Japan Travel Cost: Exactly How Much is a Trip to Japan?

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In this article, we’re breaking down the cost of a trip to Japan — from food and hotels to trains and entertainment. We get super detailed so you can work out your perfect Japan travel budget.

Trip to Japan Costs Japan Budget Tips

As you start to plan a trip to Japan, you might find yourself fretting and wondering if the rumors are true…

Is Japan expensive? 

And if so, just how expensive are we talking?

I’m going to give it to you straight: Yes, Japan is an expensive country to travel. Especially when you compare the typical costs to its other neighboring countries.

After living and traveling around Asia for the better part of 4 years, we can say it is the most costly country we’ve visited in Asia.

But hold up, I do have some good news…

If you’re starting to sweat and rethink your dream of traveling to Japan, I’m going to hop right in and say that while it’s not super cheap, it is totally possible to travel to Japan on a budget.

Many things in Japan are actually pretty reasonably-priced. And as long as you have realistic expectations and are equipped with a few handy money-saving tricks, you’ll be able to travel to this fascinating country without dipping into your retirement fund.

Our personal experience

Osaka Castle Japan

We’ve traveled to Japan three times, each with a slightly different budget: 

  • The first time (2015), we had 8 days and were on a super tight budget. 
  • Our second visit (2019) was for 3 weeks, and our budget was a bit more flexible, but still not huge. 
  • And on our most recent trip (2023), we had 3 weeks and a more generous Japan travel budget. We also had our toddler with us, meaning we made choices with her in mind, which alters our budget a bit.

While our budgets were different on each trip to Japan, we were able to eat amazing food, have unforgettable experiences, and see iconic Japanese sights. We proved to ourselves that it really is possible to have an incredible trip to Japan whether you’re working with a very tight budget or you have more wiggle room

In this article, we’re sharing Japan travel costs so you have an idea of exactly how much a trip to Japan costs. Plus, we’ll share some money-saving tips that’ll help you hang onto those yen.

Good to know: We have updated this article to reflect the actual current prices in Japan so that you have the most accurate, up-to-date information!

Wondering how many days in Japan is enough? Our guide to how many days to spend in Japan will help you figure out how much time you need based on what you want to do.

Japan Travel Cost Guide

Bonus Sections:

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Want to save time and energy on planning?

We’ve spent hundreds of hours (no joke!) researching for our 3 different trips to Japan, and we’ve been able to explore a lot of what this country has to offer!

We’ve compiled our experience to create a classic Japan itinerary that hits the top destinations for first-time visitors. Our itinerary is spread out over 2 weeks and includes the highlights of Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Osaka, Kyoto and more!

We’ll send you our complete 2-week itinerary, filled with tips and advice. Just click below to get your classic Japan itinerary today!

How much is a trip to Japan?

Chureito Pagoda Arakurayama Sengen Park Fuji Japan

The answer to this question is going to vary greatly on your travel style. It will also depend a bit on the current exchange rate, as this will have a huge impact on your overall costs.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

What type of accommodation do you expect? Do you plan on staying at posh hotels, like the famous Park Hyatt in Tokyo where rooms start at upwards of $700 per night (yes, from the movie “Lost in Translation”)? What about a traditional Japanese ryokan stay? Or are you cool with a $50 dorm bed?

How important is food to your trip? Do you want to experience highly-acclaimed Japanese dining? Or are you more of a convenience store and street food type of traveler?

What about tours and entry fees? Are you planning to go to Universal Studios or Disney? Do you want to take tours and do all the bucket list experiences? Do you prefer arranging activities on your own and sticking to free things to do?

Bougie taste: If you want to stay exclusively at upscale hotels, go on lots of tours, and indulge in Michelin-rated restaurants, you can easily spend more than $1,000 USD per day. 

Budget taste: But on the flip side, if you stay in hostels, stick to free activities, and eat lots of meals from 7-Eleven, you can get by with about $100 USD each day.

Somewhere in between: I think the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle. If you plan to do a combination of budget as well as some splurges when it comes to accommodation, food, and entertainment, you should expect to budget around $200 – $250 per person per day. (Based on sharing a room with another person.)

