Is Japan Expensive? Our 2 weeks to Japan cost in 2024

Is Japan expensive? Yes, Japan is an expensive country, but not when you compare it to other Western countries. The weak yen also makes Japan a favourite destination in 2024.

Read on to understand the breakdown of all prices and costs for a trip to Japan. All prices have been updated to reflect the changes in 2024.

“How much does a trip to Japan cost?” – is one of the most asked questions by eager visitors who have Japan on their bucket list. Every trip to Japan will come with a different price tag based on the type of travel you enjoy.

We know how much Japan costs because we visited on numerous occasions, and we also organise tours to Japan. The below prices are updated based on our last trip in November 2023 and the latest prices of flights and hotels in 2024.

You can definitely visit Japan on a budget to reduce the overall cost of the trip. From going to capsule hotels to spending just a few dollars per meal, you can absolutely enjoy Japan on a budget.

On the other hand, you can also spend ¥100,000 ($700, £550) on one single night in a top-notch ryokan with a private onsen, surrounded by pristine forests or eat in one of the many Michelin-star restaurants.

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.

For the first time visitors, we always recommend that you spend 2 weeks in Japan. So based on this, we’re going to break down the cost of this trip to include everything you will need for a perfect holiday.

We will calculate the average price to include all the main expenses like flights, accommodation, transportation, attractions, and souvenirs.

2 Weeks in Japan Trip Costs

The estimated total cost for 2 weeks in Japan is $5,530, £4,400 for 2 people.

This works out to around $200, £157 per person per day, and it includes flights, accommodation, transportation, food, activities, souvenirs, and other small expenses.

This is a for a medium-budget holiday with some luxury dinners, top attractions and occasional splurges on indulgent souvenirs.

2 Weeks in Japan Expenses - 2024 prices
CategoryCost ($)Cost (£)
Flights$2,000+ (from USA)£1,350+ (from UK)
Hotel$2,190£1,735
Transportation$576£456
Food & Drinks$1,350£1,070
Attractions, Tickets$950£750
Souvenirs$790£625
Total Cost of Japan trip$7,856£5,986
Itemized list of Japan trip costs, for 2 people

Cost of Flights to Japan

Estimated flights expense: $2,000 – $2,700 from the USA, or £1,350 – £1,700 from the United Kingdom for a round trip to Japan.

The first question is to ask yourself, how much does it cost to fly to Japan? Of course, it really depends on where you’re flying from.

  • Flights from major airports in the USA to Tokyo are priced between $2,000 to $2,700 for a return flight, San Diego, California being the cheapest and New York is the most expensive.
  • Flights from London, United Kingdom, are prices between £1350 and £1700 for a round trip to Tokyo. The prices depend on the number of connections and airlines.

It’s fair to say that with the current surge in travel, the average price is around $2,200, £1,500 for two people to fly to Japan. There are a few things you can do to ensure you score the best ticket prices for your upcoming trip to Japan.

  • Book your ticket as early as possible. Check Skyscanner or Google Flights for best prices and when to fly. We tend to book our tickets at least 3 months in advance. If you can book your tickets 6 months in advance, then you have better chances of scoring an excellent deal.
  • Fly from major cities if you can. You will reduce your flying time and the cost of your plane ticket. Sometimes flying from the capital city can halve the price of your plane ticket.
  • Avoid flying during major events or the most popular times. Prices will be higher for the cherry blossom season (Spring) and this will add a significant extra cost to your Japan trip.
  • Use a combination of points and cash. Qatar Airways is a great example of an airline company that allows you to pay for your ticket with points and cash as well.
Cory and G seeing Mount Fuji during their 2 weeks in Japan itinerary

Cost of Accommodation in Japan

Estimated accommodation expense: $2,190, £1,735

Typical prices range so much, not just between hotels and areas, but between cities too. We have recently booked a one-week stay in a 3-star, mid-range hotel in central Tokyo for $880, £700. In Kyoto, a mid-range hotel in a desirable area of Kyoto costs $750, £600.

On the other hand, one single night in a ryokan with a private onsen in the mountains costs around $500 – $730, £400 – £600 per night.

Here are our tips to help you with accommodation on your two-week trip.

