Is Japan Expensive? A Guide to Budget Travel in Japan

Japan has a reputation for being an expensive country, but with careful planning and budgeting, a trip to Japan can be more affordable than you might think. Whether you’re looking to indulge in luxury experiences or explore Japan on a budget, there are options to suit every traveler’s needs. In this article, we will break down the costs and expenses for a two-week trip to Japan, including flights, accommodation, transportation, meals, attractions, and souvenirs.

2 Weeks in Japan Travel Costs

The estimated total cost for a two-week trip to Japan is ¥790,000 ($5450) for two people. This works out to ¥28,300 ($195) per person per day, including all the essential expenses. Keep in mind that this is for a medium-budget vacation with some luxurious dinners, top attractions, and occasional splurges on souvenirs.

Is Japan expensive? 2 weeks Trip to Japan cost breakdown for 2 people

Below is an itemized list of the estimated Japan travel costs:

  • Flights: $1350
  • Hotel: $830
  • Transportation: $550
  • Meals & Drinks: $1350
  • Attractions, Tickets: $690
  • Souvenirs: $690
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Total Cost of Japan Trip: $5450

Price of Flights to Japan

The cost of flights to Japan will vary depending on your departure location. On average, the price range for round-trip flights is ¥163,000 – ¥195,000 ($1125 – $1350) for two people. To ensure you get the best ticket prices, it is recommended to book your tickets as early as possible, preferably at least 3 months in advance. Flying from major cities and avoiding peak travel times can also help reduce the cost of flights.

Price of Accommodation in Japan

The cost of accommodation in Japan can vary significantly depending on the type of hotel and the location. For a mid-range hotel in central Tokyo, you can expect to pay around ¥53,500 ($370) for a week. In Kyoto, a mid-range hotel in a desirable area costs approximately ¥65,100 ($450) for the same duration. If you’re looking for a unique experience, staying in a ryokan with a private onsen can cost between ¥73,000 – ¥105,500 ($500 – $730) per night.

To save money on accommodation, it is recommended to book in advance, choose the right area for your stay, and avoid booking during peak travel times. Consider staying in capsule hotels as an affordable alternative to hostels, especially if you prefer a neater and more private accommodation option.

Various accommodation options in Japan

Price of Transportation in Japan

Transportation costs in Japan can be expensive, but they are justified by the efficiency and quality of public transportation. The Shinkansen bullet train, for example, can take you from Tokyo to Kyoto in just over 2 hours. Expect to pay around ¥60,000 ($415) for major train journeys and an additional ¥20,000 ($140) for transportation within cities, averaging to ¥40,000 ($275) per person for two weeks.

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To save on transportation costs, consider getting a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) for unlimited access to JR public transport, including the Shinkansen. The 7-day JR Pass costs around ¥30,000 and can be a cost-effective option if you plan to visit multiple cities and take day trips. Additionally, using local trains and buses in conjunction with the JR Pass can help keep transportation expenses down.

Price of Meals in Japan

Meals in Japan can range in price, from ¥600 to ¥1500 ($4 – $10) for an average meal. While there are many affordable options, it’s worth splurging on the occasional special dinner or unique dining experience. On average, plan to spend around ¥6,200 – ¥11,500 ($42 – $80) per person per day on food.

To manage your food budget, create a daily meal budget to ensure you don’t overspend. Take advantage of convenience stores and vending machine restaurants for affordable meals, and don’t forget that tap water and hot green tea are often provided free of charge at restaurants. If you’re looking to experience Michelin-star restaurants, opt for the budget-friendly alternatives that offer equally delicious meals.

Cost of food in Japan: 4 different types of meal and costs

Price of Attractions in Japan

Japan offers a wealth of attractions and activities, with something for every interest. While some attractions are free, others may come with an entry fee. On average, the cost of attractions in Japan is around ¥1000 per visit.

To keep costs down, take advantage of the numerous free temples, shrines, and viewpoints. Consider participating in cultural activities and group tours for a more affordable way to experience Japanese culture and nightlife. Prebooking activities in advance can also help secure good deals and exclusive offers.

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Price of Souvenirs in Japan

When it comes to souvenirs, Japan has an abundance of unique and extraordinary items to choose from. Prices can vary greatly depending on the type of souvenir and where you purchase it. Visit stores like Loft and Don Quijote for great souvenirs at fantastic prices. Asakusa Kitchen Town is another excellent destination for kitchen items and authentic Japanese utensils.

Remember to take advantage of tax-free shopping, which is available for foreign tourists at authorized stores for purchases over ¥5000. Explore department stores like Ginza for a wide range of high-quality products and enjoy the exceptional customer service that Japan is known for.

The lucky cat is one of the best souvenirs from Japan

In conclusion, while Japan can be an expensive country, it is possible to enjoy a trip to Japan on a moderate budget. By booking flights in advance, utilizing the JR Pass for unlimited train travel, and choosing accommodation outside of peak travel times, you can make your trip more affordable. Plan your meals wisely, take advantage of free attractions, and shop for souvenirs in budget-friendly stores. With careful planning, you can have a memorable and budget-friendly experience in Japan.


Q: Is it worth getting a Japan Rail Pass?

A: Yes, the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is highly recommended for travelers who plan to visit multiple cities and take day trips. It provides unlimited access to JR public transportation, including the Shinkansen bullet train, and can offer significant savings on transportation costs.

Q: Are there any free attractions in Japan?

A: Yes, there are many free attractions in Japan, including temples, shrines, parks, and viewpoints. Take advantage of these to explore the country without breaking your budget.

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Q: How can I save money on meals in Japan?

A: To save money on meals, consider buying food from convenience stores and vending machine restaurants, where you can find affordable options. Take advantage of tap water and complimentary hot green tea offered at many restaurants. Additionally, try indulging in a mix of budget-friendly local food and occasional splurges on unique dining experiences.


Japan offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity, making it an attractive destination for travelers from around the world. While it’s true that Japan can be an expensive country, with careful planning and budgeting, you can enjoy a memorable trip without breaking the bank. Consider the tips and estimates provided in this article and start planning your budget-friendly adventure to Japan.

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