- How Much Does It Cost To Travel To Japan?
- Major Cost To Consider For Japan Travel
- How to save travel cost to Japan
How Much Does It Cost To Travel To Japan?
When you are thinking of traveling to Japan, you might wonder how much it cost for the trip. I came up with the sample cost of travel in this page so that you can get an idea of how much it costs.
The person I thought of upon making this budget is a 30-40 year- old person from the United States. The budget can be much higher if you seek more luxurious travel, and there are also many ways to cut the budget for cost conscious travelers. I’ll also explain how to save on your Japan trip.
Major Cost To Consider For Japan Travel
$1500 round trip
The first cost you need to consider is the airfare to fly to the island of Japan. Almost 100% of international travelers will arrive by airplane. The cost can vary depending on where you are, but let’s see how much it cost from US airports.
If I check the travel cost from Los Angeles to Tokyo, it is about $1500 or so for an economy class ticket. It can vary based on the season, availability and oil price. You can book either from your favorite airline’s site, or check a travel website such as Sky-Scanner.
The airfare tends to be more expensive recently, but Japan Airlines started a low cost airline to some international destinations such as Los Angles, San Jose (California), Honolulu and Bangkok with its new brand called “Zip Air Tokyo”. The airfare is lower than the major carriers. The service is limited just like other low cost carriers, but you can save the cost of traveling to Tokyo. The price to Los Angles is about $900 round trip including a meal.
But the only problem is you need to spend extra money to get to Los Angeles. For smoother connections from other US cities, using Delta, United (code shared with ANA) and American (code shared with Japan Airlines) might be a better choice. Saving mileage on other trips or paying bills by an airline-associated credit card is something you can do daily to prepare for your trip to Japan.
Hotels – Try to stay at a range of hotels to save costs and enjoy more
$700 for a week travel / per person
Hotels can be a major cost during your travel to Japan. It’s also something you can control the cost by what you choose. For moderate hotels, you might want to prepare $100 a night per person. The best idea is to spend some more for a several nights, and save in the city. If your budget is $700 for one week per person, instead of using $100 every night, try to find something $60 for your stay in Tokyo for 5 nights ($60 times 5 = $300), and spend the rest ($400) for the remaining 2 nights. If you have $200 a night per person to spend, you can stay at a nice hotel with hot-springs and two meals included.
Transportation cost goes up if you leave Tokyo
$10 a day for trains in the city
$400-500 for entire trip if you travel inter city
Transportation in Japan can be expensive. The trains in Tokyo usually start from around $1.2 to $1.8. Something good to know is trains in Tokyo are operated by several different companies, so if the company changes, you need to pay the initial cost of $1.2 to $1.8; the cost of the trip is determined by distance, so the further you go, the more expensive it will get.This is true even in the same company. There are some one day passes available if you are taking lots of trains on that day.
Please also see: How to Get around Tokyo by Train
It’s also important to know you don’t find Uber or any car service in Japan. There is an app to call taxis, but that is just to call a taxi and you cannot know the price in advance. However, do not hesitate to use a taxi when you are with a group of 3 or 4 and find it difficult to walk.
If you try to go all over Japan by Shinkansen, the cost can be more. If you are moving between major cities like Tokyo to Kyoto or Tokyo to Osaka, there are several different choices too.
An article that might help you: 10 ways to travel between Tokyo to Osaka and Kyoto.
If you go to many places in Japan, you can consider getting Japan Rail Pass too. This is the pass you can get on JR trains with less cost, and there are some regional focused passes too.
Keep enough budget for eating out
$50 a day
Eating is a major part of your Japan travel as you’ll see many authentic foods that you only can see in Japan. Sushi, unagi, yakitori… Some foods like sushi, you can eat for 100 yen per plate in some store, but the price often reflects the quality.
If you seek a good restaurants and enjoy Japanese sake too, I recommend you to set $50 or so aside per person for dinner at least.
Once you come to Japan, I recommend you to have high quality Japanese foods at least 2 or 3 times, but it doesn’t mean you have to eat expensive for all your meals. You can also use hotel chain restaurants to save budget. The quality and taste is not the best, but at least that is what typical Japanese people go out to eat.
Also, staying at a Japanese ryokan with two meals is also a good introduction to Japanese cuisine.
This is probably the cost you need to consider when you go up the observation decks, or go to theme parks. Some temples in Kyoto or Nara also charge around $5 or so for entry. It cost a lot if you try to go to all the temples, so you don’t have to go to all the major sight seeing spots. Pick one or two that might interest you the most.
If you are going to skiing trip or mountain climbing in Japan, that can be an additional cost. For skiing or snowboarding, you can get rental wear and boards that can cost around $50 a day.
For mountain hiking, you don’t need additional cost if you bring your gear and appropriate clothes. The cost will be mainly transportation cost. Japan’s mountain is very deep and weather is quite severe, so please do not underestimate what you wear and bring even if it’s lower mountain near Tokyo.
Japan has tons of stuff to purchase. Why? This is because Japan doesn’t share many products with other countries, so you find something different in stationery stores, drug stores, and souvenir shops. If you are into anime or figures, you will get into an endless maze. Also if you go to different areas of Japan, every local area has different local products and souvenirs.
How to save travel cost to Japan
Consider a low budget hotel
A hotel is something takes up the most of the travel money usually, but Japan has lots of economical choices in that matter. Business hotels in Tokyo and other cities can be a good choice if you like to save but still want privacy. You can find them for around $60 per person. In case you need to save more, you can consider hostels and capsule hotels.
However, if you want to experience Japanese hot springs, I don’t recommend to save much there. My recommendation is, spend more for the nights you might enjoy the time in the hotel itself, and save in the city where you are out of the hotel almost all day.
Avoid busy season
There are some seasons that hotels can get very expensive in Japan. The travel destinations such as hot-springs are definitely more expensive on the weekend all around the year, and end of the year to the New Years can be 5 to 10 times more. The problem of these days aren’t just the soring prices, it’s super busy wherever you go. It’s also important to avoid moving between cities by bus or any way using high-way as the traffic can get terrible.
Here is the list of days you should avoid to travel to Japan.
- After Christmas to New Years (December 29 – January 5)
- Golden Week (April 29 to May 5)
- Obon (Summer holiday)
- Silver Week （Sept.17 – Sept. 25)
* The date may extend if it is connected with a weekend.
Stay in one region
The trip cost can go up if you travel to the lots of different parts of Japan. You can keep the travel cost low by staying in Tokyo and the surrounding area. If your country has flights to Osaka, staying around Osaka is also a great choice. Staying in Tokyo as a base, and going to surrounding areas such as Mt.Fuji and Nikko is a way to enjoy enough of Japan. If you prefer nature and modern culture of Japan, I recommend the Tokyo area. If you prefer traditional culture and temples, I recommend the Osaka area.
Buy Japanese Yen when it’s cheap.
The exchange rate between the currency you have and the Japanese yen has a great effect on the total cost of traveling to Japan. If your trip to Japan becomes concrete- actually booked and paid for-, it is a good idea to change your current money to Japanese yen when the yen rate is low. Of course, since we do not know the exchange rate, the yen may become even cheaper, so it may be better not to change everything. Most shops and inns in Japan accept cash. Some stores only accept cash, but for example, in my daily life in Tokyo, there is no store that cannot use cash.