Is Japan Expensive? My EXACT Japan Trip Cost Breakdown Revealed

I spent an unforgettable month in Japan during the cherry blossom season in April 2023. This was my fifth trip to Japan in the last decade, however, most of those previous trips were snow trips, with not as much time spent exploring the cities. 

As the first stop on our big 5-month world adventure, my husband and I made it a mission to track everything we spent in Japan over 4 weeks. While most people may have a perception that Japan is an expensive country to visit, I think the cost of travel to Japan is not as expensive as you might think.

In this article I reveal our exact Japan trip cost, breaking it down by categories along with tips for how to plan your own Japan travel budget and ways you can save money. 

Let’s get into the numbers! 

Table of Contents

How Much is a Trip to Japan? Summary Japan Trip Cost Breakdown

Crunching the numbers, in short, my month-long trip to Japan in April 2023 cost around ¥850,000 total for two adults. 

At today’s exchange rates, that’s just shy of AUD $8.5k total or AUD $315 per day for two people.

However, at the time of writing this article in May 2024, the Yen is at a record decade high relative to the Australian dollar. Unfortunately for me, my trip actually cost me closer to AUD $10k total at the time. 

I think this is my sign to book another trip?!

The majority of my readers are based in Australia, so I’ll refer to the Australian dollar as my primary currency, but for reference here are the equivalent costs (for two people) at today’s exchange rates:

  • AUD $315 per day
  • USD $210 per day
  • EUR €195 per day

Let’s break that down by category:

Note that I have excluded the costs of flights for two reasons. 

  • We flew one way from Australia to Japan and then flew from Japan to Europe so the costs aren’t a good benchmark for a return trip.
  • Flight prices are very dependent on the time of year, and location you are flying from. Generally speaking, expect flight prices to be the highest during the cherry blossom season (March-April) and over the Christmas period. 

Traditionally, I’ve been able to get return flights around the $800 – 1,200 from Perth, Western Australia for previous trips.

I’ve also excluded the cost of our travel insurance, as we had purchased a 5-month policy from Covermore (my go-to travel insurance provider in Australia) to cover our entire trip. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks


Accommodation will likely be your biggest expense for your trip to Japan.

Hotels are fairly expensive for the size of the rooms. I’ve stayed in many cheap Japanese business hotels which were clean and comfortable, but basically were just slightly larger than a shoebox! 

Accommodation accounted for about 40% of our budget for our 4-week trip at an average cost of $120 per night for the two of us. We stayed in a mixture of hostels (private rooms), guesthouses, boutique hotels, and business hotels and had one splurge night at a ryokan (which cost $600 for one night!). 

Clean and comfortable budget accommodation in Japan

To save on accommodation , we often stay at guesthouses or private rooms in hostels that come with shared bathroom facilities as they tend to be spotlessly clean in Japan. 

Some of my favourite budget accommodation from our recent trip included: 

  • Kimi Ryokan Guesthouse in Tokyo (I’ve stayed here 3 times now!)
  • Hotel Sobial Namba in Osaka
  • Hotel Pacific in Kanazawa 
  • Hostel Michikusa-ya in Kawaguchiko (which came with a view of Mt Fuji!)

The most expensive accommodation (in terms of value for money) I’ve found is Kyoto – and that was staying in TINY rooms, albeit in convenient locations. 

To save money on accommodation in Japan, consider staying at business hotel chains .

You’ll find these across the country. They offer good value accommodation if you’re looking for a clean, comfortable and affordable place to sleep at night, but also have extra facilities like coin-operated laundry machines and even provide pyjamas at some of them! 

Common chains to look out for include APA Hotel, Daiwa Roynet Hotel, Dormy Inn, Tokyo Inn and my new favourite, Via Inn. We stayed at three different Via Inn properties on my last trip alone! (Two in Osaka, and one in Tokyo).

I use booking.com to book all my accommodation in Japan, filtering for properties with a rating score of over 8.0 and making sure to find accommodation that is close to a subway station (in cities like Osaka and Tokyo). 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

I haven’t stayed in a capsule hotel in Japan, simply because I’ve always been travelling with my husband who is 196 cm tall and doesn’t fit in them! But they look like a fun and unique way to save on accommodation, especially if you’re travelling solo.

Tip: When booking accommodation in Japan, it’s common to find that many properties only take bookings from 6 months out. So if you’re searching quite far in advance, you may not see any availability.

Food & Drink

Food and drink were the next biggest expense of our trip. however, I don’t think eating out in Japan is expensive – for what you pay the food is of high quality. The reason for our “high” spend in this category is that when I travel Japan, I do NOT hold back on eating and drinking. 

Now I’m not paying hundreds of dollars for fancy dinners, but I do eat a lot, and eat very well. It’s one of my favourite things about Japan. From fresh sashimi, melt in your mouth wagyu beef to rich bowls of ramen – the food in Japan is next level. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

We averaged $109 per day for two people or 35% of our budget on eating and drinking. This might be higher than the normal traveller, given our tastes and the fact that eating out in Japan is as much an activity for us as visiting a castle or temple. 

However, there were also many nights when after getting over 20,000 steps in, or after our MASSIVE day at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, we couldn’t bring ourselves to head out for a proper dinner. 

This is where the amazing Japanese Konbini comes in – we love grabbing a cheap and cheerful dinner from the nearest 7/11 or Lawsons, which you can heat and take back to your nearby hotel. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

As self-proclaimed coffee snobs, we also tend to treat ourselves to at least one or two single-origin filter coffees in Japan per day. I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but on our most recent trip, we spent nearly $50 on a VERY special coffee at Glitch in Osaka. 

We’re also avid sake lovers, and went all-in on the sake tastings and visiting quite a few sake bars. Some personal favourites that I’ve shared in my Osaka itinerary and Tokyo itinerary were Sake Bar Shiki in Osaka and Yata Yata in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Comparing our spend on alcohol vs coffee, I can confirm we spent more on coffee than alcoholic drinks… Which I think says enough about us – ha! 

Your next biggest expense is likely to be transport, which cost us $43 per day and made up 14% of our total spend. 

This was made up of a combination of using the subway within cities like Tokyo and Osaka, long-distance Shinkansen train rides between cities, the airport train from Narita and highway buses between towns like Kanazawa and Takayama .  

You’ll be heavily reliant on the efficient public transport system in Japan, but it isn’t necessarily cheap. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If you’ve read my Things to Know Before Visiting Japan guide, you’ll know I don’t recommend getting a JR Pass anymore after a significant price rise in October 2023. 

Simply buy individual tickets for the Shinkansen. You can do this:

  • In person at the station on the day (or a few days beforehand) using the ticket machines (in English) or at the ticket office; or
  • on the SmartEx app (certain routes only); or
  • purchasing in advance online through Klook (although prices may be slightly higher than buying them in person, but you are paying for the convenience) 

Activities and Attractions

Next up are activities and attractions, which averaged out at $14 per day for the two of us, or 5% of our budget which I think is fairly low, 

Our big ticket item was our tickets to Universal Studios Japan, but other than that most of our other ticket costs were in the $10 – $20 range.

Kiyomizudera Temple

This included entrance fees to the many castles, temples and gardens we visited, as well as our tickets to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival and Shibuya Sky. 

There are lots of free things to do in Japan and many ways to fill your days that don’t cost the earth.

Whether it’s wandering the buzzing electric town of Akihabara in Tokyo or hiking under the thousand torii gates at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, there’s lots of fun activities you can do at zero or low cost in Japan. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Ahh, shopping in Japan. It’s probably a good thing Japan was the first stop on our 5-month world adventure, which meant we couldn’t physically buy too much otherwise we’d spend the next 4 months lugging it around in our backpacks! 

Even then, we had to mail a small package home of some of our favourite Japanese souvenirs that we picked up on this trip (which included this beautiful sake set that we picked up at a sake brewery in Fuji Five Lakes!). 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

The shopping is awesome in Japan, full stop.

Whether it’s colourful anime figurines, unusual flavours of Kit Kats, Japanese skincare or vintage clothes, I’d recommend making sure you leave some room for the inevitable purchases you will make during your time in Japan. 

We spent $12 per day (averaged over a month though, keep in mind), which was 4% of our total spend. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

For me, staying connected in Japan is essential. 

I rely on Google Maps religiously to get around and to find the best restaurants and places to eat on the go. On this trip, this was our first time trying eSIMS (we’d previously used pocket WiFi and physical tourist SIMs), and I’m now an eSIM convert. 

It’s a no-brainer to use eSIMs if you have an unlocked phone, as you can have internet access from the minute you step out of the plane and don’t have to fiddle around with changing physical SIM cards in your phone. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

I used AirAlo and it was a seamless process to set up the eSIM for first-time use, and then to recharge it once I used all my data up very quickly (ha). I now use AirAlo for all my trips, but my husband used Ubigi in Japan and had no issues with them either.

You can check out AirAlo Japan plans here for comparison. 

Between us, we spent $3 a day on data (just 1% of our spending).


This consists of small things like baggage storage at train station lockers, coin-operated laundry and luggage forwarding services between cities (another great hack when travelling in Japan).  

This averaged out to $3 a day .

Wrapping things up, the last expense on our 4-week trip to Japan was a rental car in Kawaguchiko .

This was my first time renting a car in Japan, and I have never needed a rental before nor do I think it’s strictly necessary for you, even if you’re visiting Kawaguchiko.

However, as we had planned to go to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival and a few other sites out of town, we decided it was easier to hire a car than to catch infrequent buses. 

Car rentals are fairly expensive – we paid $250 for a 3-day hire. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

So, Is Japan Expensive? 

In summary, I don’t think Japan is expensive to visit – I would consider it on par with a holiday in Australia or places in Europe like Italy or Germany. 

In fact, as an Australian, I would consider a week in Tokyo to be much cheaper than a week in London or Paris. 

Accommodation and dining will likely be your biggest expenses, and these are things that are fairly easy to manage and find good-value alternatives if you are travelling on a strict budget. 

As a 30-something married couple, we don’t do the typical shared dorm room hostel thing these days. We still managed to find great, clean, comfortable and cheap lodging in guesthouses, private hostel rooms and business hotels for $80 – 90 a night, even in cities like Tokyo and Osaka during peak tourist season in April.  

There are also so many free and low-cost activities in Japan that balance out against bigger ticket attractions like the incredible theme parks. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

How Much Does a Trip to Japan Cost for 2 Weeks

Whilst we spent a month in Japan, most travellers will spend around 2 weeks in Japan. For this length of trip, I would budget $4 – 5k for a couple of mid-range travellers looking to spend 2 weeks in Japan (excluding flights and travel insurance). 

Here’s the average cost of a trip to Japan for a typical mid-range traveller:

  • Accommodation: $100 – 200 per day
  • Food & Drinks: $70 – 120 per day
  • Transport : $20 – 40 per day
  • Activities & Attractions: $10 – 40 per day
  • Total: $200 – $400 per day

Don’t forget to budget for the inevitable shopping you’ll do too!

If you’re heading to the slopes during ski season, expect to pay more as accommodation prices will be higher in the snow and lift tickets are fairly expensive.  

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Final Thoughts – Cost to Travel Japan

That wraps up this detailed analysis of our EXACT Japan trip cost (can you tell I used to be a data analyst in my former corporate life ?!). 

I find it really interesting to look back and see all the costs broken down, and I hope this has been helpful to give you an idea of how much to budget for your own trip. 

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions, and don’t forget to check out my other Japan travel guides to help you plan your trip. Happy adventuring! 

Japan Itineraries:

  • A Fun 7 Day Tokyo Itinerary: Complete 1 Week in Tokyo Guide
  • A Perfect 4 Weeks in Japan Itinerary: Ultimate Travel Guide
  • An Exciting 4 Days in Osaka Itinerary for First-Timers
  • Exploring Fuji Five Lakes: 3 Days in Kawaguchiko Guide
  • Takayama Itinerary: 2 Days Discovering Traditional Japan

More Japan Guides:

  • How to Plan a Trip to Japan: Ultimate Japan Travel Guide
  • 15 Things to Know Before Visiting Japan for the First Time
  • 30 Unmissable Experiences for Your Japan Bucket List
  • Koyasan Temple Stay: Essential Travel Guide & Tips
  • Guide to Visiting the Fuji Shibazakura Festival in 2024 
  • 10 Best Tokyo Cherry Blossom Spots for Incredible Photos
  • Cool Stuff to Buy in Japan: 20 Souvenirs Actually Worth Buying
  • How to Easily Visit the Chureito Pagoda from Tokyo
  • 10 Most Mesmerising Views of Mt Fuji from Kawaguchiko

TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES My tried and tested recommendations to make your next trip easier

🛡️ Travel Insurance: For my fellow Aussies, I use CoverMore for domestic and overseas travel insurance and they've been great to deal with. Travel with peace of mind knowing you're covered for unexpected events, ensuring a worry-free journey.

🌐 Stay Connected: After trying an eSim for the first time when travelling Japan & Europe for over 4 months in 2023, I'm officially converted! Thanks to Airalo , gone are the days of needing to physically swap plastic sim cards every time you enter a new country. Stay connected wherever you go by easily and affordably purchasing an eSim for all your travel destinations.

🚗 Easy Car Rental : Enjoy hassle-free car rentals on DiscoverCars with a wide range of options, competitive prices, and excellent customer service. I often find it's cheaper than booking direct, and I can compare a large range of suppliers to make sure I'm getting the best price.

💱 Access Local Currency: I've been using Wise in my business and on my travels to save on currency exchange and it's been a game changer! Wise provide a transparent and cost-effective way to access and manage local currency, with minimal fees and the best exchange rates compared to the traditional travel cards which sneakily charge extra fees and usually give you a poor exchange rate. Find out more here .

🏨 Accommodation: I book all my accommodation through booking.com . Discover their vast selection of accommodations worldwide, with great deals and flexible booking options. Plus, if you join their Genius Loyalty program, you get special benefits and discounts on selected stays.

🌟 Attractions & Tours: GetYourGuide is my preferred platform as they make it super easy to compare different tours, book experiences and get the best prices for tours across the world. I've downloaded their mobile app to have all my bookings in one place to easily pull up details when I've got multiple tours booked.

📸If you're wondering what I've used to capture the photos in this article, you can see what's in my camera bag here .

☕ Finally, if you found this free guide useful, you can buy me a coffee to say thanks :)

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Never Ending Footsteps

The Cost of Travel in Japan: My 2024 Budget Breakdown

It took me six years to get to Japan.

I didn’t think I could afford it.

Every time I seriously looked into visiting, I would wince at the high cost of the train passes, read about how the hotels were super-expensive, and then fly to Vietnam instead. Or Taiwan. Or even Australia. Japan was simply too expensive for a budget traveller, so I decided to save it for when I was rich.

