Is it expensive in Tokyo? We didn’t think so. Maybe that’s because we found it no more expensive than the UK. If you’re looking for somewhere you can save a fortune on eating and drinking, there are definitely cheaper places to go. In our experience that certainly doesn’t mean better. Or better value. We find you usually get what you pay for. And we loved Tokyo!
Tokyo is a great city. There are no two ways about it. The capital of Japan, it’s packed with everything you’d expect from a major city. Ancient history, shops, restaurants, parks, hotels and museums. There are also some fantastic Temples and shrines. But is it expensive in Tokyo? Read on and judge for yourself.
Money in Tokyo
The currency of Japan is the Yen. At the time of our travel the exchange rate was 144 Yen to 1GBP. We got ours from Post Office Travel Money. Because we read that not everywhere accepts cards and that cash is more widely used, we took more than we normally do. We found that difficult to believe but we didn’t want to be caught out.
When we got there we found that cards were more accepted than we’d been led to believe but perhaps not us much as in the UK. As an example when we purchased Disney tickets at our hotel they would only accept cash. The tickets cost us Y78,600 which was around £545 in total.
When paying for things we found cashiers to be very polite, friendly and respectful. In the main they placed cash in a tray rather than in our hands and it’s polite to do the same when paying.
Food and drink prices in Tokyo
The main things we were looking forward to sampling in Tokyo were sushi, dumplings and noodles. And they did not disappoint. We were even having them for breakfast!
When we were out and about we chose to sample the street food which was really good. We had a great meal at Paradise Dynasty Restaurant in Ginza. A nice restaurant in a more exclusive part of the city. Even here side dishes were around 600 Yen (£4) and main meals 1450 Yen (£10).
If that is not to your taste there are plenty of western standard restaurants and fast food outlets. We like to try these when we are away because they too differ to what we are used to in the UK.
For example in McDonalds they had unique soft drinks. The cost of a meal here was roughly what we pay in the UK at around £4.
All over the city you will come across vending machines which provide new food and drink experiences. The cost depends on what you buy but expect to pay between 100 and 150 Yen (70p to £1.05). As well as different flavours of Coca-Cola you can buy cold soft drinks, hot drinks, soups and noodles.
In the main we found that the fast food outlets and restaurants were very reasonably priced. Ice cream and hot dogs, even in Ueno Zoo, were both around £1.50 each.
We also hunted down as many different Kit-Kat flavours as we could. There are some that are unique to Tokyo and lots unique to Japan. Cheesecake, rum and raisin, wasabi, banana and saki.
For more information on Food and drink in Tokyo check out our page Food, Drink & Money in Tokyo
Transport prices in Tokyo
Tokyo’s Public Transport is amongst the most punctual in the world. We did find that in ‘strong winds’ trains were temporarily cancelled or delayed. Even then, a friendly commuter would keep us informed as announcements were made. As a side note we found the definition of strong winds to differ greatly to here in West Wales!
You can purchase tickets for train journeys at the train station using the ticket machines. A ticket for a one way journey cost Y160 for an adult (just over £1) and Y80 for a child.
You can buy subway tickets at some stores. Look out for signs stating that the Tokyo subway tickets are sold there. You can also buy the Tokyo subway tickets at the Airport, in subway stations, Tourist Information Offices and some Hotels. One journey costs between 170 and 310 Yen (£1.20 to £2.15) depending on how far you travel. You can purchase a 72 hour Tokyo Subway pass which cost 1500 Yen (£10.40) for Adults and 750 Yen (£5.20) for Children. This is really good value. You can also buy 24 hour and 48 hour passes.
For more information on using Public transport in Tokyo see our page Getting around Tokyo
Attractions prices in Tokyo
Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in the world. There are so many things to see and do in Tokyo that you’d probably not get around them all in one trip. The best thing is a lot of the main attractions are free! Including a visit to the beautiful Senso-Ji Temple pictured above.
Torri gate at entrance to Meiji Shrine, Statue of Liberty in Odaiba with Rainbow Bridge in the background, Imperial Palace gardens and view from Government Building. These are all free things to do in Tokyo.
You can also visit the busiest crossing in the world at Shibuya for free but to get the view in the video above we headed for the Starbucks which overlooks it. Prices here were very reasonable we thought. Around £2.50 for a coffee. It was certainly worth it to take some time to watch the world go by.
Miraikan – The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Entry fee here was 630 Yen (~£4.45) for adults and 210 Yen (~£1.50) for under 18s. We thought this was incredible value and was well worth it. You could easily spend a whole day here if you had the time! There’s a great cafe here and the drinks were very reasonably priced. Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Pepsi and Ginger Ale all 150 Yen (~£1.05)
Near Miraikan in Odaiba is Megaweb, an interactive car theme park with a History Garage (free), Toyota City Showcase (free) and Ride Studio (charges apply). At the ride studio you can take advantage of the driving instruction on offer and pass the driving tests! This cost 500Yen (~£3.50)
Entry to Ueno park is free and charges for the zoo there are 600 yen (~£4) for adults 200 yen (~£1.40) (13-15) and free for children under 12.
For more information about things to do in Tokyo visit our page What to do in Tokyo
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
Tokyo is home to, not 1, but 2 great Disney Parks. Entry to each cost 7,500 yen per adult, 6,500 yen (12-17 years) and 4,900 yen (under 12) for 1 day. It works out cheaper per day if you buy 2-day, 3-day or 4-day magic passport tickets. You can check the latest prices at www.tokyodisneyresort.jp
We bought 4-Day Magic Passports. Adult prices were Y22,400 (£155), Junior (12-17) Y19,400 (£135) and Child Y14,400 (£100) and had to be paid for in cash.
Food and drink prices
Perhaps surprisingly, the food at the Disney Parks in Tokyo was cheaper than we have experienced in the Florida Disney Parks. We enjoyed everthing we ate here.
For example in Disney maple cream balls and ice cream or an ice cream cone were around £2.50 each and a turkey leg meal (fries and drink) was around £7.50. The Disney parks have unusual flavours of pop-corn (costing around £2.50) – such as soy sauce and butter, honey, curry, garlic shrimp, blueberry and others.
In Critter Country cheesecake and the critter cake both cost Y910 (£6.30). A turkey leg meal in Westernland (with fries and a drink) cost Y1080 (£7.50). The food in the Queen of Hearts banquet Hall was really good. Two steak meals, two chocolate cakes, one cheese cake and two drinks came to Y4770 (£35). We thought this was extremely reasonable. Especially for a themed restaurant.
Pizza at Sebastians Calypso Kitchen was delicious. Two Pizzas, fries, Pop’n’Shrimp and 2 drinks came to Y2770 (£20). At the New York Deli, a hot corned beef and cheese sandwich (The Reuben), Salad, Chicken Soup, fries, two cheesecakes and two drinks came to Y3790 (£26).
At Sultan’s Oasis, Maple Cream balls and ice-cream cost Y770 (£5.50).
A 3 course Italian meal at Ristorante di Canaletto with drinks cost less than £65 (3 adults and 1 child).
There was also an impressive array of snacks in the Parks. Rice Rolls from Peco Bills were Y500 (£3.50) and Chilli Chowder (Bread and chilli) and Seafood chowder at The Gazebo Y490 (£3.30) were good. Cakes in the bakeries were around Y270 (less than £2 each). In Disney!!
Planning your trip to Tokyo
For more information, including how to get there and where to stay, check out our other Tokyo pages and posts.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Clicking on them will result in no additional cost to you but may earn us a small commision.