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5 Things That Are Surprisingly Expensive in Japan

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5 Things That Are Surprisingly Expensive in Japan

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Japan is said to be an expensive place to visit. Although there are expensive aspects to living in Japan, there are also ways to live cheaply. If you’re a student you can get discounts, and if you’re a visitor there are several passes for transportation and different attractions or entertainment. But still, it is expensive to live and travel in Japan, especially in cities like Kyoto and Tokyo. But, there are a few things that are especially expensive here:

Delivery Pizza

In places like America, delivery pizza is the cheap college-kid’s food. But in Japan, delivery pizza is gourmet food. There are a few Japanese pizza delivery brands like Pizza-La, but some of the most famous chain delivery pizza stores in Japan are from America, like Pizza Hut and Domino’s. All three are expensive though, costing around 2,000 yen (around 20 dollars) for an M-sized pizza and 3,000 yen to 4,000 yen (around 30 to 40 dollars) for an large-sized pizza. Make sure to use a coupon! It’s actually often cheaper to get Italian-style pizza at a restaurant than to have some delivery pizza ordered.


Beef

The high price of beef can be attributed to to low production domestically, and high import taxes. Japanese beef, or wagyu, though is often also more expensive than imported beef. Much of the cattle in Japan is raised in a certain fashion that requires hard effort and time from farmers. These tedious efforts may also explain why Japan’s beef is so expensive, besides the low production. Anyways, if you’re in Japan, it’s best to eat seafood sometimes as fish and other seafood are often caught domestically and are often not that expensive. They’re also fresh and delicious!


Movies

Tickets for movies at movie theaters are quite expensive. They cost around 1,800 yen (18 dollars) per ticket at peak hours. There are certain ways to get a discount though. For example, unlike America, movies are cheaper during the night and more expensive during the day. So if you watch a late night showing, you don’t have to pay as much. Also, many movie theaters have Women’s days which allow women to enjoy a small discount usually on a Wednesday. There are also cheaper tickets for students who can show their student ID cards and for seniors.


Fruits

One of the most expensive food products in Japan is fruits. Some of the fruits that have the highest price tags include watermelons, cantaloupes, mangos and peaches.

Why are fruits so expensive? One reason is because many of Japan’s fruits are produced domestically. Since the labor cost of Japanese workers is quite high, the fruits end up being quite pricey. There is also a limit to how much can be grown in Japan due to not a lot of space and changing climate. Another reason may be that fruits are often thought to be expensive gifts to send to bosses or family. There are two major companies in the business of gifting fruits, Sembikiya and Takano, which both are so sure of the quality of their fruit that they offer return policies. At Sembikiya, a single melon can cost up to 28,080 yen, or about 250 dollars!! Fruits in Japan, are also considered dessert, so another possible reason is that many are willing to spend the money thinking of the fruit as a type of dessert, like a cake or pie.


Taxis

Transportation in Japan can be expensive, and taxis are one of the most expensive ways to get around. There are prefectures in which the taxis are more expensive though. For example, when you first board the taxi, it costs 730 yen for prefectures like Ibaraki and Saitama, but for Okayama prefecture, it only costs 465 yen as of 2014. If you’re traveling within the 23 wards of Tokyo, the boarding cost is cheap but the fare rises rapidly the further you go.


Other things that are expensive in Japan include gym memberships which cost about 100 dollars per month, and dairy products like cheese and butter, as well as imported foods.

But still, visiting and living in Japan is a wonderful experience. And although Japan is known to be on the expensive side, there are ways to get around without spending too much money. You can enjoy pizza at Italian restaurants, make sure to get the fruits during their seasons, try out delicious fish instead of beef sometimes, and take other modes of transportation besides taxis, like the trains or buses!

Check out this article on how to get around Tokyo and Japan without spending too much money:

Tips to Enjoy Tokyo and Japan on a Tight Budget

 

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Author
Erika
Erika

Born in US, currently a student in Japan. Loves Japanese culture, both traditional and contemporary.

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