How Much Does It Cost To Travel Japan: A Budget Breakdown

How Much Does It Cost To Travel Japan?

When I told people I would be going to Japan, the first thing they said was: isn’t that extremely expensive? I replied that my return ticket from the Netherlands to Tokyo was only €550 and the rest of the costs of a trip to Japan I would find out there…

I spent a month in Japan and can say from personal experience: Yes, Japan is expensive. BUT… definitely not as expensive as you might think! No, prices are not comparable to Southeast Asia. However, I found our average daily expenses to be very similar to our daily costs in New Zealand.

So how much does it cost to travel Japan?

We found that our Japan daily budget was ¥13.418 (€107/$122) for us a couple! Check the infographic below for a detailed information about the costs of a trip to Japan and read along for advice how to travel Japan on a budget.

When I told people I would be going to Japan, the first thing they said was: isn’t that extremely expensive? I can say from personal experience: yes, Japan is expensive. BUT… definitely not as expensive as you might think! I traveled around Japan with my husband for 1 month, spending ¥13.418 (€107/$122) on an average day as a couple. Read all about the costs for accommodation, transport, food & activities on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog.

Japan travel budget: important facts and figures

• I traveled Japan with my husband, all expenses mentioned are for the two of us together.

• I quote prices in the Japanese Yen (¥) as well as and $. When we were in Japan, €1 was around 125JPY and $1 was around 110JPY, but as the exchange rate varies this may be different now.

• I spent almost a full month in Japan, 29 days to be exact. In total we spent ¥389.122 (€3103/$3538), which comes down to an average of ¥13.418 (€107/$122) a day for us as a couple. This includes all our Japan travel costs (see note below car section).

• It does not include our airplane tickets from the Netherlands to Japan and back home.

• My trip started and ended in Tokyo, you can find the itinerary here. We spent 10 days on Hokkaido (the northernmost island of Japan) and 19 days on Honshu (the biggest island of Japan).

Lake Akan Hokkaido Japan

Cost to travel Japan:  our average daily expenses

1. Accommodation: 23% of daily costs
2. Transportation: 39% of daily costs
3. Food & miscellaneous: 34% of daily costs
4. Paid activities: 4% of daily costs

1. Accommodation costs in Japan

In total we spent ¥92.178 (€740/$832) on accommodation, averaging ¥3179 (€25/$29) per day. The accommodation costs are split into three categories:

• Campsites
• Sleeping in our car
Hotels/Airbnb

Campsites

Camping in Japan Hokkaido

On Hokkaido we made a 10 day road trip (read all about renting a car and driving in Japan here). I love road trips and have an entire category dedicated to road trips on the blog. Nothing beats the freedom of having my own wheels and go wherever I want to go, wherever the road takes me…

But I digress. During our road trip on Hokkaido we stayed at 2 campsites. We also went camping on Miyajima island (near Hiroshima) and in Kamikochi (in ). You can find more information about the accommodation we stayed at in our Japan itinerary.

Sleeping in our car

Everything You Need To Know About Driving On Hokkaido

I went to Japan in April/May and during that time it can still be very cold on Hokkaido. There were several nights when the temperature dipped below 0 degrees Celsius. Also, we had a little rain every once in a while.

This led to us sleeping in our car for 4 nights. Which is totally accepted in Japan! One night it was actually very crowded in the parking lot where we stayed the night, the crowd varied from a business man who slept in his sports car to camper vans complete with their own generator and TV-reception antennae.

Hotels

japan travel budget

We stayed at hotels via Agoda and Booking, at Airbnb appartments and a cute wooden cabin in the woods during our trip, 17 nights in total. Prices varied between ¥2700 (€22/$25) and ¥7750 (€62/$70), more than hotels in Southeast Asia but cheaper than New Zealand and similar to accommodation on Sardinia in Europe.

