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How Much Is a Trip to Japan

How Much Is a Trip to Japan

By Vicky LengUpdated Mar. 24, 2023

When considering a trip to Japan, you may 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’.

The most expensive time travel to Japan is March to April, and the cheapest time is from mid-January to February.

How Much Is a Private Japan Tour Package?

try on kimono in Kyoto Try on kimono in Kyoto

In general, a private Japan tour costs US$350–400 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$2,500–2,800 for a week and around US$5,000–5,600 for 2 weeks.

The main costs of a trip to Japan are international flights, hotels, tour guiding, and private transport. Not counting international airfares, approximately speaking, private transport costs account for 40% of a trip’s cost, an excellent guide accounts for 30%, hotel spending about 15%, and attraction tickets and intercity transportation is the last 15%. 

If you take public transportation within the city, you can generally save US$100 a day, but it typically requires you to walk 20,000 more steps.

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 6 months in advance to reserve the perfect hotels and professional guides for these times.

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The Cost of International Flights to Japan

Cherry blossoms in Tokyo in April Cherry blossoms in Tokyo in April

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 2023.

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 2023.

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

Traditional ryokan in Japan Traditional ryokan 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 to 280, and a 4-star ryokan costs around US$300–450 for a 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.

A ryokan is classical accommodation in a Japanese inn, where you can sleep on a tatami, wear yukata (traditional Japanese robes), enjoy kaiseki (traditional cuisine with many courses), and in some ryokans, relax in an onsen (hot spring bath). Because a ryokan has only about ten rooms, they are more expensive and harder to book than hotels. We recommend you book them at least 6 months in advance.

Early reservation to ensure your preferred hotel choices (at least 6 months in advance) is also suggested.

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The Cost of Transportation in Japan

The Shinkansen in Japan The Shinkansen in Japan

Most destinations in Japan are connected by trains, and their prices are not affected by the peak travel seasons. For a budget tour, many young travelers choose public transportation, but it may require 20,000 more steps a day. Taking private transfers is more comfortable, less stressful, saves time, and it doesn't take as much physical effort.

Public transportation is very convenient in Japan, though, especially the subway. Taking Tokyo as an example, regular Tokyo subway fares are $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. Shinkansen (bullet train) is the fastest and most popular way to travel between cities: a ride from Tokyo to Kyoto costs about $100.

We recommend that you take the private vehicle option (as supplied with our tours), because public transport may make you walk 1 or 2 km (a mile) more a day and stand around waiting for connections and finding your way, leaving less time and energy for the sights. An efficient and time-saving private car costs US$140–160 a day.

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The Cost of Food in Japan

Sushi Sushi

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 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 at a mid-range restaurant costs US$30–45 per person. Luxury meals like wagyu beef or kaiseki cost US$70–110 per person and upwards. Dinner in most restaurants is more expensive than lunch because there are more choices.

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The Cost of Attractions/Activities in Japan

Sensoji Temple in Tokyo Sensoji Temple in Tokyo

Tickets for most attractions in Japan range from US$3–7. World Heritage sites, like Kinkaku Temple and Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, costs US$3.

There are 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 slightly higher in cost at about US$60–70 per person.

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Tips for Saving Money

1. Travel during the low season (unless you want to see cherry blossom from March to May and fall foliage from October to November), as prices are twice as high in the peak seasons.

2. Travelling a week or two before the peak seasons to avoid the higher costs and crowding, and you can still see some of the most beautiful scenery. For example, traveling from early December to December 15th is cheaper than Christmas, but you can still enjoy the same winter wonderland atmosphere in Sapporo.

3. Book flights and hotels at least 3–6 months in advance to snap up the early-bird deals.

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