"Travel is never a matter of money but of courage." -Paulo Coehlo
According to recent reports, Japan reached a record high of 31 million tourists in 2018 which is up 8.7% from last year and shows no sign of declining in the following years since it has only risen during the past seven years.
The cities of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto along with the natural landmarks of Okinawa and Mount Fuji, have attracted tourists from all over the world.
However, it is important to state that Japan is not cheap! It is commonly viewed as a budget-buster when travelling through Asia. Therefore, how much should one plan to spend on a trip to Japan? Have no fear Superprof is here to provide all curious readers with the answer!
How Much Does it Cost to Fly to Japan?
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Since Japan is an island, the option of driving from a European country such as England, France, or Italy is pretty much impossible; unless you decide to take an expensive road trip to Shanghai and take the ferry to Osaka!
Nevertheless, whether you are taking a trip to Colombia, Spain, South Africa or Japan, the question is always the same among travellers: how do I get to my destination for the best price?
The only direct flights from the UK to Japan are from the cities of London and Tokyo.
If you are from Manchester, Birmingham, or Leeds travelling to Osaka, Nagoya, or Kyoto a stopover in another city is inevitable. Different companies or airlines offer tickets ranging from £470 to £590 on flights leaving from London to Tokyo depending on the stopovers, quality of airlines, length of trip, and time of year. However, when travelling from cities such as Manchester to Osaka the prices rise and maybe between £550 to £850.
Companies such as Japan Airlines, KLM, Finnair, Air France, and British Airways offer the most frequent and affordable flights.
To be able to find the most affordable fare, the best trick is to have no specific date of departure. By choosing to go on a wide range of dates, you will have more chances of falling on the best prices.
The highest price is always the price advertised by big companies or major airlines such as Qatar, Emirates, Air France, Lufthansa, or British Airways; these airlines are far from being low-cost. Therefore, if you absolutely want to travel with KLM you'll have to be willing to spend the big bucks and even more if you wish to fly business or first class.
To get the best possible price various layovers are often required. Stopovers in major European hubs such as Amsterdam, Paris or Madrid or in Middle Eastern airports such as Doha or Dubai.
Which Japanese megacities should I visit?
The Price of Lodging in Japan
Once you've arrived at the land of the rising sun you must find a place to rest your head at night; you can't sleep in the streets, even though they are incredibly clean! Since Japan is a very popular tourist destination, there are accommodations that will satisfy the budgets and desires of all travellers.
From capsule hotels to five-star luxury hotels, Japan has it all!
For young visitors who don't want to break the bank, there is a wide variety of hostels and guest houses that are available for only a few dozen pounds per night. Even if Japan is well known for being an extremely expensive destination in comparison to other popular destinations such as Morocco or Portugal, it is still possible to find budget-friendly accommodations even in the astronomically costly metropolis Tokyo.
In Tokyo, it is possible to find a bed in a dormitory or small room for a price of about £15 to £25 depending on the location and overall quality of the place. For example, the Hotel Owl Tokyo Nippori is priced at £25 and boasts fantastic reviews on Booking.com.
If you're a little tighter on your budget and do not wish to spend anything on accommodation, consider the Couchsurfing option and stay free at another free spirit's home. Also, it is important to state, that renting an apartment on Airbnb is quite advantageous if you are a big group. The entire house rentals on Airbnb can range from £25 to £75 per night.
A normal room in a classic hotel chain can well rise above £100 for a night in the capital especially if it located near Tokyo's city centre.
On the other hand, a five-star hotel situated in a prime location is priced on average at £200 per night. For example, Conrad Tokyo, one of the best in the city starts at around £500 a night; that's a lot of quid!
Dwellings in other major Japanese cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Sapporo are found at approximately the same price and greatly depend on the budget of each individual.
The advantage of staying overnight in larger cities is that travellers have much more options than in smaller towns.
It is important to mention that you cannot miss the opportunity of staying in a capsule hotel while travelling through Japan. While capsules are not comfortable enough to make your home away from home for over a week, a night or two becomes an unforgettable Japanese experience.
Also, Ryokans, traditional Japanese inns located all over the country, give visitors a real taste of Japan culture. However, beware, nightly prices at a Ryokan can be rise to be more than £200 per night.
What basic information needs to be known before travelling to Japan?