2. Transportation costs in Japan

In total we spent ¥150.332 (€1202/$1367) on transportation, averaging ¥5185 (€42/$47) per day. Transportation costs are split into 4 categories:

• Flights
• Car
• Rail pass
• Other transport

Flights

There are several budget airlines in Japan (Jetstar, Peach and Vanilla), we flew with Jetstar from Tokyo to New Chitose Airport on Hokkaido and from Hokkaido to Kansai airport, near Osaka, for 21.625JPY (€173/$197).

Car

You can read all about renting a car and driving on Hokkaido in this post. As I state in my Hokkaido post, my car was provided by ToCoo. They were so kind to provide me with a free rental car for my 10 day trip around Hokkaido. However, I would never recommend a product or service on my blog I don’t have a positive and personal experience with.

Driving on Hokkaido Japan

My experience with ToCoo is excellent and I would have rented my car there even if they hadn’t offered me a free car. I did a lot of research about car rental options and found ToCoo offered the best rates and value for money. Plus, ToCoo is one of the car rental companies recommended by Japan Guide, one of the most comprehensive and respected websites about traveling in Japan, which assured me ToCoo is a trustworthy company.

Michi-no-Eki Hokkaido Japan

Even though the rental fee for my car was provided by ToCoo, there were other costs to pay. You can check out the ‘driving in Japan’ post for the detailed breakdown, for the overall budget suffice to say that the total costs of renting a car for 10 days were ¥42.527, which comes down to ¥4253 (€34/$39) per day. Add to this the daily rental fee of the car you would like to rent and you have your total.

If this seems expensive, keep in mind that a car gives you the option to go camping with a tent and to sleep in your car. This will save you a lot of money on accommodation!

Rail Pass

Shinkansen Japan Shin Osaka station

Upon arriving in Osaka we bought a JR Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, valid for 5 consecutive days and costing ¥14.000 (€112/$127) per person. I found it great value because it covered all the places we wanted to see in that region. I liked that I didn’t have to buy the pass before arriving in Japan, as is the case with the regular Japan Rail Pass. It left our itinerary open and allowed us to follow the sun:-). Plus, who wouldn’t want to travel in this spacy looking train!

Other transport

Keisei shuttle bus airport Japan Tokyo city center

We used a lot of other transport, such as the bus around the Japanese Alps and the metro in Tokyo. Total costs for all other transportation was ¥58.180JPY (€465/$529).

3. Cost of food in Japan

Delicious Food To Eat In Japan - My 10 Favorite Dishes

Oh the food in Japan… I loved everything I ate. And I ate a lot… You can read all about it in this post. So much choice and so much delicious dishes! Anyway, back to business;-). In total we spent ¥130.751 (€1044/$1189) on food and some miscellaneous costs, averaging ¥4510 (€36/$41) per day.

It’s possible to spend less on food, but I wanted to try out as many dishes as possible. Also, because we were traveling for ‘only’ 1 month instead of 5 months like last year, I didn’t feel the need to find the cheapest option for each meal. That being said, we rarely spent more than ¥1000 on a dish.

Delicious Food To Eat In Japan - My 10 Favorite Dishes

Miscellaneous is comprised of small expenses like laundry, coin lockers for our luggage and towel rental, etc.

4. Cost of activities in Japan

Mount Misen hiking Miyajima island Matsumoto Castle Japan
Kanazawa Kenrokuen Garden Japan Torii gates Kyoto Fushimi Inari Shrine

Last but not least, we spent ¥15.834 (€116/$145) on paid activities, on average ¥546 JPY (€4/$5) per day. We did a lot of sightseeing in the cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Nara) and a lot of hiking in the mountains (Koyasan, Hokkaido and Kamikochi).

Lowa Lady Light GTX hiking shoes

So that’s all our Japan expenses!

I hope my budget breakdown gives some insight into the travel budget needed for Japan. It might not be the cheapest country, but Japan has so much to offer

In one month I went from hiking in the snow on Hokkaido to climbing to the top of Mount Misen in 30 degrees Celsius at Miyajima island. I scaled a volcano, camped on the shore of the most gorgeous lake, walked under the vermilion Shinto gates in Kyoto and gawked at the neon galore in Tokyo’s Akihabara. I loved my month in Japan, it was worth every single ¥!