Average daily travel costs in Japan

Philisophers Path Kyoto Japan

Let’s dive into these numbers!

Keep in mind that what you are about to see are average costs. You can certainly save money in some categories, but this should give you something to start with.

Use the samples below to help calculate your own personal Japan travel budget. 

Click on each category to see a more detailed breakdown, plus some handy money-saving tips that’ll keep your costs down! 

Transportation: $55 per person, per day 

Based on getting the 7-day JR Pass as well as some travel on city metros and buses.

Food: $35 – $55 USD per person, per day

Based on a combination of budget-friendly meals and splurges.

Accommodation: $175 – $250 per night total*

This is a mixture of some budget accommodation, as well as splurging on 1 or 2 special ryokan stays (traditional Japanese inn that typically include dinner and breakfast). Keep in mind that if you are traveling during peak season (like “Golden Week”), your accommodation prices will be on the higher end.

*Note: Accommodation is based on 2 people sharing a room. If you are a solo traveler and plan to stay in a combination of private rooms and dorms or capsules, this cost may be closer to $45 – $75 USD per night (or a bit higher if you don’t plan to do dorms).  

Entertainment: $15 – $30 per person, per day

Based on doing a couple of tours and visiting low-expense places, like temples, shrines, gardens, castles, and parks. 

Internet: $1 –  $9 per day

You’ll definitely want to have Internet access while traveling in Japan. You can choose to get a WiFi hotspot or a virtual SIM card.

Miscellaneous: $0 – $20+ per day

Ask yourself these questions in order to determine how much miscellaneous money your should budget:

  • Do I plan to get coffee or tea daily?
  • Will I snack often?
  • Will I drink alcohol (sake, beer, cocktails)?
  • Do I like buying souvenirs? If so, how much do I plan to spend on them?
  • Will I be doing any other shopping in Japan, for clothes, cosmetics, etc.?

Total Japan travel budget

Kegon Falls Japan

Here are some numbers to help set your own Japan travel budget based on your personal travel style: 

  • I am very budget-conscious: $145 USD per person, per day
  • I am mindful about my budget, but not super strict and plan to do some splurging: $290 USD per person, per day
  • Or, you might find yourself somewhere in between: $220 USD per person, per day

Flights to Japan

The budget estimates above are only for your expenses once you land in Japan

This does not include your flight getting there, as everyone comes from different places in the world, and travels at different times, so flight prices can vary drastically. 

We have some tips for finding cheap flights to Japan at the bottom of this article!

Japan Travel insurance

Don’t forget to budget for travel insurance. Depending on your policy and personal background this can vary. 

To give you an example, we’ve found 2-week policies through Safety Wing (our favorite travel insurance company that includes medical) from $24. That works out to be just $1.70 USD per day. Policies can be really affordable, so don’t skip this!

How to make your personalized Japan travel budget

Mount Fuji Japan

Follow these steps to determine how much your trip to Japan will cost based on your timeframe and personal travel style.

  1. First, determine whether you’re on the high or low end of the estimates above.
  2. Now, multiply your daily expenses by the number of days you’ll be traveling in Japan. 
  3. Next, add in 10% of that number as “padding” for incidentals or miscellaneous expenses. 
  4. Add the cost of a travel insurance policy. (Use this site to get an idea of how much a policy for your trip will cost.)
  5. Do some research on flights from your home city to Japan so you can add the flight cost as well.

Now that you have a total trip cost which includes flights, insurance, on-ground expenses, and some “padding”, write that number down. 

This is your total Japan travel cost.

Daily spending budget

Dotonbori neighborhood Osaka Japan

After determining the total cost of our trip to Japan, we then like to come up with our daily spending budget.

