Budget Tips Japan

Budget Travel in Japan: How Much Does it Cost?

budget travel in Japan

Is it possible to travel in Japan on a budget?

As a budget travel gal, my long term love affair with Japan might seem like a bit of an inconvenient choice.

Over the 3 years that I lived in South Korea, I was lucky enough to have visited Japan 5 times. These short trips definitely put a bit of pressure on my savings but by no means did they blow them!

Japan is one of those places that you could easily spend a fortune in but budget travel doesn’t need to mean compromise. The secret is that in Japan, cheap never equals nasty.

Budget Travel in Japan: How Much Does it Cost?

budget travel in Japan

Sunsets in Kyoto

I’ve split this post into the following categories. Use the links below to navigate to the part that you’re interested in, or just keep reading!

Disclaimer: currency exchange rates at the time of writing were 1000 yen to $8.84/£6.86. This, of course, is subject to fluctuation.

Getting Around Japan on a Budget

One of the biggest Japan travel myths is that a JR pass is essential. However, truth be told it’s not for everyone- and if it’s not necessary then you’ll be frittering your hard earned cash away.

The JR pass is essentially an unlimited rail pass. You can use it countrywide or just regionally. While it is definitely convenient and can help avid travellers save money, it’s not essential.

There are actually alternative ways to get around that are much cheaper than using The Unlimited JR pass. Truth be told, Japanese train travel isn’t necessarily extortionate. Especially when you’re travelling within the same region.

Regional Travel

The Kansai region is my absolute favourite part of Japan. The historical city of Kyoto is just a short train ride away from the young, vibrant city of Osaka and getting between the 2 by local train is cheap- about 560 yen which is less than $5/£4!

Yup, you won’t arrive in 12 minutes like you would on a high speed train, but after just another 11 minutes you’ll be there.

budget travel in Japan

This region is full of unique and interesting cities that are all equally cheap to travel between.

You could easily spend 2 weeks here without getting bored- but if you’ve travelled all this way to visit Japan, you’ll probably want to see a few other places.

Domestic Flights

It’s lucky, then, that Japan has so many budget airlines. Peach and Vanilla Air are both budget carriers with very low fares between all the major airports.

You could easily spend a bit of time exploring the Kansai region then fly up to Tokyo and explore both the city and the Fuji area from there. If you have even more time, you could add on a trip to the Kyushu region or go up North to Hokkaido.

While flying isn’t quite as exciting or romantic, it’s a much more budget friendly way to travel than taking the bullet train.

I don’t always recommend taking domestic flights for environmental reasons, but in a country as widely spread as Japan, it is one of the better options. (Plus, flying isn’t always the worst way to get around, environmentally speaking.)

budget travel in Japan

As an example, flights between Osaka and Tokyo can often be found for less than 5,000 yen, or $45/£35.

For the best fares, it’s best to look about 3 months in advance. I usually have the best luck finding cheap fares in Japan with Kiwi and they’re my flight search engine of choice.

Getting Around the City

When you’re in the city, high subway fares are pretty much unavoidable. One thing about Japan that can really sting is that rather than paying a flat rate for a single, the fares increase over distances and can add up.

budget travel in Japan

To avoid racking up lots of tickets, walk where possible. Check google maps and you might actually find that walking isn’t even that much slower. Of course, you can’t walk everywhere (especially in a huge city like Tokyo!) so plan your sightseeing so that you’re not jumping between faraway areas every day.

If you do plan on using the subway a lot, look to see if the city you’re visiting has an all day ticket. I didn’t know about this when I visited Tokyo, but I could have saved a lot of pennies by picking up an all day subway ticket for 800 yen ($7/£5.50.) Osaka has a similar ticket that also covers buses and trams for just 550 yen ($4.85/£3.75.)

In Kyoto, the bus is a great way to get around and all day tickets cost a mere 500 yen ($4.50/£3.50.) It’s also possible to hire bikes for a similar price. Since Kyoto is fairly compact and, most importantly, flat, cycling is a lovely, eco-friendly way to see the city. Plus, Japanese drivers are among the most polite in the world so there’s no need to worry about getting knocked down!

budget travel in Japan


Taxis in Japan are expensive and best avoided. However, nightlife in Japan is fun and you might end up spending longer than you planned in a karaoke room. Since the subway ends around midnight, a taxi might be a necessary evil unless you stay near the downtown area (or stay out until the first train…)

When I would Recommend a JR Pass

If you want to see as much of Japan as possible in 2 weeks then there is no doubt that a JR pass will be the most economical option for you. To make the most of it, you’d need to move around a lot from region to region which would be exhausting, though! The unlimited pass costs 46,390 yen ($410/£315.)

