Costs & Expenses

Bacause the amount of money each person will spend on the pilgrimage will be very different, here are a few factors to consider that will play a significant role in your budget:

  • How many days will you be doing the pilgrimage? (E.g., How many kilometers will you be walking per day?)
  • How often will you be camping out or staying at free lodgings?
  • Quality of food: Will you be eating often at minshuku or ryokan, or food from the convenience store?
  • What pilgrim gear will you need?
  • How much will you spend at temples? Will you be collecting the pilgrim stamps?
  • Are you getting phone or data service instead of just relying on maps and telephone booths?
  • Are you buying any souvenirs along the way?

Next, let's look at how these factors affect your expenses in different categories.

Cost Estimates

Lodging (Per Day)

Minshuku, Ryokan, temple lodging (before meal charges) ¥3,500 - ¥8,000
Hotel, business hotel ¥3,000 - ¥8,000
Hostel ¥2,000 - ¥4,000
Zenkonyado ¥0 - ¥1,000
Tsuyado, outdoor options ¥0

Food (Per Meal)

Minshuku/Ryokan Surcharge for dinner & breakfast ¥1,200 - ¥3,000
Minshuku/Ryokan Surcharge for dinner only ¥1,000 - ¥2,000
Minshuku/Ryokan Surcharge for breakfast only ¥600 - ¥1,500
Washoku ryori (full-course Japanese meal) ¥1,000 - ¥3,000
Restaurant meals ¥400 - ¥1,800
Convenience or grocery store bento ¥400 - ¥900
Vending machines (per drink) ¥100 - ¥400

Temples

Stamp (nōkyō) (per stamp) ¥300
Monetary offerings (each temple; optional) ¥10 - ¥400

Pilgrim Gear & Items (set discounts are available)

Guidebook ¥1,600
Nōkyōchō (Temple stamp book) ¥1,575 - ¥3,500
Miei collection book ¥1,500 - ¥2,000
Kyōhon (book of Heart Sutra and other mantras) ¥500 - ¥700
Osamefuda (Name slips) (pack of 200) ¥200
Sugegasa (Conical sedge hat - large) ¥2,000 - ¥3,000
Sugegasa (Conical sedge hat - small) ¥1,200 - ¥1,500
Sugegasa rain cover replacement ¥500 - ¥800
Hakui (White pilgrim jacket – with sleeves) ¥1,800 - ¥3,500
Hakui (White pilgrim jacket – sleeveless) ¥1,800 - ¥3,650
Pilgrim white pants ¥1,500 - ¥3,000
Broadcloth for pilgrim pants ¥800 - ¥2,000
Kongōtsue (Walking stick) ¥1,500 - ¥2,500
Walking stick cover replacement ¥300 - ¥500
Fudabasami (Small pilgrim bag) ¥1,500 - ¥3,800
Wagesa (Cotton or silk scarf) ¥1,500 - ¥3,000
Jirei (Bell) ¥300 - ¥2,000
Candles (per box of 60) ¥250
Incense sticks (per box of 150) ¥360
Juzu (Rosary) ¥1,500 +

Wifi & Cellular Service (30-60 days)

Sim card with cellular & limited data services ¥10,000 - ¥40,000
Sim card with limited data only ¥6,000 - ¥35,000
Pocket wifi ¥9,000 - ¥35,000

Other Costs to Consider

Hot springs (onsen) ¥300 - ¥1,800
Laundry (per wash – average is about about once every 2-4 days) ¥0 - ¥450
Extra stamps from bangai temples (per stamp) ¥300
Plane tickets & transportation N/A
Pharmacy, medical products, toiletries N/A
Batteries, extra SD cards N/A
Health insurance N/A
ATM fees & bank charges N/A
Souvenirs N/A

ATM Fees & Bank Charges

Credit Cards

Credit cards won't take you a long way in Japan, as many businesses don't accept them as payment. Some convenience stores will accept credit cards for payments over a certain amount. Every minshuku and ryokan I stayed at accepted cash only. For this reason, people in Japan are accustomed to carrying around a larger amount of cash than, for example, Americans do. I started the pilgrimage carrying about ¥80,000 (about 780 USD at the time) and an international ATM card, then withdraw cash whenever I began to run out at post office ATMs.

ATMs

An ATM at a Seven Eleven in Japan Most of the pilgrimage path is rural and suburban, so ATMs can be hard to come by at times. Luckily, ATMs at many convenience stores and post offices are able to process foreign ATM and debit cards. You should research on restrictions and fees beforehand. 7-11, for example, limit the amount of withdrawal per transaction to ¥100,000. If you'd like to withdraw at post offices, you can check online to see if they will accept your card. Just because certain post offices work for other foreigners doesn't mean it will work for you. It depends on the bank and type of card or account you have. My card, for example, only works at ATMs that accept UnionPay, so most of the convenience stores I came across in Japan did not work for me. You will also have to check with your bank to see how much you can withdraw. All ATMs can display English as well as some other languages such as Chinese.

Travellers Checks

It is important to note that cashing travellers checks in Shikoku might not be practical. While larger banks in cities will probably be able to cash them, smaller banks (which you will deal with most of the time)