With that not happening any time soon, I decided to blow my money anyway, because I wanted to go and the gushing blog posts from travel writer friends had convinced me it would be worth the splurge.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that it really wasn’t that expensive.

I arrived in Japan fully expecting it to be the priciest country I’ve ever been to, but I discovered it’s more on a par with Western Europe or North America, and cheaper than Australia. It was way more affordable than Namibia , where my daily expenses came to $132, and way, way, way more affordable than the Democratic Republic of the Congo , where I averaged, um, $550 a day.

Anyway!  This is about the cost of travel in Japan rather than my poor financial decisions, so let’s get started!

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

My 16-Day Japan Itinerary

Here’s a brief rundown of where I visited over my 16 days in the country — I think I managed to put together the perfect itinerary for first-time travellers to Japan .

Tokyo:  4 nights Hakone: 1 night Yudanaka: 1 night Kanazawa: 2 nights Takayama: 1 night Kyoto: 3 nights Hiroshima: 1 night Osaka: 3 nights

What’s Included in this Post

This budget breakdown covers how much I spent on accommodation, transportation, activities, food, and whichever miscellaneous items popped up while I was in country.

I’ve not included my flights into and out of Japan because this is going to vary significantly based on where you’ll be arriving from. In case you’re interested, though, I paid $320  for a return flight from Rome to Tokyo, which I scored through browsing my favourite site for flight bargains,  Secret Flying . 

The amounts in this guide are listed in Japanese Yen and U.S. dollars, simply because the vast majority of my readers are from the U.S. And finally, these are the three rules I always abide by on this site:

  • I do not accept sponsored trips, so everything listed in this post is something I personally paid for with my own money
  • I travel anonymously to ensure my experiences accurately reflect what yours will be. I don’t want special treatment!
  • Every single word of this article was written by me, based on all of my own experiences. I strictly do not use AI to compose my guides.

Okay — let’s get started with my expenses.

Tatami mat room in Hakone Japan

The Cheapest Accommodation Options in Japan

Like practically every country in the world, prices in Japan have increased post-pandemic.

In 2024, you’ll be paying a little more for everything than you would have done a few years ago — in fact, prices almost doubled between my first trip in 2017 and today! — however costs are still on a par with most Western countries. Travel in Japan shouldn’t be too devastating to your travel budget.

I’ll start on the lower end of the spectrum. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it’s possible to avoid paying for accommodation entirely.

Couchsurfing  exists in Japan and allows you to stay with a local for free , usually sleeping on their sofa and enjoying a local’s insight into life in their country. Yeah, it’s not the most comfortable of living situations, but if your budget’s tight, it’s worth sending out a few requests to hosts to see if anything comes of it. You can browse through the 300,000+ Japanese hosts on  the Couchsurfing site — just be sure to read the references of anybody you choose to stay with.

Housesitting  is a more upmarket option, aimed at mid-range and luxury travellers. Housesitting involves taking care of somebody’s house for free while they’re away, often (but not always) looking after their pets, too. It’s best for long-term travellers or retirees, as you can’t pick and choose dates and destinations, so you’ll need to have a lot of flexibility as to where you go and at what time of year. If you  do  have that freedom, though, it’s a wonderful way to cut down your travel expenses, soak up some home comforts, and live like a local for a while.  Trusted Housesitters  is the main site for getting started with housesitting, as they have the highest number of listings.

Finally, when it comes to free accommodation, you could take a look at  WorldPackers in Japan , where you’ll be able to volunteer for locals in exchange for food and board. There are some seriously cool options available on the site right now, from helping harvest honey for a bee farm in the countryside to lending a hand in the garden of a Buddhist temple. Readers of this site get a $10 discount for WorldPackers with the promo code  neverendingfootsteps .

If you’re not looking to travel for free and just want a clean and comfortable room to sleep in, there are plenty of great budget options, too.

Meal in Yudanaka

And then we have  hostels . In Japan, you’ll come across hostels all over the country, finding them on tiny islands, large cities, and even within the national parks. They’re one of your best options for saving money.

Hostels in Japan  are on a par with the rest of major cities in East Asia, and you can expect to spend  $25 a night for a dorm bed  for a well-reviewed hostel, with the price increasing slightly to around  $45 a night  for the absolute best of the best.

When it comes to private rooms in hostels, you’ll be looking at  $50 a night  for a clean, basic room in a good location, so if you’re travelling with friends or with your partner, you may find it cheaper to grab some privacy over settling for two beds in a dorm room.  $90 a night  will get you an exceptionally well-reviewed private room in a hostel.

I use  HostelWorld  to find the cheapest hostels, as they tend to have the greatest number of listings at the lowest prices.

And then there are hotels, which I’m going to jump into next.

Girl in a capsule hotel in Japan

The Cost of Accommodation in Japan

There are so many different types of accommodation in Japan! I attempted to experience as many as possible while I was in the country.

I stayed in a capsule hotel, prioritised hunting down a ryokan, slept on a tatami mat floor, stayed in family-run guesthouses, and checked out some pretty cool hostels. While I did attempt to save money by staying in some cheaper places, I was also happy to splurge on extremely well-rated rooms, too.

As always with these budget breakdowns, I like to share the prices of where I personally stayed, along with a description of the property and whether I’d recommend choosing it, too — hopefully this helps make your trip planning easier!

I visited Japan with my partner, Dave, and we travelled on a mid-range budget; searching out good value accommodation that was highly-rated and in a central location. We prioritised locally-run properties that weren’t too flashy or fancy; for us, a cosy vibe, unique furnishings, and welcoming staff are far more important than the generic decor of a hotel chain.

(Oh and just a quick note: hotels do charge different prices across a range of dates, depending on how busy a certain travel period is going to be. Because of this, it’s hard to be super accurate in the costs that I list. To get to the quoted prices below, though, I looked at the rates across the next six months and took the average: it could be slightly cheaper or more expensive, depending on when you’re visiting.)

Tokyo: $135 a night Odds are, you’re probably going to kick off your Japan adventures in Tokyo, and if so, it only makes sense to really throw yourself into the local experience. That’s why we decided to stay at this lovely onsen-ryokan in Shinjuku. (Whenever readers ask me which neighbourhood to choose in Tokyo, I always recommend Shinjuku or Shibuya.) The reason why I loved this specific property, though, is because it’s a ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) that also has an onsen (hot pool). It’s a great way to jump immediately into all things Japanese.

And it was wonderful; my favourite hotel in the country. The rooms were small and cosy and felt super-traditional and calming. The views over Tokyo at night from the window were incredible. And the rooftop onsen? With free popsicles afterwards? So good. It’s located in a quieter neighbourhood, but still only a 10-minute walk to the subway. I really recommend this one!

Hakone: $80 a night In Hakone, we opted for a private room in a lovely guesthouse , with a tatami mat floor to sleep on and a private onsen on-site. The photo of the tatami mat room above is of our room here. It ended up being another one of our favourite stays in Japan! The staff were lovely and there was a restaurant/bar that served up fantastic pizzas. It had a cosy and chilled-out atmosphere, with great food and wine, and lots of blankets to snuggle up with as we ate. It was also worth staying here just to experience the private onsen — we got to go in as a couple!

Yudanaka: $105 per night In Yudanaka, we opted for a stay in a wonderful little ryokan ; this one was even more traditional than the one in Tokyo! Often, ryokans can be super-expensive in Japan — as much as $500 a night for the experience — so I was thrilled to have stumbled across a more budget option in Yudanaka. It was run by an adorable Japanese couple and their house came with a private onsen, return transport to see  the snow monkeys , and one of the most extravagant meals of my life. A kaiseki is a multi-course (like, 20 courses) meal that will see you eating roughly a week’s worth of food in a single night, sampling fresh, local-to-the-region Japanese cuisine. It was phenomenal, and I loved having no idea what anything was. It even included homemade plum wine, which was so good! I highly recommend the experience (although strongly advise you not to add breakfast to your booking — we were still so full that we couldn’t eat any of it!)

Kanazawa: $65 per night Kanazawa is home to some seriously cool accommodation! We had a hard time choosing where to stay because every property looked so cosy and inviting. In the end, we settled on this minimalist, modern set-up — it was great value for money relative to most other places we stayed in Japan, especially when you consider it’s only been open a year. It’s in a great location, right outside Omicho Market, where you’ll sample the best sushi of your life. Also within walking distance is Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Garden, so you’re really staying in the heart of it all. I recommend signing up for the traditional Japanese breakfast, as you’ll likely not have had anything else like it before! There’s also an onsen and laundry facilities (always appreciated mid-trip!), and the staff were so sweet and kind.

Takayama: $76 per night In Takayama, we stayed in a small, locally-run guesthouse  in the centre of town. It felt like particularly good value for Japan, as it was one of the few places we stayed that you could describe as spacious! It even had a kitchen and washing machine. The beds were comfortable and the hotel was within walking distance of everywhere, including the train station. It was quiet, the staff were lovely, and overall, it made for a comfortable stay!

Kyoto: $84 a night In Kyoto, we stayed in a cosy hotel in the heart of town — we loved this place so much in 2017 that when we returned to Japan this year, we knew we’d have to stay there again! The property was in a fantastic location for exploring Kyoto and the bathrooms were nicer than anywhere else we stayed. It’s one of the top-rated guesthouses in the city — while also being one of the cheapest — so when you take that into consideration, I’m convinced you won’t find anywhere better to stay in Kyoto.

Hiroshima: $40 per bed In Hiroshima, we opted for a capsule-style hostel because I didn’t want to leave the country without trying one — you can see a photo of the “capsule” at the top of this section. Fortunately, we found ourselves in a room with only two other people staying there, so our capsule room with 20-odd beds was light on snorers. The owner of this place was ridiculously lovely and it was within walking distance of all of the monuments and activities. Really great bathrooms, a fun common area, and a cheap price: surprisingly, I would have stayed another night!

Osaka: $108 a night I rounded off my time in Japan with a little bit of a treat, opting for this four-star hotel that offered a ton of freebies. It’s all about the onsen here — it’s open all day and is simply beautiful. After you’ve finished your daily bathe, there’s free ice cream to eat, free comics to read, massage chairs to relax in, and even free ramen to slurp on. Yes, really! It was in a great location for Osaka — just a couple of blocks from the nearest metro station. The decor was calming and traditional; the perfect way to say goodbye to Japan.

In total, I spent an average of $97 per day on accommodation over my 16 days in Japan.

Train in winter in Japan

The Cost of Transportation in Japan

Okay, so let’s talk about transportation now. And specifically transportation post-2024.

It used to be the case that practically every visitor to Japan would invest in a JR pass (a train pass that grants you unlimited rides over a certain time period). After all, the best way to explore this country is by train, and by buying said rail pass, you’d be saving a significant amount of money on your trip — especially if you were taking a similar route to my one. A JR Pass pre-October 2023 would have saved me a whopping $175 over buying individual train tickets.

Seems like a no brainer, right?

In October 2023, the Japan Rail Pass skyrocketed in price. No exaggeration here: prices increased by an incredible 70% .

What a baffling decision.

What that means is that it’s not such a clear-cut decision anymore. The Japan Rail Pass still holds some benefits: If you’re a first-time visitor to Japan and don’t feel too confident about buying multiple single-journey train tickets, the pass will make it a lot easier: you just show it at any station and get on a train. You won’t need to worry about any extra charges and will have the flexibility to take train-based day trips whenever you want.

For most travellers, however, the value proposition is simply no longer there. For example, my recent 16-day itinerary (Tokyo – Hakone – Tokyo – Nagano – Kanazawa – Takayama – Kyoto – Nara – Kyoto – Hiroshima – Osaka) cost me 50,000 Yen ( $350 ) with single tickets. However, a 14 day rail pass is priced at 80,000 Yen ( $530 )!

Alas, the Japan Rail Pass is no longer something I recommend — unless you’re going to be taking enormous, lengthy rail journeys (like across the whole country) in a short period of time. Alternatively, if you do want that added sense of security and ease by not having to juggle a dozen train ticket bookings, you may find the extra price worth it.

So with all that being said: you’re most likely going to be using the JR West website to book your single train tickets online. This covers the entirety of Japan that’s west of Tokyo (all of the places I visited were west) and allows you to book your train tickets all in one place — and then you can reserve a seat on said train one month before its departure date. Honestly, it’s pretty easy to use, book, and reserve — and being able to do it all online means you can get everything sorted before you step foot in the country.

Let’s take a look at the some of the prices that a typical train journey in Japan costs — in this case I’ll use my itinerary mentioned above to plot out the costs:

Tokyo – Hakone: 2,500 Yen ( $17 ) Hakone – Tokyo: 2,500 Yen ( $17 ) Tokyo – Nagano: 7,500 Yen ( $50 ) Nagano – Kanazawa: 8,500 Yen ( $57 ) Kanazawa – Takayama: 5,000 Yen ( $33 ) Takayama – Kyoto: 9,000 Yen ( $60 ) Kyoto – Nara: 700 Yen ( $5 ) Nara – Kyoto: 700 Yen ( $5 ) Kyoto – Hiroshima: 10,500 Yen ( $70 ) Hiroshima – Osaka: 10,000 Yen ( $67 )

So if you were to replicate my Japan route exactly, you would end up spending $381 on rail tickets. It sounds like a lot of money but I do want to stress that the trains in Japan are some of the best in the world. They’re spotless, comfortable, modern, and lightning-fast. You will feel like you’re travelling in luxury.

If you’re not down to spend hundreds of dollars on trains, then the buses are going to be your best option. They’re cheaper, slower, less comfortable, often run overnight, and are complicated to book. The best sites I’ve found for booking long-distance buses is Willer Express and Japan Bus Online — but even they don’t run buses for several of the routes I took on my trip.

I thought it would be a good idea to share the cost of buses for the trip I took, so that you can compare them to the train and see how much money you could save.

Tokyo – Hakone: 2,250 Yen ( $15 ) Hakone – Tokyo: 1,800 Yen ( $12 ) Tokyo – Nagano: 2,200 Yen ( $15 ) Nagano – Kanazawa: No bus for this route Kanazawa – Takayama: 3,300 Yen ( $22 ) Takayama – Kyoto: 3,800 Yen ( $25 ) Kyoto – Nara: No bus for this route Nara – Kyoto: No bus for this route Kyoto – Hiroshima: 4,300 Yen ( $29 ) Hiroshima – Osaka: 4,000 Yen ( $27 )

As you can, see prices are generally around half what they are for the trains. You’d be looking at paying $212 in total for taking the bus, with three trains replacing the routes where I couldn’t find any existing buses.

We’ve covered the main ways to get in between the destinations, so now it’s time to take a look at how much you could spend on transportation within the cities.

