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.
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|
|Stamp (nōkyō) (per stamp)||¥300|
|Monetary offerings (each temple; optional)||¥10 - ¥400|
Pilgrim Gear & Items (set discounts are available)
|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|
|ATM fees & bank charges||N/A|
ATM Fees & Bank Charges
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.
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.
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)