Travelling to Japan has always been my dream since I was a teenager. During the school holidays, my friends would share with me their incredible travel stories and all I could do was to listen in awe. As I grew up in a lower-income family with lack of opportunity to travel, I always perceived that Japan is an expensive country to travel to and I would have to wait until I had a substantial amount of savings. Oh, how wrong was I!

This prevailing personal belief of mine delayed my Japan travel dream until last year and I totally regretted not doing this earlier! It is by far the most incredible and fulfilling vacation in my life. The whole trip only cost me a total of RM2,600 inclusive of flights and accommodations – Can you believe it? Let’s do the math together!

There will be a full itinerary and costing at the end of the article. Feel free to use it for your reference.


Flight Tickets

We flew with AirAsia after a thorough price comparison from Traveloka. The return flight tickets from KL-Osaka cost us about RM950 per person, inclusive of 15kg luggage check-in and travel insurance. Our flight was at 1.00am (Malaysian time) and we arrived at Osaka at 8.20am (Japan time). We actually slept throughout the whole journey, hence, we saved the cost of accommodation for one night and we could start our adventure in Japan upon arrival!



We spent the first 2 nights in Osaka in this cozy apartment that could host all four of us for only RM125/night. If we breakdown the figure, we are only paying RM62.50/person for the entire stay. We actually did a lot of research from all available online platform as we did not want to stay in a cheap dodgy hostel but neither did we want to stay in a luxurious hotel. We booked this accommodation through Airbnb and this is the link to our accommodation if you’re interested to check it out.

JapanImage credit: Airbnb

On the other hand, accommodation in Kyoto is surprisingly slightly more expensive. Our stay for 3 nights in this lovely hotel called RESI STAY Higashiyama Sanjo cost us RM 249/per night. As the hotel room can only accommodate 2 people, we have to get 2 rooms instead. In total, we spent RM 373.50/person for the entire stay in Kyoto. We booked this accommodation through Expedia and this is the link to our accommodation if you’re interested.

The total cost that I spent on accommodation for the entire 6D5N trip adds up to RM436 and we were totally satisfied with our stay.

JapanImage credit: Expedia


Transportation & Wi-Fi

The transportation in Japan is amazingly convenient for us and the locals there were always helpful and polite. Although we did get lost occasionally, we still had a lot of fun discovering the hidden gems in Osaka & Kyoto. It was super easy to travel in Osaka by subway and we got a 2-days “Osaka Amazing Pass” from Klook for only RM120. Not only do we have unlimited use of the subway, tramway, and bus system within the city, the pass includes entrance fees to 30 Osaka tourist sites.

In Kyoto, we learnt from the locals there that we could get a 1-day city bus pass for a flat rate of 500 yen (RM18.50) which can be easily bought in all convenient stores. We only bought the pass for 2 days as we mostly travelled by train on one of the days.

We rented a portable 4G Wi-Fi from Klook for RM19/day which we picked up at the Osaka airport upon arrival. We shared among 4 of us, hence, that would be RM28.50/person for 6 days rental. The Wi-Fi came in very handy because we depended a lot on Google Maps for detailed directions whether we were travelling by foot, bus or train – even the stations to get off to get to our destinations! Although both our accommodations provided us free portable Wi-Fi, I would still suggest you to rent one as you’ll need it when switching hotels.


Day-to-Day Expenses

Day 1 – Osaka
The train ride from the airport to Tengachaya station cost us RM34 before we switched to the subway line to get to our apartment. As we were starving, we stopped by an Udon Stall in Tengachaya station for a bowl of udon (RM11) and I swear it was the best udon ever! Just look out for this restaurant in the photo below if you are at the station.

After checking in to our apartment, we visited the famous Osaka Castle for a stroll and then proceeded to explore Kuromon Market. We bought some street food in the market (RM10) and then headed to the famous Shinsaibaishi. We had our dinner at Ichiran Ramen in Dotonbori (RM33) as it was highly recommended by our friend. The taste was heavenly! After dinner, we explored the area and of course, snacked on street food along the way (RM12).

Total Cost: RM 100

JapanImage credit: carissaganphotography


Day 2 – Osaka
We were curious as to why our friends love having breakfast at the convenience stores in Japan, so we decided to try! I had my favourite “Onigiri” and a cup of latte (RM10) before heading to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. We had to pay an additional RM84 for the entrance fees as the aquarium was not covered under the “Osaka Amazing Pass”.