  • Book your accommodation well in advance. This way, you don’t need to stay in cheap hotels to save money. You can book wonderful 3 or 4-star hotel rooms right in the heart of the city, with attractions at your doorstep. We recommend checking booking.com for the best prices.
  • Do research on which area is most suitable for you to save money on transiting between your hotel and chosen attractions. We have dedicated articles to where to stay in Tokyo, where to stay in Kyoto and where to stay in Osaka.
  • Avoid booking accommodation during the most popular times to visit Japan. If you really want to visit during the cherry blossom season, make sure to book your hotel at least 6 months in advance.
  • Stay in a capsule hotel instead of a hostel. If you’re looking for the ultimate budget hotel rooms, then stay in capsule hotels, which are a way better alternative to hostels. They are neater, quieter and better organized for privacy.

Good to know: Typically, Japan hotels are fairly small, so we recommend booking a king room if you need a larger double bed or a twin room for comfortable-sized singles.

Hate finding hotels? Check out our Self-Guided Tours! We can organise your whole itinerary for you so you don’t have to worry about a thing. See the tours here and enquire today!

Various accommodation options in Japan

Prices range depending on accommodation in Japan: 1) Capsule hotel; 2) A standard Twin Room in a 3-star hotel in Japan; 3) A traditional tatami room in a Japanese ryokan; 4) An onsen in a Japanese ryokan with forested mountain views.

Cost of Transport in Japan

Estimated transport expenses: $576, £456

Transportation costs and train tickets in general are expensive in Japan, but for a good reason. Public transport is fast, efficient, and clean and almost always on time. The bullet train, called the Shinkansen, is especially fantastic, taking you from Tokyo to Kyoto in just over 2 hours.

Expect to pay around $576, £456 for the major train trips and another $200, £160 for transportation in the cities like subway, bus tickets. That works out to $388, £300 per person for 2 weeks. In Tokyo, you will definitely need to rely on the subway system to be able to visit the whole city and see the main attractions.

There are ways to save on transportation and be crafty about your money and time.

  • Get a Japan Rail Pass. The Japan Rail Pass, or JR pass for short, is still the most cost-effective way to travel around Japan. The pass offers unlimited access to all JR public transport, including the Shinkansen, express and some local trains, buses, ferries, and even airport transfers. When visiting Japan for the first time, you will want to see at least a couple of cities and take some day trips to special locations like Nikko, Nara, Yoshino and Mount Fuji.
  • Use local trains and local buses with your JR Pass. To keep transportation costs down, use the Yamanote Line when visiting Tokyo, as it’s covered by your JR pass.
  • Children under the age of 5 can use all the JR transport system for free. However, they need to stay on an adult’s lap and are not allowed to occupy a seat.

Good to know: The JR Pass prices have increased in 2023. Based on your itinerary and the number of train rides you take, it can be cheaper to purchase tickets directly. If you do, we recommend booking all tickets and seats as soon as you arrive as trains fill up fast and on the day there are offten no free seats left.

Travel on the shinkansen to see more of Japan

Cost of Food in Japan

Estimated food costs: $1,350, £1,070

Food prices in Japan can vary between ¥1,000 and ¥2,000 ($7 – $14, £5 – £10) for an average meal. A kaiseki meal at a fancy restaurant can vary between ¥5,500 to ¥22,000 or more. While affordable food tastes fantastic in Japan, we do recommend splurging on the occasional special dinner.

Food costs can vary from person to person. There are people who prefer to eat cheap from local supermarkets and vending machine restaurants. An evening ready-made meal from a 7/11 or Lawson supermarket can be as little as ¥600 which is a bargain. Other tourists love to spend money on food and visit Michelin star restaurants and book special food related activities.

We recommend doing both to really appreciate the culinary variations of Japan. How much does it cost to eat in Japan? We’d estimated the cost of food to be around ¥6,000 – ¥12,000 ($42 – $80, £33 – £66) per person, per day.

