Cost of our month long Japan trip:

A free park for foreign visitors in Nara
Japan is an alluring country. Its rich culture, style and traditions make is a top destination. To me it was a perfect blend of modern and traditional lifestyles. This post isn’t about why you should visit japan. That’s obvious. This post is about how much the trip will cost.

Feel free to check out other websites for more information about what makes Japan great for tourists. (Wikipedia Link) (Japan National Tourism Organization Link)

Money matters for the majority of people in the world. As an avid traveler I am constantly looking up how much it costs to visit new places and then doing research about how much it really costs. I often find myself on a tight budget and don't want to spend money on extras I don't need.

Our trip to japan was in the winter of 2016. We arrived November 8th and departed December 8th. We did not stay for Christmas or New Years. Staying for the major holidays may have increased the cost but I do not know.

The overall cost for the trip was 265,156 Yen for two people for 30 nights. That’s not including airfare. At the time, that was about $2,519USD. That’s an average expense of 8,839 Yen per day or about $84USD for two people.

We stayed in 4 different Air B&Bs in two main cities. The Shinjuku area in Tokyo and the Namba area in Osaka. Our total housing cost for 30 nights was about 115,156 Yen or $1093.98USD. Our average nightly cost was about 3,839 Yen or $36.47USD. That's almost half of our daily cost. Another thing worth noting is all our Air B&B apartments could sleep up to 4 people at no additional cost. So traveling in a larger group can save a lot more money for everyone.

The remaining cost of 150,000 Yen (About $1425USD) was spent on food, trains, entrance fees and other fun things. This was all spent in cash so it is difficult to track exactly what it all went toward. All this miscellaneous cost averages 5000 Yen per day or about $47.50USD.

A dinner for two purchased at a local supermarket for 1148 Yen.
Looking over some receipts I would guess half of our 5000 Yen per day average went toward food. Most of the food we bought was pre-made meals from local grocery stores. We went to many local ramen noodle restaurants and we went out for drinks a few times but not often and never in the high priced tourist areas.

Some other cost saving notes:

We took a night bus between Tokyo and Osaka. Thought it was a great way to travel between the two regions cheaply and save a night of housing cost. It worked great but didn’t save that much money. The early checkout of one apartment combined with the typical late check-in times of most Air B&B apartments left us without a way to store our luggage before or after the night bus. Lockers at the Shinjuku and Osaka train stations large enough to store our bags were 700 Yen each. This means you can count on spending 1400 yen for storing one persons luggage each time you take a night bus. Looking back, it would have been worth it to just stay another night in our apartment and take a bus during the day.

The JR, Japan Rail, system works amazing but their prices can be a bit confusing if you need to change trains along your journey. If we ever needed to change trains we would exit the station and purchase another ticket when changing trains. Often times we saved a few hundred yen each if we did this. I am not sure why. We did not get a JR pass or purchase a prepaid card. We bought tickets as needed. Most of the time we walked through the city if our destination was less than 8km away.

Summarized Cost:
Housing: 3,839 Yen or $37 USD per night for 2-4 people. ($9.25-$18.50 per person)
Food: 1250 Yen or $12 USD per day per person.
Other: 1250 Yen or $12 USD per day per person.

Total: Housing+Food+Other = 3460-4420 Yen or  $33.25-$42.5USD per person per day

That is quite affordable when compared to other estimates of 7500-10000 Yen ($66-$90USD) per person per day for low to medium budget travel. It's also down right cheap when compared to estimates of $100USD for low budget travel in the US.


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