Looking for more travel planning resources? Check out the Phenomenal Globe Travel Planning Library and my Travel Resource page!

When I told people I would be going to Japan, the first thing they said was: isn’t that extremely expensive? I can say from personal experience: yes, Japan is expensive. BUT… definitely not as expensive as you might think! I traveled around Japan with my husband for 1 month, spending ¥13.418 (€107/$122) on an average day as a couple. Read all about the costs for accommodation, transport, food & activities on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog. When I told people I would be going to Japan, the first thing they said was: isn’t that extremely expensive? I can say from personal experience: yes, Japan is expensive. BUT… definitely not as expensive as you might think! I traveled around Japan with my husband for 1 month, spending ¥13.418 (€107/$122) on an average day as a couple. Read all about the costs for accommodation, transport, food & activities on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog.
Like it? Share it!

24 Comments

  1. Kristine
    August 5, 2016 / 5:57 pm

    I’ve visited Japan a few times but still interested to find out more from your post. Interesting infographic breakdown! After reading your post, I hope to visit Hokkaido and even on a self-drive! Thanks for sharing!

    • Lotte
      Author
      August 6, 2016 / 5:52 pm

      Thanks Kristine! Happy to hear from a fellow Japan aficionado and glad you liked the post. Hokkaido is an amazing place, perfect for a road trip…

  2. August 13, 2016 / 7:01 pm

    Most detailed helpful advice – we’d love to travel Japan but were wondering what it would cost. Thanks so much for this useful information.

    • Lotte
      Author
      August 14, 2016 / 1:29 pm

      Happy to help Marcelle!

  3. September 28, 2016 / 3:25 am

    Hi Lotte,
    Solid accom costs and hey, neat you can sleep in your car. That will lower rent prices 😉 Good deal all around. We intend to visit Japan and know we needs budget a bit more than our trips through SE Asia. Different ball game dollar wise but it’s worth it. Great prices on food too. You guys did well. My wife noted how Japan was a bit more expensive than any place she’s lived in but fell in love with the land, people and quirky nature of this colorful place.
    Thanks for sharing Lotte 🙂
    Ryan

    • Lotte
      Author
      October 2, 2016 / 12:04 pm

      How nice your wife lived in Japan! Enjoy your trip, it’s worth the money for sure:-)

  4. Juliette @ Snorkels to Snow
    September 30, 2016 / 8:41 am

    This is SUPER helpful as we are heading to Japan end of Jan/start of Feb. We’ll be skiing/snowboarding so that will make it more expensive, but we also have about a week in Tokyo. Any Tokyo accommodation you would specifically recommend for a budget? Where did you stay through AirBnb?

    • Lotte
      Author
      October 2, 2016 / 12:01 pm

      Wow that’s awesome Juliette! Where in Japan will you go skiing? In Tokyo, we stayed at a room near Ikebukuro, you can find it here => https://www.airbnb.nl/rooms/8933904. It was great and not expensive (€38 per night).

  5. February 15, 2017 / 6:15 am

    Great infographic you have! Japan is certainly not an inexpensive country to travel to, but it was definitely worth it when I went there and I would mind going back. It’s great how you showed the numbers in percentage, it shows a lot, especially where to really work the budget at. Happy travels!

    • Lotte
      Author
      February 15, 2017 / 12:14 pm

      Thanks Agnes! Happy to hear you like the infographic?. Japan isn’t the cheapest country in Asia to travel, but definitely doable if you make smart budget choices. Happy travels to you too!