We had sushi and sukiyaki for lunch (RM25) at Tempozan Market which is just next to the aquarium. Basically, you can just walk into ANY restaurants in Japan and come out delightfully satisfied. I’m not kidding, even the food in the convenience stores are delicious.

After lunch, we explored the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Umeda Sky Building and the Floating Garden Observatory with some street food (RM10) along the way. After a fulfilling day, we indulged in more good food in a random restaurant in Shinsekai (RM53). It was slightly pricey because we ordered plum wine to go with our food. We headed to the bar to chill (RM12) before taking the cab back to the apartment (RM5).

Total Cost: RM 199

JapanImage credit: japanigans


Day 3 – Kyoto
We had breakfast at a bakery cafe nearby our apartment (RM10) before heading to Kyoto by train. The train ride (Keihan Line) cost us RM15/person. After checking in to our hotel, we then explored the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine. We had to get there by train (RM15 for both ways) and we spent most of the day just strolling around the area. The lunch and street food we had there cost us around RM30.

We returned to GION for dinner at Izuju Sushi which was recommended by our Japanese friend. This hidden gem is the local’s favourite and they serve really authentic and flavorful sushi (RM42). As Kyoto usually closes their shop very early, we had to head back to the hotel after a quick stroll around GION. We took the cab (RM5) as we were exhausted from too much walking that day.

Total Cost: RM 117

Image credit: carissaganphotography


Day 4 – Kyoto
We had breakfast (RM10) at the convenience store again! When you’re at Japan, do go to Lawson as they serve better food than Family Mart. We walked a good 15 minutes to a kimono rental shop “Mission Gion” that we found on google map for a makeover! Although it cost us RM220/person to rent a kimono for a day, the experience was meaningful and memorable. Note: If you plan to rent a kimono, do get it from a shop near your hotel so that you can return it at the end of the day.

We travelled to Arashiyama district in our kimonos by train (RM16 for both ways) and we basically spent our whole day there, exploring the district and just snapping away on our cameras. Our lunch at a random restaurant which serves really good “Donburi” cost me RM26.

After returning our kimonos, we were craving for hotpot but we accidentally walked into a Korean bbq restaurant (RM40). It was definitely an accidental discovery for the best Korean bbq ever! It actually tastes better than the ones I had in Korea, or maybe I’m just bias towards Japan.  The restaurant is called Vege-Teji located in GION. After dinner, we bought some plum wine to chill at the hotel (RM10).

Total Cost: RM 322

JapanImage credit: carissaganphotography


Day 5 – Kyoto
As we wanted to visit Kyoto’s Nishiki fish market, we might as well have our breakfast there (RM20). We travelled around with bus to explore Kinkakuji temple (RM15) and after lunch (RM20), we experienced the Japanese traditional tea ceremony! We had to pay RM74 and it was definitely worthwhile! The experience was truly surreal and we get to taste Japan’s authentic green tea.

We then explored Kiyumizu-dera temple and stroll along the old streets at the area, Higashiyama district. The “ancient city” was truly breathtaking and it was definitely one of our favorite highlight of the trip. If you’re lucky, you will also get to spot Geishas in this district. We were so captured by the view that we had late dinner and we finally satisfied our hotpot craving at this amazing restaurant in an alleyway at GION (RM56) before taking the cab back to our hotel (RM5).

Total Cost: RM 190

JapanImage credit: carissaganphotography


Day 6 – Osaka
On the last day, we spent RM15 to travel back to Osaka after having breakfast at Family Mart (RM6). We stopped by Shinsaibashi for souvenir shopping (RM50) before heading to the airport (RM34). Our lunch at the airport cost me RM30 and that’s the end of our amazing Japan trip!

Total Cost: RM 135

JapanImage credit: carissaganphotography


Here is our full itinerary with the costing for your reference!



Japan is truly a beautiful country to travel to. If you haven’t been to Japan before, do visit Osaka and Kyoto as your first destination! Do check out our article on 6 Ways to Better Manage Your Spending as well to prevent yourself from going on a massive shopping spree in Japan!

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