Eating In Japan: What's a Realistic Budget?
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Since Japan has one of the most exciting culinary cultures in the world, visitors usually want to spend money on tasting some of Japan's most delightful treats. However, it is important to state that enjoying Japanese cuisine is not cheap and does cost quite a bit of money.
A budget-friendly option from expensive gourmet eateries is finding typical street food vendors and eating for under £5. Large Japanese style fast-food chains such as Yoshinoya are a great option to eat sushi, maki, or rice bowls for a discount price.
Also, it is possible to go to any Konbini, Japanese convenience store, to buy cheap Japanese-style prepared meals; this is a habit also practised by the Japanese.
To eat cheaply, there are many ramen shops available in all neighbourhoods where UK citizens visiting Japan may eat dinner for about £5 for a bowl of noodles with a pint of beer. Another option is shopping in large supermarkets or cooking typical meals in the kitchen of a hostel or rented Airbnb apartment.
Want a learn a little bit more about Japanese culinary culture? Try Teppanyaki! These typical restaurants offer an impressive show to all types of guests; sitting around a hot plate observing the talent of live cooks has never been so fun! However, it is important to state that a meal at a Teppanyaki can be approximately £45.
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What is the Price of Transportation in Japan?
The Japanese Rail Pass is the best way to get around Japan if you want to visit more than one city on the archipelago. The Rail Pass permits unlimited travel throughout the Japanese transport network which includes trains, buses, and ferries.
Purchasing a Japanese Rail Pass is highly recommended for travellers wishing to see the entire country at a discounted price.
But what about the price?
The prices are determined by the Japan Railways Group and greatly depend on the class of ticket chosen and the total length of your trip through Japanese territory.
The following are the prices indicated by the authorities:
- Approximately £210 for a week of use,
- Almost £340 for two weeks of travel,
- About £430 for three weeks of transportation.
Also, it is important to state that prices greatly depend on the dealer from which you buy the pass. Indeed the JRP must be purchased before travelling to Japan via reseller who sends customers the voucher. Upon arrival to Japan, users must exchange it at a station counter and a passport must be shown.
For regular users to take advantage of the pass, validation is required.
Tip for all: consider validating your JRP at the beginning of the day because it is counted as a calendar day and not per 24 hours. Users could lose a half day of usage by validating the pass in the middle of the day.
Travelling through Tokyo using public transportation can be as expensive if not more than in major European cities such as Paris or London. Approximately £7 a day is needed to navigate through Tokyo and about £3 is needed in smaller cities such as Osaka or Kyoto. Also, it is important to remember that some of the smaller cities can be visited without using public transportation and on foot or via a bicycle.
What monuments should I visit in Japan?
What is a Realistic Budget for Cultural Activities?
Budgeting for a trip to Japan does not stop with housing, food, and travel. Once in Japanese territory, visitors want to discover the fantastic temples, occasional festivals, and other cultural activities.
Therefore, how much should one budget?
It is important to state that transportation, food, and lodging already occupy a major part of the holiday budget but largely due to government support and funding cultural outings can be enjoyed for a lower cost.
For example, visits to Japanese temples are completely free since no entry fees are charged. The city of Kyoto is particularly worth visiting to take advantage of exploring religious institutes without breaking the bank. In Tokyo, visitors can explore the Meiji-Jingu or Senso-Ji temples.
Also, it is important to state that many of Japan's treasures can be enjoyed without paying any money and by relaxing under the cherry blossoms in a remarkably well-manicured garden or park.
For those who like to spend hours exploring museums, there is good news: entry fees will not bust your budget! For example, when visiting Tokyo a Museum Grotto Pass can be purchased for about £14.
Do not forget to go to an onsen! Relaxing in a Japanese bath known as an onsen is a must when visiting Japan. They are extremely affordable since the entry fee starts at only £6; some are even free!
How much time should be spent on a trip to Japan?
Sample Budget For a Week in Japan
The fact that Japan is an expensive country cannot be refuted. However, by sticking to a budget and making wise decisions when spending on food or cultural outings, even the most frugal travellers can survive.
The total weekly budget of a traveller in Japan greatly depends on each individual's personalised wishlist. Nevertheless, the following is a realistic average that can guide first-time visitors through Japan:
Now get packing for the trip of a lifetime!
When is the best time of year to visit the land of the rising sun?