Asia & Pacific - 15 min read

Japan Trip Cost: Pricing for Flights, Food & Accommodation

Amanda Ryan

Amanda Ryan, Updated October 9, 2022

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There are plenty of reasons to visit Japan, as the nation has a lot to offer tourists. Because it provides visitors with so many wonderful experiences, most people think of it as a tourist’s paradise. Before you leave for Japan, you should create a thorough budget outlining the general budget of your vacation.

The average cost of a 7-day trip to Japan is $1,659 for a solo traveler. That leaves us at about $237 per day per person. This includes travel expenses, local transportation, food, accommodation, and sightseeing. It is calculated based on the expenses of previous visitors and can go slightly up or down depending on your spending habits. 

There’s so much to calculate on the cost of a Japanese trip. Read on to find everything you need to know, including how to cut costs and travel to Japan on a budget!

Average Cost Of A Trip To Japan

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It’s important to note that the average cost of a Japanese trip differs from the average daily expenses. While calculating average cost, you’ll need to include flight tickets, accommodations, car rentals, etc. 

That said, the average price of a 7-day trip to Japan will range between $1558 to $2100 per person. You can expect to spend up to $2750 as a couple and $5,124 for a family of four. These amounts can go slightly up or down depending on your spending habits.

Japanese hotels will typically charge between $62 and $312 per night. Vacation rentals will charge between $144 and $553 per night. International flights to Japan would cost between $952 to $1,673 per person for economy tickets, depending on where you’re flying from. 

Intra-city transportation, food, sightseeing, and other miscellaneous expenses will eat up a significant part of what’s left in your budget.

Average Daily Expenses in Japan

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While in Japan, your daily expenses will significantly depend on how you choose to leave. After reviewing the daily expenses of many visitors to Japan, we’ve concluded that the average daily expenses on a trip to Japan are between $26 to $72 if you decide to live on a budget.

Mid-range spenders can expect to spend between $73 to $143 per day, while high spenders will spend anything above these figures. Now, while preparing your budget, you must decide what spending level you’d want to maintain throughout your plan. Pick a number and multiply it by the number of days you’d like to stay to determine how much your daily expenses will cost.

Remember that these figures do not include flight tickets, transportation, or other significant spending. So, you must include provisions for all those in your budget. It also makes sense to have some money kept aside in an emergency. 

Finally, the prices listed here are the average costs of traveling and living in Japan. The prices may increase or decrease depending on the types of activities you choose to do in Japan.

Factors That Determine The Cost Of A Trip To Japan

Now that we’ve discussed the average costs of a Japanese trip, you’re probably wondering how we arrived at the amounts. These are compilations of small amounts for different expenses. That said, here’s a detailed review of factors that’ll make up an average Japanese trip cost.

1. Flight Tickets

Credit: Ivan Lian / Flickr

This is perhaps the most crucial item on the list because you must get to Japan to experience Japan. Fortunately, flight tickets are not as expensive as some people usually predict unless you intend to fly first class.

Japan’s location and popularity mean it’s a favorite destination for most international airlines. Most of these airlines won’t mind offering cheaper flights and other promotions once in a while. You can jump on these promotions and discount packages to travel to Japan. You just have to be on the lookout for them and plan your trip to fall within promotion time. 

Notwithstanding, other factors like airline choice, packing fees, and flight snacks can also affect your overall flight cost. The average cost for international flights to Japan includes:

  • $952 to $1,673 per person (Economy class)
  • $2,241 to $4,052 per person (Business class). 

Remember that these prices are strongly affected by airline choice, where you’re traveling from, and seasons. Tickets are the first thing you should purchase when planning your trip to Japan. Purchasing your tickets early allows you to get significant discounts on your ticket prices.

2. Accommodations

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After transportation, the next important thing to think about is accommodation (where to stay). Hostels, dormitories, and inexpensive hotels are the ideal choices if you’re traveling on a budget. You can get these options for as little as $14 per night. 

On the other hand, top-quality hotels and all-inclusive traditional Japanese inns demand premium prices. So, you can expect to pay about the same prices you’ll pay for luxury hotels back home. 

You don’t have to spend beyond your budget on accommodation. If you can afford a premium space, you can opt for cheaper options. After all, it doesn’t stop you from enjoying the beauty that Japan has to offer.

But if you can afford premium accommodations, by all means, go for it. We recommend comparing prices of hotels and resorts online to find one that best suits your budget before choosing.