Tips on how to safe when eating out in Japan:

  • Create a daily food budget to ensure you know how much you have allocated for food. This is a great way to ensure you won’t spend more than you can afford.
  • Buy some meals from convenience stores. Many supermarkets and department stores discount their products in the evening, so you can grab a whole box of sushi for as little as ¥700. During the day, you’ll find many convenience stores selling affordable pre-made lunches. Many supermarkets have a microwave at the entrance which you can use for your food.
  • Buy ramen at vending machine restaurants. Vending machine restaurants are pretty cheap too. A ramen costs around ¥900 – ¥1,200 and it’s super delicious.
  • Don’t buy drinks at a restaurant. Almost all restaurants provide customers with tap water or hot green tea for free. This can save you a few hundred dollars.
  • Enjoy cheap Michelin star restaurants. If you would like to experience Michelin star restaurants in Japan, look out for the cheap ones. At Nakiryu or Konjiki Hototogisu, the ramen starts from ¥900. However, you do need to queue for about an hour for these tasty Michelin dishes.
  • Splurge on Kaiseki in Kyoto. Not so much of a money saving tip, but we recommend trying an authentic Kaiseki in Kyoto. It may be expensive with prices starting from ¥22,000 per person, but it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
cost of food in Japan: 4 different types of meal and costs

Food in Japan is affordable and delicious: 1) Ramen from Ichiran Ramen in Shibuya; 2) G holding octopus balls from Ueno in Tokyo; 3) A delicious and complete tonkatsu meal from Nikko; 4) A complete kaiseki meal in a ryokan in the mountains

Cost of Attractions in Japan

Estimated costs of all attractions : $950, £750

There are so many wonderful activities and attractions in Japan, you can never get bored in this country. The average price of an entry ticket is about ¥1,000 per person.

While there are many free attractions all around the country, special activities do come with a higher price tag. A group tour with geisha performance starts from ¥8,700 ($60, £45), the entry fee to the team Lab museum is ¥3200 ($22, £18), and an authentic cooking class is ¥7200 ($50, £40).

There are many ways to enjoy the Japanese culture and still save some cash. Here are the best tips to save money:

  • See the free attractions. There are so many free temples and shrines, viewing platforms and points of interests. Take advantage of them to keep your costs down.
  • Go on cultural activities. Entrance fees to temples and most museums range between ¥500 ($3.5, £2.7) to ¥1,000 ($7, £5.5). Most of these take cash only.
  • Prebook your activities well in advance to get a good deal. Use Klook and Viator to find exclusive deals and book in advance to save.
  • Go on a group activity for cheaper. If you want to experience the local culture and night-life in Japan, join larger tour groups to keep the costs down. You will meet a local guide who can speak Japanese and other like-minded travellers.
Cost of attractions in Japan: an example of 4 popular but free of charge attractions in Japan

An example of popular attractions in Japan and their cost: 1) Cory in Arashiyama bamboo forest, free to visit; 2) G walking the Fushimi Inari path, free to visit; 3) Visiting the Senso-ji temple in Asakusa, free to visit; 4) Seeing Shibuya Crossing from the JR train station, free of charge

Cost of Souvenirs in Japan

Estimated souvenirs & other costs: $790, £625

You know that we always say it’s best to arrive in Japan with an empty suitcase, to fill it up with all the cool souvenirs from Japan. There are so many weird and wonderful things in Japan, you won’t know what to buy first. And that’s where things can get a bit expensive.

Ultimately, what you buy on your trip is entirely up to you, so it’s difficult to estimate your costs. Here are some tips to keep the costs down when you are looking for souvenirs in Japan:

  • Visit stores like Loft and Don Quijote for souvenirs. These are multi story shops with so many cool things and kawaii items. Because they don’t target tourists, you can find great souvenirs at fantastic prices.
  • Go to Asakusa Kitchen town for kitchen items. Want a ramen bowl and a pair of sweet chopsticks? Head to the dedicated restaurant street, which sells an array of authentic Japanese utensils. It’s where many restaurants buy their kitchen items.
  • Go shopping in a department store. Ginza is a prime example of having incredible department stores with incredible merchandise. Japan is known to have the best customer service in the world, so you will have a fun time shopping.
  • Get an ema from Shinto Shrines. Buy an ema from Shinto Shrines as unique souvenirs. They usually have images of the surrounding areas or the kami (God) related to the shrine.
  • Take advantage of tax-free shopping. Tax-free shopping is available to foreign tourists only at licensed stores when making purchases of over 5000 yen. You will need your passport when shopping tax-free.
The lucky cat is one of the best souvenirs from Japan

So in conclusion, is Japan expensive? Yes, Japan is an expensive country, but can be enjoyed on a moderate budget too. Book your flights well in advance, keep transportation prices down by enjoying unlimited train travel with the JR Pass, and book accommodation outside of peak travel times.