Fortunately, this was where I found Japan to be really affordable. I love to explore cities on foot and I found many of the places I visited to be surprisingly walkable. In total, I spent $6 on the metro in Tokyo, $7 on the metro in Osaka, and $2 on the metro in Kyoto! Everywhere else, I just walked.

A reasonably big expense was our Hakone Free Pass (spoiler: not free), although this was more of a combined transportation and activity cost. At a cost of 6,100 Yen, or $41 , It provides you with unlimited transport around Hakone (where you’ll find Mount Fuji), and discounted entrance to all the attractions in town. If you’re going to Hakone, this will save you money because it covers everything you’ll definitely do there.

The Cost of Food in Japan

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If you love Japanese food but have yet to travel to its homeland, you have such a treat in store for you. The food in this country is phenomenal; packed full of flavour and surprisingly inexpensive. It’s true: eating out is the easiest way for you to cut costs in Japan.

In fact, the vast majority of my meals in this country came to less than ¥1000 ($6.50) .

I’ll start first by breaking down the typical costs that you can expect to spend on the most well-known of Japanese dishes. Then, I’ll cover what you’ll be likely to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with the costs associated with each of these meals. Finally, I’ll round out the section off by sharing some of my favourite food experiences in the country and describe which options are worth a splurge and which ones you can happily skip.

You can’t think of Japan without picturing sushi, so that feels like the most logical place to start. If you eat fish, this is going to be such a revelation for you! The sushi and sashimi in Japan is better than any I’ve had in the world and it was here that I finally understood how raw fish could ever be described as buttery.

To combine your sushi/sashimi-eating with a cultural experience, head to Tsukiji Outer Market in Tokyo or Omicho Market in Kanazawa. For a bowl filled with a selection of sashimi, like in my photo above, you’ll pay between ¥1,800 and ¥4,000 , depending on the size and quality of the fish. That’s the equivalent of $12-$25 .

Slurping on a steaming bowl of ramen is my personal definition of a true travel joy, so I opted for this cheap and cheerful dish most evenings as a way to save money. Note: the ramen in Japan is incredible , so don’t interpret my frugality as a hardship. Once you’ve tried the ramen here, I’d be surprised if you didn’t immediately start planning a return visit.

Ramen in Kyoto

One of my favourite aspects of ordering ramen in Japan is how you’re given the option to customise the dish to your own tastes. It’s not uncommon to be handed a small slip of paper where you’ll get to mark down all of your preferences. Do you want your broth to be rich or light? Your noodles to be firm or soft? Added spiciness or none at all? Extra spring onion? A hard- or soft-boiled egg? Most options come out to ¥1000 ($6.50) for a bowl of pork ramen.

Speaking of cheap and delicious food options, I highly recommend sampling a couple of versions of okonomiyaki while you’re in town. This savoury pancake dish is so delicious, extremely filling, and inexpensive at just ¥1000 ($6.50) – ¥1500 ($10) . The cities of Osaka and Hiroshima each offer up their very own version of okonomiyaki and strong opinions are held by many over which is best! If you’ll be heading to both destinations, make sure you try one of each and let me know which is your favourite.

A dish that I tried for the first time while I was in Japan was Japanese curry and what a wonderful experience that turned out to be! In comparison to Indian curries, I found the Japanese version to be richer, sweeter, and less creamy, with plenty of umami vibes. Once more, you can expect to pay ¥1000 ($6.50) for a plate of katsu (pork cutlet) curry.

Yakitori on Piss Alley in Tokyo Japan

One of the most delightful aspects of my Japanese eating experiences was sampling all of the different snacks in the country.

Street snacks like takoyaki were  ¥500 ($4.50) . We splurged on our kaiseki experience at our guesthouse in Yudanaka and paid ¥4000 ($36) for our food extravaganza. It’s a budget option compared to many other kaisekis, which can easily come to $100 for the experience, but still our most expensive meal. Another splurge was on sushi in Kanazawa, which I paid  ¥2000 ($18) for.

Whether you’re on a budget or ready to splurge, it’s essentially impossible to eat badly in Japan. If you’re on a really tight budget, you can even get surprisingly decent food from 7-Eleven !

My total cost of food in Japan averaged out to $23.20 per day.

Lauren with snow monkeys

The Cost of Activities and Entrance Fees in Japan

Activities and entrance fees in Japan were very reasonably priced, and I never found myself outraged over the cost of anything. You’ll typically pay less than $5 to enter most temples, museums, and gardens.

Here’s how I spread my cash around:

Entrance fee for the hedgehog cafe in Tokyo: $13/1400¥ Entrance to the Snow Monkey Park : $7/800¥ Entrance to Kenroku-en gardens in Kanazawa: $3/310¥ Entry to the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto: $3/300¥ Entry to Ryoan-ji zen garden in Kyoto: $5/500¥ Ticket for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial: $2/200¥

My total cost of activities in Japan averaged out to $2 a day.

Tokyo memory lane

Miscellaneous Expenses in Japan

A local SIM card: $14

I mentioned above that I was able to buy a local SIM card when I purchased my rail pass. If you aren’t going to be using a rail pass in Japan, I recommend taking a look at Airalo instead. Airalo is a company that sells local e-SIM cards for travellers. What that means is that you can buy a virtual SIM card online before you arrive in Japan, and then as soon as you land in the country, can switch on your data and start using it.

It’s worked flawlessly for me and I’ll never go back to physical SIM cards. It’s just so easy! You’ll pay  $6 for 1 GB of data  or $14 for 3 GB for Japan and can also top-up through the Airalo app.

If you’re going down the Airalo route, just make sure your phone is e-SIM compatible first (all recent iPhones and many Androids are).

Insight Guides guidebook to Japan: $10 

My sister bought me  this guidebook as a gift before I left for Japan and at first I was like, Insight Guides? Meh. I wish she’d got me the Lonely Planet instead. Then when I opened it up and started reading, I swiftly discovered that Insight Guides are my new favourite guidebook company. It was so, so useful!

What I love about Insight is that their books focus heavily on the history and culture of Japan, with big, beautiful pictures, tons of information about local customs, food, and how to travel responsibly and respectfully. I recommend picking up a copy before your trip to Japan, but not taking it to the country with you — they’re big and heavy, so this is one for inspiration, planning, and education. 

Luggage storage at Snow Monkey Park near Yudanaka: ¥500 ($4.50)

We had our backpacks with us when we visited the snow monkeys, so utilised the on-site storage facility while we hiked up the mountain in the snow. You can also hire snow shoes and winter gear if you’re unprepared for the climb, but I was fine in my totally impractical sneakers. 

Travel insurance for 16 days in Japan: $60

If you’ve read any other posts on Never Ending Footsteps, you’ll know that I’m a great believer in travelling with travel insurance. I’ve seen far too many Go Fund Me campaigns from destitute backpackers that are unexpectedly stranded in a foreign country after a scooter accident/being attacked/breaking a leg with no way of getting home or paying for their healthcare. These costs can quickly land you with a six-figure bill to pay at the end of it.

In short, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.

Travel insurance  will cover you if your flight is cancelled and you need to book a new one, if your luggage gets lost and you need to replace your belongings, if you suddenly get struck down by appendicitis and have to be hospitalised, or discover a family member has died and you need to get home immediately. If you fall seriously ill, your insurance will cover the costs to fly you home to receive medical treatment.

I use  SafetyWing  as my travel insurance provider, and recommend them for trips to the Japan. Firstly, they’re one of the few companies out there who will actually cover you if you contract COVID-19. On top of that, they provide worldwide coverage, don’t require you to have a return ticket, and even allow you to buy coverage after you’ve left home. If you’re on a long-term trip, you can pay monthly instead of up-front, and can cancel at any time. Finally, they’re more affordable than the competition, and have a clear, easy-to-understand pricing structure, which is always appreciated.

With SafetyWing, you’ll pay  $1.50 a day  for travel insurance.

Golden Pavilion in December

How I Track My Expenses While I Travel

Every time I share my expenses, you guys always want to know how on earth I manage to keep track of so many details from my travels!

Because Never Ending Footsteps is my company, the vast majority of my travel expenses are business expenses. I therefore studiously record everything I spend everywhere I go. I take photos of every receipt I receive and use Xero accounting software to record these expenses. In cases where I can’t get a receipt, I’ll take a photo of the price list and my ticket or food, or something as evidence.

Once a week, I then sit down and spend an hour or so uploading my receipts to Xero and making note of every penny I spent in each country I visit. It makes writing these posts super easy!

Takayama in December

How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Japan?

It’s time to tally up all of my expenses to see my total travel costs!

Accommodation:  $97 per day Transportation:  $27 per day Food:  $23 per day Activities/Entrance Fees:  $2 per day Miscellaneous:  $2 per day

Average amount spent in Japan: $151 a day!

I don’t know about you, but given Japan’s pricey reputation, I’m fairly impressed with the amount I spent in the country, especially as I included quite a few splurges in there.

How about you? How expensive were you expecting a trip to Japan to be?

Related Articles on Japan 🇯🇵 What’s it Like to Travel in Japan? 🏯 How to Spend Two Weeks in Japan: An Itinerary for First-Time Visitors 🍣 15 Weird and Wonderful Things to Eat in Japan 🎌 23 Incredible Things to Do in Osaka, Japan 🗼 21 Spectacular Things to Do in Tokyo, Japan 😎 Hipster Harajuku: The Coolest Neighbourhood in Tokyo 🦔 Should You Go to a Hedgehog Cafe? My Experience in Japan 🐒 Why Seeing the Snow Monkeys in Japan Sucked

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Lauren Juliff

Lauren Juliff is a published author and travel expert who founded Never Ending Footsteps in 2011. She has spent over 12 years travelling the world, sharing in-depth advice from more than 100 countries across six continents. Lauren's travel advice has been featured in publications like the BBC, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Cosmopolitan, and her work is read by 200,000 readers each month. Her travel memoir can be found in bookstores across the planet.

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Wow! that’s amazing. I especially got fascinated seeing the capsule hotel…must have been a unique experience.

It was surprisingly cosy! I would totally stay in one again.

Thank you so much for your information. We will go to Japan in October 2023 for 1 month. Have paid fully for 16 days. Using your guides to budget the remaining 2 weeks. Thanks again.

This is great! Do you think it would be much more expensive in summer or any of the peak holiday seasons? I’m going over July this year and wondering if the prices change much with the seasons.

Wow! That’s quite an eye-opener! I’ve wanted to visit Japan for years, and this has certainly nudged me a little closer, as I assumed it was expensive too. The costs seem much better than I found in Amsterdam this spring! (my boyfriend still gets a thousand-yard stare when I mention how much we paid for drinks in one bar.)

Yay! Yeah, it really did feel about the same price as Western Europe, if not cheaper. The transportation is more expensive, but the food was cheaper in Japan.

This is super awesome! I, too, was under the impression that Japan was a super expensive place to visit! Good to know that you can save so much on accommodation and activities! Are you going to be posting about food in Japan? My knowledge of what to eat there is very minimal…

Yes! I published a guide to my favourite things to eat in the country last week: https://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/best-food-japan/

Ditto for here in New Zealand Lauren. All said it would be expensive. But we house sat – rent-free – and saw that food and travel are on par or cheaper than New Jersey. We also saw that virtually all things are cheaper than folks said. Methinks many labeling Japan and NZ as expensive as can be are used to paying $1 for lunch in Chiang Mai LOL. Budget folks see all Western lands as expensive. Granted I am from NJ; living by NYC makes for a high cost of living. But not bad at all, living in these lands.

Yeah, definitely true. I know that when I wrote off Japan as being too expensive, it was in the early days of my travels, when I could only afford to live in Southeast Asia!

Loving the posts about Japan so far. Do you have many more articles planned? I’ve a trip booked in November and this has been the most useful of the blogs so far for help in planning – thank you. Although I’ve had to cut the hedgehog cafe off my plans after reading your article as I hadn’t quite considered the ethics enough!

Yes! So many. I’ll probably post another half a dozen or more over the next few weeks :-)

I always assumed Japan to be very expensive. Thanks to your blog I don’t anymore. Cheers!

This is all very useful info! I’m impressed with your budgeting skills. Awesome, Thanks for sharing this!

Ha! Thank you :-) It comes naturally (finally) after seven years of doing this.

Great article. I’m planning a visit for early 2025 to go with my grandson … was the budget breakdown for one person or a couple … because you mentioned going with your partner?

The accommodation prices are the total cost of the room (rather than just my share), while the transportation, food, and activities are all my share of the costs.

Fantastic article. Love your budget posts because you never leave anything out.

I try not to! Thanks so much :-)

Beautiful photos, Japan look amazing and thank you for sharing your budget tips as well. :)

No problem! :-)

Thank you so much for this! I’m going to Japan in September and I’ve been worrying about my budget. This has definitely put my mind at rest!

Yay! Happy to hear that :-)

I’m so happy that you have posted so much lately, you’re my favourite travel blog and I check this page a lot more often now that the pace of the posts has increased :)

Thank you! :-) I’m aiming to stick to a three-times-a-week posting schedule now that I have a base and more time to dedicate to writing.

This is so much cheaper than I expected. Do you have any idea about prices for solo travellers though? Would I have to pay for a double room most of the time (apart from dorm beds of course)?

No, lots of hotels and guesthouses have single rooms, so you wouldn’t need to pay out for two people very often, if at all.

Thanks, that’s good to know!

Very useful breakdown that would be very helpful for first-timers to Japan.

Just to share, one of my own major expenditure in JP is … vending machine contribution! I simply can’t resist them and can end up buying seven times a day. “P

Yes! I couldn’t believe how many vending machines there were in the country, as well as the variety of things you could buy from them.

Hello! This is a very timely article for me to read as I’m actually going to visit Japan for a week on September. I really love Japan’s culture and their people. There are a lot of places that I want to visit and a lot of things I want to do but I am on a strict budget. Hopefully, your article would be able to help me fix my budgeting for my trip to Japan.

I hope so! I really didn’t find it horrendously expensive, so I think you’ll be surprised by how much you can do there for free.

I love your budget posts because they give me such a good idea of how much I can expect to spend in places around the world. Are you thinking of doing them for everywhere you visit?

That’s my plan! I’m slowly working my way through my records and adding more and more to the site.

Hey, thanks so much! :-)

I’ve planed to visit Japan next year, Thank you for sharing your budget, I’ll try to not exceed 100$/day, following your information on this post.

Have a fantastic trip, Ingrid! :-)

Which month you visited Japan? I am thinking for Cherry blossom (April 2019) and everything is coming up too expensive. Are those above for cherry blossom season you visited?

Ah yeah, unfortunately, the cherry blossom season is the most expensive time of year to visit Japan. I was there in December, so prices will be higher than the ones mentioned in this post. I’ll add that detail to my post now!