3. Food

Credit: Nicholas Cole / Flickr

Here’s the best news – Japanese foods are not only delicious but affordable. In fact, the price is fascinating when compared to the costs of average meals in other top cities. Options are abundant at affordable prices as far as food is concerned. 

You’ll find a range of affordable options in convenience stores for launch. Convenience stores are popular in Japan, and they offer tasty and healthy foods compared to other cities. 

An average meal in these locations will cost between $2 to $4. You can also choose to eat in. There are tons of quick restaurants scattered around the streets of Japan where you can get food for as low as $5. 

Again, the cost of food depends on what you want to eat and how you want to eat them. But local Japanese foods are reputed for being affordable, so you shouldn’t have too much of a problem with what to eat. 

4. Local Transportation

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This area may take a significant part of your budget because you’ll need to move around to see more places. Japan is so big with lots of exciting things to do around the city. So you must be prepared to move from city to city to enjoy the full experience of a Japanese vacation. 

However, there are still cheap transportation options that you can use without going above your budget. An obvious choice for tourists is the JR pass which gives you access to unlimited trips on the JR rail network. 

The pass typically costs about $600 for two weeks. This may sound like a lot to the ear, but when you break it down to $40 a day, you’d realize it’s a budget option worth trying. Please note that you’ll need to get your JR pass in advance or risk paying normal train fares when you need to move around. 

Local train fares are also reasonable and only cost an average of $5 per hour of travel. Bus transportation is also popular, so you can just book a bus wherever you go. 

5. Sightseeing

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You can indeed access many tourist attractions in Japan for free. Particularly, the shrines, museums, temples, parks, and gardens are available for free. But you’ll still need to pay to access many other tourist sights. 

Entrance fees into shrines, temples, and castles generally cost between $0.75 to $8, usually giving you free sights access. Entry into museums and other central parks ranges from $4 to $20, depending on the displayed exhibition and the time of the year. 

Other tourist centers and privately owned parks cost more than these. You can inquire about the price before going to any of them to be sure it can fit into your budget.

6. Money Conversion

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Although this factor doesn’t always come up in conversations about Japan trip costs, it’s still worth including in your budget. We’ve estimated all the costs in this article in US dollars.

However, the local currency in Japan is the Japanese yen, and you’ll need to convert your money to this currency to be able to spend. When you exchange currencies, expect the exchanger to deduct a small fee. 

Always ask your bank for their conversion rates and include them in your budget if you’re using a credit or debit card. This way, you won’t have unexpected costs flying out of anywhere after you’ve finalized your travel budget.

Is It Possible To Travel To Japan On A Budget?

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Sure, traveling to Japan costs money, especially considering that it involves international flights. However, it’s possible to control your travel budget.

First, you’re booking your flights and planning your activities in Japan by yourself. This lets you control how much or how little you’ll spend throughout your trip. We can’t overemphasize the importance of prior planning, especially as it helps to eliminate unexpected expenses. 

Before planning your budget for a Japan trip, you must start by deciding your budget limits. Your budget preparation should begin with two numbers; Your preferred budget, and the highest amount you can spend.

These limits do not only help you know what you can spend on the trip; it also enables you to keep your whole expenditure in check. Besides, it also allows you to choose your activities by order of priority so that you can eliminate unnecessary activities and all expenses attached to them. 

Now that you have a rough idea of how much you can spend and how much you’re willing to spend, you can go on with preparing your budget. Remember to take advantage of coupons and discounts. Traveling on a budget does not necessarily mean low-quality trips. 

You can still have the best time of your life in Japan. It’s just about being creative with the things you’ll do in the city.

How To Reduce The Cost Of A Trip To Japan

Like every other top city worldwide, Japan is reputed for its expensive lifestyle. But despite this reputation, you can still save money and travel to Japan on a budget. You just need to know what to do and where to go. 

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry – we have you covered. Here are helpful tips and tricks to help you reduce costs and save money during your next visit to Japan. 

1. Draft A Budget Before Your Trip

Credit: Ivan Radic / Flickr

Nothing finishes your money as much as spending on impulse. The last thing you’ll want to do when traveling on a budget is to spend money without planning. There are so many things to do and buy in Japan that you’ll be tempted to exhaust your money. 

However, if you take the time to outline your budget before your trip, you’ll be able to reduce unnecessary expenditures. Depending on how long you intend to stay in Japan, draft a realistic budget that’ll cover all your necessary and possible expenditures in Japan. 

If you intend to stay in Japan for more than a few days, split your budget into the number of days you want to stay. Now allocate money for food, accommodation, travel, etc. It’s also an excellent idea to keep emergency funds aside for the ‘just in case’ moments. 

