Daily costs in Japan

One of the big questions when planning a holiday is how much to allow for daily spending. Japan has had the reputation of being expensive, but it is possible to travel comfortably at the budget and mid-range levels.

With two trips to Japan this year, covering from Kobe to Furano, I’ve noticed a few costs starting to rise, so I’ve updated this article which originally appeared in October 2018. Breakfast sets tend to be 600 yen rather than 500 yen, luggage lockers cost an extra 100 yen in some places, and laundry costs are rising. Particularly in busier tourist spots and at weekends, it’s getting harder to find a discounted rate on accommodation. One positive development is that new hotels are being built to cater for the tourism boom, and they generally offer good introductory rates when they open.

Approximate daily costs for one person are given for three travel styles; budget, mid-range and high. These costs cover accommodation, food, regular sightseeing such as museum and temple admissions, transport around cities and towns, and incidentals such as laundry and luggage services.

Budget – from 6,300 yen to 11,600 yen

  • Hostel or cheap hotel room (2,500-6,500 yen)
  • Meals in cheap restaurants, possibly some self-catering
  • 1-2 admission fees per day, free sights and activities
  • Public transport

Mid-range – from 11,600 yen to 24,000 yen

  • Business hotel or guesthouse/inn in rural areas (5,000 to 15,000 yen)
  • Meals mostly in cheaper restaurants, with an occasional more expensive meal.
  • 2-3 admission fees per day
  • Occasional use of luggage delivery
  • Public transport

High – 25,000 yen to 60,000 yen or more

  • Better hotels and ryokan (inn) in rural areas (15,000 yen upwards)
  • Meals in more expensive restaurants
  • 2-3 admission fees per day
  • Regular use of luggage delivery
  • Taxis as well as public transport

Daily spending can be impacted by:

  • travelling with another person will slightly reduce accommodation costs, although most Japanese hotels have a single room option that is almost half the double price
  • staying in Tokyo and Kyoto is more expensive than elsewhere in Japan, so allow for the upper end of the range
  • travelling during cherry blossom season, autumn foliage season, or Japanese holiday times will increase costs, so allow for the upper end of the range
  • weekend accommodation costs are higher in popular spots such as Kyoto and Hakone

Remember to factor these into your budget where necessary.

Intercity travel, major sightseeing such as guided day tours and theme parks, or activities such as sushi making classes are not included in the daily costs above. These can be quite significant costs and it’s worth doing some comparison shopping if you’re buying from an agent, as in the case of JR Passes and theme park tickets.

Do you have any questions about travelling around Japan? Please feel free to contact me.

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For further information, the ebook Japan Just for You is a practical step-by-step guide to planning your trip to Japan, starting with developing your own personal trip concept. It’s now available on Apple, Amazon and Kobo, and other stores.