How Much Does A Trip to Japan Cost? A Beginner’s Guide

People consider Japan as one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the world on par with Western Europe. But if you’re smart enough, you can fit the trip expenses within your budget. A very common question regarding Japan is, how much does a trip to Japan cost?

Depending on how many people are traveling and your accommodation, the budget will vary. So you’ll find the average estimations based on previous visits by different travelers.

There are a few clever ways that you can plan your trip to Japan on a budget. For that, you’ll need to do your research as well as continuing to follow this guide. But it’s better if you have a realistic and feasible budget so that you can cater to your needs accordingly while you’re there.

A good way to save money is by traveling in groups. People who’ve been there before will know more than you. So. It’s better to tag along with them if you want to get things done on a tight budget. 

Photo by Sunil Poudel from Pexels

Is Japan Expensive?

Saying Japan is expensive would be an overstatement. Once you arrive there, you’ll realize it isn’t as expensive as people make it to be. Go to any other country in Europe, and you’ll have to spend much more than Japan. Having said that, if you compare japan with countries in Asia, then it certainly is one the higher end.

Everything country in the Asian subcontinent, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, or Bhutan, offers cheap travel options. But Japan being as developed as it is, and the amazing environment and culture it has, you won’t hesitate to spend a few extra bucks.

The meal prices in Japan can vary greatly depending on where you’re eating. You can go to expensive Michelin Star restaurants, or you can go for a much humble option. The average cost for food is roughly ¥3,104 per day.

Previous travelers have spent approximately ¥1,242 per person whenever they went out to try fancy restaurants. You’ll be able to get breakfast at a cheaper rate than lunch or dinner. As discussed previously, the restaurants that offer sit down services charge a lot more than local fast-food restaurants.

The taxi rides in Japan is very expensive. So try using public transports when you’re traveling. With the JR pass, you’ll be cutting down on your expenses a great amount.

  • Accommodation for One Person- $58 (Hotel or Hostel)
  • Accommodation for Couple – $ 115 ( Typical couple-bed room)
  • Meals – $30 (Food for each day)
  • Intercity Transportation – $20 
  • Alcohol – $15 (For each day) 

The expenses are based on feedback from travelers who went through the same processes as mentioned in Japan. 

How Much Does A Trip to Japan Cost?

Japan’s currency is known as the Yen, and as of July 2020 the exchange rate stands at,

1 USD = 107.5 Japanese Yen

Based on the experience of previous travels, you would need to spend roughly ¥12,950 ($121) each day while you’re in Japan. Tourists who have visited Japan before have spent, on average, ¥3,200 ($30) on food for one day and $20 for local transportations. The average cost of a hotel room for a couple is ¥12,470 ($116). 

So, the total cost for a couple visiting Japan for two weeks comes down to a total of approximately ¥362,214 ($3,369). If you decide to go for a much luxurious trip, then the budget will exceed the estimation. If you’re traveling alone, you can cut down the expenses to around 181,108 Yen ($1684).

  • $121  each day on an average
  • $30  on food each day 
  • $20 for local transportations

If you want to save money on your trip to Japan, be sure to buy the Japan Railway pass. The JR pass allows you to travel using the bullet train at a comparatively cheaper rate than the usual prices. The passes are available for 7, 14, or a total of 21 days. The rundown begins only when you’ve made your first travel.

This makes the pass even more convenient. You can book your JR pass beforehand online. Prices may vary depending on when you’re going to travel. Don’t forget to take a look at COVID-19 related regulations before getting on a plane.  

The Plane Fare to Japan

Research shows that the average fare for flights from the US to Tokyo is roughly 810 Dollars. You can save a good amount of money if you decide to take a layover flight instead of direct flights to the capital. When booking the tickets, don’t forget that Tokyo mainly has 2 airports.

Tokyo International airport, locally known as the Haneda Airport, is nearest to the city center, and Narita International Airport is about 1.5 hours’ drive away from Tokyo. If you get to pick your arrival area, always go for Haneda. It will save you both time and money.

A lot of the international flights land at Narita Airport. For someone who’s traveling from other parts of the world, you can get much cheaper flights if you go for a national airline instead of a private one. 