I was under the impression that Japan was a super expensive place to visit! Good to know that you can save so much on accommodation and activities! This article includes all the places you can visit in Japan and their expenses. It is very educative and it can be improved by providing expenses in INR. Thank you for posting this useful information.

Thank you! I usually just price these articles in the local currency and USD, which is where the vast majority of my readers are located. If I started including currencies for everyone, the post would quickly get ridiculous :-)

Seems a dumb question, but I’m assuming all the values are in USD, is it correct?

Yep! I write at the start of the post: “The amounts in this guide are listed in Japanese Yen and U.S. dollars, simply because the vast majority of my readers are from the U.S.”

That is a very good breakdown cost analysis there. i am planning to go to japan as well with my wife. and planning to stay for 10 days only. 4 in tokyo 3 in kyoto and 3 in osaka. i like to idea of 100 aud / day it’s a good target to keep but i guess the expense on buying cloths and souvenir would be uncontrollable though i heard things in japanese is not that dear if you know where to shop and avoid tourist trap. i didn’t see you mention buying internet data in advance ? or i missed it somewhere. i guess the expense for a couple will be double up. but i guess 3000 aud for 2 people is unavoidable.

amazing detailed guide

You’re welcome!

I’m so glad I found your website! I love the detail and photos. I just booked a trip to Japan with my boyfriend for this upcoming October, and your site will be very helpful. Question: do most hostels and accommodations that you experienced have you sleeping solo? I’m wondering if I should expect to sleep in a separate area than my partner for most of the trip…

Hi Lauren, Thanks for such a detailed description of your time in Japan! I’m going to Japan October this year with my wife and my major concern is how you managed to book sleeping pods for you and your boyfriend as almost all accommodations are either “male only” or “female only” from the options I’ve seen so far. Did you have to get separate beds for those nights?

Yeah, the capsule hotel-style accommodation is all single beds. You can see in my photo in this post that there’s not much room for anybody else!

My wife and I are heading to Japan in mid May and I plan to use your itinerary.

Would it be possible for you to write something about the travel logistics if you can remember them – ie to get from Tokyo to Mt Fuji we booked the following train, leaving at…from the following platform which took X hours and arrived at Mt Fuji at. We then bought our day pass from….and ……..

This would be really helpful to me and other independent travellers – from where did you buy your JR pass and how did you book your individual train rides?

Cheers Paul

Oh, man. That would take me hours and hours to put together and I’m sure times and platforms change so it would be impossible for me to keep the information up-to-date and accurate.

I recommend downloading the mobile app Hyperdia — you can plan your train travel out using that. Just enter in your destinations and it will tell you which train to take and from which platform. Super easy to use! :-)

The site I used to buy the JR Pass is this one . I booked the other train tickets in person at the stations when I arrived — there weren’t many that weren’t covered by the rail pass. Just the small regional ones to get to and from Yudanaka, I think.

Hello Lauren, I love the details in your blog. Your expenses were for 1 or 2 people?

I cover that at the start of the blog post: “And finally, these are the expenses I paid while travelling with my boyfriend. That means that accommodation prices (with the exception of the dorm bed in Hiroshima) have been halved to indicate my share.”

Great super helpful article. THANK YOU!

Hi Lauren, Thanks so much for this article, it is so helpful!!! on which dates did you fly to japan? what dates are you recommending on?

I spent the first two weeks of December in Japan. I’d recommend looking at May or September as the best months to travel there.

Hi Lauren I’d love your advice. I’m traveling with my 22yr old daughter to celebrate her graduation and my birthday. I booked the first two nights a hotel in Tokyo and then figured we would VRBO or Airbnb but after reading your post it looks like things have changed. I love the idea of the capsule hotels and the standard tatami mat rooms look enchanting. So how do I search for either? We’d like to experience both for the trip. oh by the way, I’m a traveler too, let me know where in the world are you now. Perhaps we can meet up and collaborate, I do video production, just got back from Colorado and am going to Cancun in June.looking forward to hearing back from you, Peace and Love always, “L” oh let’s connect on IG

Just book them through Booking.com — no need to go to any specific site. I’m in Bristol, in the UK. I actually don’t have an Instagram account — it wasn’t doing good things for my mental health, so I deleted it :-)

G’day Lauren,

Loved your detailed description of your travels through Japan. However; I’m not so brave as you travelling around on my own, especially with the language problem. I am a single traveler from Bangalore, India and would love to spend 7-8 days in Japan, with my journey starting and ending in Tokyo, reasonably priced hotels or local hostels, but preferably single accommodation, if possible. (willing to pay extra).

I love train travel and Japan is one of the best places to do that..your take on that would be appreciated. If you feel, I meet your requirements, would love to get an itinerary and costing for my 7-8 day stay in Japan.

Hello! I am really curious on how you got a 14 days pass JR for only 420$, from where I am from (Canada) it is 567!

If you click the link in the post, you can buy it through there. It’s currently listed for 414 USD.

$95/day seems cheaper than what I had expected – is that a tight budget? What can you do more with $150/day? I’d prefer to spend that extra on living in nice hotels + do more activities. Does that seem possible with $150/day?

No, not really. It was a mid-range budget and all of the hotels we stayed in were nice — I made zero effort to stick to a tight budget.

Hope you’re well. I’m wondering if you still advise from not booking Airbnb for Tokyo? Thanks.

Until moments ago, I had always assumed Japan to be too expensive to even consider. Never thought the cost of activities and entrance fees would be so cheap. This is an encouraging article, thanks, Lauren!

Really remarkable post, Lauren. Extremely thorough and helpful. I’m looking to plan a trip to Japan soon and stumbled across your blog. As you clearly hoped from city-to-city, (this may be a silly question) what did you do with your luggage on a day-to-day basis?

Thanks for any insight.

Oh, just left it in my hotels. If I spent less than a full day somewhere, it was visited as a day trip, so I didn’t take my luggage with me. And then whenever I arrived somewhere, I’d time my arrival with the check-in time of the hotel, drop my bags first, then head out exploring.

great article! As I have said in the past you always put out great stuff that’s very valuable information.

I just came across your website when searching for trips for Japan for my son. I have to say I am really so happy and want to thank you so much for the information. My eldest son has been taking Japan as a language course for the last 3 years and was looking forward to trying to get into the high school Japan trip in end of july beginning of August 2020. He also wanted to go to TUJ(Temple University Japan).

However, because of the olympics the high school Japan trip has been canceled for 2020. Unfortunately, he will be a senior next year so the 2021 high school program will not be available for him. Plus going to olympics are so expensive. If you can give me any advice, I would greatly appreciate. Thank you so much in advance for your time!!!

What advice do you need? About what?

Hi Lauren, I really liked you post and I think is really helpful. When exactly did you go in Japan? We have to change our plans for next February (previous planned for Philippines but to risky for my wife pregnancy) and we consider to go in Japan instead. So, do you think it is good idea travelling in Japan in February? Thank you and advance.

I went during the first half of December. As long as you keep in mind that it’ll be pretty cold (5-10 celsius), I think it’s a great time of year, as it won’t be as crowded as peak season.

is it favorable to use credit card or cash is much preferred? thanks

Hi. Thank you for the information! I am so inspired to go to Japan now. My mom who was from Japan, always told me it’s too expensive to go back and visit. I am now 56 and it has been my lifelong dream to go. My husband and I will go with backpacks like we did when we were younger and before having kids. Is October a good time to go? I read September can be humid. I want to follow your itinerary for the most part. My mom lived in Kanazawa. My heart is full right now and my eyes are misty. Thank you for making my dream a little bit closer.

Hey Lauren!

Thank you so much for the information. I actually got invited on a delegation to go to Japan this evening and am trying to get the average cost to travel in the country. Obviously, your trip was on a very impressive budget. I have two questions, 1. Based on the $95/day over the course of your 16-day trip, would it be right to say that (flight included) you only paid ~$1,600 for your entire trip? 2. Would you say for a trip including cultural experiences, transportation and stays in nice hotels for a week, a grand total of $3,700 is reasonable?

In advance, I appreciate your advice on this!

Hi Lauren, Are you able to name all the accomodations you stayed with? I would like to visit Japan next year on a very tight budget. Thanks.

Yes, they’re already linked in the post along with the reviews of them under the accommodation section.

Hi Lauren. I’m debating spending 5 nights in Osaka and doing day trips to kyoto, nara and himeji castle. (I have hotel points where i can stay at osaka). Based on your experience – is that ok? or is better to stay 2 nights in Osaka and 3 nights in kyoto. There is a lot of different opinions online, thought id ask you if you think i’d be missing out on anything if staying in osaka. The one plus is i can save some money if using points and also staying in 1 location for 5 nights vs packing and moving to another location. Thanks so much for your posts!

Hey i found this really helpful but I’ve been planning to visit japan for a while and have hopes of going after i graduate high school. With some research i found that the JR pass isn’t needed if you’re just staying in one city. How much do you think i would spend on transportation for 2 weeks in Tokyo? Will it come out to more than what you spent or less?

Definitely less! You can walk to a lot of places, but otherwise the metro won’t cost much at all — a dollar or two per trip.

Would you be able to give recommendations for food places in Kyoto that are affordable.

Hi Lauren. Came across your site on a Google search for budget travel. It convinced e that a trip to Japan is affordable. Never have done international travel and would like your advice on a couple of things. 1. What is the best way to pack? Do I have to just use a back pack? 2. Can I use a credit card or should cash be used? 3. Can I get cell phone coverage in Japan.

Thanks, you site is great!

1) I prefer to travel with a backpack, but you’ll do okay with a suitcase, too. I personally find backpacks easier for navigating train stations, as you don’t have to drag it up and down stairs, etc. It doesn’t really matter either way, though. Depending on how long you’ll be staying there, I usually pack for a week no matter how long my trip is, then do laundry once a week.

2) Japan is mostly cash-based, so plan for lots of trips to the ATM. I didn’t find many places that accepted cards, although I also wasn’t looking very hard either.

3) Yep, you can pick up a local SIM card at the airport when you arrive. I bought mine through the rail pass company I link to in this blog post, but you can also just buy one when you arrive. Super easy to do and they’ll get it set up for you in the shop, too.

Love your posts! have been browsing but when I stumbled upon your page found it really helpful! Planning for Japan and Singapore so finding both blogs is perfect timing :) We are still not sure if the JRpass will help us- when we did calculation for the main routes we are going it resulted not worth it, however then not sure if we will require any additional rails/trains in between these. Tokyo>Hakone>Kyoto> Osaka without returning back… your input will be appreciated :) P.S. Feel free to visit the island of Malta, my home country

Wooow !! This is amazing , My wife and I have been planning to visit japan and we always had a misconception that Japan is expensive to visit .. This is a great blog .. So the overall cost including your flight tickets and local travel in japan would cost around 2500 $ per person ?

This was so incredibly helpful! Normally I don’t find myself reading entire articles but yours was so informational and in depth. Thank you so much for helping me get an idea of how much I would roughly spend!

Ah, no problem! Thanks for reading, and I’m glad you found it useful :-)

I super love this article Lauren! I thoroughly enjoyed it. When all is well and my country allows us to travel again, this is going to be on my top 3 places to visit (the 1st 2 will be diving spots as I’m a freediver). I made sure to bookmark this page for reference. Again, thank you for writing this. One question though, when you say $ do you mean USD?

Yep, USD! “The amounts in this guide are listed in Japanese Yen and U.S. dollars, simply because the vast majority of my readers are from the U.S.”

How much did you spend on transportation in Tokyo? I mean if you hadn’t had the JR Pass? How much did you save in Tokyo by having the pass?

Oh, I didn’t activate the pass when I was in Tokyo — I activated it on the day I left — so that was my total expenses without using it.

Hi Lauren! I just read your post. My boyfriend and I are backpackers and we are planning our next trip to Japan. I wanted to ask you when did you go there? (what time of the year). Because we can only take time off during winter time (dec-jan) and I don’t know if that’s a good time of year to go. We are from Denver and snow doesn’t bother us but we also want to enjoy it.

Thanks in advance! Love your blog

I was there in December! There’s fewer crowds then, which makes it a great time to go! As an added bonus you get to enjoy all of the cosy onsens in the snow :-)

Even in these unprecedented times, I feel as if I have already traveled to Japan! I loved every minute of the information you gave me. This place is definitely next on my list, of course! It can be months or a year from now.

It appears you’re still getting traffic in the comments here (excellent) so I thought I would ask a broad question. Wife and I are thinking to take our 6 and 9 year old to Japan for about 11 days. Any destinations you might leave off your itinerary given a bit less time and traveling with kids?

Fantastic! I’ve never seen any article about travelling to japan so specific and detailed before!! It sure will help me prepare for my own first&solo trip! thank you so much

Great post, but the prices are wildly outdated now. Your $30/night hotels in 2018 are going for around $220/night in 2023. Insane!

Hi CS, what time of year are you looking to visit? I’ve had a quick check and every hotel I link to still displays roughly the correct prices (a couple were out by about $10-20 a night, but nothing like $190!). If you’re looking at going in May, for example, Hakone Tent prices their rooms at $176 a night, but then offers rooms at a price of $73 a night a month later in June, so the time of year can affect the pricing. I’ll make a note to mention this in a future update to the post.

I visited in the low season, in December, so the prices I paid were lower than they might be at a more popular time of year.

This is amazing on every level. Thank you! only issue is prices for accomodations double during sakura season so what can I do

Thank you Lauren, for this insightful and complete post.

Out of curiosity, do you know what was the average USD/YEN exchange rate when this trip took place?

Kind Regards,

I update the prices in this article every two months so the exchange rate used in the post is recent

How recent was your travel to Japan and what exact dates were you there? I’m planning to take my family of 4 there in 2025 and would like to schedule it during cherry blossom season. I heard prices usually go up during this time so I was wondering if your trip happened during peak or off-peak season.

I was there in December. Prices do increase a lot during cherry blossom season, unfortunately — that’s the most expensive time to visit.

very good post for budget travellers. thanks for sharing.

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Cost of a Trip to Japan & the Cheapest Time to Visit Japan

The average price of a 7-day trip to Japan is $1,659 for a solo traveler, $2,690 for a couple, and $1,913 for a family of 4 . Japan hotels range from $62 to $304 per night with an average of $105, while most vacation rentals will cost $140 to $520 per night for the entire home. Average worldwide flight costs to Japan (from all airports) are between $948 and $1,696 per person for economy flights and $2,977 to $5,325 for first class. Depending on activities, we recommend budgeting $48 to $99 per person per day for transportation and enjoying local restaurants.

See below for average , budget , and luxury trip costs. You can also look up flight costs from your airport for more tailored flight pricing.

The Cheapest Times to Visit Japan

On average, these will be the cheapest dates to fly to Japan and stay in a Japan hotel:

  • January 8th to March 18th
  • August 27th to December 9th

The absolute cheapest time to take a vacation in Japan is usually late September .