  1. Take the total trip cost you got in the section above and subtract the flight and insurance costs.
  2. Now you have your total on-ground budget.
  3. Each time you book a hotel or tour, subtract the cost from your total on-ground budget. Repeat this until you have all your accommodation and pre-booked tours set.
  4. If you purchase the Japan Rail Pass or book a rental car, subtract the total transportation cost from this number.
  5. Once you have booked all of your pre-trip accommodation, transportation, and tours, you will be left with the amount of money you have left to spend in Japan. This can be for food, souvenirs, entry fees, public transportation, etc. 
  6. Divide this number by the total number of days you’ll be in Japan. This will give you the amount you have to spend each day.
  7. Download a budget app where you can set your budget goal. 
  8. During your trip, record each expense and you’ll see how much money you have left to spend that day. If you overspend one day, try to spend less than your goal on the next day to even things out.

Read more about how we create foolproof travel budgets for anywhere in the world here!

Now, we’re going to dive deeper into each category so you can get a better understanding of each expense.

Transportation costs in Japan

Japan on a Budget Shinkansen Bullet Train Japan

Japan is a relatively small country, but it is packed with so many beautiful places to see that it can be downright overwhelming.

The good news is that this country is very well connected by trains, roads, subway systems, and airports. There are many different options when it comes to transportation in Japan. 

Depending on your itinerary, you’ll have to do a bit of research and calculations to determine the best option for you.


Riding the trains in Japan with the Japan Rail Pass

Japan is famous for its efficient, fast, and clean Shinkansen, or bullet trains. 

The Japan Rail Pass is a package that foreign travelers can purchase which gives them access to certain trains without having to pay for each individual ticket. 

This JR Pass guide walks you through how to figure out if it will save you money.


Here are the current prices of the Japan Rail Pass:

  • 7-day Pass: ¥50,000
    • ~$350 USD, or $50 USD per day
  • 14-day Pass: ¥80,000
    • ~$550 USD, or $40 USD per day
  • 21-day Pass: ¥100,000
    • ~$690 USD, or $33 USD per day

Renting a car

Car rental Japan

There’s also the opportunity to rent a car in Japan. If you want to get off the beaten track and visit some lesser-known areas in the countryside (highly recommend this!), renting a car can be really fun and it can actually save quite a bit of money.

We rented a car for 15 days in Japan and paid a total of $822 for two adults and a baby. 

On top of the rental price, we paid for insurance (which was covered by our credit card), toll fees (totalled about $125 USD), and gas/petrol (about $150 USD).

Our overall cost for renting a car in Japan for 15-days came to $1,097 USD, roughly $73 USD per day for our family of three. 

Domestic flight

Taking domestic flights within Japan could be an option. Prices vary based on the airline as well as the time of year and how far in advance you’re searching.

  • Tokyo to Sapporo flight (one-way): $35 – $85
  • Tokyo to Osaka flight (one-way): $32 – $97
  • Tokyo to Okinawa flight (one-way): $75 – $190

Good to know: When comparing flights to trains, be sure to account for the cost of  transportation getting to and from the airport, as this can add quite a bit. Factor in the time needed to get to the airport and through security as well, because it will often take at least as long as the train, if not longer (unless you’re looking at two destinations that are very far apart).

Metros and buses

train travel in Japan Tokyo Metro

Large cities have subway systems and buses. We highly recommend loading a Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA virtual card to your phone’s wallet before your trip.

The prices will vary depending on the city you’re in and how far you travel. Each ride ranges around ¥140 – ¥314 ($0.93 – $2). 

Our personal experience: On our most recent trip, we spent around ¥4,000 ($27) each during our entire trip for subways and buses around Japan.

Some cities also have passes where you can ride unlimited times, so you may want to look into whether or not that would make sense for you.

Tokyo Subway Pass

  • 24-hour ticket: ¥800 adult / ¥400 child
  • 48-hour ticket: ¥1,200 adult / ¥600 child
  • 72-hour ticket: ¥1,500 adult / ¥750 child


Food costs in Japan

Japan on a Budget Japanese Food

Food is a funny category because it can simultaneously bust or save your budget.

Eating out at a typical restaurant can add up incredibly quickly. And high-end restaurants can come with eye watering bills.

But at the same time, you can get an entire meal at a convenience store (much less sketchy than it sounds) for just a few bucks or Michelin-rated street food for not much more than you’d expect to pay at a fast food restaurant.

Our advice is to have a happy combination of both splurge-worthy meals and cheap eats to balance things out without sacrificing your experience.