Another tip for saving money on airfare is to book early. If you can get everything sorted and book your flight 4 or 5 months earlier, you’ll easily save a couple of hundred bucks.

With the recent regulations on flights because of the COVId-19 pandemic, be sure to check the local and international rules of procedures for flights to Tokyo or anyplace you’re going to travel. 

The plane fare to Japan
Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

Public Transportation

Traveling inside Japan can be very expensive if you’re not smart enough. Whether you want to travel to Kyoto or go to a restaurant on the other side of Tokyo, it will cost you a lot. But there’s a way to save money on transportation as well. 

The Japan Railway Pass is a blessing in disguise for travelers. The price for JR passes is as follows: 

  • Standard Pass: $277 for 7 Days Green Pass: $370 for 7 Days
  • Standard Pass: $441 for 14 Days 

Green Pass: $598 for 14 Days

  • Standard Pass: $563 for 21 Days 

Green Pass: $778 for 21 Days

The green pass is the first-class ticket. That’s why it is comparatively expensive. Shinkansen bullet trains, buses, airport transfers, and ferries are included in the JR pass. It’s the best way to save money. Now about the details of the pass by going to their website

Although JR passes are quite efficient, they won’t get you to every doorstep. JR operates on surface lines mostly, and if you want to take the subway, then you’d have to get a different ticket because the subway is run by a separate entity. But the good news is, they aren’t expensive. So taking a few trips won’t impact your budget as much. 

For your day trips to notable tourist spots like Hakone and Mount Fuji will require you to pay extra. You can get different day passes for these places to save up money.  

Source : Anna Shvets

Accommodation in Japan 

Like any other tourist spot, you can pick from a variety of accommodation options. You can go for the more lavish option my staying at a 5-star hotel, or if you’re traveling alone, then you can stay in very cheap capsule rooms. But most of the rooms in Japan are a bit small compared to other tourist spots. So if you’re traveling in a group, be sure to find someplace where your group would fit.

  • Hostels: The favorite place for any backpacker to stay in the hostel. You all know about the hostels in Amsterdam, but Tokyo doesn’t get enough credit for what it has to offer. The hostel prices in Tokyo can go as high as $ 50, but in the other cities, the prices are less.
  • Capsule-room Hotels: This is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll have to sleep in a capsule, which surprisingly has all the amenities that are essential. The only problem is you’ll be crammed, and it might even feel suffocating at times. The capsule rooms cost $20-$60. You’ll find proper hotels that cost the same as these capsule hotels. So the choice is yours.
  • Hotels:  Three to four-star hotels can cost around $120 in the popular parts of the area. But the train service is really good in Japan. So it doesn’t matter where you’re staying. By picking the lesser-known hotels, you can save a lot. If you don’t have any issue with spending almost double or triple the normal hotel prices, then you can stay at hotels like the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons Hotel, or the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel.   
  • Ryokans: Ryokans are a good way to introduce yourself to the Japanese culture.  They are traditional inns where you get communal baths and tatami-matted rooms.  The prices may vary from $70 to $350 a night, depending on the location and popularity of the Ryokan. 
  • Apartments: Japan has introduced new laws that have limited short term rentals. But Airbnb is still a very popular and convenient choice. The price of Airbnb can vary from $50 to $300. You’ll find some really good apartments in popular areas of the city at around $120. But be sure to get all the information regarding the listing. It’s better if you avoid listings that ask you not to talk with the neighbors. Because who knows what problems the listing might have! 

You can also legally rent apartments. If you’re planning to travel with a big group, renting an apartment is a much feasible option. You’ll even get to cook your food.

Food Prices 

There are so many different kinds of food you can try out in Japan. People only go for Sushi, but there’s so much more to Japan than that. Kobe beef, Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and so much more that you can taste. Even thinking of them is enough to get your mouth watery. So it’s better to allocate a good amount of your budget to your food. 

Going to Japan and not trying their famous cuisine takes everything away from the complete experience. So don’t be too nitpicky of the prices. You’ll get complimentary breakfasts in most of the hotels. That should be enough to get you through to lunch. You can eat Ramen for around $10 at any of the famous chains. Sandwich and bento cost about $5. And you’ll get baked goods under $2.

