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 that 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.
We didn’t find Tokyo to be expensive as a city. As a couple of examples, the price of a McDonalds for four was around £16 and a Starbucks coffee was around £2.50. A main meal at lunchtime was around £10 per person even in the more expensive districts.
A single train journey cost around £1 per adult per journey with children being half price. A 72-hour Tokyo Subway ticket cost 1500 yen per adult (£10) and children up to 12 at half price. We found this to be incredible value.
Entry to the Miraikan – The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation cost us £4.30 per adult and £1.50 for under 18s. Again we found this to be incredible value for such an interesting place. Under 18s can enter free on a Saturday.
There are lots of of things to do in Tokyo for free! Entry to the Government Building, Ueno park, Senso-Ji, the Meiji Shrine and the Imperial Palace. All free.
Food and Drink
We really enjoyed everything we ate in Tokyo. We do like to try as much of the local cuisine as we can as we feel this is a big part of the experience.
The main things we were looking forward to sampling 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 in Paradise Dynasty Restaurant at 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.
We went to McDonalds in Odaiba. The Big Mac was really good and they had unique soft drinks which were great to try. We also got an insight here as to how safe a city Tokyo is. We witnessed a businessman leaving his laptop bag unattended on a table whilst going to order his meal!
As we have said the vending machines provided new food and drink experiences. Peach Coke was a particular favourite.
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.
In the main we found that the fast food outlets and restaurants were very reasonably priced. Ice cream and hot dogs in Ueno Zoo were both around £1.50 each.
Perhaps surprisingly, the food at the Disney Parks was cheaper than we have experienced in the Florida Disney Parks.
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. One of us loves PopCorn. The Disney parks have unusual flavours costing around £2.50 – such as soy sauce and butter, honey, curry, garlic shrimp, blueberry and others. We tried to sample them all!
We also had a 3 course Italian meal at Ristorante di Canaletto with drinks for less than £65 (3 adults and 1 child). Presentation was impressive. Particularly the selection of different deserts.
For more info on food, drink and money in Tokyo check out our other pages and posts.