How Expensive Is Japan?

Japan has a reputation as an expensive country. It’s why I was always put off travelling there when backpacking, as I strongly believed that I would blow my entire budget on the place! Now I’ve been to Japan, I can confirm that there are some expensive elements to travelling there – however it is possible to go on any budget so long as you plan smart and with some handy money saving tips to boot.

After getting some questions from you guys about the cost of travelling in Japan and how expensive food is, I recorded a new vlog last week for my Youtube channel to discuss everything I spent money on and how much my total spend was.

Here’s the video:




In case you don’t have time/can’t watch it, here’s a short summary of my total expenditure in Japan:

Exchange rate: currently £1 is 140 Yen. So 1000 yen is £7.


As cheap or expensive as you like.

No street food places like the rest of asia where you eat for 30p a plate.

Sushi from the conveyor belt restaurants is between 100 yen – 200 yen a plate (70p – £1.40) – v cheap and good value.

Markets have awesome food, that isn’t too expensive.

Try Oyaki – steamed buns with different fillings. SO good! and only 200 yen per bun.

Also try the Tayiaki – fish shaped pancakes filled with either custard or azuki beans. So yummy! only around 150 yen.

Cook your own meat restaurants seem popular but are quite expensive, especially if you want better cuts of meat. We ended up in one and paid almost 2000 yen each.

Western food is generally more expensive, around 1000 yen + for a meal.

Most expensive meal was at a restaurant in Hiroshima where we spent 4000 yen on 2 mains and a starter – this was a hotel and hotel prices for sure.

Save money on food by buying the takeout sushi and meals from supermarkets and 711 – especially good for days when you’re on the go! Sushi meals are only 350 yen and the food is so good and fresh!


Not a big drinker but had wine/sake which was around 500-700 yen a glass (£3.50-£5)

Beer was around the same price, but we saw it costing up to 1000 yen in the ski resort

Alcoholic drinks weirdly were cheaper  than some soft drinks sometimes.

Water and green tea is generally always on offer and free.


Tokyo: Metro ticket was 600 yen for a 24 hour pass (£4.50)

Kyoto: 240 yen per one way trip or 2000 yen 2 day bus and train pass.

Buses in general seemed to cost 200 yen per journey (£1.40)

Trains: local trains are cheaper than bullet trains for long distances, but also take much longer.

You pay when you get off.

JR Pass – £200 for 7 days unlimited travel

14,450 yen (£103) for one way from Tokyo to Osaka shows the value of the JR pass.

Only aware of prices because we checked to see if we’d made the right choice with JR – W HAD


Accommodation can be a little pricey, it all depends on where you stay though. Our hotel in Tokyo was £120 a night (with the best view ever!)

Book in advance through sites like Trip Advisor and to save money.

Ryokan was £50 per night in the ski resort.

Hostel was £25 per night.

Breakfast not included.

£750 for 2 weeks between 2


Cat Cafe 200 yen for 10 minutes – minimum stay 30 minutes (600 yen = £4.50)

Cat treats 500 yen – £3.50

Universal Studios: £50 entrance fee, queue jump (NECESSARY) £30-70 depending on rides you choose


Flights: £450

Total Accom: £375 (£750 between 2)

Transport: £250

Food and drink: £650

Activities: £400

Souvenirs etc.: £75

Total: £2200.


For two weeks, I didn’t think this figure was that bad – especially as I’d expected Japan to be completely out of price range. To be honest, we could have done it a lot cheaper, as we stayed in 4 star hotels in Tokyo and Hiroshima. If you stick to hostels, you could definitely cut accommodation costs to around £20 a night for a room – so if you’re sharing with someone then it’s even better!

We also ate a lot of our meals in restaurants, which also adds to the cost. If you having cooking facilities or eat from cheap local places/supermarkets then you can expect to cut your food bill in half too.

Transport in Japan is definitely an expense to factor in, but if you get a JR Pass then it works out so much cheaper than buying individual tickets everywhere! Read more about Japan train travel here.

Need help with your Japan trip? Contact me! I’d be so happy to help you out.


  • JJ L

    Hey I’ve been looking up flights but the cheapest on Skyscanner only seem to be £777 onwards. I’ve been looking up April. How did you get £450 flight?

    • Hey, what time of year are you looking at going as there’s definitely fluctuations in price if it’s in autumn or cherry blossom season. I booked our flights after finding them on sky scanner in august 2016 and we flew in February 2017 so 6 months in advance. We fly with KLM/Air France via Paris on the way out and Amsterdam on the way back. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other Japan questions x

      • JJ L

        I want to go from 11th of April until 25th of April. I know it’s 9 months ahead but should I start booking flight and accommodation now? I think cherry blossom is in that period and then golden week near the end ?. I know it’s an expensive time but I want to go due to my birthday being in April!