My friends Katie and Ben from Two Wandering Soles travelled in Japan with a JR Pass and loved the convenience that it brought them! Don’t miss their ultimate Japan travel guide for first time travellers.

Also, if you plan on visiting Hiroshima, I would recommend buying the 5 day JR West Pass. Since Hiroshima is generally expensive to get to from most major cities, this 5 day pass doesn’t cost much more than a one-way ticket would from nearby Osaka or Fukuoka.

Here’s an indication of the prices:

5 day JR West Pass: 13,500 yen ($120/£93)

One way ticket from Osaka to Hiroshima: 10,830 yen ($96/£74)

One way ticket from Fukuoka to Hiroshima: 9,150 ($81/£63)

It just makes sense to use this for Hiroshima and, best of all, you can use it to save money on your travel costs for the other days of your trip.

How Much you Can Expect to Spend on Transport in Japan

budget travel in Japan

The following is what I would consider to be a great (and budget friendly) itinerary for a 2 week trip to Japan. I’ve included every single transport cost to give you an idea of how unnecessary a JR pass would be for this particular trip.

2 Week Japan Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo

Day 2: Explore Tokyo

  • (See above transport pass)

Day 3: Explore Tokyo

  • (See above transport pass)

Day 4: Fly from Tokyo to Osaka

Day 5: Explore Osaka

  • 1 Day Unlimited travel in Osaka: 550 yen (See link above)

Day 6: Explore Osaka

  • 1 Day Unlimited travel in Osaka: 550 yen (See link above)

Day 7: Travel from Osaka to Nara

  • Train from Osaka to Nara: 740 yen

Day 8: Explore Nara

  • Completely walkable: no transport costs

Day 9: Travel from Nara to Kyoto

  • Train from Nara to Kyoto: 820 yen
  • Bus pass or bike rental: both 500 yen

Day 10: Explore Kyoto

  • Bus pass and bike rental are both around 500 yen

Day 11: Explore Kyoto

  • Kyoto all day subway pass for exploring Arashiyama Forest: 600 yen

Day 12: Travel from Kyoto to Kobe & Explore Kobe

Day 13: Kobe to Osaka

  • Travel covered by Hankyu pass (see link above)

Day 14: Osaka to Tokyo (for return flight home)

If you were to follow this itinerary and purchase the discount passes that I’ve suggested, your travel expenses would work out at 22,400 yen ($197/£153) for your whole trip.

It’s also possible to fly from Osaka to Tokyo on Day 13, giving you an extra day in the city. If you want to do this, return tickets from Narita Airport to Tokyo Central will cost you 2,400 yen. Your total travel expenses would be 24,800 yen ($218/£169.)

Per day, for a 14 day trip you would spend 1,600 yen/1,771 yen. (£11/$14) or (£12/$16.) Not as much as you probably thought!

This itinerary covers all the major cities that first time travellers to Japan usually want to see and are able to manage in 2 weeks. Best of all, it’s 50% less than a 2 week JR pass!

budget travel in Japan

In saying this, though, a lot of travellers really want to see Hiroshima on their trip to Japan- and with good reason, too. Regrettably, I’ve never been since all my trips have been fairly short, but think it’s one of the most important places to see in the country.

If you want to go to Hiroshima, you don’t necessarily need to splash out on the full 14 day JR pass. Like I mentioned before, you can buy a 5 day Kansai and Hiroshima pass for 13,500 yen. Your itinerary would look something like this.

2 Week Japan Itinerary including Hiroshima

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo

Day 2: Explore Tokyo:

  • Travel expenses covered with subway pass

Day 3: Explore Tokyo:

  • Travel expenses covered with subway pass

Day 4: Fly from Tokyo to Osaka

Day 5: Explore Osaka

  • 1 Day unlimited travel in Osaka: 550 yen (See link above)

Day 6: Explore Osaka

  • 1 Day unlimited travel in Osaka: 550 yen (See link above)

Day 7: Travel from Osaka to Nara & explore Nara

  • Tickets from Osaka to Nara: 740 yen
  • Nara is completely walkable: no transport costs

