Budget Breakdown: 12 Days in Japan

For anyone wondering or trying to plan a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, here’s a breakdown of our Japan budget. Hope this helps you!

All prices are based in USD unless otherwise noted.

Airfare:

$1,072 per person

  • Roundtrip flights on Aeromexico from IAH (Houston) to MEX (Mexico City) to NRT (Tokyo-Narita).
  • We saw prices around $800 for flights in October, November, early December, and late January. Prices for flights were much higher because we were traveling during the holidays (departing December 22 and returning January 4).

Lodging:

$958 for 11 nights

  • Three nights in Nishishinjuku Airbnb – $214
  • One night at the Fujiya Hotel – ¥17,600 or $158 at time of posting
  • One night at the Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara Eki – $89
  • Four nights in traditional Kyoto Airbnb – $315
  • Two nights in Nishishinjuku Airbnb – $182
  • Most Airbnbs, ryokans, and hotels charge extra fees per person. Our stay at the Fujiya was priced at ¥8,800 per person. Most of our Airbnbs charged an extra $10-15 per night for the second person.

Transportation within Japan:

$255 for a 7-day JR Pass

  • A nifty tool to figure out whether it’s worth it to buy a JR Pass over individual tickets between your destinations is the JR Pass Calculator.

$70 per person for other public transportation

  • We used a Suica card and preloaded it with a total of about $70 by the end of the trip. This card works on all train and subway lines, as well as busses, and even at some shops and vending machines (we used ours only for transportation).

Food:

As always, food prices range very widely. Japan is great because there are tons of options to fit all budgets. If you’re looking to spend $5 on a meal, you can definitely do it. To keep your eating expenses low, you can opt for conbini food or fast food. In Japan, convenience stores (AKA “conbinis”) are stocked with great food options, from sushi to noodles to sandwiches and more. And as for fast food, they have all the usual American options like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, as well as Japanese options like quick $5 ramen joints. And if you’re looking to spend $50 on a meal, you can definitely do that as well! We tried yakitori a few times and those were our more pricey meals at upwards of $40 total. We wanted to try shabu shabu but were deterred by the $50 per person price tag.

Activities:

  • Visiting shrines and temples is free, except for the ones that are UNESCO World Heritage sites (such as Kiyomizu Dera, Tōdai-ji, Ginkaku-ji, and Kinkaku-ji) which charge admission fees ranging from $3-5 per person.
  • We chose to visit the Tokyo Skytree to get the best view of the city. We went on a day that wasn’t very busy so we just paid about $20 each for regular passes instead of the $30 for fast passes.
  • We opted to ditch some of the more expensive and touristy activities like the Robot Restaurant, Kawaii Monster Cafe, etc. this easily saved us a couple hundred dollars.

Souvenirs:

We picked up some great souvenirs! Some of the more notable include:

  • Hanten jacket for $35
  • Yukata for $40
  • Goshuinchō for $10, and a dozen goshuin stamps for a total of about $36 (read about this souvenir here)
  • Tenugui for about $5 each

Miscellaneous:

  • 12-day use of a pocket wifi unit from Japan Wireless – $75

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to comment below or contact me!

To find more of my content on Japan, visit my Japan Index page for a directory of posts.

3 Comments

  • Mona Corona

    This is an incredibly helpful post!! Thank you so much for sharing.

    February 16, 2018 at 7:23 pm Reply
  • Viola

    Yes! I live in Japan so love reading anything Japan related haha. Great budget breakdown!

    February 16, 2018 at 11:44 pm Reply
  • Tracy

    Very useful – my daughter wants to visit and this will help her budget! (And us too I must say!)

    February 17, 2018 at 2:01 am Reply
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