Wrap Up: Travelling in Japan on a Budget

| January 12, 2014 | 11 Comments

The thought of visiting Japan for the first time and having the opportunity to see Mt Fuji, maybe see the snow monkeys and experience the diverse Japanese culture is attractive.  But Japan is notoriously expensive which creates a barrier to even thinking about Japan as a holiday destination, let alone for a family of five of us!

We are currently putting together some ideas for a family trip in 2015 and one of the options which my family is keen to explore further is a trip to Japan.  Japan has previously come up on our trip radar a couple of times but has never quite made it to the top…  Part of our process to decide on a trip is to make a top level budget for the trip so see if it is even viable from a financial perspective.

Mt. Fuji viewed from Chureito Pagoda in Japan

Mt. Fuji viewed from Chureito Pagoda in Japan

After using my usual trip budget starting technique – pick a similar tour, look up flights, add on some daily expense money and see how it all adds up I was left with a breathtaking $A28,000 for a two week trip!

I decided to do some more homework on cheaper trip options to Japan and came across some great articles on how to travel in Japan on a budget which I have decided to share with you all.  I am still in the process of putting together our rough budget based on this information.

5 Tips for Visiting Japan With Kids on a Budget

Nicole Avery from the Planning With Kids blog shared some great tips on travelling to Japan with her family which was published on YTravelBlog

In September this year we took our five kids on a holiday to Japan.

It was only brief; we stayed three nights in Osaka and three nights in Tokyo. None of us had been to Japan before and the only one who spoke any Japanese was the 14 year old who has been learning Japanese for the last two years at school.

We were all very excited to be going, but I did have some quiet reservations – would the kids eat the food, would we be able to get around without understanding the language, would everything be super expensive?  Read more about how to travel cheaply in Japan with children…

Inside the tunnel of Japanese Torii Gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha , Kyoto Japan

Inside the tunnel of Japanese Torii Gates at Fushimi Inari Taisha , Kyoto Japan

How Expensive is Japan?

Steph Frank from the Traveling Miss Lazy blog has some great information about accommodation, getting around and sightseeing in Japan on a budget.

Konnichiwa! I’ve already said this before but I’ll say it again to those who don’t know yet, Japan really is my favorite country! I’ve only been there twice but I loved every minute of it. Many people are put off to travel to this amazing country, which is such a shame really, but it’s mainly because it is known to be expensive. To tell you the truth, it is not cheap especially if you compare it to other countries in Asia, but Japan can actually be affordable and you don’t have to spend so much money to travel to and around it, only if you know what you are doing.

There are tons of ways to save money and travel cheaper in Japan! If a lot more people find out about them, more and more travelers will come their way to the land of the rising sun, which would be super fantastic I must say. Japan is really unique, quite out of this world (I mean really out of this world), the food is so good and the people are one of the most polite I’ve ever met and sometimes even completely crazy!  Read more about how to travel cheaply in Japan…

How to Turn High Cost Japan into a Cheap Place to Visit

Nomadic Matt has put together a great article about visiting Japan on the cheap which has some great information to help put your budget together!

For years, I’ve been putting off going to Japan because I was afraid of how expensive it was going to be. The rumors I’d heard about the country’s high prices made me hesitant to go there. I have always loved Japanese culture and I knew any visit would involve gorging on sushi and ramen noodles, visits to lots of temples, and heavy train travel through the countryside. And the thought of how much that would cost made me constantly think, “I’ll wait until I have more money to visit.”

But at the end of April, I had the chance to finally visit and was shocked to discover that, while it isn’t cheap, Japan isn’t the prohibitively expensive country people may think it is. In fact, I actually found Japan to be very affordable and on par with (and sometimes cheaper than) countries in Western Europe.

Here is how you much things typically cost in Japan and how you can cut down those costs to make the country affordable.  Read more about how to turn high cost Japan into a cheaper place to visit…

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Have you travelled to or are thinking about visiting Japan?  Please let me know if this article has been helpful to inspire you to visit and enable you to plan your trip!

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Category: Destination Information, Wrap Ups

Anne Sutherland-Smith

About the Author ()

Anne Sutherland-Smith is the founder of the Pretraveller blog which focuses on travel planning. Anne is a keen travel planner who loves researching and preparing for her next trip. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.

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  1. Freya says:

    I have never been but it looks like a very fascinating country. This post is a great resource for a Japan trip.
    Freya recently posted…Top 5 things to do in Cusco PeruMy Profile

    • Freya, I have also not been to Japan but it looks like a great place to visit! My husband and children are showing a strong inclination towards a Japan option for our next trip so these resources have been very useful.

      I have just finished my first cut of an independent itinerary and budget after my wowza response mentioned in the article, and I have managed to reduce the cost for a two week visit to Japan for five people from a whopping $A28,000 to approximately $A15,000 which just goes to show that you can save a lot of money by travelling independently and putting some effort in to do your own homework!

  2. Neil says:

    Love Japan, definitely one of my favourite places. I agree that it’s on a par with Western Europe for costs as well, if you plan ahead it doesn’t need to be too pricey for accommodation or public transport. Having said that when I went I had just come from China so it was night and day in terms of costs there.
    Neil recently posted…Edinburgh Hogmanay: A very special New Year celebrationMy Profile

    • Neil, thanks for your comment. As per my previous comment response I have been able to use the tips to significantly reduce the cost of the trip for my family just by doing some research online so at least it now looks like we may be able to afford the trip!

  3. Bonny says:

    Hi Ann, I love Japan, and I think it is a great destination to travel to as a family! The articles you linked to contain lots of good tips for keeping the costs down. Here are a few of my own additional tips for cutting down on food costs (although don’t try to save TOO much on food, because it is such a big part of the Japan travel experience!):

    - restaurants in and around city train stations tend to be really good value. In general the train station eating spots are of much higher quality than what you’d expect to find at an Australian train station!

    - you can pick up cheap bento boxes with things like sushi, rice, pickles, teriyaki from convenience stores (konbinis) like 7/11. They makes a good easy picnic or meal to eat back at the hotel and are actually not bad, and often big enough to share one between 2!

    - look out for street stalls selling things like corn on the cob, mochi and octopus on a stick in markets, outside popular shrines or at street parades and other festivals.

    - noodle bars and suburban ramen restaurants are a cheap filling meal and a very authentic Japanese experience.

    - agree with Matt that Japanese curry, donburi and tempura are often very cheap, and popular with kids – even fussy eaters.

    As for travel costs, look into domestic air travel before booking the long distance train tickets because flights are often cheaper than the trains if you can get a good deal (so long as it’s cheap and easy to get between the airport and where you’re staying).
    Bonny recently posted…The Four Perth Island Getaways for Boaties and TravellersMy Profile

  4. Susan says:

    Hi Anne,
    One of my friend is in Tokyo and he frequently shares the photographs of that place. I really admire that beauty of Japan.
    It is with a doubt a costly place, but one can manage it if its a single time travel. :)
    Mount Fuzi and Tokyo DIsneyland are just awesome place. Thanks for the useful insight on travel and saving.

    Susan

  5. Kelly Rogers says:

    My brother-in-law has been to Japan many times on company expenses. He said that Japan is very beautiful. But it is an expensive country.

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