Foods to Eat in Japan | Two Wandering Soles

Meal prices in Japan: 

This is a breakdown of how much we would personally allocate to our daily food budget:

  • Breakfast: $5 – $7
  • Lunch: $10 – $15
  • Dinner: $15 – $25
  • Snacks: $5 – $8

This works out to be $35 – $55 per person, per day for meals and snacks. This will allow you to try just about any food you desire and will leave room for splurge meals.

Our personal experience: Some days we would splurge on dinner and spend $60 each, but have a small snack for lunch. On other days both lunch and dinner were under $15. It all kind of evens out in the end, but these are some numbers to help you get started.

foods to eat in Japan | ramen

Expensive meals:

  • Any type of traditional kanseki restaurant
  • High-end sushi
  • Waygu or Kobe beef
  • Theme restaurants

Cheap meals:

  • Bento boxes
  • Konbini (convenience store) meals
  • Conveyor belt sushi
  • Ramen, udon, or soba

If you’re a big foodie and can’t wait to get your hands—errrr, tongue—on ALL the Japanese food, you may want to increase this section of the budget because $25 for dinner is still going to restrict what types of restaurants you can eat at

Japan on a Budget Japanese Food Traditional Breakfast

However, if you’re not big on eating out and are totally cool with getting most of your food from convenience stores or budget restaurants, you could lower this to $30 per day

In fact, during our first trip to Japan (back in 2015), we averaged just under $14 per person each day for all meals and snacks. But there were a lot of foods we didn’t have the chance to try because of our restrictive budget, so we wouldn’t recommend aiming for this.

Pssst! You definitely want to check out this article with all the best Japanese foods to be sure you try during your trip!

Accommodation costs in Japan

Ryokan in Japan

Booking accommodation in Japan can elicit both responses:

  • “Holy s***, that’s SO EXPENSIVE!”
  • “Ah okay, that’s actually not so bad.”

Let me put it this way: You’re not going to find jaw-dropping hotel rooms for $40 USD like you can in other Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia. But there are some reasonable places out there, especially outside of the major cities.

Expensive accommodation:

  • Tokyo hotels that are well-located
  • Ryokan stays (expensive but typically includes meals and is a totally splurge-worthy experience)
  • Specialty accommodation, like an onsen resort
  • Accommodation near major sites, like Mount Fuji or Kyoto, during peak season (like “Golden Week”)
  • Higher-end hotels in Kyoto

Cheap accommodations:

  • Capsule hotels or dorm beds
  • Accommodation in the countryside (outside of the major cities)
  • Airbnbs are sometimes pretty reasonably-priced
Japan on a Budget Capsule Hotel
Inside Hotel Cargo, a capsule hotel in Osaka

Example prices for accommodation in Tokyo

Being that Tokyo is incredibly dense and space is scarce, prices are high for what you get. Your Tokyo hotel will likely be some of the most expensive on your trip. Here are some examples of what you can expect when it comes to cost of a hotel room in Tokyo.

  • Budget: ¥8,600 for a dorm bed in a cheap hostel (around $60 USD)
  • Mid-range: ¥22,000 – 38,000 for a private room in a guesthouse or cheap hotel (around $120 – $250 USD); Note: the cost will vary a lot depending on the location and the time of year
  • High-end: ¥65,000+ for a Western style hotel or ryokan (around $440 USD and up)

Actual Japan hotel costs

Trip to Japan Costs Fuji-Hakone Guest House Ryokan style
Guesthouse we stayed in on our first trip to Japan

These are actual per night prices we have personally paid for accommodation in Japan:

As you can see, there is quite a bit of variance. We’ve paid anywhere from $60 to $324 per night while in Japan.

Entertainment costs in Japan

Teamlab Planets Tokyo Japan

Japan is full of epic nature, crazy things to do that you can’t find anywhere else in the world, and meaningful cultural experiences.

It would be a shame to let your budget limit your experiences in Japan; however, we know all too well that it’s easy to get carried away and spend a fortune without realizing it. 

Our best advice for keeping your entertainment costs down is to plan ahead for what big activities you definitely want to do.

