One of the most frequent questions we get from our readers is how much does it cost to go to Japan. Most people imagine a trip to Japan to cost quite a fortune, and rightfully so, as Japan has a reputation for being one of the most expensive countries in the world. In a sense, it's true, Japan is by no means a cheap country but if you budget well, a trip to Japan can cost you less than you initially thought.
We started with a 2-week itinerary in Japan, so it would be fair to break down the cost of this trip for about 14 days. Our first trip to Japan cost us quite a lot, but that's because we didn't want to budget, but we wanted to experience as much of the country as possible without worrying about the financial aspect. In our estimated costs, we will tell you how we did it and how it can be done if you want to try Japan on a budget.
Table of Contents
Trip to Japan Cost - Breakdown
Our trip to Japan cost will be calculated based on two people visiting the country. Please note that for accommodation purposes, this works out cheaper, although Japan has various hotels suitable for solo travellers interested in budget options. The prices will be displayed in GBP. You can easily convert them to USD or any other currency as needed. Don't forget to check more budget travel tips for Japan.
- Flights to Japan - £780
- Accommodation - £700
- Transportation - £600
- Food - £800
- Attractions - £500
- Other - £600
Total cost for our first trip to Japan: £3980
Trip to Japan Cost - Flights
Flights to Japan can be quite expensive and since the country is gaining popularity, the price of airfare continues to increase. We searched for almost a month before we found an amazing special offer for tickets from London to Tokyo via Beijing. We flew with Air China, not the most comfortable, but definitely one of the cheapest flights we could find. As you can tell, £780 for two return tickets London to Tokyo was a bargain which we couldn't say no to. This enabled us to go to Tokyo, fall in love with the city and create this epic blog for you. We have been returning to Japan since and found many things to do in Tokyo. Oh, we even lived there for a while. Yes, it's still our favourite city in the world and we still want to move there and live in Tokyo forever.
Want cheap flights to Japan? We found ours on Kiwi!
In conclusion, our trip to Japan cost for flights came to £780 for two people London - Tokyo via Beijing.
Trip to Japan Cost - Accommodation
Our accommodation in Japan was by no means glorious, but it was decent, clean and perfect for our needs. In a way, we got really lucky with the locations as we can now tell you for sure where to stay in Tokyo for first-time visitors. So here it goes: we stayed in Tokyo for 6 nights and paid £300. We stayed in Smile Hotel, Nihombashi, a 3-star hotel which was incredibly small but also perfectly located. Thereafter, we continued to stay in Chiyoda as that is our prefered place in Tokyo.
Our second hotel was in Kyoto, for another 6 nights, for exactly £300. We stayed in Hotel San Crane, in central Kyoto, another 3-star hotel with a decent location. You can check where to stay in Kyoto for more details. Our room was very spacious, especially in comparison to the previous Tokyo hotel. We were relatively close to anything and everything we needed so we thought it was a very good deal. Given the price, the location and the length of time we spent in Kyoto, we couldn't have been happier with our deal.
The final part of our accommodation is in Tokyo where we spent another 3 nights prior to our flights back home. We spent £100 for 3 nights in Hotel MyStays Kanda. This hotel was by no means epic, it was very small and quite loud which is rather unusual for a hotel in Tokyo. The air vent was facing the flyover which meant we could hear cars in our room. It was a bit weird. Again, given the special offer we found at the time, we thought it was epic so we took it.
In conclusion, our trip to Japan cost for accommodation came to £700. We stayed a total of 9 nights in Tokyo for £400 and 6 nights in Kyoto for £300.
Trip to Japan Cost - Transportation
Transportation within Japan cost us almost as much as our return flights to Tokyo. However, it was our choice to travel a lot within the country and make the most out of the subway whilst in the city. Combined, we spent around £600 for two weeks of travel. We paid £400 for 2 Japan Rail Passes for 7 days. We used them to visit The Snow Monkey Park, and for a return journey to Kyoto. We also used them within Tokyo on the Yamanote Line and outside of Kyoto to visit Uji and to go to Mount Hiei.
The remaining £200 we spent it on subway tickets. We got a Pasmo card each and we put roughly £100 on each of the cards and travelled all around Tokyo by subway. We found it very convenient as we got to see more and save a lot of time. You should absolutely read how to prepare for a trip to Japan to further understand the importance of getting an IC Card, how to use the internet in the country and other important practicalities.
In conclusion, our trip to Japan cost for transportation came to £600. We purchased two 7 days JR Passes for £400 and invested the rest of £200 in lots of subway trips around Tokyo and Kyoto by using our Pasmo cards. This includes our trips to and from the airport as well.
Trip to Japan Cost - Food
We're getting to my favourite part here: food in Japan. As you probably know by now, we are both foodies so since Japan is one of the best places to sample food, we splurged...a lot. We literally anything and everything we could possibly eat and we still feel that there is still so much left to try. We wrote a list of essential Tokyo restaurants if you are not sure where to start. The good news is that you can't really go wrong with food in Japan, no matter where you decide to eat. And hey, if you are on a budget, you can always try and eat from a vending machine restaurant where a decent, hot meal can cost as little as £3. Pretty great, right?
It was difficult to figure out exactly how much we spent on food but based on our bank balance and other calculations we came to the conclusion that it was around £800. You can easily spend twice this amount, or be more conservative if budget travelling is your thing. A good option is to head over to various department stores just before closing time and get discounted ready meals for a fraction of the price. We know we found a lot of fresh and delicious sushi this way. Don't forget to check out some amazing Kyoto food as well.
In conclusion, our trip to Japan cost for food came to around £800. We had days when we splurged and had days when we tried to be as conservative as possible. We reckon you can do it for much less if you are crafty and are happy to sometimes buy food from the supermarket and have instant noodles for dinner.
Trip to Japan Cost - Attractions
There are so many incredible things to do in Japan. I mean if you visit Japan in Spring, you will probably want to travel and invest in all those crazy places where you can see the cherry blossom festival. If you visit Japan in Winter, prices will be lower and some attractions will have fewer tourists around. Best thing to do is to make a list of all the things you want to experience and budget accordingly. We really wanted to visit an array of shrines and temples and unfortunately, not all of them are free. If you travel on a budget, don't forget to add Fushimi Inari Shrine to the list (free entrance) and check out Senso-Ji in Tokyo (also free). But whilst in Japan, you might want to consider dressing up as an oiran, checking out pub crawls, going to a sumo practice and learning about the tea ceremony. For two weeks, we were rather conservative and still managed to spend £500 on attractions. But I promise it was all worth it, as there is no place like Japan.
In conclusion, our trip to Japan cost for attractions came to around £500. Don't forget to check our Tokyo 7 day itinerary to learn what to do, see and eat and what are the top attractions you need to budget for.
Trip to Japan Cost - Other
We found several other things we wanted to experience in Japan. Shopping was definitely one of them. Since Japan has the best customer service in the world, it's easy to see why we find it so incredibly appealing. We had amazing experiences whilst shopping in Harajuku, for example. We went to a New Balance store and the assistant spent about two hours helping us both find the shoes which suit and fit us best. It was an amazing experience. We also purchased souvenirs for ourselves, our friends and families. We discovered shopping in Ginza which wasn't kind on our credit cards and stopped in countless boutiques to buy various unique items.
In conclusion, our trip to Japan cost for other purchases came to around £600. You can definitely be more reserved in spending so much on items, but since I have issues finding my size for clothes anywhere else in the world, Japan was a real treat!