Based on our experience and spending habits for Japan, a two-week trip to Japan costs $3,928, £2,993 per person and $7,856, £5,986 for two adults. Of course, these prices are averages, and you can go a bit lower and way higher. We do recommend that you book your trip to Japan as soon as possible, especially now that it’s such a popular tourist destination.

2 weeks in Japan costs for 2 people - 2024 prices

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Japan Expensive?

Yes, Japan is an expensive country. According to statistics on Numbeo, as of 2023, prices in Japan are 0.2% higher than the UK and 15% lower than in the United States. Japan scores 2.98 on the Big Mac Index.
What does this really mean for tourists?
With increasing tourism and the effects of COVID-19 caused hotel prices to increase sharply in Tokyo. However, even with this increase, an average 4-star hotel in central Tokyo is still 30% cheaper than in Paris or New York, and about 15% cheaper than in London.
Restaurant prices follow similar trends. For 2 people, a mid-range restaurant meal will cost about 30% less in Tokyo than in Paris, 55% cheaper than in New York and about 45% cheaper than in London.
What about a pint of (local) beer? A pint of beer is about $8.00 in New York, $7.49 in Paris, $7.30 in London but only $4.10 in Tokyo.
To answer the question, “Is Japan expensive?”: Yes, it is expensive, but cheaper than many other popular cities.
* All prices updated January/2024
Please note, that while Japan has become a very popular destination, the weak yen causes the prices to be lower in US Dollar. Initial costs like flights and hotels have increased significantly in the last years.

How much does 2 weeks in Japan cost?

The estimated total cost for 2 weeks in Japan is about $7,856 or £5,986 for 2 people based on 2024 prices.

How much cash should I bring to Japan for 2 weeks?

A good rule of thumb is to have about 10,000 to 20,000 yen with you in cash at all times. For 2 weeks, ¥100,000 ($700, £550) was enough cash for us. Most shops and restaurants now accept cards in Japan. You will rarely need cash in larger cities, but rural areas still mostly cash only.
Take cash with you for entry tickets at shrines and temples. PASMO and Suica top-up machines only accept cash, but you can use your mobile phone to top up your virtual card.
Most vending machines now take EC cards (PASMO, Suica, etc) or contact less cards, but these are mainly in Tokyo. Other cities and smaller towns still rely on cash.

Are flights to Japan expensive?

An average round trip, for 2 people, to Japan starts from $2000 at most mayor USA airports. If you are flying from London (UK), expect prices to start from £1350.
Prices are much higher during Sakura Season in the Sprint and Koyo Season in the Autumn.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.

Comments

4 responses to “Is Japan Expensive? Our 2 weeks to Japan cost in 2024”

  1. Eilene Avatar
    Eilene

    Hi, I enjoyed reading your blog. It is very helpful. I will be travelling to Japan this October. I’ve been trying to get a very low budget hotel but the cheapest I can find cost around $500 and more for a decent 3 star hotel in Tokyo. Do you have any tips on how to get a cheaper hotels? Thank you

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Hi Eilene,

      Thank you for your message. October is a busy time in Tokyo and unless you book a 3-star hotel outside of the key areas, the prices tend to be quite high.
      I think an option could be to go for a 2-star business hotel. They are nice and clean. The only downside is the size of the room, but we managed just fine.

      We have a dedicated article on accommodation in Tokyo called where to stay in Tokyo.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,

      Cory

  2. Aulya Avatar
    Aulya

    Your article is very interesting and very useful for me. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge here.

  3. Lourdes Medina Avatar
    Lourdes Medina

    This was a very interesting read… I’m actually planning to go to Japan with my brother as he will turn 21 soon and we are bring 3 people on the trip but I’m bringing a friend on the trip… I’d prefer to have everything planned out for the first week like touring with someone so they would show the ropes and for the last week it would be just browsing… It would be good to know what to pack for a plus size woman.

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