Cheap things to do in Japan

  • Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park: Visit the park where snow monkeys soak in their very own natural hot spring. Park entrance: ¥800 (~$5)
  • Osaka Castle: Enter the 8-story castle surrounded by two moats built in the 15th century. Entrance cost: ¥600 (~$5)
  • Hiroshima Peace Museum: Learn about the devastation and rebuilding of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb in WWII. Entrance cost: ¥200 (~$1.70)

Mid-range activities

  • teamLab Planets: Immerse yourself in one of the coolest digital art museums in the world. Entrance: ¥4,000 (~$26)
  • Shibuya Sky Observatory: Get one of the best views over Tokyo at this beautifully-designed observation deck. Entrance: ¥2,250 (~$15)

Splurge experiences in Japan

Sumida River dinner cruise Tokyo Japan
Sumida River dinner cruise in Tokyo, Japan
  • Arigato Food Tour: walk around a historic neighborhood with a local guide sampling food and drinks from local shops. Tour costs:  ¥25,000 (~$170)
  • Universal Studios: Osaka’s famous theme park features Super Nintendo, Mario Kart, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Entrance cost: ¥8,750 – ¥10,500 ($58 – $70) Prices vary based on the day/demand. 
    • Add on Express Pass: We’ve personally never been (yet!), but we’ve heard that the Express Pass is the ONLY way to go to Universal Studios because otherwise you’ll spend a good portion of the day waiting in line. Express Pass cost: ¥19,000 – ¥26,000 ($125 – $170) + the cost of your Universal Studios ticket (Prices for the Express Pass vary based on the day/demand.) 
  • Mount Fuji day trip: See the most iconic views of Mount Fuji on a guided tour that’ll get you back to Tokyo by dinnertime. Tour cost: ¥12,000 ($82)
  • Magical Trip Bar Hopping Tour: Take an evening out with a local guide and see Japan’s nightlife. Tour cost: ¥16,000 ($105)
  • Tokyo Dinner Cruise: Enjoy a traditional Japanese meal while cruising down the Sumida river in a boat past the city’s most iconic sights. Tour cost: ¥15,000 ($100)

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Internet costs in Japan

Japan Pocket WiFi vs. Japanese SIM Card

You can choose to either rent a WiFi hotspot (which everyone in your travel party can connect to) or you can each get virtual SIM cards.

WiFi Hotspot

Depending on how many days you rent it for, a WiFi hotspot will typically cost between $6 – $9 per day. Again, everyone in your travel party can use it so this is not a per person price.


The company we get eSIMs through (Airalo) offers the following plans:

  • 5G for 30 days: $11.50
  • 10G for 30 days: $18

This will be a per person cost since you’ll each want an eSIM on your phone.

Not sure which is best? We have an article that compares WiFi hotspots and eSIMs. We’ve used both but think there’s a definite winner for most travelers!

Miscellaneous costs in Japan

foods to eat in Japan | matcha ice cream

This category will vary greatly from person to person based on your travel style and priorities.

If you drink alcohol, coffee, matcha, plan to get souvenirs, or snacks, here are some average prices to know:

  • Sake at a restaurant: ¥500 – ¥700 ($3.30 – $4.60)
  • Bottle of nice(ish) sake: ¥1,800 ($12)
  • Cocktail at a speakeasy: ¥2,000 ($13)
  • Coffee: ¥500 ($3.30)
  • Matcha: ¥500 ($3.30)
  • Souvenir t-shirt: ¥2,500 ($17)
  • Souvenir Japanese chef knife: ¥18,000+ ($120)
  • Ice cream cone: ¥300 ($2)
  • One piece of fresh mochi: ¥200 ($1.30)
  • Packaged pastry at konbini: ¥200 ($1.30)

General tips for budgeting for Japan

Japan on a Budget Fushimi Inari Shrine

Below are some general tips for budgeting in Japan. We also have a complete article about traveling Japan on a budget that includes tons of money-saving tips for every aspect of your trip!