Day 8: Travel from Nara to Kyoto

  • Tickets from Nara to Kyoto: 820 yen
  • Bus pass or bike rental in Kyoto: both 500 yen

Day 9: Explore Kyoto

Day 10: Explore Kyoto- Arashiyama Forest

  • All travel covered by Kansai/Hiroshima pass

Day 11: Kyoto to Hiroshima & Explore Hiroshima City

  • All travel covered by Kansai/Hiroshima pass

Day 12: Miyajima Island

  • All travel covered by Kansai/Hiroshima pass

Day 13: Hiroshima to Osaka

  • All travel covered by Kansai/Hiroshima pass

Day 14: Osaka to Tokyo (for return flight home)

With this itinerary, you’ll spend a total of 35,450 yen ($311/£241.) Like before, if you want to travel to Tokyo on Day 13, you’ll need to add on return transport from Narita Airport to the city. In this case, your total transport costs would come in at 37,850 yen ($332/£258.) This is around 11,000 yen cheaper than the 14 day JR pass that comes in at 46,390 yen!

Per day, that’s 2532 yen ($22/£17) or 2,700 yen ($24/18).

Just bear in mind that, if you want to purchase the Kansai-Hiroshima pass, you’ll need to book it before you leave the country. You can do so by following this link.

Accommodation in Japan

budget travel in Japan

Mosaic Hostel in Kyoto

Best Budget Hostels in Japan

As a budget traveller, you might wince at the thought of paying 3,000 yen ($27/£20) for a dorm bed. However, hostels in Japan are amazing and well worth the splurge! Forget about creaky old bunk beds: this is more of a boutique hostel experience.

During my last trip, I stayed in a pristine and stylish Capsule hostel in Kyoto called Mosaic. The hostel that I stayed at in Osaka, Oshiteruya, was modelled on the traditional Japanese Ryokan and is one of the most special places I’ve ever stayed at.

budget travel in Japan

Oshiteruya in Osaka

In both of these instances, not only was I able to meet other travellers and enjoy all the usual amenities of a hostel, but I was also able to experience unique parts of Japanese culture in a very special way.

Staying a a ryokan is usually out with a backpackers budget so Oshiteruya is a great way to get that experience. For a lot of female travellers, capsule hotels are often out of bounds because more traditional ones are male only. The more modern style capsule hostels, like Mosaic, give you the full capsule experience in a backpackers environment- all genders welcome.

Here are some of the best hostels per city in Japan.

Tokyo- Emblem Hostel: 2,500 to 3,000 yen ($23-$27/£17-20)

Osaka- Oshiteruya: 3,300 yen($30/£24)

Kyoto- Mosaic Capsule Hostel: 3,000 to 3,300 yen ($27-$30/ £20-£24)

Fukuoka- Hana Hostel: 2,800 yen ($25/£19)

Sapporo- Sappo Lodge: 2,850 yen ($25/£19)

Nara- Guesthouse Nara Backpackers: 2,400 yen ($22/£16)

Kobe- Hostel Nakamura: 1,800 to 2,100 yen!!!! ($16-18/£13-15)

Hiroshima- Hostel & Cafe Backpackers Miyajima: 2,900 yen ($25/£19)

Business Hotels

Boutique or not, if hostels aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options. More often than not, business hotels are the cheapest and most central option for 2 tourists. You might not get a lot of amenities or heaps of atmosphere, but you’ll definitely get a tasty Japanese breakfast in the morning.  I stayed in a place like this while doing a visa run in Fukuoka and was even given a cotton kimono and some slippers to wear around the room!

Air BnB

budget travel in Japan

Staying at an Air BnB in Shinjuku

Another great option in Japan is Air BnB. Hotel rooms in Japan tend to be on the small side but you can usually get more space in an Air BnB. I stayed at an amazing Air BnB in Tokyo which had a great view of the Shinjuku skyline. Hotels in the area with a similar view were extortionate- think the Park Hyatt and Hilton prices, but my pad was a steal!

budget travel in Japan

Look at that skyline- having my Lost in Translation moment for a quarter of the price

Plus, having a kitchen makes it easier to prepare some food of your own and avoid eating out all the time. (Although, I can’t promise you’ll want to do much cooking.)

If you’ve not used Air BnB already, here’s 20 quid off!

