/night, an absolutely wonderful price for such a high-cost city.

Here’s an apartment tour video I took:

I booked my apartment through AirBNB, but the company that owns it has their own website with slightly better prices. Check them out here if you’re looking for your own place!

Total costs for a month in Tokyo

This year, I have a total monthly budget of roughly $1,400 USD, with flexibility if I want to splurge on something. (Compare to last year’s $1,500/month budget.) I managed to stay under my budget, even while living in Tokyo!

I actually stayed 35 days in Tokyo itself, so there was some overlap with February. To make it easier on myself, I’m just going to show what I spent in March 2024.

All prices are in USD.

TOTAL: $1,313.72 or $42.38/day

Accommodation: $877

affiliate linkThis also includes 2 nights at a hostel in Odawara at the end of the month, when I visited Hakone before moving to Osaka.

Low accommodation cost is really the key to my success. Cheap accommodation means more wiggle room in the budget for other things. I could’ve spent slightly less if I booked a room in a sharehouse, but I did the calculations and I spent maybe $100 USD more to have a totally private space.

Hostels in Tokyo are expensive and tend to be $30-40 USD/night in a dorm room, plus you don’t get free laundry. I spent $28.29/night in March for my own apartment WITH a washer/dryer.

Food/eating out: $80

I’m gonna be honest: I’m not really a foodie. I like trying new foods but I don’t really go out of my way to have fabulous eating experiences. I’d rather spend money on a fun tour or a few more days in a hostel. This does help keep my budget down, though!

For eating out, I went to Ichiran a few times. Ichiran is a ramen chain with very good pork ramen that you can customize to your liking. I knew there wouldn’t be one near my next apartment so I wanted to take advantage of it being within walking distance here.

I also went to Sukiya, a beef bowl chain restaurant, for the first time. They’re wonderfully affordable, and they also do breakfast with salmon and natto (fermented soy beans) which is very good!

Groceries: $151

This was much lower than I expected! My apartment came with a rice cooker, so I used that a lot and made most of my meals at home. The only really expensive thing that I eat regularly is fresh fruit, and I didn’t buy much of that in March except for bananas. I DID buy orange juice and other things with vitamins, and I think that helped keep the fruit cravings down.

I also took advantage of being right across from a Lawson and tried out their ready-cooked meals every other day; they’re only $3-5 USD and well worth trying as buying some of those ingredients individually can be more expensive. For instance, they have a line of gratin meals– pasta or rice with cheese and meat– that only cost $4 or so. Buying all that individually would be closer to $10, though you’d of course have enough for more than one meal.

Here’s some convenience store food prices in Tokyo to give you an idea of what things cost. Some things were cheaper at the grocery stores, like 10 eggs at the grocery store cost the same amount as 6 eggs at the convenience store.

Shopping: $85

Traveling with a small backpack last year mostly broke me of buying tons of souvenirs, since I know I have to carry them around or spend money to send them home. This month, I mostly just bought art supplies, including a whole pack of Posca pens for something like $11 USD, and a dozen washi tape and sticker packs from different discount stores. I’m keeping a paper travel journal, so I don’t mind spending a bit on supplies if they make me smile.

I also bought a bunch of souvenir coins from Tokyo Disney Resort, and of course any interesting capsule toys I spotted.

Tourism: $0

I didn’t do as much “tourist” stuff as I thought I was going to originally– partly because I was busy writing, but also because I actually did a lot of tourist stuff (like visiting shrines and famous neighborhoods) when I visited here last year.

Free stuff I did in Tokyo:

  • Visited Tokyo Station
  • Walked along the Meguro River (though no cherry blossoms unfortunately)
  • Window-shopped at the Shibuya Antique Market
  • Got plenty of eki stamps
  • Explored Tokyo Skytree area
  • Wandered around Asakusa and people-watched
  • Walked along the Sumida River (still no cherry blossoms)

The only thing I don’t like about Tokyo is how expensive some of the museums are, over $10 USD for an entry ticket. For a huge museum that would be fine, but most of them are tiny!

At the end of March I went to Hakone for a few nights, but my “tourism” spending was for the transit card, which is in the next category.

Transit: $65

Trains, subways, and buses are very affordable in Tokyo. I had a digital Suica card loaded on my iPhone that I used, to make it even easier.

This also includes a $30-something transit pass for Hakone, which I used at the end of the month when I stopped there before going to Osaka.

Medical: $45

I have a monthly insurance policy with SafetyWing. I haven’t had to actually use them so I can’t vouch for anything other than affordability, but I prefer having it just in case I need it.

Other: $10

This is where things like SIM cards and such go. I got an eSIM card on Airalo and it worked well over the month I had it.

Never used Airalo before? Use code ANASTA0149 when you sign up for Airalo or apply it at checkout to get a $3 USD credit.

Tokyo Photo Gallery

Click to enlarge the photos!

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Thank you for reading! Here’s some more posts about Japan you might be interested in:

Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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