1. Set a budget and keep track of your spending

The very first thing we do before any trip is to create a personalized travel budget. We research average costs in that country, take our travel style into consideration, and come up with a daily budget we’d like to stay beneath. We’ll multiple that out by how many days we’ll be traveling, and we like to add a little extra for a “cushion”.

Now that we have a dollar amount in mind, we plug that into a budget-tracking app (we like Trail Wallet, but there are many great ones out there!).

During our travels, we get in the habit of recording every single expense. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but we’ve made it into a game of sorts and it becomes a challenge for us to stay beneath our daily “allowance”.

And remember, it’s all about balance. If we go over our budget today, we will try to make up for it tomorrow.

Tracking our expenses has become an integral part of how we stick to a budget. And honestly, getting into this habit is the biggest tip we can offer for anyone out there who wants to make travel a reality when you don’t have unlimited funds (wouldn’t that be nice?!). 

2. Avoid traveling during peak tourist season


I’m going to come right out and say it: Traveling to Japan during cherry blossom season is definitely a bucket list trip, but it is going to come at a premium price.

If you want to travel to Japan on a budget, this is not the time to do it.

You’ll also want to avoid major events like the Olympics in Tokyo, and around New Years, which is a popular time for locals and foreigners alike to travel around the country. 

To learn more about how to avoid peak tourist season and when you should go instead, read up on the best time of year to visit Japan.

3. Withdraw money from ATMs (for free!)

One major question we get asked is how we get local currency in the countries we visit. We have a major hack for this, so listen up…

No matter where we are in the world, we get the currency by withdrawing from ATMs. This will give you the best possible exchange rate.

We almost never get currency from exchange booths (especially the ones at airports!) because they seriously rip people off. And even if you get currency from your home bank, you’ll be paying a premium for the exchange.

So how do we avoid those pesky ATM withdrawal fees? 

Let me introduce you to the Charles Schwab debit card! Free to set up, no annual fee, AND they reimburse ALL ATM FEES at home or abroad. It is an insane deal.

Before we had this card, we used to try to calculate the exact amount of money we’d need for the trip so we didn’t have to take out money multiple times and thus get charged for each withdrawal. This led to us carrying around a huge amount of cash (which never felt safe), or us trying to spend as little as possible the last couple of days so we wouldn’t have to take out more.

Now, we can take out smaller amounts whenever we need it because it is FREE. 

We are not affiliated with Charles Schwab in any way, and we don’t make commission by recommending them. We just love our card so much that we want to share the love!

We’d highly recommend it to any of our American readers.

Note: For all our non-American friends, we are in the process of trying to find similar cards that allow free ATM withdrawals from other countries around the world. Let us know if you have any recommendations!

4. Drink water from the tap

I’m gonna keep this one short because hopefully it doesn’t require much explaining. The tap water in Japan is totally safe to drink, and for the most part it tastes good too! Bring a reusable water bottle (we love our Hydro Flasks) with you and fill up to stay hydrated!

Not only is this going to help your budget, but you’ll save a ton of plastic waste. Virtual high five!

5. Stay connected to the Internet

Best Japan Travel Apps

This might seem like a strange tip, but stick with me…

Being connected to the Internet will help you get around on transportation with few mistakes, hence avoiding those extra swipes on your metro card. See which transportation apps we definitely recommend you download! It will also help you find nearby restaurants and filter through the expensive ones. 

We have an entire article that goes over the differences between a SIM card and a pocket WiFi device so you can choose which one is best for you. (Spoiler alert: We prefer a pocket WiFi, but most travelers will get along just fine with a SIM card.)

Insider Tip: If you’re traveling with a companion and you’re on a tight budget, the cheapest way to stay connected is getting one SIM card. That way you can split the cost, yet still have access (on one device) to translate and transport apps that are essential on your travels. The second cheapest option is to get a hotspot device, which is cheaper than the cost of 2 SIM cards, yet allows you both to connect devices at the same time.

6. Be careful with your coins

Japan Trip Cost Japanese Yen Coins

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very careful with coins. Ben throws them in his pockets, we set them on hotel nightstands, I let them get lost at the bottom of my purse. And if I lose a handful of change, it’s usually not a big deal — missing 67 cents isn’t going to ruin my day.

