How much does it cost to go to Japan? Traveling on a budget

If you’ve ever thought of traveling to Japan, you’ve probably heard the myth that it is one of the most expensive destinations in the world. Certainly, Japan travel can rack up a big bill – international flights, luxury trains, and Kobe beef may come to mind. However, you can see Japan on the cheap if you put your mind to it, and if you are willing to do your homework in advance.

How much will your trip to Japan cost? The purpose of this article is to offer you a rough idea of the cost of travel, per person, when planning a trip to Japan. Keep in mind that many factors – including where you go, what you do, whether you are traveling in a group, and what time of year you travel – will affect your trip’s final price tag.

Budget for traveling around Japan

Sure, it takes money to travel – especially when international flights are involved. However, you are in control of your travel budget. This means that you can, to a large extent, determine how much or how little you are going to spend. Prior planning can help to eliminate unanticipated expenses.

To begin your Japan traveling budget, you must first decide your budget limits. You may want to start with two numbers – your preferred budget and the absolute maximum that you can or are willing to spend (hopefully, the latter number is higher than the first). Setting these limits will help you to plan your vacation in a way that is affordable. Setting limits will also help you to choose the activities that are most important to you while eliminating unnecessary excursions and their expenses.

So, you’ve set your budget – now, you must decide how long and how lavish your trip will be. But before so, do not hesitate to c2heck our travel itineraries!

Daily expenses in Japan

According to some, a low daily budget for Japanese travel is about $26.00 to $69.00 USD, a mid-range daily budget is about $69.00 to $140.00 USD, and a high daily budget is anything above this. Now, all you have to do is do the math – pick a number in one of these ranges and divide your budget by it. This will tell you about how many days you can afford.

Keep in mind, however, that before determining your days, you should subtract a few additional expenses from your budget – the daily budgets listed do not include transportation, so you must allow for airplane tickets, bus fares, and your Japan Rail Pass for the lowest price.

Also, it is good to plan on having a little “emergency money” for unexpected expenses. Finally, the budgets listed are the average cost of travel in Japan. Your actual costs may increase if you choose expensive activities or accommodations, such as Tokyo Disney. 

Accommodation expenses

After transportation costs, your accommodations – a place to stay – will present the most expense. Hostels, dormitories, and inexpensive hotels offer the best prices – as little as $13.00 U.S. per night – while western-style hotels and traditional, all-inclusive ryokan, or Japanese inns, may come at a premium. Expect to pay what you would for a luxury hotel back home.

Choose the experience that best fits your budget, or adjust the number of days you will be staying if you desire the more expensive options. See our article Budget accommodation in Japan for a complete description of Japan’s often unique accommodations. 

Food expenses

Japan is well known for its delicious food, some dishes being available nowhere else in the world. As such, it is no surprise that food ranks third in your list of expenses. While traveling, you will likely visit restaurants rather than preparing food yourself. How can you keep your food costs within your budget?

Convenience stores and fast food restaurants often offer low-cost meal options, and inexpensive bento lunch boxes can be purchased at many train stations, shopping malls, and food stalls. You’ll likely want to indulge in nice dinners during your trip, but try to eat where the locals eat – these restaurants offer fabulous foods, typically at lower prices than in restaurants aimed at tourists. All from $13.00 U.S. to more than $40.00 U.S. for food, per person, per day. 

Things to do 

You’ll want to see the sights, and this part of your trip can range from free to – well, to whatever admission you’re willing to pay. Japan offers many, many free diversions – ancient temples, hiking trails, and beaches, to name a few. Museums, castles, and temples that do charge admission are often very affordable at $1.00 U.S. or less. Theme parks and other attractions may charge $50.00 U.S. or more. 

Money conversion

One additional expense to keep in mind when planning your travel budget is that of currency conversion. A small fee is deducted when you exchange currency from your homeland for Japanese yen. If using a credit or debit card, ask your bank what conversion rates may apply.

Whether your budget is humble or extravagant, you are certain to enjoy your next trip to the inspiring country of Japan.


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