Average Cost of Accommodation in Japan

Hostel: 3,000 per night ($27/£20)

Business hotel: 5,000 to 8,000 per night between two ($45-$70, £35-£54)

Air BnB: 10,000 per night for a suave pad for 2 in Central Tokyo but costs will be lower elsewhere. Definitely worth a look! ($88/£70)

Eating on a budget in Japan

budget travel in Japan

Japanese soft serve ice cream is a daily essential!

Eating is my absolute favourite thing about travelling in Japan and I’d never deny myself a trip to a sushi restaurant or an extra cup of sake for the sake of saving money. (When in Rome!)

The good thing is that the best food in Japan is the local food- you’d be mad not to sample it every damn day. From okonomiyaki to takoyaki, ramen and crispy gyozas, Japanese food has to be one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. And when you’re travelling there, it’ll be the cheapest thing to eat, too.

Convenience Stores

For the cheapest eats, Japanese “conbinis” (convenience stores, like 7/11, Lawsons and Mini Stop) are a Godsend! The food on the shelves is nothing like the soggy sandwiches you’re probably expecting. Instead you’ll find bento boxes, platters of sushi and sashimi, quick rice snacks and noodle bowls with all the trimmings. It’s actually a great way to get an insight into what Japanese people like to eat day to day- you’ll probably see a lot of business men in suits if you go around lunchtime. Plus, you’ll be able to sample a lot of different types of food for very little money.

There’s always an amazing booze selection, too, with cans of Suntory Whisky highballs and more varieties of Sapporo and Asahi than you could imagine!

You can easily pick up a quick meal here for less than 500 yen ($4.50/£3.50.) Add on an extra 250 yen ($2.25/$1.75) for your bevy!

Food Courts

Another place not to rule out is the humble food court. Again, get the image you have of food courts out of your head. My personal favourite things to get from these places are Japanese curry or katsudon- an egg rice bowl topped with a cutlet of sorts. These kinds of meals are fairly more substantial than conbini food and will cost around 800 yen. ($7/£5.50)

Train Stations

budget travel in Japan

Straight from Tokyo ramen street!

Lunchtime is typically the best time to fill up in Japan. Lots of restaurants offer set meals at a reduced price at this time to attract salary men (and women) on their lunch breaks. Believe it or not, train stations are a great place to find a great lunch. Tokyo Station even has its own ramen street which features ramen from the city’s top chefs. I had some life-changing tempura at a restaurant underneath Osaka Station. Kyoto Station goes a step further and has a ramen street with the best ramen styles and restaurants from across the country!


Speaking of ramen, you’ll find these restaurants everywhere and a steamy bowl usually costs around 700 yen ($6/£4.70.) This is my absolute favourite thing to eat in Japan and I eat it almost everyday!

Conveyer Belt Sushi

budget travel in Japan

When it comes to sushi, I always head to the conveyor belt joints. The sushi here is never anything less than cheap and amazing! Plus, you don’t actually have to take it from the conveyor belt if that weirds you out. I usually order my sushi straight from the chef, just to ensure that it’s extra fresh. These restaurants often have some vegetarian choices too like seared tofu, asparagus and egg rolls. Most people say it’s better to eat sushi first thing in the morning, but I don’t have the stomach for raw fish at that time and head at dinner time instead.

At these restaurants, you can expect to pay around 120 yen ($1/£0.80) a plate but more for premium plates. Make sure you splash out and try some fatty salmon and red tuna at least once.

How Much I Spend on Food in Japan

For me, a typical day of eating in Japan usually involves a quick breakfast- I’ll often pick up something from a Japanese bakery or conbini along with a coffee. This usually costs around 500 yen ($4.50/£3.50.)

budget travel in Japan

For lunch, I might grab something from a food court or train station or I’ll head for ramen. This always costs under 1,000 yen ($8.85/£6.85.) Especially since most set meals come with unlimited green tea and water.

At dinnertime, I might get ramen if I’ve not had it for lunch, or go out for some conveyer belt sushi. If I’m somewhere like Osaka with lots of street food, and I’ve eaten a lot at lunch, then I’ll grab some okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) or takoyaki (octopus balls- don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!) I always wash my dinner down with some sake, a cold pint of Kirin Ichiban, or both! Dinner could cost anywhere from 500 yen ($4.50/£3.50) to 1,500 yen ($13/£10.) Sometimes more if I’m splurging on lots of salmon sushi!

budget travel in Japan

yup, more ramen…..