  6. April 23, 2017 / 10:34 am

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 23, 2017 / 2:38 pm

      Thank you! That’s always nice to hear:-)

  7. Fong
    December 19, 2017 / 1:55 am

    Impressive! Can really make it for a month in Japan, at less than $4K. I must check on my budgeting again. My 14days plan already approaching $4K and yet didn’t cover so many areas as yours. 😀

    • Lotte
      Author
      December 19, 2017 / 6:56 am

      Haha well it helps to camp;-). And we only had a location specific rail-pass which was a lot cheaper than the nationwide one. Nevertheless, enjoy your trip!!!

  8. March 3, 2018 / 5:58 am

    Thanks for the info. Be heading to Tokyo today and looking forward to it. Gonna read some other posts of you as well!

    Evelyn

    • Lotte
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 8:44 am

      Hi Evelyn, you are most welcome, have a great time in Tokyo!

  9. Berna
    March 9, 2018 / 3:48 pm

    Hello! Is ¥60,000 sufficient for 5 days daily budget for 1 person excluding the airfare and accommodation?
    Thanks!

    • Lotte
      Author
      March 10, 2018 / 10:01 am

      Hey Berna, well it always depends on your travel style. Do you plan to buy a rail-pass? Will you join a tours? How much do you plan to spend on food (Wagyu beef everyday may be delicious but will leave a serious dent in your budget;-). In general I would say ¥60,000 should definitely be enough, but it depends on your plans. Enjoy your trip! Lotte

  10. Gosia
    August 5, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    Hi Lotte,
    Just read through all your posts on Hokkaido, as hubby and I are heading over there for 2 weeks in October. You are a treasure trove of useful info, so already a BIG thanx!
    We want to start with Daisetsuzan Nat.Park and I was wondering about three things:
    1. Is it too far to drive on the first day after we pick up the rental car from the New Chitose airport?
    2. How many nights of accomodation to book to have a nice hiking time around the park?
    3. Which base to choose: Sounkyo, Tokachi-dake or Adahidake Onsen?
    Any advice?
    Best wishes from sunny Poland!
    Gosia

    • Lotte
      Author
      August 9, 2018 / 11:43 am

      Hello Gosia,

      Thank you for reading my blog and very exciting you’ll be visiting Hokkaido in October! I’m not sure about the weather in that month but I think it can already be rather cold and perhaps there will be snow on the mountains, so be prepared and bring warm clothes! About your questions:

      1. That depends on the time you land. If you arrive in the morning it could be done, but you would have to drive on the toll highways and may end up driving until darkness (I’m not sure what time it gets dark in October, be sure to check that before your trip;-)
      2. We only did 1 short hike because there was still a lot of snow on the mountain and all the hiking trails were still closed. It’s very possible there is snow on the trails in October so I find it a little bit difficult to answer this question… If you arrive late in the evening I would stay 2 nights so you have one full day plus, depending on your next destination, the next morning to go hiking. But again, trails may already be closed…
      3. Adahidake Onsen is tiny (basically only hotels), Sounkyo is a bit bigger and has several restaurants so perhaps that would be a better base. I haven’t been to Tokachi-dake so I don’t know if that would be a suitable place to base yourself, sorry!

      I hope this helps! Enjoy your trip and feel free to ask any other questions you may have:-)
      Lotte

  11. Karl Brown
    October 7, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    Hi Lotte,

    Interesting reading your blog! I’m arriving in Manila October 26, the day before my birthday. Then on 27 planning on arriving in Tokyo so looking at cost effective accommodation for myself. Could you recommend anything?

    Karl, U.K.

  12. Laura Velasquez
    October 11, 2018 / 3:05 am

    Hi Lotte,

    Thank you for all that information, is very useful. I have a question: I will be going by myself but I don’t have a driver license. Do you think is possible to move entirely by public transport?
    Thank you,

    Lau

    • Lotte
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 1:20 pm

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you for reading:-) To answer your question, yes, it’s very possible to travel entirely by public transport. The most ‘difficult’ place to navigate without a car is Hokkaido but there are trains and buses there as well so you shouldn’t have any issues. We also just traveled by public transport on Honshu and it was very easy to do so. Have a great trip!

      Lotte

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *