The Cheapest Country in the Developed World

Japan’s image as an expensive country dates back to so-called Bubble Economy period of the late 1980s. Japan is no longer prohibitively expensive. In fact, Japan may now be the cheapest country in the developed world. This is because Japan has had almost no inflation for the last decade or so, while prices elsewhere have skyrocketed. And, on top of this, the yen has recently fallen in value, meaning that your money now buys a LOT more in Japan. If you think I’m making this up, please see the figures below for reference.

I can help you save money

Of course, it’s still possible to spend a lot of money in Japan. But more importantly, it’s possible to get a lot of value for your money if you have the right information. When I help you plan your trip, one of my goals is to help you find the “sweet spot” that exists between overpriced luxury and spartan economy. Indeed, most of my consulting clients find that even with the price of a three- or four-hour consultation thrown in, they spend less on their trips than if they did it all on their own. Find out more about my consulting services.

In addition to my consulting services, a half-day private tour in Tokyo or Kyoto also allows you to see the best of these cities in the most efficient way. A tour also gives you the inside knowledge to make the best use of your time when you’re on your own. Read more about my tours.

Price comparison between Japan and the rest of the world

(The following figures are based on yen exchange rates as of June 7, 2014.)

Average cost of a meal for two a midrange restaurant *
City Local Currency U.S. Dollars
London £50 $84
New York US$76 $76
Sydney AU$79 $73
Paris €53 $72
Frankfurt €46 $62
Toronto C$61 $55
Tokyo ¥4334 $42
Kyoto** ¥2200 $21
* Figures based on cost of living calculator data. Exchange rates were current as of June 7, 2014.
** I believe that’s Kyoto figures are a bit low. In my experience, a meal for two at a midrange restaurant in Kyoto averages about Y3500 (US$44). Even with this higher figure, it is clear that Kyoto is far cheaper than any of the cities listed above. The same holds true for Tokyo. 
Average rates for a room in a Hyatt hotel in US dollars *
Hyatt Vendome Paris US$1157
Hyatt Regency London Park US$745
Hyatt Sydney Park US$735
Grand Hyatt Berlin US$422
Hyatt Regency San Francisco US$369
Hyatt Regency Tokyo US$245
Hyatt Regency Kyoto US$217
* Figures based on data as of June 7, 2014.