Average Japan Trip Costs

Average solo traveler.

The average cost for one person to visit Japan for a week is $1,380-$2,771 ($197-$396 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $48 to $99 per day for one person’s daily expenses

Flights : $564 to $1,394 for economy

Lodging : $80 to $114 per night for one 2 or 3-star hotel room

or $86 to $105 per night for a 1-bed vacation rental

Average Couple’s Trip

The average cost for a couple to visit Japan for a week is $2,279-$4,865 ($326-$695 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $96 to $199 per day for two people’s daily expenses

Flights : $1,127 to $2,788 for economy

Average Family Vacation

The average cost for 4 people to visit Japan for a week is $4,360-$9,723 ($623-$1,389 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $191 to $397 per day for four people’s daily expenses

Flights : $2,255 to $5,576 for economy

Lodging : $161 to $228 per night for two 2 or 3-star hotel rooms

or $128 to $157 per night for a 2-bed vacation rental

Traveling Cheap to Japan

How cheap can you make a vacation to Japan? The cheapest trip to Japan is about $150 per person per day for travelers willing to take standby flights, deal with inconvenience, and otherwise limit travel expenses. About 3% of rentals are available in the $0 to $100 range for an entire place, and vacation rentals can be booked for as low as $16 per night. These inexpensive rentals must be booked as early as possible and may not be in the most desirable areas. 1-star hotels are more likely to be available, with rooms starting at around $53.

Even cheaper trips are possible depending on where you live and whether you can drive. Check the cheapest times to fly for more saving ideas.

Budget Solo Traveler

The lowest cost for one person to visit Japan for a week is $1,050-$2,576 ($150-$368 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $24 to $48 per day for one person’s daily expenses

Lodging : $53 to $62 per night for one 1-star hotel room

or $110 to $141 per night for a 1-bed vacation rental

Budget Couple’s Trip

The lowest cost for a couple to visit Japan for a week is $1,781-$4,306 ($254-$615 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $48 to $96 per day for two people’s daily expenses

Budget Family Vacation

The lowest cost for 4 people to visit Japan for a week is $3,557-$8,186 ($508-$1,169 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $96 to $192 per day for four people’s daily expenses

Lodging : $105 to $124 per night for two 1-star hotel rooms

or $165 to $211 per night for a 2-bed vacation rental

Overall it is very difficult to travel to Japan cheaply.

The Cost of a Luxury Japan Trip

There is no true ceiling on the cost of a luxury trip, so our estimates are based on what most people do in Japan.

Luxury Solo Traveler

The high-end price for one person to visit Japan for a week is $3,040-$10,904 ($434-$1,558 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $96 to $198 per day for one person’s daily expenses

Flights : $1,408 to $3,470 for first class

Lodging : $160 to $304 per night for one 4 or 5-star hotel room

or $504 to $1,008 per night for a preferred vacation rental

Luxury Couple’s Trip

The high-end price for a couple to visit Japan for a week is $5,121-$15,768 ($732-$2,253 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $192 to $397 per day for two people’s daily expenses

Flights : $2,817 to $6,941 for first class

Luxury Family Vacation

The high-end price for 4 people to visit Japan for a week is $10,241-$28,542 ($1,463-$4,077 per day)

Food, Travel, and Sightseeing : $384 to $794 per day for four people’s daily expenses

Flights : $5,633 to $13,882 for first class

Lodging : $320 to $609 per night for two 4 or 5-star hotel rooms

or $753 to $1,517 per night for a preferred vacation rental

Japan Hotel Prices

The cost of staying in Japan is much higher than the average city. On average hotels are less expensive than vacation rentals. Luxury vacation rentals are more expensive in Japan due to very high property costs. The graphs below show how much cost can vary depending on the type of experience you’re looking for.

Japan Lodging Cost by Star Status

The average price for the class of hotel is on the (y) axis. The hotel class (out of 5 stars) is on the (x) axis.

Prices are based on Japan hotel averages and may not reflect current prices. In some cases, we extrapolate prices to estimate costs, and hotels with your desired star rating may not be available.

Vacation Rental Prices

The percent of vacation rentals in the price range is on the left (y) axis. Price range is on the bottom (x) axis.

There are a healthy amount of vacation rentals serving all budgets in Japan.

Flight Costs to Japan

Averaging flights around the world, prices go from a high of $1,696 average in early to mid July to a low of $948 in late September. Median flight price is $1,031. These prices are based on millions of flights. For Japan our data includes thousands of originating airports, and hundreds of airlines. The area has more variance in price compared with other locations.

Average Flight Cost by Season

Average flight cost by day of week.

The cheapest day to fly in is typically Tuesday, and the cheapest day to fly back is usually Tuesday. Click here to see data for the cost of flights from your airport. In Japan, the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive week is about $748, so you can easily save about 79% simply by using our free flight guides and booking in advance.

Daily Expenses Budget

Daily vacation expenses vary more based on what you’re interested in doing. A fine dining restaurant with drinks around Japan can easily cost $361 per person or more, while a standard nice meal might be about $24 per person. Private tours can cost $722 per day, but self-guided tours to see the outdoor sights can be free. Costs vary wildly, so recommendations are made based on the cost of living and averages we see for this type of vacation.

Other Japan Guides

Travel costs nearby.

  • Nagahama, Japan
  • Maibara, Japan
  • Tsuruga, Japan
  • Echizen, Japan
  • Sabae, Japan
  • Ogaki, Japan
  • Yoro, Japan
  • Hikone, Japan
  • Fukui, Japan
  • Gifu, Japan

Travel Costs in Popular Places

  • Chicago, IL, US
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Nairobi, Kenya


How Much Does a Trip to Japan Cost? Average 2024 Budget

Japan is a great first destination for American tourists looking to travel to Asia. It offers a unique taste of East Asian culture, in a highly-developed, Western-influenced setting. If Japan is on your bucket list but you are wondering “how much does it cost to go to Japan?”, that answer can sometimes be a lot. The Japan trip cost is the main reason it took us so long to finally take a family trip to Japan.

The bottom line is that the Japan trip cost for a two-week trip for a family of four, staying in four-star level accommodations with a few paid activities will cost about $13,420 or $280 per person, per day.

However, while Japan is an expensive country, there are options for budget travel in Japan. The trip to Japan cost depends on your travel style, but it need not be as expensive as you thought. This Japan trip budget breakdown will show you how and where to save on your visit. I will cover the cost of airfare, intra-country transportation, accommodations, food, and activities .

Planning a trip to Japan

Japan has so much to offer, but for a first trip, splitting your time between Tokyo , Kyoto , and maybe Osaka over two weeks in Japan is best. I’ve created a 14-day Japan itinerary and you can also see my friend Vaness’a suggestions for two weeks in Japan .

Your first experience with Japan is a total assault on the senses, so you really should slow down and stick to just a couple of destinations. If you return, you can then follow this longer 3-week Japan with kids itinerary or visit places like Hokkaido, the western coast of Honshu and Kanazawa, Shikoku, and Okinawa. Be sure to also read my Japan travel tips .

How much does a trip to Japan cost?

Arashiyama bamboo grove

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.

I based this budget on my personal experience of what it costs to travel to Japan and broke it down by airfare, accommodations, transportation, activities, and food. This breakdown assumes you are visiting Japan with kids for the following:

  • A family of four with two adults and two kids under 12
  • Two-week trip, including two travel days, with 12 nights in Japan
  • Five nights in Tokyo, five nights in Kyoto, and 2 nights in Osaka
  • Traveling during high or shoulder seasons (although not the top peak travel dates during Cherry Blossom season, then you can expect to pay premium pricing across the board.)
  • Independent travelers that are comfortable exploring on their own and not looking to book a package tour or use private guides

Airfare to Japan

Torii gate in Mishiyama

The first big expense for a trip to Japan is, of course, airfare. Economy class flights to Japan from New York during shoulder and high seasons will likely start at around $1,300 per person and easily go up to $2000. We paid about $3,200 per person to fly Delta from Boston to Tokyo through Detroit (but we used points for one flight at least!)

Air Canada and Delta with layovers in Toronto and Detroit, respectively, are common offerings at a price point like this. If you are looking to fly nonstop to Japan on United or one of the more upscale Asian carriers like Japan Airlines will probably cost around $2,000 from the East Coast.

West Coasters might find slightly cheaper fares, but whichever coast you start from, it is a good trip to use your frequent flier miles and points as that will really help with your Japan trip budget. It is best to book airfare at least six months in advance, or as early as possible.

I also highly recommend signing up for a membership in Going , to get alerts for flight deals to your dream destinations.

If you want to find the best way to accumulate points and miles through credit card spending and sign up bonuses, I’d suggest downloading the  Travel Freely app  to track your credit cards and learn how to earn points.

Total airfare cost: $1,300+ each x 4 travelers= $5,200

Accommodations in Japan

Kiyomizudera temple

The good news is that airfare is definitely the most prohibitive cost for a trip to Japan. The accommodation are pricey when staying in big cities, but there are plenty of budget options (including those tiny capsule hotels). A night in a 4-star hotel in Tokyo will range anywhere from $250-$450 per room, with an average of $350 per night for a room large enough to sleep four. Just keep in mind that if you stay in a Japanese-brand hotel, the rooms are going to be quite small, be sure to check square footage.

We enjoyed our stay at the Hilton Tokyo , because it was a great location for using public transportation and the rooms were spacious and the full-service hotels had good amenities like free breakfast for Club level rooms.

Find a Hotel in Tokyo :

Hotel prices in Kyoto are wider-ranging, perhaps because there are far fewer options than in Tokyo. The overall average comes out to about $350 per room, per night for a 4-star property that will fit a family of four.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto , which was accessible to public transportation and walkable to many of the main attractions. For cheaper accommodations, look at brands like the Mimaru .

Find a Hotel in Kyoto:

Osaka is a huge city with plenty of hotel options. It makes sense to stay near one of the main train stations or metro hubs to make it easy to get around. We loved our stay at the Intercontinental Osaka , where we splurged on a two-bedroom, two-bath residence with a full kitchen, living room, and amazing view (they have regular hotel rooms too). If you can book through American Express Fine Hotels with your Platinum card or a Virtuoso travel agent, you can also get perks like free breakfast and the breakfast is amazing!

A typical three to four-star hotel that can accommodate a family in one room is about $300 per night, but could go up to $600+.

Find a hotel in Osaka:

If you are traveling as a family, you will probably want more space than what you find in a typical Japanese hotel room (even beyond the capsule hotels). If you want to save money and get more space, I would recommend renting an apartment through vrbo or Airbnb.

You can get a nice, family vacation rental for about $130 per night (and a really nice one for about $180 a night). The best part is that you’ll have a kitchen and a dining room where you can bring prepared food home to eat or even try cooking yourself, which is helpful for budgeting since eating out in Japan can be pricey.

Rental options in Kyoto are much more limited and more expensive, but it is possible to find something affordable and really cool. A lot of the rentals in Kyoto are in older houses built in traditional Japanese styles.

Total accommodations cost if you stay in hotels: $350 x 12 = $4,200

Total accommodation costs if you stay in apartments: $200 x 12 = $2,400 (but it can be cheaper)

Transportation Costs in Japan

Tokyo subway

Transportation is another pricey part of traveling in Japan. I don’t recommend traveling by taxi very often in Japan, since they are quite expensive, but there will be times when it is the best choice, especially in the heat of summer. Taxis in Japan work similarly to taxis in the U.S., charging a higher starting fee for the first couple kilometers of travel with additional costs added on for any further distance.

For example, you will be charged about ¥500 for the flat fare and an additional ¥200 for each additional kilometer. (Japan Guide gives a detailed explanation of how taxi fares work in Japan.)

Japan’s public transportation networks in metropolitan areas are feats of modern urban planning. Trains arrive and depart at the precisely scheduled second . They are perfectly clean, they run smoothly, and they take you to wherever you need to go.

It can be a bit daunting if you have no knowledge of Japanese to make sense of the transit system maps, but you will eventually get the hang of it. Buying a train ticket isn’t too complicated either, as there is usually an English-language option on the self-service booth screens.

In Tokyo, one-day tickets for the metro are ¥600 (about $4.00) for adults and half that for children. In Kyoto, the metro is a little more expensive, with one-way fares costing about the same as the one-day tickets in Tokyo do.

For traveling longer distances in Japan, suburban trains and the Shinkansen (bullet train) are the way to go. If you are planning on taking several railway trips, then it may make sense to get a rail pass, but those rates recently went up so you really need to do the math to see how much you will use it. Rail passes are sold by duration (i.e., each week costs an extra amount of money), class of service, and region vs. national, and they are not cheap.

A regular fare for the JR 7-day rail pass is about $200, and a 14-day pass is $315 (children’s passes are less.) This does not include shipping and handling and any other processing fees. Make sure to book rail passes far in advance.

You cannot buy them in Japan— they have to be purchased within the United States with a valid passport several weeks before traveling to Japan. There are several websites where you can buy passes including JR Pass . When you arrive, you need to stop by the JR Train office and exchange your vouchers for actual passes.

The rail pass comes with added perks, which include not having to reserve a seat on long-distance trains, the ability to use the pass on suburban JR trains, as well as free access to the Narita Express between downtown Tokyo and Narita International Airport.

Rail pass costs: $315 per full price JR pass x 2 +$158 per children’s price JR pass x 2 = $946, plus (always double check for current rates)

Metro ticket costs: [2 x $4.00 metro tickets x 2+ 2 $2.00 children’s price metro ticket x 2] x 12 days = $144, plus

Taxi fare: $20 per occasional taxi ride x 4 = $80

Total transportation costs: $1,170

Sightseeing and Activities Costs in Japan

baseball game at Kyocera Dome

One of the best parts about budgeting for Japan is that it is easy to sightsee on your own without a guide and many of Tokyo and Kyoto’s most famous attractions are free.

Temples and museums charge small entrance fees, usually ¥600 (about $4.50) per adult, half price for children. This includes things to do in Tokyo like Senso-ji temple, and the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park.

Most of Kyoto’s attractions and temples typically charge similar small entrance fees, like Ginkaku-ji temple, Temple of 10,000 Buddhas, and the Iwatayama Monkey Park near Arashiyama.

There are a couple of major attractions that will cost, most notably the Tokyo Sky Tree, which charges about $15 per adult ticket (not including Fast Track), with a reduced fare for children.

Tokyo Dome charges about $30 per ticket with reduced fares for children, but that ticket covers all of the amusement park– the individual museums there (like the Japanese Baseball Museum) are about the same price as most temples would be. The Mori Art Museum also charges higher than usual ticket prices, but the ticket includes access to multiple galleries, as well as Tokyo City View.