But when traveling in Japan, be more cautious with those yen coins because some of them are worth nearly $5 USD!

As an example, we were preparing to exit a train, and when Ben stood up, a coin fell out of his pocket and into the seat. He dug around for it a little, and found that it was a 500 yen ($4.60 USD) coin! Good thing we didn’t just leave it!

That night, Ben emptied his pockets and we counted $32 USD worth of coins — that’s crazy! After that, we decided we should probably not be so cavalier with those coins, and we got a pouch to keep them safe in. 

We’d recommend bringing a coin pouch, or getting one in Japan as a souvenir. Bonus points if it has a way to separate the small coins from the ones that are worth more!


7. Get travel insurance

It’s never fun to think about something going wrong on your trip, but let’s get uncomfortable for a moment… 

A medical emergency, stolen valuables (though this is highly unlikely in ultra-safe Japan!), or missed flights can all leave you with a gigantic bill.

Travel insurance is actually much less expensive than you might think, and it can ensure you’re protected in some of these situations. For example, we found a policy through Allianz that covers two people for 3 weeks in Japan for just $56!

Before you start shopping for insurance, read this article that goes over all of the things you should look for before you hit “purchase”.

How to find cheap flights to Japan

Cheap flights airplane

If you’re coming from Europe or North America, your flight to Japan itself is going to be a significant portion of your travel budget. You’re flying halfway around the world, after all, so it is to be expected.

But fear not, we have some hacks for finding airfare that doesn’t make your eyes water. Or you can check out our entire article that explains how we find cheap flights.

Tips for finding a cheap flight to Japan:

1. Experiment with different hubs

If you are simply putting your home airport in the departure destination, you may be missing out on some really great deals. 

Play around with setting your departure for a different airport and see what comes up. Sometimes getting two separate flights can save you a lot of money. And truthfully, sometimes the layover times make it not worthwhile at all. You just have to play around a little and see what flights you find.

Theses hubs often have good deals to Tokyo and/or Osaka:

  • SFO: San Francisco
  • SEA: Seattle
  • ICN: Korea

2. Travel during Off-season

Trip to Japan Costs Nagano Mountains Snow

Want to see cherry blossoms in Japan? You, me, and just about everyone else in the world!

Springtime in Japan is beautiful, but also very crowded. This means the demand for flights is at its annual high, and peak prices can be expected. If you fly to Japan during less popular times of the year, like the winter or even late fall, you might be able to snag a steal!

3. Sign up for a mistake fare newsletter and set an alert for Japan

Mistake Fare newsletters (like Thrifty Traveler) are great because they alert you to ridiculously cheap flights. But sometimes they aren’t to places you’re planning to travel.

Whenever we have a destination in mind, we make sure to log into our profile and set alerts so we’ll be notified if a ticket to Japan, for instance, is ridiculously cheap!

4. Look at flying into Osaka instead of Tokyo

Things to Do in Osaka Japan

Tokyo might be your first thought when it comes to flying to Japan, but try searching for other international airports as well.

Both times we’ve traveled to Japan, we have actually flown into Osaka because the price was significantly lower. Plus, it’s a great city to use as a hub to make day trips from Osaka.

5. Fly in and out of different cities

If your itinerary is flexible, try different combinations when it comes to where you fly in and out. This can also save you a long train ride if you plan to visit multiple places.

For instance, we wanted to visit both Osaka and Tokyo. Instead of flying in and out of the same city, we flew into Osaka and out of Tokyo, saving us an entire day of travel to get to the airport.

6. Consider signing up for a new credit card 

Even if you score a cheap flight to Japan, it’s still going to set you back a good chunk of change. Before purchasing big flights, like this one, we usually think about signing up for a new credit card. Typically there are bonuses if you spend a certain amount within the first months of signing up. And the flight alone should help you get part way there.

Good news: Credit cards are also widely accepted in Japan. True, you’ll need cash for smaller restaurants and shops, but many places take plastic so you can earn points on your trip too!

Note: We are not financial experts, and we cannot give personalized advice. If you are looking into a new credit card, check out this article where we mention some of our favorites.

