Not an easy answer, because Japan is so many regions, so many different types of travel are possible. I will try to summarize the general expenses and the tips that can serve more or less for all the regions, and it will allow you to know how much a trip to Japan costs.

As I explain in my Tips for Planning a trip to Japan , one of the first things to do when you want to travel to Japan is to start reading about that country, and choose the region you want to cover. Based on this, you will be able to organize the rest. There is a lot to see and I do not recommend doing many cities or more than two regions if the trip lasts less than 15 days.

1. Requirements for a trip to Japan

In normal time (outside of this Covid situation), most countries are exempt from visa.

If you want to know in detail the countries except for visa, you can check the list in this link of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Globally all the countries of Europe and the USA are exempt from visas. Some Latin American countries, such as Uruguay, are also excepted. And these countries need a visa for all of them: Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Pakistan, South Africa, China, India. So if your country is not excepted for a visa, you should consider this additional expense.

The visa cost of one entry is 3000 Yen almost 30 USD.

2. How to travel to Japan? How much cost a flight ticket to Japan and when to travel?

The answer to that question will depend on where you are. Most likely you will not have a direct flight unless you are flying from a main city and on which side of the planet you are.

The 2 main international airports that you can reach are Tokyo and Osaka. I recommend this last airport if you want to visit the Kyoto region and its surroundings.

To find out the prices of flight tickets to Japan, use Google Flights which will allow you to know the best combinations of dates and airports, and calculate the price of your flight.

When is the best season to travel to Japan? To get the best prices

Basically, you could travel all year round if the budget is not a problem for you, in Japan, each season has its charm. A trip to Japan costs more or less depending on the date, prices are very variable, even from one day to another in the same month.

If you want to save, avoid the beginning of spring, which is the cherry blossom season and everything costs more. Pay attention to the national or local holidays, local people travel a lot inside the country.

You should also see the dates of certain festivals in some areas, which will cause your accommodation to go up in price. If you want to enjoy these festivals and balance your budget, you should perhaps choose the less known ones, which will be just as good as the more famous ones. Or divide your stay between the days of the festival and the days before or after the event. We stayed at Kanazawa at the beginning of its festival, and we enjoyed some events, but we didn’t pay a lot because we didn’t stay all the week of the festival.

3. How to travel inside Japan? How to move from one region to another?

It is not difficult to move inside Japan, and I think the best way to do it is to use the train.

The best is to buy a Japan Rail Pass, and you can do it according to the region they want to visit. Because there are national and regional passes. These passes can be purchased for a duration of 7, 14 or 21 days, and depending on these variables the price will change.

Prices start at 280 USD for one person for 7 days, for a national pass. But the prices vary between the number of days and the different types of passes. I have used the regional ones and they come out very well.

The regionals are for: Kansai region, Hokkaido region, West region, East Shikoku region, and Central region. And the price starts at 22 USD for 1 person for 1 day.

If you want to calculate the value of your pass; I recommend this page: japan-rail-pass .

The regional passes do not allow the use of all transport as the national pass does. Check on the website that I recommended, the names of the trains and transports included in the pass. Don’t panic, it sounds more complicated than it actually is.

The page Hyperdia , will allow you to organize schedules and travel times even before you arrive in Japan. If you want to save, avoid green cars (higher class wagons), because the pass will be more expensive, 374 USD instead of 280 USD in the previous example.

Attention: you have to buy the pass before traveling to Japan. You can do it on Internet in your country, and receive it by mail.

4. How much does cost accommodation in Japan?

First of all, you have to know the difference between the types of accommodation available in Japan. These will be the same throughout the entire country.

Prices will vary essentially with 3 things: the city, the date (whether it is a local holiday or not), and the size of the room (space in Japan costs a lot).

Types of Accommodation in Japan 

The Ryokan
It is a typical Japanese accommodation, in traditional houses, with bedrooms with tatami floor and futons for sleeping (so sleep on the floor).
There are Ryokan of different levels, some very luxurious, others simpler, but in general they are quite expensive. Many of them include Kaiseki cuisine.
In any case, they are a complete and unique experience on a trip to Japan. If you have the budget go for it.

Apartments or Houses
It is an option that should not be neglected if you want to save money. There are very good offers, and the apartments are super well equipped.
In general, they are found through a specialized agency, or even via booking. Verify that you can communicate correctly with the owner. Not a lot of people speak enough English.

There are many hostels in Japan, I remember that the first time I was looking for accommodation, I constantly came across these. Be careful, they are listed as hotels on many travel sites.
You will share the room with other people, and they have common bathrooms.
There are different levels of hostels, some are almost luxury hostels (with bathroom shared).

Capsule Hotels
Something that characterizes Japan, and in which many people stay just for the experience.
They are practically just beds in a capsule (hence the name), which are usually rented by travel workers. The bathrooms are shared.

Claustrophobic be aware!

Business Hotels
They are quite good and pragmatic hotels, but without great decorative gadgets, or great touristic efforts.
Their name comes from the fact that they are used by businessmen when they are traveling.
Their prices are usually quite interesting; and you can find real jewels.

Hotels in general
An advantage of Japan is that you can find very good hotels at medium prices, many times the stars do not give all the answers.
I have known hotels worthy of 5 stars with only 3.
The good thing about Japan is the cleanliness, but always check something that is a bit particular, check that your room has a window, yes! incredible, but sometimes they are very cheap just because they do not have one.

Now what matters most, let’s go to prices.

5. How much does it cost to eat on a trip to Japan?

During a trip to Japan, food will be a central point, it is part of the discovery and a way to know the culture. You will be surprised to know that eating in Japan can be quite cheap. There is something for all tastes and pockets, but if you have a limited budget, don’t worry, you can enjoy and discover without going out of your limits.

There is a type of food in Japan that is quite expensive and in which you will definitely not be able to save money, it is Kaiseki cuisine. But it is worth all its weight in gold, it is a type of dinner that expresses all the Japanese culture and that is commonly prepared in Ryokan. The experience (I consider it an experience, more than a meal) includes several dishes with small portions, which are served following traditional rites. If you want to invest in a single expensive meal, invest in this one. Prices for a dinner of this type start at € 80 per person.

Take the opportunity to eat the exquisite Japanese Wagyu meat; There are several restaurants that allow you to taste the best cuts. But if you search well you can find those that offer dinners from € 35 per person; like the Yakiniku Hiro chain in Kyoto. Yakiniku means grilled meat. In fact, in this restaurant, each table has a small built-in grill; in which you will cook the cuts you request yourself.

Explore the fast food fairs on the last levels and in the underground levels (identified with B in the directories) of the large shopping centers. There are infinities of places to eat and at cheaper prices, starting at € 10 per person. You really will find all kinds of food in these places; and there are very good things, others less interesting; but the variety is great and you will find excellent food. You will also see famous food modeled in plastic.

Eating in specialized places. In Japan, it is very common to find very small restaurants that are specialized in just one type of dish. This will be a guarantee of eating well and often at a good price. We ate at one specialized in Ramén, which did not disappoint and we spent only € 10 per person. There are for only Yakitori; Sushi and Sashimi, or Tempura. Anyway, a lot to choose from.

Opt for supermarkets. They have a lot of prepared food and you can try so many great quality things at very low prices, including sashimi. Prices start at € 2 or € 3 per plate. One tip is that supermarkets lower the prices of many dishes prepared fresh about an hour before closing. There are many people who recommend the Seven Eleven, I am not a fan, and many other supermarkets have better things.



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