Of course, many families are also going to want to go to Tokyo DisneySea or Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

Japan’s fascinating history has produced a rich and complex culture. Tourists looking for traditional Japanese experiences have plenty of options when it comes to cultural activities. They come with a price tag though.

Option 1: Attending a Sumo Practice or Match

Sumo wrestling match

Watching Sumo wrestlers hone and practice their martial art is a stunningly beautiful cultural experience. Tournaments are only held seasonally, and tickets need to be booked in advance. Not to fear if you won’t be in Japan for a tournament though, Sumo practices are held in Sumo-beya (Sumo Stables) throughout the rest of the year.

General admission tickets for Sumo Matches are only about $2, but if you want better seats, a cheap seat will go for about $35, with a lower-end family box going for about $110. Expect to pay several times as much for a better ticket or box.

Option 2: Kabuki

Kabuki is a type of traditional Japanese theater. The costumes and masks are beautiful, and the performances are fascinating, even if you can’t really understand what is going on. The typical places to watch Kabuki are the Kabuki-za Theatre in Tokyo and the Minami-za Theatre in Kyoto.

Tickets can cost anywhere from $27-$220, based on the seat quality. There are tablet rental services for ¥500 available for tourists who don’t speak Japanese that attach to your seat during the performance so you can get a better sense of what is going on.

Other options for cultural activities include tea ceremonies , sushi making workshops , origami classes, calligraphy classes, and kimono sampling classes . A rough estimate of the price for each of these activities is probably somewhere between $50-$100 per person.

If you’re in Japan for a little under two weeks, I would recommend picking 1-3 cultural activities, depending on your budget. I’d also suggest taking a food tour in Osaka or Tokyo. Another thing that older teens would love would be dressing up in costumes and go karting through the streets of Tokyo.

Total sightseeing and attractions costs: $1,100

Food Costs in Japan

bowl of ramen

If you aren’t going to Japan at least partially for the food, then you’re doing it wrong! Eating Japanese food is a really special experience, no matter your price point. With such a unique cuisine, it is impossible to get bored of eating on a visit to Japan— that is, if you are an adventurous eater.

Eating out in Japan can be expensive. Moderate-range restaurants and Izakaya (restaurants with bars) will cost about $15-$20 per person for lunch, and $25-$35 for dinner. The good news is that it is possible to experience great Japanese food without eating in these types of venues all the time.

Specialized restaurants, like ramen bars, are Japanese staples that serve up specific types of food and are perfect for those doing Japan on a budget. It is possible to find amazing ramen bars (including some Michelin-starred ones) that charge between $5-$15 for a large bowl. These types of venues exist for many other types of Japanese foods, like gyudon, tonkatsu, udon, okonomiyaki, curry houses. The only downside is that these venues are typically quite small and don’t take reservations so you need to be prepared to wait in line.

There are also shokudo and teishoku, which are smaller restaurants that serve meals that are less fancy, but often equally as tasty as Izakaya. Prices are about the same as what you would find at ramen bars— sometimes more, sometimes less. Some of these restaurants are chains where you order set meals, either from a paper menu or on these chunky, vending machine-looking devices that spit out tickets.

Another option for eating out is picking up bento boxes from the prepared foods sections of department stores, like Daimaru, Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi, and Isetan. The food is actually very high quality and is painstakingly prepared, as is often the case with anything in Japan. You can find almost anything at the department stores, including sushi, karaage, tonkatsu, yakisoba, zaru soba, eel, gyoza (dumplings), yakitori.

Steak Otsuka in Kyoto

Good-sized meals at higher-quality department stores will probably cost around $15 per person. They are easily transportable and a great option to eat great quality Japanese food at a lower price point. Konbini (Japanese convenience stores) offer similar options, albeit in smaller quantities and of lower quality.

Street food is also great in Japan. Since Japan is a highly developed country, eating street food is pretty safe, unlike other countries in Asia where Americans need to be more cautious. Japanese treats like taiyaki, takoyaki, yakitori, and other fan favorites can be purchased, usually for cheaper than the food you will find even at ramen bars. Japan also has a proliferation of high-quality vending machines almost everywhere that spit out great Japanese snacks and drinks for cheap. And don’t underestimate the wonders of a 7-11 sandwich or rice ball!

Breakfast in Japan is a smaller meal that consists of various fish and rice dishes, as well as soup. A decent quality breakfast shouldn’t cost more than $10. It is also easy to make a DIY breakfast, especially if you’re staying in a flat if you pick up prepared and easy-to-prepare foods from konbini.

Just a warning though, if you do want to experience a Michelin-star sushi restaurant or a traditional Keiseki meal, it is going to cost about $250-500 per person!

Total food costs in Japan: $75 per adult, $50 per child, per day x 14 days = $1,750

This cost is subject to vary greatly, depending on whether or not you’re staying in a hotel or in a rental, how fancy a restaurant you prefer, whether or not you’re willing to shop for your own food in the department stores, whether or not you want to splurge for special meals, etc.

Total Japan Trip Budget

If you don’t overdo it on food or activities, your family of four can spend 12 nights in Japan for $13,420 or a little about $1,118 per day. Of course, this assumes average-priced flight tickets during the high season, staying in three or four-star hotels, and eating at lower-to-mid price range restaurants.

If you want an English-speaking guide to attractions, or if you take a lot of tours, your activities costs will go up significantly. But if you stay in vacation rentals, your costs can be lower.

Clearly, this number can be higher or lower based on how you choose to travel.

How Much Does it Cost to Go to Japan?

The bottom line is that for a family of four, with two young children, staying in one room or a rental apartment, a 12-night trip to Japan with 5 nights in Tokyo, 5 nights in Kyoto, and 2 nights in Osaka will cost approximately $13,420 including flights. This assumes you are using public transportation, eating at casual restaurants or picking up takeaway food, and limiting the number of activities. This comes to approximately $280 per person, per day.

Keep in mind that this cost will go up significantly if you want to take private tours, private transportation, or enjoy more cultural activities or fine dining.

If Japan sounds too expensive, you can also check out our trip budgets for:

  • London trip cost
  • Iceland budget
  • Ireland trip cost
  • Italy trip budget
  • Hawaii trip cost
  • Morocco trip cost
  • Greece trip cost


Find out how much a trip to Japan costs with this handy budget breakdown for travel to Tokyo and Kyoto including some money saving tips on where to stay and Japanese food. #japan #tokyo #kyoto #japantravel

Tamara Gruber is the Founder and Publisher of We3Travel. A former marketing executive and travel advisor, Tamara is an award-winning travel writer and recognized expert in family travel. Tamara is a member of SATW and the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and serves on the Board of the Family Travel Association. She is also the publisher of YourTimetoFly.com and the co-host of the Vacation Mavens travel podcast.

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Publish Date: November 23, 2023



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  • Travel Planning Guide

How much does a trip to Japan Cost?


How much money should you budget for your trip to Japan?

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  • Hotel Prices

The Cost of a Trip to Japan

For a trip to Japan, you should plan for daily costs anywhere between $47 to $304. If there's two of you traveling, your daily expenses could range from $94 to $609. These price ranges are based on the average daily spending of $119 (¥18,714) per person which comes from the travel expenses of other visitors. These costs include food, accommodation, sightseeing activities, and getting around locally. Keep in mind, though, these figures can vary somewhat based on your individual travel style, level of luxury, and chosen activities. Destinations across the country, such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, might might vary somewhat from the overall average price, but they usually stick close to this range. Read on for a breakdown of travel typical expenses as well as a comparison of tour prices versus Independent travel.

If you're planning an Independent trip to Japan, budget travelers should plan to spend around $47 (¥7,364) per day for their trip. This average includes hostels and budget hotels, affordable meal options, local transportation, and activities. If you're on a mid-range budget, plan for around $119 (¥18,714) a day which covers the cost of typical hotels, normal restaurants, and a variety of popular attractions. Luxury travelers should allow for $304 (¥47,763) a day, which would cover higher-end hotels, nicer restaurants, and more private tour options. All of these price ranges are based on our extensive travel cost data for Japan from other travelers, along with hotel and tour data from travel companies.

How much does a one week trip to Japan cost?

On average, visitors to Japan spend between $328 and $2,130 for their week-long adventure, with the average being $835. This covers sightseeing, local transportation, food, and accommodations. With a duration of one week, you'll have the opportunity to explore one, two, or even three locations within Japan, depending on the level of depth you desire for your visit. Some of the most popular places to consider exploring are Tokyo , Osaka , and Kyoto . It's important to note that these figures are averages and can vary based on personal preferences and choices. Ultimately, the goal is to create a memorable and enjoyable experience tailored to your specific interests.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

How much does a two week trip to Japan cost?

With two weeks, you should budget between $657 and $4,260 for your trip to Japan. The average price for a two week trip is $1,669. Two weeks will allow you enough time to visit between three and five places. If you're on a budget, you might want to consider some of the more affordable places such as Sado, Mashiko, and Dewa Sanzan.

How much does a one month trip to Japan cost?

When embarking on a month-long trip to Japan, expenses can range from $1,407 to $9,129, with an average cost falling around $3,577. For those fortunate enough to have a full month, considering a vacation rental with a kitchen for at least a portion of your stay can help save money with meals. Backpackers often opt for hostels due to their affordability and the added benefit of a social vibe.

Hostel Prices in Japan

With more than 220 hostels in Japan, the average price is $23 per night for a dorm bed. Hostels are a terrific option for younger independent travelers looking to save money while staying social during their trip. With many types of hostels, it can be overwhelming to sort out the best places, though. Our analysis of the hostels in Japan not only found the average price, but also uncovered some surprises about the overall quality, amenities, and atmosphere of hostels in the region. You can see more details from our analysis about typical hostel prices in Japan here .

Here are a few sample prices from popular hostels in Japan.

  • $26 for a dorm bed at Sakura Hostel Asakusa in Tokyo more details
  • $19 for a dorm bed at Guesthouse U-En in Osaka more details
  • $25 for a dorm bed at Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto in Kyoto more details

Hotel Prices in Japan

You'll find a wide range of hotel options across Japan. Below are prices for some of the destinations, and for more details see our analysis of hotel costs in Japan .

Disney Ambassador Hotel

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Should you do an organized tour or travel independently in Japan?

Organized tours and independent travel are essentially the two main ways to plan a trip to Japan. Organized tours offer a convenient and hassle-free experience, with travel experts handling all the logistical details and the added benefit of an expert guide imparting valuable insights. This option is favored by those who appreciate the convenience and ease provided by tours that often include transportation and expert guides.

On the other hand, independent travel provides a different set of advantages, allowing for greater freedom and flexibility in customizing itineraries and exploring at one's own pace. This option appeals to individuals who value spontaneity and control, enabling them to immerse themselves in local culture on a deeper level.

Ultimately, the choice between organized tours and independent travel depends on personal preferences and travel style, considering factors such as convenience, guidance, and flexibility.

Comparing Trip Costs in Japan

When we compare the prices of organized tours to the average costs of independent travelers, we can see that sometimes the prices are fairly even.

Tours vs. independent Travel: Pros & Cons

Organized tours.

  • An expert guide familiar with the culture
  • Convenient transportation
  • Fellow travelers to socialize with
  • Well researched activities
  • Efficient and thought out itinerary
  • The security of have a trip leader if something goes wrong
  • Limited options
  • Usually not customizable
  • The fast pace often means you can’t visit one place in depth
  • Usually more expensive than independent travel
  • There may be limited time to interact with the local culture and community

Independent Travel

  • Completely customizable
  • Opportunity to visit off-the-beaten-path destinations
  • Can fully immerse yourself in the local culture
  • Freedom to move at your own pace
  • Flexibility to change your itinerary at any time
  • More affordable
  • Challenging to plan an efficient itinerary
  • Transportation may be challenging or inefficient
  • Booking and trip planning can be a hassle
  • Popular sights may sell out well in advance
  • If something goes wrong, you're on your own

Are organized tours more expensive than independent travel in Japan?

Organized tours typically average around $410 per day and provide the convenience of an all-inclusive package with one comprehensive payment. On the other hand, independent trips usually average around $119 (¥18,714) per day and involve individual payments for accommodations, local transportation, meals, and sightseeing. Both organized tours and independent trips have their own unique challenges and benefits, so it's crucial to thoroughly understand the aspects of each to make a fair comparison. For a detailed analysis of tour prices in Japan, check out our comprehensive guide on tour prices in Japan here .

Here are a few sample tours in Japan:

  • Japan Winter One Life Adventures 11-Day Tour ($2,312) 11 days, 5 destinations more details
  • Japan´s Landscapes ($4,276) 13 days, 21 destinations more details
  • Essential Japan and Hakone end Tokyo ($3,457) 10 days, 16 destinations more details
  • 14 Days Japan Panoramic ($6,398) 14 days, 11 destinations more details
  • Japan's Kumano Kodo ($9,148) 14 days, 8 destinations more details

More for Japan

If you're planning a trip to Japan, check out these other informative travel guides.

We've been gathering travel costs from tens of thousands of actual travelers since 2010, and we use the data to calculate average daily travel costs for destinations around the world. We also systematically analyze the prices of hotels, hostels, and tours from travel providers such as Kayak, HostelWorld, TourRadar, Viator, and others. This combination of expenses from actual travelers, combined with pricing data from major travel companies, gives us a uniqe insight into the overall cost of travel for thousands of cities in countries around the world. You can see more here: How it Works .

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2 Week Japan Itinerary in 2024: Efficient Guide For First Time Visitors

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Are you planning to visit Japan for two weeks? This efficient and easy-to-follow two week Japan itinerary shows you how to make the most of your first visit to the land of the rising sun.

As you can probably tell from my travel blog, Japan is my all-time favourite destination. Ever since I was 13 years old, it was my dream to visit it. When I was finally able to visit it, 10 years later, it turned out to be even better than expected. 

After my first trip to Japan, it was only a matter of time before I returned. And again. And again. Planning that first trip, however, was a little stressful. I wanted to make the most out of it because I had no idea if (or when) I would get this chance again.

Are you in the same boat? Do not worry, I’ve got you covered! I crafted this two-week Japan itinerary for those who are visiting Japan for the first time and want to make the most of their time there.

Let’s dive in.

Looking for More Japan Guides?

  • Day 3 – Tokyo

Kamakura & Enoshima Day Trip

What to do in kyoto, what to do in himeji, miyajima (day 14).

shibuya in Tokyo Japan

Two Weeks in Japan Overview & Map

Spending two weeks in Japan is the perfect amount of time when you’re visiting for the first time . It’s exactly how long I spent in Japan during my very first trip. After having returned to Japan multiple times since then, I’ve perfected this itinerary to help you avoid any mistakes I’ve made.

