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One of the questions I get asked a lot is, how much does a trip to Japan cost? And in this article, I will give you a breakdown of all my expenses and what you can expect to pay for activities, transportation, and accommodations.
I always thought Japan was too expensive to visit during my world trip and I would waste too much money but after I arrived in the country, I realised that it is actually affordable.
Japan is more expensive than most countries in Asia such as Indonesia or Thailand but way cheaper than Iceland, Australia or the USA.
With that being said, Japan can be travelled on a budget as many activities are free, food is relatively cheap and it is possible to travel around the country without breaking the bank. Although, it depends on your travel style.
When you plan to visit a country it is always useful to know how much budget you’ll need and to give you a good idea of these expenses, I divided all the costs into different categories and based it on my 3 weeks in Japan (19 days exactly).
READ ALSO: The perfect itinerary for Japan in 3 weeks
Budget for Japan
During my 3 weeks itinerary, I kept a record of all my costs and expenses in an excel-sheet and divided them into 5 different categories. For every category, I will explain how much I spent in total and my average costs on a daily base, which will make it more helpful to plan your visit.
Whether you plan to travel around Japan in 2 weeks or just a 5-day Tokyo itinerary, with this blog post you get a very good idea of the average costs of Excursions, transportation, accommodation, and food.
However, everyone has a different travel style and depending on where you would like to stay or either go out for dinner every day, your budget might be higher or even lower.
What is not included in this budget for Japan
Some expenses such as the purchase of a backpack, travel insurance, and flights are for everyone different and as I bought most of it already in advance, I will not include these costs in this Japan budget breakdown.
However, The cost of these expenses can be handy to give you an indication of when you want to buy similar flights, the same equipment, or insurance, so I will share them with you.
- International flights: I bought a one-way ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo with Singapore Airlines for $198 per person and a one-way ticket from Osaka to Manila (Philippines) with Cebu Pacific for $120 per person.
- Travel insurance – InsuredNomads
- Purchase of backpacks: Deuter Aircontact 75L and my camera bag from Wandrd (read at the end of this article what’s in my camera bag)
Accommodations in Japan
Most of my travel budget went to accommodations in Japan and I spent about €740 / JPY90.000 for 18 nights in hostel dorms as this was the best way to save money during this journey and the best thing is that you can use the kitchen to prepare your own meals.
Hostels are very clean, trendy, and surprisingly luxurious compared to many other destinations around the world. I slept even in hostels where I got my own queen-sized bunk bed for only €17 per night
Another reason, I choose to stay in dorms instead of hotels was to meet other travelers, and prices from private rooms are very expensive, especially during high season.
However, for a room in a 3-star hotel with a private bathroom, you can expect to pay between €50 – €100 (JPY6.000 – 12.000) per night
I managed to keep the costs of accommodations pretty low and spent an average of €21 /JPY 5000 per night per person.
READ MORE: 21 Best hotels in Japan
Transportation in Japan
Getting around the country is very easy and convenient although it is not very cheap. Most tourists start and end their trip in the same city and for this reason, the best option for transportation in Japan is to buy a JR Railpass as you can travel unlimited to almost everywhere in the country.
As I traveled from Tokyo to Osaka to continue my journey around Asia from there, I decided not to buy the JR Railpass and I used highway buses to travel around Japan on a budget.
By doing this I saved about €200 and ended up with a cost of €483 / JPY 58.000 for transport in 19 days. That’s about €12,7 / JPY 1500 per person per day. Although, I recommend buying the JR RailPass if you will arrive and depart from the same city.
- Bus from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Tokyo center – JPY 1800 ($16) per person
- Metro tickets – I bought a prepaid Pasmo card (or Suica Card) for all subway/metro rides and a discounted one-day Metro Pass in Tokyo – JPY 8100 ($75) per person
- Bus from Tokyo To Kawaguchiko/Mount Fuji (booked the Highland Highway Bus with Willer Express) – JPY 2000 ($18,5) per person
- Train from Kawaguchiko station to visit the Chureito Pagoda – JPY 1040 ($9,8) per person
- Bike rental in Kawaguchiko (rented bikes at the bike shop in front of the train station) – JPY 1000 ($9,7) per person
- Bus from Kawaguchiko to Takayama (booked the Nohi Bus and was the best one I had on the entire trip) – JPY 5000 ($46) per person
- Bike rental in Takayama (The hostel provided bikes at an extra cost – Cup of Tea Hostel) – JPY 500 ($4,7) per person
- Bus from Takayama to Kyoto (booked the Kintetsu Highway Express Bus) – JPY 4500 ($42) per person
- Bike rental in Kyoto (rented a bike at Kon’s Cycle, highly recommended!) – JPY 1500 ($14) per bike/day
- A ride on the Scenic Romantic train from Sagano (bamboo forest) – JPY 630 ($6) per person
- Train from Kyoto to Nara (I took the Kintetsu Express line) – JPY 520 ($4,7) + needed to pay an extra fee the moment I left the station JPY 570 ($5,8) per person (I was not aware that I took the Express line, so make sure you take the normal train if you don’t want to pay extra)
- From Nara to Osaka with the train- JPY 520 ($4,7) per person
- Train from Osaka City to Osaka International Airport KIX (I took the Namba Line) – JPY 930 ($8,6) per person
Food in Japan
Japan has amazing food, however, eating out daily with quickly increase your budget. I went out a few times to restaurants but mostly bought pre-made salads or groceries, so I could prepare my meals in the kitchen of the hostels.
