How much does a trip to Japan cost? This is an important aspect to think about when planning your trip. Of course it depends on where you’re flying in from, how long you’re going to stay in Japan, if you’re going to stay in one city or travel around Japan, how much you spend on accommodations and meals, and how much shopping you plan to do. But today, we’ll give you some things to consider and a good first step towards planning that trip to Japan you’ve always wanted to take.
Cost to Visit Japan
The biggest part of any trip is the airplane fee. Where you’re coming from and which airport you’re landing at will probably also affect the fee. For example, in Tokyo there are two airports. Haneda airport is closer to the city and Narita airport is about 1.5 hours by train to the city. The other large international airport is the Kansai International airport which is located near Osaka. The season in which you’re visiting Japan will affect the price as well. Peak season prices add a minimum of 50,000 yen to the regular prices. And of course, how many transfers your flight has will also affect the price. Direct flights are of course more expensive than ones with many transfers between the country of departure and Japan. Below are examples of the average cost for flights for a trip to Tokyo from some of the major cities around the world, using direct flights whenever possible.
Los Angeles to Tokyo: minimum of around 92,000 yen round trip
New York to Tokyo: minimum of around 150,000 yen round trip
London to Tokyo: minimum of around 200,000 yen round trip
Rome to Tokyo: minimum of about 150,000 yen round trip
Singapore to Tokyo: minimum of about 65,000 yen round trip
Hong Kong to Tokyo: minimum of about 25,000 yen round trip
Transportation Cost in Japan
Next are the transportation fees while you’re in Japan on vacation. This differs greatly on whether you’ll be staying in one city like Tokyo for your entire vacation or whether you’ll be traveling to other cities.
If you’re staying in Tokyo for 2 or 3 days, you probably won’t be paying too much for transportation around the city. Of course you’ll need to use the trains in this case. The regular train or bus charge to and from Narita airport (the one that is 1.5 hours away) is around 2,000 yen round trip from Tokyo station. If you take the Airport Limousine Bus, which takes you directly to large hotels in Tokyo, or if you use the Narita Express train, it will be around 3,000 yen for one way. For sightseeing in Tokyo, the train fees can be an average of around 1,000 - 1,500 yen per day for one person.
If you’re going to be traveling to more than one city and your trip to Japan is a long one, I advise buying the Japan Rail Pass. It’s a convenient train pass that only foreign tourists can buy. You can travel unlimitedly on all the trains of the JR Group Railways company. This includes the “Shinkansen” or bullet trains (except any reserved or non-reserved seats on the “NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains), limited express trains, express trains, and rapid or local trains. It costs 29,110 yen for 7 days, 46,390 yen for 14 days, and 59,350 yen for 21 days (14,550 yen, 23,190 yen, 29,670 yen respectively for children).
Even if you’re trip to Japan isn’t for the minimum 7 days, buying the Japan Rail Pass could be cheaper if you’re planning to visit, for example, Kyoto from Tokyo. If you buy a train ticket, it costs 28,860 yen (for Ordinary Car use) round trip from Tokyo to Kyoto and back. So it’s almost the same price as the 7 day pass. Plus, you’ll be able to use the pass on JR trains in Tokyo and Kyoto so in the end it becomes cheaper to buy the Japan Rail Pass.
For more information on the Japan Rail Pass, please see here.
Cost of Accommodations in Japan
The average cost of a Japanese vacation will also differ according to the hotel you choose to stay in. If you prefer to go for the cheapest option, staying in a hostel would be my recommendation. For example, the Planetyze Hostel provides beds in a communal room from as cheap as 2,000 yen. If you’d like a room in a regular 3 star hotel, it will probably be an average of around 10,000 - 15,000 yen per person per night. For a room in a 4 or 5 star hotel, the rooms starts from around 20,000 yen minimum per person per night. Many traditional Japanese style hotels called “ryokans” will also fall under the last category.
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Price of Meals in Japan
The cost for food in Japan can vary greatly. There are fast food restaurants providing udon or soba noodles, beef bowls, tempura bowls for as little as 600 - 1,000 yen. Then there are the regular restaurants which provide lunchtime menus from 1,000 - 2,000 yen. Dinner costs around 3,000 - 5,000 yen depending on what you order at one of these regular restaurants. Of course if you go to a high end restaurant, you could spend 5,000 yen on lunch and over 10,000 yen for dinner. Most people prefer to go to regular restaurants for most of their trip and spend a little more for a special day or for something they really want to eat. So unless you have unlimited funds, you should think about which meals you want to spend your money on.
To give you a better idea on what kind of food to expect on your Japan vacation, we've created some additional guides and tips:
Shopping Expenses in Japan
Shopping in Japan is great fun because of the variety of things and stores that the cities have to offer. If you’re just buying a few snacks and small trinkets for your family and friends, I suppose 10,000 yen maybe enough. If you’re going shopping for “made in Japan” clothes or electronics you should make sure to have a big budget because it’ll be hard to prioritize what to buy and what not to. If you don’t have particularly deep pockets 10,000 - 30,000 yen should be enough for souvenir shopping.
Here are some of our tips for shopping:
Sightseeing and Tours
Sightseeing can be done by yourself if you know where to go and what to see. If you want to know a little more about the main sightseeing spots as well as the culture, history, and traditions of Japan, you should go on a tour with a local guide. TripleLights provides a service like a marketplace of tours and guides from which you can choose from.
Take a look at the guide’s profile videos to see what kind of person they are and also see the reviews they got from other customers. The guides all create their own tours so all of the tours are unique. The price of course depends on what kind of tour you choose, but it’s around 5,000 -6,000 yen per person for a 8 hour tour. And if you don’t find the perfect tour on the list of tours, you can request a tour for half a day, a full day or more, listing what you’d like to see or eat or so on. The guides that are available during your requested dates will recommend a tour itinerary just for you. So you’ll be able to compare what several guides suggest and see which one looks to be the best. This way you can create your own customized tour for however long you’d like, and you won’t have to pay for time spent on something you’re not interested in.
Most of the tours are walking tours, so you’ll be using the public transportation system while sightseeing. For people with a JR Pass, the guides will choose routes so that you can use the pass whenever possible. It’s an experience that will give you insight on how the local people move around during their daily lives and moving around with a guide will be good practice for sightseeing on your own later on. However, if you have additional funds, there is also the option of hiring a private car and driver for your tour or just to get around. Catching a taxi is also fine, but sometimes you just can’t find one, so having a car just for you is pretty convenient.
The above are the fees you need to think about when estimating your average cost for a vacation to Japan. There are so many amazing places to visit on your trip I’m sure it’ll be hard to balance out what you want to see with the funds you can utilize for the whole trip. Make sure to add in a small amount for miscellaneous things like entrance fees to sightseeing spots, beverages, etc. Hopefully this blog will help prepare you for how much a trip to Japan will cost you.
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