If you follow the same eating pattern as me, you can expect to spend about 2,000 – 3,500 yen ($18-$30/£13-£24) per day on food. Let’s say an average of 3,000 yen ($26/£20.) I’d also set aside a budget for a few extra special meals. Having a temple meal in Kyoto or Kobe beef in its namesake city would both be extremely memorable experiences.

Obviously, if you’re not much of a foodie, you could bare bone it for much less. But, if you’re like me and have far too much love for food,  you can still get your fix on a fairly moderate budget.

Things to Do

One of the best things about Japan is that most of the iconic things to do are free! Wandering around traditional markets, visiting shrines, castles and temples or absorbing the vibes in Harajuku are all either free or have really low entrance fees.

budget travel in Japan

The famous Fushimi Inari is completely free!

One of the most expensive things I’ve ever done in Japan was going up the Tokyo Skytree. Even though there are cheaper places to see the city’s skyline, like the government building and Tokyo tower, I don’t regret splurging on this one bit. Save a bit of cash for extra special activities that mean a lot to you. This might be a trip out to see Mt Fuji, or even a visit to Disneyland or The Robot Restaurant.

budget travel in Japan

The Robot Restaurant is an absolute must when in Tokyo!

Don’t miss my popular guide on things to do in Tokyo!

With so many fantastic things to do for free, there really is no need to make every activity an expensive one!

So, how much should you budget? If I were you, I’d have a think about the things you really want to do while you’re there. Here’s an indication of prices:

Robot Restaurant: 8,000 yen ($70/£55)

Tokyo Sky Tree: 4,000 ($35/£27)

Disneyland Tokyo Tickets: 7,400 ($65/£50)

Universal Studios Osaka Tickets: 7,600 ($68/£52)

The Golden Temple in Kyoto: 400 ($3.50/£2.70)

Umeda Sky Building in Osaka: 1,000 ($8.90/£6.90)

budget travel in Japan

If you’re obsessed with ramen like me, don’t miss the museum in Osaka which is FREE! (but an extra 300 yen to make your own creation…)

Work out a budget for these things, and then set aside around 1,000 per day ($8.90/£6.90) just so you can be spontaneous on the move. You’ll probably find that you come home with change!

How Much to Budget Overall

Now let’s put all those sums together and see how much it comes out to per day.

Travel Costs: 1,800 (following my basic itinerary – $16/£12)

Food: 3,000 ($27/£21)

Accommodation: 3,000 (mainly staying in hostels- $27/£21)

Things to Do: 1,000 ($8.90/£6.90)

Total: 8,800 ($77/£60)

Overall, having a budget of 10,000 yen ($90/£70) per day would ensure you have a VERY comfortable trip! Of course, this all depends on how much sightseeing you want to do and how much sake you want to drink.

It’s definitely possible to do it for much less- I’ve had days in Japan when I’ve spent just 5,000 yen ($45/£35) overall by hanging out in parks, visiting shrines and eating on a budget. On the other end of the scale, I’ve had extortionate days like when I visited the Sky Tree, went to the Robot Restaurant and splurged on shabu shabu in Tokyo. It’s all about balance and it’s nice to go with a realistic expectation of how much things might cost.

budget travel in Japan

I’ve based this upon a 2 week trip, but you could easily see a small area of Japan (say, Tokyo or the Kansai region) in a much shorter trip. This would be ideal for those already in Asia. Expats in Korea are no strangers to travelling in Japan but if you’re backpacking through South East Asia, you can easily pick up budget tickets to Japan on Kiwi and do a shorter trip.

Getting to Japan is often the expensive part, but keep an eye out for deals. I’ve seen return tickets from London to Tokyo for less than £500 at times!

Japan isn’t the sort of place that you’ll backpack endlessly around so accept that you’re not going to do it on $35 per day! Save up a bit, choose how long you want to go for, and enjoy it. For me, I find Japan much more interesting than anywhere I’ve ever been and would gladly trade a 6-week backpacking trip for 2 weeks exploring Japan.

It’s one of those places that you have to see at least once in your life so get your piggy bank out and get saving!