Want more? Check out more tips for how we find cheap flights around the world!

Are you planning a trip to Japan?

We have TONS of resources on travel in Japan and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Ultimate Japan Travel Guide for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below!

Want the perfect itinerary planned for you? 

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If you don’t have a ton of time to spend planning your Japan itinerary (or you just don’t find travel planning fun), we’ve got something you might be interested in… 

We created the ultimate done-for-you Japan itineraries that are packed full of all sorts of tips we’ve gathered from 3 trips to Japan as well as literally hundreds of hours of research (no exaggeration). 

We will have both off-the-beaten path routes as well as a classic itinerary that hits the top attractions (perfect for your first visit to Japan!).

Click above and we’ll send you our complete 2-week classic Japan itinerary, filled with tips and advice, including the highlights of Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Osaka, Kyoto and more!

If you want to be the first to know when our Hidden Gems itinerary is on sale, get on the waitlist!

Japan Packing List

Be sure to download our complete packing list for Japan! It’s packed with good suggestions and insider tips to help plan your Japan trip. And it’s completely FREE, so why not!?

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Japan Travel Cost | Two Wandering Soles
Japan Travel Cost | Two Wandering Soles

We want to hear from you!

What is your biggest question about costs in Japan? Do you have any money-saving tips you’d like to share? Comment below!

Comments (13) on “Japan Travel Cost: Exactly How Much is a Trip to Japan?

  1. liamcarr656@gmail.com says:

    I think that one-week budget is kind of enough to have a good trip to Japan. The thing that concern us most is its costing. The japan is believed to be one of the costliest places to visit but hiring a good travel agent company will let us know how to save our money and travel there in low budget.

  2. Nightingale.jenn@gmail.com says:

    Thank you so much for all your helpful tips about Japan. Very cool you’re from MN and studied Jour/Graphic Design – me too! We’ve only travelled overseas for work before and stayed in the same city. If you stay in a hostel or capsule hotel is there a way to safely store your luggage during the day or should we plan to backpack everywhere?

  3. Samantha.godfreyrn@gmail.com says:

    Thank you so much for all of the info and tips! Is Japan credit card friendly or should we plan on using cash for most purchases?

  4. jl says:

    Notice that you didn’t include the cost of flights!? Is there a reason you excluded this-just wondering how you to/from Japan

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey, great question. We didn’t include airfare in the budget because we flew from South Korea and our flights were very cheap – less than $300 for a roundtrip. We realize that many (if not most) people using this budget will be flying from much further, so those numbers would not be relevant to them. Flights vary so much on how far in advance you book them to where in the world you’re flying from, and since our readers come from all over the world, it’s hard to give a number in a budget. We decided instead to include only the expenses we incurred in the country so that this budget is useful to anyone no matter where you’re flying from. We should specify this though in the budget, and will make those change shortly. Thank you for pointing this out!

  5. Chuckles says:

    My first trip to Japan was with a band. Our guitarist is Japanes, so we were being directed, but in 2009 I only spent $AUD2,000 over two weeks, and that included airfare. (Jetstar 2 for 1 flights.)

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey there, that’s great to hear you were able to travel Japan on a budget too! It can certainly be done cheaper than we did, but we wanted to see as much as possible in 8 days, so transportation added a lot of cost! And we were happy with spending just under $1,600 for 2 people 🙂 That said, it has been one of the more expensive countries we’ve visited in the last few years!


  6. Angela says:

    Thank you for the amazing advice for japan. I was wondering where did you buy the japan Rail Pass in Korea?

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Angela, I’m glad it’s helpful! You can purchase your JR Pass online at http://www.jrpass.com/. The vouchers are sent via FedEX from France (random!!), and are sent out the day you order them, so they get to you very quickly. We ordered our tickets on a Wednesday. Our flight was on Saturday and we were worried that they wouldn’t make it to us in time, but a package arrived the next day with our tickets! I’d recommend ordering them with a bit more time than we did though just so you aren’t worried! Once you get to Japan, you can then exchange them for the actual pass at any major JR Station. This saved us a ton of money. Hope this helps. Have a great time in Japan!

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