© Cristóbal Schmal

Tokyo – One city, two faces

  • ILLUSTRATION CRISTÓBAL SCHMAL

Visitors to this city need deep pockets: Even a weekend trip can cost you a small fortune. But if you know where to go, you can manage on a surprisingly small budget – we show both sides of the coin

© Cristóbal Schmal

The art of small

Kunio ­Kobayashi is among the top masters of the art of bonsai in Japan. His probably most expensive bonsai is worth ­­750 000 euros.

© Cristóbal Schmal

Made to measure

In Tokyo, they prefer custom kimonos and bespoke suits. Top label Ginza Tailor hand-sews the latter for approx. 2500 euros.

© Cristóbal Schmal

Wee dram from Japan

Japanese whiskeys ­easily rival the Scottish originals. One bottle of legendary Karuizawa can set you back 21 000 euros.

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Towering monument

The Park Hyatt is one of the city’s best and most luxurious hotels. Bill Murray’s character stayed there in Lost in Translation.

© Cristóbal Schmal

Air transfer

Why not ­charter a helicopter at ­Tokyo Narita Airport? The ride into town takes approx. 20 minutes and costs “only” 2000 euros.


© Cristóbal Schmal

Sleeping cell

Unaccustomed, yes, but unbeatably cheap: Instead of rooms, Tokyo’s most affordable hotels rent capsules furnished with a mattress; prices start at 20 euros.

© Cristóbal Schmal

All you can eat

Affordable restaurants are thin on the ground in Tokyo. The alternative: ramen bars, which serve traditional Japanese noodle soup costing just a few yen.

© Cristóbal Schmal

Fat savings

Entertainment is particularly expensive in Tokyo, so it’s good to know that many museums – like the Sumo and the Kite Museums – charge no admission, or very little.

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Collector’s paradise

Japanese antiques fans read on: Tokyo’s antique and flea markets are booming. With a little luck,  you could pick up a real bargain.

© Cristóbal Schmal

Packed, but cheap

True, Tokyo’s trains can get very crowded at rush hour; on the other hand, they get you from A to B on a shoestring.Tickets start at the equivalent of 1.25 euros.