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budget travel in Japan

budget travel in Japan

Disclaimer: I was a guest of both Mosaic and Oshiteruya on my last trip to Japan. However, I only work with brands that I love and know you will too. This post also contains some affiliate links. If you book through these links, I’ll receive some commission which helps me run this blog, at no extra cost to you. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

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  • Reply
    Brian Dye
    13th July 2017 at 8:24 am

    This post is fantastic! I’ve been to Japan several times but mostly to Tokyo and once to Fukuoka. So I know there is a lot more to see. I’ve always debated the merit of a JR pass and you’ve given me insight into if I really need it or not! Probably not! I’ve been loving the airbnbs I’ve found during my trips so I’m glad to see I’m not the only one.
    Brian Dye recently posted…KMK: KQCF Seoul Pride 2017My Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      14th July 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks Brian, I love Fukuoka- it’s so easy to get there from Busan but not many people seem to go. Air BnB in Japan is awesome. Especially when you consider what you’d get in a hotel for the same price!

  • Reply
    14th July 2017 at 4:48 am

    Wow! What a comprehensive post on budget travel in Japan. And I agree with you…it’s one of those countries that everyone think is super expensive, but it’s totally possible to do it affordably, especially since the yen has last value in recent years. I’d also add that if you travel in low or shoulder season, it makes a huge difference to your costs. 3 of us stayed in an AirBnB right in the centre of Kyoto in March for $55/night, but when I checked the exact same AirBnB for a stay in May, the price was $150!!! PS: Your post is inspiring me to get myself back to Japan as soon as possible…with flights from Korea being so cheap, there’s really no excuse, is there??

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      14th July 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Ohhhh, that’s a great tip! Air BnB is fantastic in Japan and $55 is a steal! Haha I spent far too much time in Japan when I lived in Korea. Flights are cheap, especially the Busan to Osaka route. The ferry is another great way to get there, too.

  • Reply
    14th July 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Very comprehensive with lots of valuable details. I imagine it took a while to write! I’ve visited Japan twice, but have always been confused about the train system between large cities, and what is the most cost effective way to travel. Nice job!
    Natasha recently posted…Jodhpur: second day in IndiaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      14th July 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks Natasha- it took a pretty long time, yes! The train system in Japan is so confusing because different parts of the railway have been built by different companies and there are so many different passes! Hopefully this makes it easier for travellers to know exactly what they need!

  • Reply
    15th July 2017 at 2:28 pm

    This is very, very comprehensive. Kudos to you for covering all there is to cover when travelling. This must have taken longer time to write than most posts. I am sure this is very useful for those who love to travel to Japan and explore as much as they can.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 2:38 am

      Thanks Wendy- it took quite a while, I must say! Hoping it can help some folks out, though, so it’s all worth it. 🙂

  • Reply
    15th July 2017 at 6:19 pm

    This is a comprehensive and detailed post! Thank you so much. I’m hoping to visit Japan soon, so this will be very helpful!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 2:38 am

      Amazing Olivia, have a wonderful time! 🙂

  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    15th July 2017 at 8:43 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic! Japan has been #1 on my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember, and it’s one of those destinations that I keep putting off visiting because I want to make sure I do it right and that I’m able to do what I want with my budget. This post has made it suddenly seem very achievable and you’ve got sooo much great info, I’m saving it to come back to! I’m getting those wanderlust butterflies right now. 😉
    Clazz – An Orcadian Abroad recently posted…Clazz’s 2017 Challenges: June UpdateMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 2:38 am

      Amazing, I’m so glad that this post has made you realise that- thanks so much. That makes all the hours that I poured into this seem so much more worthwhile now. Japan isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely not as expensive as people would make you think 🙂

  • Reply
    15th July 2017 at 8:57 pm

    So thorough and such great tips! We loved visiting Japan and if there is a way to do it a little more cost effective, that’s the goal!

  • Reply
    15th July 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Love how thorough your guide is! My boyfriend and I are dreaming of going to Japan one day – but we’re always broke haha This will come handy once we finally save up for the flight 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 2:37 am

      Thanks so much, Kathi! Good luck saving- it will be worth it in the end. You can do this, girl!