This itinerary loosely follows the famous Golden Route , along with some personal alterations I think are 100% worth it. If you follow this guide, it will take you to Tokyo (3 days), Mount Fuji (1 day), Hakone, Nikko or Kamakura (2 days), Kyoto (3 days), Osaka (1 day), Nara (1 day), Himeji (1 day), Hiroshima (1 day) and Miyajima (1 day).

While there are quite a few places included in this itinerary, you don’t have to drag your luggage around every day. In the next section, I recommend the cities you should book your hotels in (including some of my favourite hotels and areas). Since you can visit most of the locations on a day trip, you only have to change hotels a couple of times .

Two weeks give you a great first impression of this beautiful country without having to rush. Below, you can find a map of the points of interest in this itinerary – if you download Google Maps , you can even use the interactive map during your trip to not miss out on anything mentioned in this guide.

Along with all the highlights mentioned in this itinerary, the Google Maps below includes some of my favourite photo spots , coffee shops , restaurants and stores to check out during your trip.

two week Japan itinerary map

Where to Stay in Japan for Two Weeks

To avoid having to drag your luggage around every single day during your two weeks in Japan, it’s best to book a few “home” bases and take day trips from there. Public transport in Japan is very reliable and easy to use, so let’s make the most of it.

On top of that, the locations in this itinerary are very well connected – I’ll highlight any discount passes for public transport you can buy to make your day trips even easier to navigate.

To make the most of your holiday to Japan, I recommend booking accommodation in the following places for the set days:

If you want some more ideas for your itinerary, check out the following guides:

  • Are two weeks in Japan not enough for you? Check out my 3 week Japan itinerary to add another week to your trip.
  • If two weeks is a bit too long, my 10 day Japan itinerary gives you a compressed version of this two week Japan itinerary.
  • Want to see a more unique side of Japan? Our 7-day Kyushu itinerary shows you a whole different side of Japan.
  • And what about the costs? I’ve broken down the cost of this two-week trip to Japan – it includes everything from flights to souvenirs, down to the penny!

japan shrine

Stay connected to the internet during your trip to Japan (essential for using Google Maps & Translate!) with a Pocket WiFi. Use code THENAVIGATIO15 for 15% off Ninja WiFi Pocket WiFi .

Two Week Japan Itinerary

Here is my two week Japan itinerary – feel free to copy it completely or make any changes to match your travel style:

Tokyo (Day 1 – 3)

We start our Japan itinerary in the capital city: Tokyo . Most international travellers arrive at one of Tokyo’s two airports –  Haneda or Narita . This makes it a great place to start your Japan trip.

From both airports, you can take public transport, hire an airport transfer or get a taxi. Even though it may seem a bit intimidating, using public transport is probably your best bet. It’s much cheaper and really not that difficult! 

It’s a good idea to pick up a Suica or Pasmo card  at the airport train station (or add it to your iPhone as it’s one of the best Japan travel apps out there). These passes are pre-paid e-money cards that let you use public transport all across Japan. They’re essential for travelling around in the big cities.

shibuya crossing tokyo

Since the first six days of this trip are in and around Tokyo, it’s best to book your hotel in Tokyo for the first six days . To avoid having to carry suitcases around, it’s much easier to stay in the same hotel – you can then bring a backpack on any day trips you plan to take.

As Tokyo is one of the largest and busiest cities in the world, it may be a little overwhelming to choose where to stay. For first-time visitors, Minato, Asakusa or Roppongi are good choices.

Our guide on  where to stay in Tokyo includes an even more in-depth breakdown for different types of travellers, but here are my recommendations for first-time visitors:

Day 1 – Tokyo

Tokyo is such a big city, you could easily spend a month here and not get bored. But since we want to make the most of our two weeks in Japan, I planned the following three days in Tokyo for you.

The start of this itinerary gives you a great first impression of Tokyo, allowing you to explore most of the main highlights of this beautiful city! Here is what I recommend you to do on the first day in Tokyo:

  • Visit Meiji Shrine: This beautiful shrine can be found in one of the biggest parks in Tokyo. A giant wooden torii gate welcomes you near Harajuku Station, guiding you through a forest of over 100,000 trees towards the shrine. You can also find the iconic wall of over 200 traditional sake barrels here.
  • Shop in Harajuku: Near Meiji Shrine lays Takeshita Street, one of Harajuku’s most popular shopping streets. Keep walking to get to Omotesando for even more stores – you may even see some people dressed up in Harajuku-style fashion.
  • Try Purikura:  Unlike the basic photo boots you find in the West that you can use to take plain passport pictures, Japan has Purikura! These kawaii photo boots let you take pictures with cute filters – afterwards, you can edit them and add stickers, text and more. The photos are printed and you can take them home as the perfect Japan keepsake.
  • Walk across Shibuya Crossing: Shibuya is only a short metro ride (or 15-minute walk) from Harajuku and is home to the famous Shibuya Crossing. Named the busiest crossing in the world, it’s a popular sight to visit in Tokyo. Visit L’Occitane Cafe, Cé La Vi or the Starbucks ( temporarily closed for renovation ) for a drink and a view over this iconic spot.
  • Hachiko Statue:  Just outside of Shibuya Station, you can find Hachiko Statue. This famous dog was given a statue after he waited for his owner to return to Shibuya station for years.
  • Enjoy Tokyo from above at Shibuya Sky: For one of the best views in Tokyo, head over to Shibuya Sky. This 360-degree open-air observation deck is quite popular so make sure you book tickets in advance (around 30 minutes before sunset is the best time to go, in my opinion). On a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji in the distance.
  • Get food and drinks in Shibuya Centre Gai: Exploring Shibuya Centre Gai is one of the best things to do in Tokyo at night . This narrow street in Shibuya is a popular place for people to shop, eat and drink. Head over here after enjoying the views from Shibuya Sky – just in time to grab some dinner and even a drink or two at one of the many izakayas.

meiji shrine tokyo

Day 2 – Tokyo

On our second day in Tokyo, we visit Asakusa, Ueno and Akihabara. It’s quite a contrast going from one of the most traditional parts of Tokyo (Asakusa) to a part that literally goes by the nickname “ Electric Town “, but it gives you a chance to see quite a few of Tokyo’s main sights:

  • Explore Senso-ji Temple:  Senso-ji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo, dating back to the year 645. The temple grounds are covered with the most beautiful buildings and gardens, making it one of the best  landmarks in Japan .
  • Try o-mikuji:  This Japanese form of fortune-telling can often be done at temples in Japan, and Senso-ji is no exception. It’s very simple: you pay 100 yen and shake the wooden box until a stick falls out. The stick has a number written on it. The number will correspond with your fortune, from “very fortunate” to “a great curse”.
  • Shop on Nakamise Street: Just outside the main temple, you can find Nakamise Street. This 200-meter-long street is filled with independent vendors selling souvenirs and snacks.
  • Visit Ueno Park: Ueno Park is one of the best places in Tokyo to enjoy cherry blossoms. If you’re visiting Japan in late March or early April , make sure to add this to your itinerary. But even outside of cherry blossom season, you can find some great museums here.
  • Have lunch or shop in Ueno Ameyoko: This lively, open-air market is perfect for some shopping or a quick lunch. The atmosphere is amazing and definitely worth a visit while you’re in the area.
  • Explore Akihabara: Also known as “ Electric Town ”, Akihabara is the place for any anime or video game fan. It’s filled with stores selling retro video games , anime figures and more. If you’re a pop-culture fan, make sure to spend some time exploring this area (and have enough room in your suitcase!). I highlighted my favourite retro game shops on the interactive map for this guide.
  • Play in the arcades: Akihabara is also home to countless arcades. Japan has its fair share of arcades, and they’re super fun to try yourself. Make sure to go beyond the first floor though. The crane machines, which you can normally find on the first floor, are fun, but the better (less cash-gabby) games are found upstairs.

sensoji temple tokyo

Day 3 – Tokyo

As we arrive at our last day in Japan’s capital city, we tick off a few more highlights before we start venturing outside of Tokyo. Here is what I recommend you to check out on your third day in Japan:

  • Visit Tokyo Imperial Palace: Tokyo became Japan’s capital in 1868, when the Emperor moved to Tokyo. The current Imperial Palace is built on the grounds of Edo Castle – a must-visit when in Tokyo. When visiting, a guided tour is recommended, as you can’t access some of the grounds without one.
  • Explore the Zōjō-ji Temple grounds: While heading towards Tokyo Tower, the next stop on this itinerary, make a quick stop at Zōjō-ji Temple. It’s a beautiful temple with great views of Tokyo Tower.
  • Snap a picture of Tokyo Tower: One of the most iconic landmarks in Tokyo has to be Tokyo Tower. While I don’t recommend paying to go all the way to the top (there are much better views in Roppongi, where you can actually see Tokyo Tower as part of the skyline!), there are some great photo spots nearby.
  • Visit one of Roppongi’s museums/art galleries: Roppongi is home to many art galleries and museums. The famous Roppongi Art Triangle includes three of the best ones: Mori Art Museum, the National Art Gallery and the Suntory Museum of Art. If you only have time for one, I’d suggest checking out Mori Art Museum as you’ll also be treated to one of the best views of Tokyo Tower here. 21 21 Design Sight is another museum to check out – it focuses on Japanese modern design.
  • Try Karaoke: After dinner, you can check out one of the many karaoke parlours in this area of Tokyo. Karaoke in Japan is a bit different from what you’re probably used to, as you can rent an individual booth to sing songs – plus, you can order drinks to your booth.

tokyo imperial palace

Mount Fuji (Day 4)

If there’s one thing Japan is famous for , it’s the majestic Mount Fuji. And no trip to Japan is complete without paying a visit to this sacred volcano.

It’s possible to climb Mount Fuji during hiking season (July to September), but beware that this can take up to 10 hours to complete. For a day trip to Mount Fuji from Tokyo, it’s much better to enjoy the surrounding areas of Mount Fuji and take in the views.

The best way to see Mount Fuji is by taking a bus or train to Lake Kawaguchiko. From there, you can explore the area further. I’ve added some of the best photo spots to capture Mount Fuji to the Google Maps for this itinerary.

Alternatively, you can book a fully guided day tour from Tokyo . While it’s cheaper to DIY a trip to Mount Fuji, with a guided tour, you’ll be sure to see all the main points of interest.

mount fuji

Mount Fuji tends to hide in the clouds quite often! Since it’s tricky to plan a clear day ahead of schedule, you may want to keep an eye on the weather when you’re IN Japan and swap some of the days around when staying in Tokyo.

mount fuji with autumn leaves

Hakone, Nikko or Kamakura (Day 5 – 6)

During the next two days in this Japan itinerary, you have some choices. There is a lot to explore near Tokyo, so I wanted to give you the opportunity to pick two day trip destinations that match your interests best.

Some of the best day trips from Tokyo include Kamakura , Hakone and Nikko . Below, I’ve broken down the best things to do when taking a day trip to all three of them. Have a read-through and see which ones stick out to you best so you can add them to your own itinerary.

Hakone Day Trip

Hakone is a personal favourite of mine. Not only is it home to incredible views of Mount Fuji, some of the best onsens in Japan and beautiful shrines, but I also got engaged here to the love of my life!

From Tokyo, it takes around 1–1.5 hours to get to Hakone. This makes it a great day trip from the busy metropolitan city – and a chance to see a different side of Japan.

When taking a day trip from Tokyo, you should look into getting the Hakone Free Pass . This discount pass includes a return journey from Shinjuku to Hakone, free public transport in the Hakone area (including the pirate ship and ropeway) and multiple discounts. It’s a money AND time saver, win-win!

When taking a day trip to Hakone , here are some of the best things to do:

  • Soak in an onsen: Onsens are Japanese hot springs and Hakone is one of the best hot spring towns in Japan. Do keep in mind that most onsens require you to bathe naked and separate men and women.
  • Hakone Shrine: One of the must-visit places in Hakone is the shrine that shares the town’s name. This beautiful shrine has a huge torii gate looking out over Lake Ashi. There is usually a bit of a waiting time for taking photos though – I waited around 30 minutes for mine.
  • Visit Owakudani (Boiling Valley): From Hakone, you can take a gondola up the mountain near the town. At the top, you can find Owakundani, also known as the Boiling Valley. The volcano erupted 3,000 years ago, but the impact is still very much noticeable.
  • Eat a black egg: When visiting Owakundani, make your way to the volcanic zone and eat a black egg. The eggs are boiled in the volcanic water and the minerals inside give the egg its black colour. It’s totally safe to eat and legend says eating one will prolong your life by seven years – worth a shot ;).

For a more detailed breakdown and travel route, check my one day Hakone itinerary .

hakone shrine lake ashi

Hakone is also a great place to stay overnight, as it’s home to many Japanese hot spring hotels. Our guide on where to stay in Hakone has some of the best ones (including hotels with Mount Fuji views!).

Nikko Day Trip

Nikko is a little bit further from Tokyo compared to Hakone ( around 2–3 hours ), but it remains one of the best trips to take from the capital. This mountain town is filled with history and is surrounded by beautiful nature.

If you’re planning to visit Nikko for the day, it’s worth getting the Nikko World Heritage Area Pass . Similarly to the Hakone Free Pass, this pass includes a return ticket from Tokyo to Nikko and free public transport inside the Nikko area. Since the pass itself is cheaper than a return train ticket, you’ll be saving money.

For your Nikko day trip, you want to check out the following sights:

  • Shinkyo Bridge:  From the train station, it takes about 5 minutes by bus to get to Shinkyo Bridge. This nearly 400-year-old bridge is the gateway to the majority of shrines and temples you can find in Nikko and a perfect place to start your day.
  • Rinnoji Temple:  This temple was founded in the 8th century by a Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to the city. Nowadays, Tendai monks train in this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Toshogu Temple:  This is by far Nikko’s most notable temple. Toshogu Temple is the last resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The temple is beautifully decorated and is a real treat to visit.
  • Kanmangafuchi Abyss: Many years ago, Mount Nantai erupted and created this valley. Here, you can find 74 statues wearing red crocheted hats and bibs. Legend says the number of statues changes every time you count them.

Check our one day Nikko itinerary for a more detailed breakdown of how to spend the day here.

Nikko bridge

Since it does take a while to get to Nikko, you may want to spend two days here instead of going on another day trip from Tokyo. If you do, check out the best ryokans in Nikko for an unforgettable stay.

Kamakura and Enoshima are two seaside towns near each other, around one hour from Tokyo. They make for a very popular day trip destination – allowing visitors to enjoy the many temples, beaches and hydrangea flowers.

Like Hakone and Nikko, Kamakura and Enoshima have a Freepass that you can use to save money. The Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass includes a return ticket from Shinjuku, unlimited train rides in the area and discounts for participating facilities.