  • Breakfast: $5-$7
  • Lunch: 10$- $13
  • Dinner: $15 -$ 20

So having a total budget of 30 Dollars to 40 Dollars should be enough to keep your stomach full and enjoy the delicacies of Japanese Cuisine. If you’re looking to try out the local drinks, it would cost under $15 for each day. Drinks like Mugi Sochu, Oolong Hai, and Whiskey highball are a must-try for people who are into alcohol.  

Japan food
Source: Pixabay

Random Expenses

Whenever people are making travel budgets, they forget to include miscellaneous expenses. Because Japan is so unique, you’ll find many attractive things which you’ll want to buy as souvenirs.

The smart thing to do would be taking random expenses into account. So, if you stumble upon something that you want to buy for your friends or family, you won’t have to think twice.

Travel Insurances   

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You don’t know what might happen when you’re away in another country. Anything can go wrong.

To make sure that you’re not completely helpless in a foreign country, get travel insurance. You’ll find suitable options under $60 that would keep you protected.

Places to Visit While in Japan  

The opportunities are endless in Japan. You’ve all seen magnificent pictures of Japan during the spring or autumn. But in real life, it’s even more amazing. The number of travelers who were so taken aback by the beauty of Japan that they moved there permanently has become uncountable.  

What doesn’t Japan have?  The sacred Shinto shrines, historic Buddhist temples, breathtaking gardens, eclectic themed pet cafes, diverse art and craft styles, preserved cultural icons, and many more. Let’s take a look at the places that you must visit on your trip to Japan.

  • Hitsujiyama Park 

Whenever someone thinks of Japan, the first few things that come to their mind include cherry blossoms and mountains. Hitsujiyama Park is a true reflection of Japan.  Red, pink, and purple cherry blossom moving with the wind, while in the backdrop, Mount Buko stands tall, mother nature doesn’t get any more picturesque than that. 

  • Kawagoe

It’s only 45 minutes away from the capital. While everything around it has developed, Kawagoe has remained like the old Tokyo. Kawagoe’s Kita-in temple is made from the ruins of the historic Edo Castle. In and around the temple, you’ll see warehouses that still showcases the old architectural designs of Tokyo. 

  • Kamakura

The town of Kamakura is located in the shores of Japan, and it used to be the military post of the Japanese army. This is where the ancient Samurai culture evolved and developed into a world-famous martial art form. Kamakura is also the birthplace of Zen Buddhism. Kamakura is the perfect place to relive the history of Japan and travel back in time. 

  • Mount Fuji

A trip to Japan is incomplete without visiting Mount Fuji. Because it’s an active volcano, people from all across the world go there to climb the mountain in July. If you’re planning to climb the mountain, do get in touch with experts and properly train before doing anything. 

  • Nagoya 

Nagoya is located in central Japan. Not everyone regards it as a must-see place, but it remains an amazing attraction for tourists. The city has a historic castle, which is evidence of the brilliance of Japanese architecture. It’s also the resting place of the famous sword named Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, also known as the “Excalibur of the East.”

  • Shibuya

This scramble crossing is one of the iconic spots of Tokyo. If anything can beat New York Times Square, then it has to be Shibuya. Each day almost 2.8 million people use this intersection as a crossing point. Imagine the madness! While some are trying to cross the road, others are trying to take the perfect Instagram photo inside this chaos. Apart from that, you’ll find the coolest fashion brands in Tokyo here. So you can get quite a few things done if you’re planning to visit Shibuya.

  • Yokohama 

People don’t travel to Yokohama as much these days, but it remains one of the must-visit locations in Japan. You’ll get to experience the biggest China town and walk the streets that are filled with local vendors selling some very unique products. You can also explore the Minato Mirai waterfront. Yokohama will give you the much-needed peace and tranquility compared to the chaotic nature of Tokyo.

There are so many places in Japan that one list isn’t enough. So make sure you find the places that are within your budget. But try to cover as much ground as possible, so you don’t miss out on anything. 

Final Thoughts  

As you can see, you’ll be able to complete a trip to Japan even if you’re on a tight budget. But since you’re going to such an amazing place you should have a generous budget. Then you’ll get to experience the true essence of Japan’s history and culture to the fullest.

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