  • Reply
    16th July 2017 at 2:12 am

    Great comprehensive post. I’m currently planning a trip to Japan so this is a big help!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 2:35 am

      Amazing, I hope you have a fantastic time! 🙂

  • Reply
    24 Hours in Tokyo, Japan » 1-Day Tokyo Itinerary
    16th July 2017 at 8:27 pm

    […] Building serves up huge portions of delicious Tonkotsu ramen at reasonable prices that prove budget travel in Japan is […]

  • Reply
    Alexa Hohenberg
    16th July 2017 at 11:02 pm

    This is a really comprehensive list and so much great information. Public transport is definitely the way to go and an experience in itself. How good is the ice cream in Japan also!!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 2:35 am

      Thanks Alexa, yes I still have dreams of green tea soft serve! It really is an underrated Japanese food group 🙂

  • Reply
    17th July 2017 at 4:38 am

    HOLY. SMOKES. YOU JUST DID THE UNDOABLE!!! I love that this is basically the one-stop for how to do Japan on a budget and you didn’t miss a beat with what you shared! I love the cost comparisons, its basically like you did the footowork for people trying to play around with options! People always forget that there are local trains and not just these high-speed trains everyone talks about. And I heard that convenience store food in Japan is so on point! Definitely sharing this with friends and readers of my blog 😀 This is incredible Nicole!
    Izzy recently posted…Walking Tour of Street Art in PenangMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks so much for always being my cheerleader, Izzy! Convenience store in Japan is honestly amazing so you never feel like you’re missing out. I just love noodles- any kind of noodles haha so I can eat ramen 3 times a day and not feel hard done by 🙂

  • Reply
    Rocio Cadena
    17th July 2017 at 6:35 am

    Whoa, what an informative piece Nicole! I’m headed to Japan in October, so this article will come in handy as I prepare my savings account for it haha. I’ve also been recommended to stick to convenience store food as a means to cutting on costs, and the best part is that the food is actually great! Great job detailing all of this info into a cohesive post!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Honestly Rocio, Japanese “conbinis” are amazing! The food is so good but you can definitely eat out without blowing your budget too! I hope you have an amazing time 🙂

  • Reply
    17th July 2017 at 11:53 am

    Um, this post is just AMAZING. I would never put Japan and Budget in the same sentence myself, but I’m glad you did and provided SO much thorough info. Seriously. This is such a great post on how to get around and do it on a fairly decent budget.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 6:40 pm

      Thanks so much, Hallie! It’s definitely not budget in the “$25 per day backpacking” sense but it is possible to curb your spending and not go over board when you’re there 🙂

  • Reply
    17th July 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I lived in Korea for almost two years, yet I haven’t gone to Japan. It’s always been on my bucket list. Now that I read this, you made it so easy for me to prepare my budget in the trip. Thanks for a very comprehensive blog!
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    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      17th July 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Amazing Karla, I hope you get the chance to visit! 🙂

  • Reply
    17th July 2017 at 10:01 pm

    It costs way too much in my opinion! I only went there for a couple of visa runs and felt like I burnt through all my money in short order. Blah.
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    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th October 2017 at 5:51 pm

      It’s definitely not cheap but, for me, it’s worth every yen!

  • Reply
    Monthly Life Update: July 2017 - Wee Gypsy Girl
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  • Reply
    Sonny Willoughby
    26th November 2017 at 11:15 am

    I have just started to research for a visit to japan this time next year all your info here is extremely helpful I know japan is expensive but I know it’s worth it I will travel alone as always
    Thank you

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      26th November 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Hey Sonny, it’s definitely worth it! I hope you have a great time- I’ve visited on my on once and thought that it was a great place for solo travellers.

  • Reply
    1st December 2017 at 6:48 am

    Thank you so much Nicole! Japan is definitely on my dream board and I have it scheduled for 3 weeks in 2019. I did this because I thought I need to budget $10k for this entire trip (flight from Canada included). But based on your post, and how frugal and value conscious you are as I am, you changed two things in my plan. 1) Reduced the budget at the very most in half ($5000-$7000) and 2) maybe move the date up for a 2018 trip!

    Do you have a guide for a two week Korea trip? Because I need to do that too! 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      1st December 2017 at 12:03 pm

      Hey Lovlyn,

      What a lovely comment to receive, thanks so much! I hope you love Japan as much as I do and I’m pretty sure that you will! I’m actually in the process of writing up some itineraries and budget guides to travelling in Korea but what I can tell you is that a lot of things are much cheaper. For the same price as a dorm in Tokyo, you can get a clean but not so fancy motel room in Korea. Food is only slightly cheaper but transportation is VERY cheap. The bus system in Korea is amazing and you can get across the country for very little money. (Seoul to Busan, for example, is about $35 by bus!)

      If you folllow me on FB, I will post these articles there as soon as I’ve published them!

      Thanks again, Lovlyn 🙂


  • Reply
    21st January 2018 at 10:17 am

    This is such a great read! We’ll get to Japan one day soon we hope 🙂

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