During the 19 days that I traveled around the country, I spent €476 / JPY 57.000 on groceries and food, which is an average of €12,5 / JPY1500 per person per day
- Eating out – $61 per person
- Food and snacks from the supermarkets – an average of $20 per day
- Avocados – JPY 98 ($0,9)/piece
- A package of “Ready to Cook” vegetables – JPY 230 ($2,1)
- A mixed salad bowl – JPY 210 ($2)
- Bread – JPY 220 ($2,1)
- Pack of oats – JPY 200 ($2)
- Water – Travel with a reusable drinking bottle saved me so much money on water as tap water is perfectly safe to drink
Activities and entertainment in Japan
Most of the highlights and activities are quite cheap or even free, which makes it an amazing country to explore. Some of my favorite free things to do in Japan are admiring Mt. Fuji from the Chureito Pagoda or walking through the beautiful shrines of Fushimi Inari-Taisha.
Most expenses I had for entertainment in Japan were entrance fees for certain temples and castles but even these costs are reasonable and affordable. Below I listed some prices and in total, I spent €174 / JPY 20.900 on these activities, which is an average of €4,5 / JPY 550 per person per day.
- View the Shibuya Crossing from above from the MAGNET by Shibuya 109 Viewdeck – JPY 600 ($5,5) per person
- Entrance fee to visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – JPY 500 ($4,2) per person
- Visit the Senso-Ji Temple – free
- View Tokyo city center from above at Tokyo Skytree – JPY 1900 ($18) per person
- See Mount Fuji from the Chureito Pagoda in Kawaguchiko – free
- Walk around Oishi Park at Mount Fuji – free
- Walk along the Maple Corridor in Kawaguchiko – free
- Visit the Hida Folk Village in Takayama – JPY 700 ($6,5) per person
- Wander through the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Forest – free
- Wander around the famous Torii gates at Fushimi-Inari Shrine – free
- Visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace – free
- Stroll around the Kennin-Ji Temple, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto – JPY 500 ($4,2) per person
- Explore the UNESCO world heritage site of Nijo Castle – JPY 1080 ($10) per person or gardens for only JPY 600 ($5,5) per person
- See the deer in Nara Park – free
- Admire the Todaiji Temple in Nara Park – JPY 600 ($5,5) per person
- Visit Osaka Castle – JPY 600 ($5,5) per person, the gardens are JPY 200 ($1,7) admission fee
- Watch monks at the Shittenoji Temple – JPY 300 ($2,7) per person
- Watch Osaka city center from the top of the Umeda Sky Building – JPY 1500 ($14) per person
- Go Street Karting in Tokyo – around JPY 4300 ($40) per person
While traveling around the country for 19 days I had some other expenses that don’t really fit into the other categories such as Simcards, visa costs, tips, and unforeseen costs.
As it was almost wintertime, I had to buy a few extra clothes (was not prepared for the cold in November), did a few times laundry, and bought some stuff in the pharmacy and new accessories for my drone.
I managed to spend € 252 / JPY 30.700 on other expenses in 19 days and didn’t buy a sim card as most public places offer FREE WIFI
- Visa-on-arrival – Free for 90 days – Check here if you need a visa for Japan
- Laundry – JPY 300-500 ($3-5) per load
- New polar pro filter for our DJI Mavic Air drone – JPY 7500 ($70)
- Pharmacy – JPY 750 ($7)
- Some new sweaters and pants to beat the colder days – JPY 11900 ($110)
- I didn’t buy a sim card or data bundle as there was free WiFi in all hostels and public places like subway stations. Even the highway bus from Tokyo to Mount Fuji had free WiFi.
Total cost breakdown for 3 weeks in Japan
The total expenses and costs of this itinerary are based on 2 people and I am pretty happy with how it turned out to travel around Japan on a budget.
We spent in total €2100 in 19 days traveling through the country, which is an average daily budget of €55 per person. The highest cost was accommodation but we managed to save some money on transport and entertainment.
The goal was to explore the country on a budget and spend around €50-60 per person a day which we did. However, I recommend calculating a budget of €1000-1500 a week for 2 people if you would like to stay in a room with a private bathroom, go out for dinner more often, and buy a JR Railpass.
Now you know what to expect for costs and an estimated budget that you need to travel around the country. Hopefully, this information can help you to plan your itinerary and if you have more money-saving tips, share them with me in the comments.
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Use my favorite travel apps to plan your Budget for Japan
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.