2. Travel in The Off-Peak Season

Credit: Alex / Flickr

Another valuable tip for reducing travel costs is traveling during the off-peak season. This one requires a bit of flexibility on your part because it may have you moving your trip for weeks or months to fall into such periods.

However, if you can adjust your travel date to fall into these periods, you can expect significantly cheaper bargains for airfare. Tourist centers are also typically less crowded during these periods. You can also enter tourist centers at discounted rates during these periods. 

Japan’s off-peak seasons usually start around October and end in March, except for the Christmas and New year seasons.

So, we recommend leveraging the off-peak seasons, whether you’re visiting Japan for the first time or you already live in Japan and are looking to explore other parts of the city. 

3. Enjoy Cheap Japanese Foods

Credit: Sergio Quatraro / Flickr

The Japanese food culture is thriving, so there’s so much to eat and drink. Whether you’re eating in a porch restaurant or the street food stalls, you’ll find an abundance of options to choose from. 

Fortunately, most Japanese local foods are not so expensive, especially when you eat in small restaurants and roadside stalls. 

Tokyo is particularly known for its incredible number of restaurants and food vendors. The sheer number of food sellers helps keep the price of food relatively down. 

While cheap restaurants are available when you’re on a budget, you can also cook your meals yourself. Take a quick evening stroll to the farmer’s market or warehouses to get cheap foodstuffs.

4. Calculate Whether The JR Pass Is Worth It Before Purchasing Officially

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Despite the popularity of the JR pass, it is still not the best way to travel on a budget. It’s a great option if you plan to stay more than a few days and want to visit several places. But, you can also take slower local trains and still arrive at your destination safely. 

You also don’t have to visit every park or tourist location in Japan. Create a spreadsheet that you can use to plan your trip so you can have a clear view of whether the JR pass is a good option. 

If you intend to stay longer and visit many places, the JR ticket may be worth it because it allows you to take unlimited trips to different locations during the time in view. But do you really have to go everywhere on a budget? 

Remember, going everywhere would also mean spending more on gate passes and entertainment expenses. 

5. Walk Or Bike Whenever You Can

Credit: bethom33 / Flickr

Japan ranks among the cleanest and most organized countries in the world. The cleanliness and organization in this city make walking and riding a bicycle enjoyable. 

Sometimes, you can just take a stroll instead of using public transport. The $4 and $7 you pay for public transport may not seem like a lot, but if you sum up all the times you’ll need to move, you’d have a significant mark on your budget. 

So, a quick stroll here and there may take off significant amounts of your spending. Besides, it’s an exciting way to experience Japan and interact with locals. It’s also beneficial for your health. 

You can also pack a folding bicycle into your luggage before traveling. No law stops you from riding a bicycle in Japan, as long as you ride on the right lanes and don’t constitute a nuisance.

6. Enjoy Free Tourist Attractions

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People often get so busy rushing to pay huge amounts of money for sightseeing that they forget the best things are free. Japan is filled with lots of alluring sights you can access for free: sprawling packs, ageless Shinto shrines, contemporary architecture, etc. 

With little research, you’ll find enough free locations to keep you busy throughout your stay in Japan. Even the paid locations still admit people for free on some days. Look up their websites for promotions and discounts to see if you qualify for any.

Perhaps, the first thing you should do while planning your itinerary is to learn more about the attractions you want to visit. Check whether they have free alternatives that offer almost the same things as you want. 

There are tons of websites dedicated to offering helpful information on this topic. You can also join tourist forums online to get suggestions from people that have been to Japan before. You can never tell how good the information from such forums will do.

7. Find A Home Away From Home

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While it’s okay to want the comfort of executive hotel rooms, your budget may not be able to carry that. So, it makes sense to look for alternatives, especially when traveling as a group. Hostel or short-let services can help you save in such situations.

They also offer you more space and amenities to enjoy with your traveling group. We recommend choosing government-approved services to avoid being scammed or exposed to security situations. Still, review the pros and cons of renting short-lets to hotels before deciding. 

8. Book Activities Ahead Of Time

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People often suggest booking activities at the last minute can nab you a deal. While that is true for some situations, it is not always the case. 

Asians like to plan. This means they’ll offer lower prices for you to help them plan. Say you’re booking a weekend trip to Arashiyama (highly recommended!) or you’d like for you and your team to enjoy the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, you’ll generally be better off booking ahead of time. 

You can also find group discounts on their websites. Most of these discounts can be enjoyed even if you’re traveling alone.

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