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How Much Is a Trip to Japan

By Vicky LengUpdated Jan. 10, 2024

When considering a trip to Japan, you probably want to know how much it would cost. Is Japan expensive? Well, travel costs in Japan are cheaper than in most Western countries with similar service standards and living costs, but they are about twice as expensive as other Asian countries.

Different experiences, modes of transportation, and classes of hotel meals in Japan can make a big difference in costs. In this article, we'll explore the travel costs for Japan and share how to make the most of your money.

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How Much Is a Private Japan Tour Package?

cost of Japan

In general, a private Japan tour costs US$350–500 per person per day (with 2–4 people), including private car, private guides, local 4-star hotels, tickets for attractions, and full-day itineraries. Thus, the total cost is around US$2,500–3,500 for a week and around US$5,000–7,000 for 2 weeks.

Riding a private car offers a more comfortable and efficient experience with less physical exertion. In contrast, public transportation, while cheaper, often entails walking around 20,000 steps per day. This can be challenging for older individuals or those with limited mobility. Opting for private car, which typically cost around US$150–200 per day, allows you to save time and conserve energy, enabling you to dedicate more time to exploring sights rather than waiting for connections or navigating unfamiliar routes.

Having a private guide provides an opportunity to experience excellent service, receive outstanding explanations, and gain a deeper insight into Japan's culture. With a knowledgeable guide by your side, you can learn fascinating details and anecdotes about the places you visit, ensuring a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan's unique traditions and customs.

March to May (cherry blossom season) and October to November (red maple season) are peak seasons in Japan. We suggest that you book a Japan tour at least 3 months in advance to reserve the perfect hotels and professional guides for these times.

The Cost of International Flights to Japan

The cheapest period to buy flight tickets is mid-January to February, costing about US$900–1,500 from the U.S. The most expensive month to buy flight tickets is April, when the cost from the U.S. is around US$1,600–1,800. From June to July the airfare is US$1,000–1,500, and in December the cost is US$1,000–1,600.

The cost of flights from the U.S. to Japan varies depending on when you fly and the airline you choose. For example, round-trip economy tickets from New York or Los Angeles to Tokyo cost anything from around $800 to $1,800 on average for 2024.

Direct flights from Europe to Japan are fewer and most require at least one stopover. A round trip from London to Tokyo is in the range US$1,500–2,000 on average for 2024.

To buy the cheapest flights to Japan, we recommend you book at least 3–6 months in advance, especially if you are going to Japan during the busiest times, such as cherry blossom season from March to May, the red maple season from October to November, and around New Year.

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The Cost of Accommodation in Japan

Japan hotel prices vary widely between low season and high season. A standard room in a 4-star hotel costs from US$200–280, and a 4-star ryokan (traditional inn) costs around US$300–450 per room per night for most of the year. However, the price may double or even triple in March and April when the cherry blossom blooms.

Staying at a ryokan allows you to experience the most authentic Japanese accommodation. You can sleep on a tatami, try on yukata (traditional Japanese robes), and even relax in onsens (hot spring baths) at some ryokans. If you are traveling with kids, some ryokans can provide enough tatamis for your family to stay together in one room.

Tip for saving money: Early reservations to ensure your preferred hotel choices (at least 3-6 months in advance) are suggested and to minimize hotel changes.

Traditional ryokan in Japan Traditional ryokan in Japan

The Cost of Transportation in Japan

Public transportation is very convenient in Japan, especially the subway. Taking Tokyo as an example, regular Tokyo subway fares are US$1–3, depending on the distance. Taxis are the most expensive option, as the starting fare is from US$5 for the first two kilometers. Most destinations in Japan are connected by trains, and their prices are not affected by the peak travel seasons. Shinkansen (bullet train) is the fastest and most popular way to travel between cities: a ride from Tokyo to Kyoto costs about US$100.

We recommend utilizing a private car service for airport pick-ups and drop-offs in Japan. The transport routes in Japan can be complex, and navigating the right tram or train can consume a significant amount of time. By opting for a private car, you can avoid this issue and be transported directly to your hotel or the airport without any hassles or confusion.

Tip for saving money: Consider utilizing public transportation for some city tours like Hakone or Hiroshima, where you can enjoy the sights at your pace and experience the efficiency of Japan's impeccable transportation system.

Suggested reading: How to Plan Your Trip to Japan>>>

The Cost of Food in Japan

Japanese cuisine is one of the main attractions for travelers who visit Japan, and it is often not expensive, such as sushi, ramen, rice balls, etc. A meal at a sushi restaurant usually costs US$15–50, and a bottle of Japanese wine costs US$3–7. A bowl of ramen costs just US$5–7. On average, a day eating at mid-range restaurants costs US$30–45 per person.

Luxury meals such as wagyu beef or kaiseki can cost around US$70–110 per person or more. These exquisite and delicious cuisines showcase the meticulous and delicious nature of Japanese culinary traditions. Indulging in these high-end Japanese dishes would not only treat your eyes but also amaze your taste buds with their exquisite flavors.

The Cost of Attractions/Activities in Japan

Tickets for most attractions in Japan range from US$3–7. World Heritage sites like Kinkaku Temple and Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto cost just US$3. There are also many shrines, temples, and parks in Japan that are free of charge, like Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple in Tokyo and Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.

Theme-park tickets, such as for Disneyland in Tokyo and Universal Studios in Osaka, are significantly higher in cost at about US$60–70 per person.

Authentic Japanese activities like watch geisha's performance, traditional tea ceremonies, or ninja experiences can cost more compared to simply visiting attractions. The prices for these experiences vary depending on the specific activity, but usually involve the service costs of an expert in a field. However, these immersive experiences are well worth it, allowing you to deeply immerse yourself in the local culture and gain insights into Japanese traditions, making your trip more enriching and complete.

Tip for saving money: Consider a mix of having a private guide for certain locations and exploring "self-explanatory" attractions on your own. Having a private guide can enhance your experience and enrich your knowledge, particularly when visiting historic places in Tokyo and Kyoto. On the other hand, cities with natural beauty like Lake Kawaguchi or Hakone can be explored independently, allowing you the freedom to appreciate the sights at your own pace.

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