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How Much Money Do I Need To Travel Japan?

3rd September 2019

Ah Japan, it really has something for everyone. Some of the best powder snow in the world, beautiful mountains, beaches, shopping, food and cat cafes if you’re in need of a kitty cat pat with your cuppa. Did we mention cherry blossoms!?

Japan is another destination that’s really not that far for Kiwis, most of the time it’s knocked over in 1 flight and there’s no excuse for not getting over there at least once.

Japan isn’t exactly a budget destination though and is on par with Europe cost-wise for most travellers meaning that a tip top budget is needed to get in and see everything you need to see without going broke.

But, what exactly goes into a budget for Japan?


Step by step guide to making a travel budget for Japan

1. Learn as much as you can about Japan

How are you supposed to know what to budget for if you don’t know anything about Japan? If you were travelling to the USA your budget would include up to an extra 10% for tips, not needed for Japan. In fact, if you do tip you’re likely to end up with a waiter running after you to give you the money you accidentally left behind. Learn about the major cities, attractions and holidays so you can do your best budget plan around them.

2. Have a plan for how to spend your money

Cash is king in Japan. Make sure to always have plenty of yen in your wallet in order to avoid awkward conversations that can easily get lost in translation. Also, since everything from 1 yen to 500 yen (about $8) are coins, I highly recommend bringing a coin purse with you, you’ll thank me. Don’t get stuck with just your bank card, you’ll end up with nasty surcharges that’ll eat into your fun money.

3. Write it all down

Write down how much you expect to spend on your transport, accommodation, food, activities and make sure you leave a little for some souvenirs. If you want to stick to your budget, it needs to be written down.

4. Don’t forget emergency funds

One thing with travel is you’re bound to end up in at least one situation you didn’t expect, and having some emergency funds in case that happens is going to save you the trouble of starting a Go fund me from Japan.

5. Let our holiday budget calculator estimate the cost of your trip

Allow me to introduce you to the amazing Holiday Budget robot planner 3000! Well, it’s not really called that but the Japanese do love their robots just a little bit and maybe they’d call it that. Planning a budget is hard, it’s not like you just know the cost of a cold glass of beer in Tokyo off the top of your head is it? That’s impressive if you do, but our Holiday Budget Planner actually does know that kind of stuff.


So strap in and let’s take a look at how it works so you can kick your budget into gear and start thinking about all the other fun parts of your trip to Japan!

The holiday budget planner a uses super complex algorithm combining Numbeo data and our exchange rates, allowing us to translate your budget into any currency with the click of a button.

The algorithms are super hard so we can make the holiday budget planner super easy, check it out.

Step 1

is where you’re going to plug in:

1. Where you’re jetsetting off to
2. Your travel style
3. How long you’re travelling for and
4. Choose your currency NZD/JPY

Easy, right?

Step 2

and the holiday budget calculator is going to want to know your sushi habits. Not exactly, but this is where you get to plug in the nitty gritty of your spending habits – addicted to coffee? Put that in there, you’ll be surprised how quickly a coffee a day can add up, even if it is a coffee in a can promoted by Tommy Lee Jones. Fast food meals, restaurant meals and alcoholic beverages – the holiday budget planner knows the cost of all.

Step 3

is for all the shoppers and souvenir buyers of the family’s birthday and Christmas presents. Get an idea of your spending sprees before you crack out the credit card and add the cost to your calculations first.

Step 4

and it’s time to look at the cost of ground transport. With airfares out of the way, taxis, Ubers and public transport can all add up pretty quickly in Japan and keep in mind you should have already purchased your JR Rail Pass pre-departure.

Step 5

is the easiest step; the robots have already done the hard work and this is where you get everything added up for you, no questions asked. Don’t like the results? This is a holiday budget, not an exam – take it again until you’ve got a solid picture of the basics of your trip. Keep in mind that these are the most basic expenses. Don’t forget to add in travel insurance, other daily expenses like food and drinks, sightseeing, activities and leave some extra room in the kitty for any shopping sprees and emergencies too!

Japan holiday budget examples

After a little bit of study, a rough budget for the big ticket items for your Japan trip could look like one of these bad boys:

The lovey dovey couple’s retreat

Transport From $930 pp Return Auckland to Tokyo on a direct flight
Accommodation From $1300 for 8 nights 3 star hotel
Food  $1600 for both Maybe add a bit extra depending how much you like all you can eat sushi
Activities $550 per person Budgeting for karaoke nights out & a day trip to Mt Fuji
Total $5860 for both  


The family cherry blossom getaway

Budgeting an exact amount for family trips is notoriously difficult and your exact budget will likely look very different to the below.

Transport From $3550 for 2 adults, 2 kids Return flights Auckland to Tokyo 
Accommodation $2100 for 8 nights 3.5 star city centre hotel
Food Approx $2050 You’ll not be without yummy options in Japan
Activities $1300 for the whole family 7 days worth of unlimited travel on the JR train pass
Total $9000 for all  


The solo traveller

Transport $920pp Return from Auckland on a low cost carrier
Accommodation $2350pp 7 day Topdeck tour exploring the 3 top locations in Japan
Food $320pp Not all meals are included on the tour so you’ll need a bit extra for your ramen & Asahi
Activities $160pp You’ll definitely want to try out the Mario Kart tour through Tokyo city
Total $3750pp  


Some final tips for the road

Budgeting doesn’t have to be a dirty word. It might not be the most fun part of your holiday, but it is one of the most important parts.

  • Research your ‘per day’ budget and include the things you really want to do. Once you know the costs, you have a goal to save for and some flexibility to work with
  • Most things are cheaper to book in advance (especially if you’re going near peak times) but some things can be cheaper to purchase in Japan
  • Don’t forget to factor in your pre-travel costs (e.g. travel insurance, immunisations and visas).
  • Budget for cheap eats some days so you can treat yourself on others.
  • Don’t forget other cheeky costs like airport transfers, tours and tipping

Flight costs based on search from www.flightcentre.co.nz and are indicative costs only, based on prices available on 04 August 2019. ^Accommodation costs are based on an average per night price for budget, moderate or luxury hotels, as indicated in the table. ~Food based on the average cost of 1 coffee, 1 fast food meal and 1restaurant meal per person, per day. 
COST COMPARISON TABLE: All costs are based on estimated approximate costs from major metropolitan cities. “From” costs indicate costs that start from the indicated price and may be higher than shown. Average prices indicate a typical estimated cost you would pay for the indicated item. Prices may vary from time to time, and in different cities and towns within Japan.

This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you.  We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.