Monday, November 28, 2005

Prices - Japan versus US

Most Americans (who have not traveled to Japan) believe that Japan is very expensive. I think this comes from the pre-bubble times in Japan (before 1990), when I think prices were very expensive. I remember hearing things like a cup of coffee for US$6.

But prices really aren't all that bad. As a matter of fact, my girlfriend commented that we spend more for meals in the States, even though we were getting better food and service in Japan.

One thing to consider is that in Japan, the listed price at restaurants is inclusive of everything. In America, we add tax (about 8%) and tip (about 15 to 20%). Our most expensive meal in Japan was a Kobe Beef dinner in Kobe. The price was JPY5500 (about US$47) per person. This is equal to paying about JPY4400 (about US$37) in the US (which after you add tax and tip, comes to about JPY5500). A steak dinner in the US with similarly high quality beef would probably cost more than this.

Of course, there are areas that are more expensive. Travel is one example. There are no freeways in Japan - all of the highways/freeways/expressways in Japan are tollways. And they charge by the distance you travel.

Trains are a convenient alternative, but they also are not cheap. Particularly if you use express trains, as they charge both for distance gone and add express train surcharges (a bullet train costs about twice as much as taking a local train to the same location, but does it in much less time). Thankfully, they have rail passes for foreigners which let you use the trains all you want which are reasonably (about US$250 for a week). They only work on JR trains (not the other lines or local subways), but that gets you most anywhere you want to go in Japan.

アメリカ人は日本がとても高いと思う。 多分バブル期を聞いたそうだ。その時、日本は高かったと思う。


日本にメニュー費用は包括主義だ。アメリカのレストランには食べ物と税金(~8%)とチップ(15-20%)だ。 日本に一番高い料理は神戸ビーフだった。5500円(~47ドル)一人当たりだった。アメリカに4400円(~37ドル)のメニュー費用は大体同じだと思う。アメリカの良質のステーキのほうが高いと思う。



At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Nori姉 said...

I think so, too...

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous motomi said...

Hi Peter-san,

Me and my husband totally agree with you in terms of food. He really enjoyed foods he had in JP and said the same thing with you. I have never been to US, but if you want to eat out in many countries other than Asian countries, you have to pay a lot to worse foods and services.


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