If you’re choosing Kamakura and Enoshima for your day trip, check out the following sights:

  • Explore Enoshima: Enoshima is a small island near Kamakura. Give yourself 2–3 hours in the morning to explore it, including Enoshima-jinja, Samuel Cocking Garden and Nakamise Street.
  • Visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura: One of the most famous landmarks in Kamakura is the Kamakura Daibutsu. It was built in the 13th century and reaches over 13 meters in height. 
  • Stroll around Komachi Street: This area lies next to Kamakura Station and is filled with restaurants, cafes and shops. Perfect if you’re after any local specialities and souvenirs.

Our full Kamakura and Enoshima day trip itinerary includes even more information on what route we suggest you follow.

kamakura statue

Kyoto (Day 7 – 9)

After spending six wonderful days in and around Tokyo, it’s time to head towards Kyoto. Kyoto is known to be the cultural capital of Japan, filled with shrines, temples and old Geisha districts.

For accommodation, you have two options :

  • You can either decide to stay in Kyoto for five nights
  • Or stay in Kyoto for three nights and in Osaka for two.

The accommodation choices won’t impact the places you’ll visit when following this itinerary. However, staying in Osaka has a completely different atmosphere compared to Kyoto (and it’s often a bit cheaper too), so you may want the best of both worlds. I have a full Kyoto and Osaka comparison so you can decide what’s best for your trip.

Either way, you’ll have to stay in Kyoto for a few nights. We have a full guide on where to stay in Kyoto , but here are my favourite recommendations for first-time visitors:

How to get to Kyoto

The easiest and fastest way to get from Tokyo to Kyoto is by riding the Shinkansen, or bullet train. This takes about two hours and 15 minutes .

You can use the JR Pass on this ride. But since the price increase of the Japan Rail Pass in October 2023, it’s not the most cost-effective pass to buy if you’re following this two week Japan itinerary.

It’s cheaper to buy individual tickets for the Shinkansen. You can do so at the train station on the day of your trip. It’s also possible to buy them online in advance if you prefer to have all your tickets pre-booked.

On Day 7 of this itinerary, you can take the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto. This should take just over two hours, but since the first week of this trip has been pretty full, you may want to take it easy today.

Make sure you get to Kyoto safely and check into your hotel. You can then spend the rest of the day going for a little wander around. I’ve marked a few extra sights on the map that you can check out if you have spare time.

Doing this will still give you two full days to explore Kyoto, which is more than enough time to see some of the city’s best highlights. I have a more detailed 2-day Kyoto itinerary if you want a complete breakdown of the days (including a walking route through the geisha districts). Here is a quick overview of the best things to do in Kyoto:

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha: Fushimi Inari Taisha is a famous shrine with thousands of torii gates lined up towards the top of Mount Inari. This is my personal favourite spot in Kyoto – even though it’s a busy touristy spot, I can’t get enough of it. The full hike up and down the mountain takes around 2–3 hours and it’s best to visit as early as possible to avoid the crowds.
  • Geisha District: Kyoto is famous for the old Geisha districts Higashiyama and Gion. In these areas, you can find countless temples (including the stunning Kiyomizudera Temple), old tea shops and real Geishas. While it’s quite touristy, it’s still a must-visit when spending time in Kyoto. My 2-day Kyoto itinerary has a free walking route you can use to explore these areas.
  • Kinkaku-ji Temple: Another famous site to visit is the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto . It’s a little out of the way, so you’ll have to set either a full morning or afternoon aside for it, but it’s a beautiful zen temple in a lovely garden. It is one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is located in West Kyoto and is probably one of the most photographed spots in the city. This beautiful bamboo grove is open 24/7 and it’s free to visit. It’s a good idea to block out a full morning or afternoon to visit this area of Kyoto.
  • Wear a Kimono: While you can wear a kimono in most places in Japan, Kyoto is one of the best places for it as it’s such a traditional city. You can hire a kimono for a few hours or a full day, and professional dressers will help you put it on. And don’t worry, wearing a kimono respectfully isn’t cultural appropriation !
  • Dine on Pontocho: During one of your evenings in Kyoto (probably best after visiting the Geisha districts as it’s nearby), head over to Pontocho. This atmospheric alleyway is a great place to get dinner. Even if you can’t find a seat, it’s still worth walking through it – it’s stunning.

kyoto in autumn

Osaka (Day 10)

On Day 10, we take a day trip to Osaka. Osaka is known as the kitchen of the nation – with some of the best street food in the whole country. While some people choose to skip Osaka, it’s one of my favourite cities in Japan. The people are so friendly and there are some fantastic sights to see.

From Kyoto, you can get to Osaka within 15 minutes by Shinkansen, or around 30–40 minutes by train. Once you get there, here are some must-see sights:

  • Osaka Castle: Osaka Castle is one of the most famous highlights of the city. It played a huge role in unifying the country back in the 16th century, and you can learn all about its history in the museum inside. Seeing the castle and walking around the beautiful gardens is a must when in Osaka. 
  • Shinsekai: This district in Osaka was developed during the National Industrial Explosion. The iconic Tsutenkaku Tower in this part of Osaka is modelled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You can get some of the best food in the city here – so it’s a great place to stop for lunch or dinner.
  • Namba Shrine: This shrine has a 12-meter tall lion-head-shaped building. Legend says the lion’s head swallows the evil spirits that surround visitors – plus it’s completely free to visit.
  • Nipponbashi Den-Den Town: If you’re after any retro video games while in Japan , Den-Den Town in Osaka is a good place to go hunting for them.
  • Dotonbori: In the Minami District, you can find Dotonbori. This is the heart of Osaka’s nightlife . Neon signs, music and the smell of freshly cooked street food – Dotonbori is where it’s at. Near Dotonbori, you can also find the Glico Man sign.

I have a more detailed one day Osaka itinerary that includes a full breakdown and walking route.

osaka castle at dusk

Osaka isn’t far from Kyoto, but because it has a completely different atmosphere you may want to choose to stay here for a couple of nights too. If you’re big on nightlife, for example, Osaka has way more to offer than Kyoto.

My in-depth guide on where to stay in Osaka includes all my favourite areas and hotels in the city, but here’s a quick overview of my top three:

We have a full guide comparing Kyoto and Osaka as bases, so have a read to make sure you know your options.

heads up

If you’re planning on visiting Universal Studios Japan (which is located in Osaka), you can choose to replace one of the days in Kyoto, Osaka or Nara as they’re all near each other.

Nara (Day 11)

Day 11 is a day trip to Nara. Nara used to be the capital of Japan in the 8th century and its history still shines through today – there are some beautiful shrines and temples.

From Kyoto, you can get to Nara via the JR Nara Line or the Kintetsu Line. It takes between 35–70 minutes. If you’re using the JR Pass , it’s best to look out for the Rapid service, as it’s nearly 25 minutes faster. Without the JR Pass, the Kintetsu Line is a cheaper and faster choice.

From Osaka, you can use the JR Yamatoji Line and the Kintetsu Nara Line to get to Nara. This takes between 35–50 minutes.

When spending a day in Nara, make sure to check out the following sights:

  • Nara Deer Park: Nara is famous for its deer park, where more than 1,200 Sika deer roam around freely. They’ll even bow to visitors and beg for the special deer crackers that are sold around the park.
  • Isuien Garden: Apart from its beautiful park, Nara also has some stunning gardens. Isuien Garden is one of them. Located near Kofuku-ji temple, Isuien Garden is the perfect example of a Japanese zen garden. There is an entrance fee, but it’s more than worth it.
  • Todai-ji Temple: Todai-ji Temple is the largest wooden structure in the world, dating back to 752. Inside, you can find the largest Daibutsu (bronze Buddha statue). The size of the building is mind-blowing!
  • Kasuga-Taisha: This temple is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s known for the 3,000 stone lanterns that are lined up towards the entrance.

My one day Nara itinerary includes a full walking route you can follow, along with some more information on how to get to Nara from both Osaka and Kyoto.

todaiji temple in nara

Himeji (Day 12)

With the end of our two weeks in Japan coming closer, it’s time to pack up your suitcase again and move towards the last hotel. It’s best to book a hotel in Hiroshima for the remainder of your stay in Japan (or one last night in Osaka or Tokyo, depending on when and where your return flight departs from).

On the way towards Hiroshima, make a stop at Himeji . Known for its beautiful castle, Himeji is the perfect place to add to your two week Japan itinerary as it’s conveniently located on the way to Hiroshima.

You can store your luggage in one of the lockers at the station in Himeji. That way, you won’t have to carry them around all day.

For your day in Himeji, here are some sights to check out:

  • Visit Himeji Castle: Himeji’s pride and joy, Himeji Castle, has to be on your list of places to visit here. Its history dates back to 1333. While it wasn’t completed until the early Edo Period, it’s one of the very few castles in Japan to never have been burned down or destroyed during earthquakes.
  • Explore Himeyama Park: Next to the castle, you can find a beautiful park filled with small shrines, a pond and a castle moat with koi carp.
  • Stroll through Kōko-en Garden: Featuring nine different Japanese-style gardens, this place can’t be missed during a visit to Himeji. Inside the park, you can also find a tea house. You can buy a combined ticket for Himeji Castle and Kōko-en Garden to save some money.

Our guide on how to spend one day in Himeji has some more information on what to see, how to get there and what route to follow to make the most of your time here.

After some time in Himeji, pick up your suitcases and continue your train journey to Hiroshima. This is where you’ll stay for the next few nights.

himeji castle in spring

Hiroshima (Day 13)

As Hiroshima is your base for your last few days in Japan, today we’re taking some time to explore it. Hiroshima, of course, is mostly known by people through the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. Luckily, it has rebuilt itself to be a bustling city – one that welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

When spending the day here, this is what I recommend you to check out:

  • Pay your respects at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum: In the heart of the city, you can find the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. It’s a place to remember the victims of the atomic bombing of 1945.
  • See the Atomic Bomb Dome: This famous structure was one of the few buildings that miraculously survived the bombing. It has since become a symbol of hope.
  • Visit the Hiroshima Orizuru Tower: On the 12th floor of this building, you can find an incredible view of the Peace Memorial Park and the Atomic Bomb Dome.
  • Explore Hiroshima Castle: Also known as Carp Castle, Hiroshima Castle is a beautiful building to visit – as is the island it stands upon.
  • Visit Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine: From Hiroshima Castle, Gokoku Shrine is only a 5-minute walk. The huge stone torii gate surely makes an impression.

Our guide on how to spend a day in Hiroshima has more information to make the most of your time here.

hiroshima japan itinerary

On our last day in Japan, we take a day trip to Miyajima from Hiroshima. From Hiroshima Station, it only takes about 30 minutes to get to Miyajimaguchi Station on the JR Sanyo Line.

  • Climb the staircase to Senjōkaku Pavilion: A short hike up this hill will reward you with a beautiful view over the Seto Inland Sea. You can also find the Five-Stories Pagoda of Miyajima here, along with Senjōkaku Pavilion.
  • Explore Itsukushima Shrine: Famous for the red floating torii gate, this shrine is one of the most famous landmarks in Japan. You can visit the Treasure Hall and admire the Grand Torii Gate from the main hall.
  • Enjoy the view from Mt. Misen: Take the Miyajima Ropeway up to Shishiiwa Station and walk towards the Mt. Misen Observatory. While the trial is a little steep, the view is very rewarding.
  • Try a Momiji Manjū : Miyajima’s speciality, Momiji Manjū, are small pastries in the shape of a maple leaf. They’re usually filled with red bean paste – delicious!

Check out our full guide on how to spend one day in Miyajima for more in-depth information.

miyajima shrine

As this is the last stop on our Japan itinerary, you can make your way back to the airport for your return flight.

If you have the option to fly back home from Osaka , that will save you a long journey back to Tokyo (and since the Shinkansen isn’t exactly cheap, you’ll probably save quite a bit of money too). From Hiroshima, it’s about 1.5 hours to Osaka on the Shinkansen, compared to nearly 5 hours to Tokyo.

Is 2 Weeks Enough to See Japan?

Two weeks is enough time to see some of Japan’s main highlights. In this two week Japan itinerary, you’ll visit Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Himeji, Hiroshima and Miyajima – it’s the perfect amount of time when you’re visiting Japan for the first time. 

If you’d like to spend more time in Japan, please check out my 3 week Japan itinerary . However, if you only have two weeks, it’s still more than enough to get a perfect first impression of Japan. Don’t be alarmed if you’ll be looking at flights back to Japan as soon as you return home though!

Do You Need a JR Pass for 2 Weeks in Japan?

No, for this two week Japan itinerary, you don’t need a JR Pass . It’s cheaper to buy individual tickets for the Shinkansen and use a Suica/Pasmo card for travel inside the cities.

Up until October 2023, the JR Pass was a great way to save money on a trip like the one in this guide. However, the prices of the pass have increased by nearly 70% in October 2023, making it hard to keep recommending them.

Since this itinerary is spread over two weeks, and you won’t be using the Shinkansen too often, buying individual tickets is a cheaper option.

You can buy tickets for the Shinkansen at the station on the day of your trip. Just use the ticket machine or head to the JR office to get help from a member of staff. If you’re travelling with suitcases, make sure to let someone know so they can seat you somewhere with storage.

If you prefer pre-booking your tickets, you can do so on Klook .

How Much Money Do You Need for 2 Weeks in Japan?

You can make your trip to Japan as cheap or as expensive as you’d like. To give you a bit of guidance, we spent around £2,100 per person for this two week trip. This includes flights, hotels, food, souvenirs, all activities and any extras. I have a full  breakdown of the cost of going to Japan  on my blog too.

However, since flights and the JR Pass have increased significantly in price, it’s better to budget around £2,500 per person for a two week mid-range Japan trip .

Conclusion – Two Weeks in Japan

And that concludes my recommended two-week Japan itinerary. While there is so much more to see and do in Japan, this itinerary gives you a great first impression of what Japan is all about. Don’t be surprised if you’re leaving after two weeks wanting more – that’s how I started my own Japan obsession!

If you have a little more time to visit Japan (or want some other ideas of what to include in your itinerary), my 3 week Japan itinerary includes some more places to explore. Alternatively, you can continue travelling to Fukuoka from Hiroshima and add a week in Kyushu to your Japan travel plans.

But for now – happy travel planning and I hope you have the most amazing time in Japan!

Nele (Nay-la) graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with an English and Creative Writing Degree and has lived in the UK for nearly 10 years. She has had an interest in Japan and its culture for as long as she can remember. Since her first trip in 2018 surpassed all expectations, she has continued to return to Japan to explore more of all it has got to offer. You can read her full story here .

40 thoughts on “2 Week Japan Itinerary in 2024: Efficient Guide For First Time Visitors”

This is really helpful! Now I’m more than excited to go to Japan! 💕

Very enjoyable read and lovely photography for a fabulous itinerary. We’ve hit Japan a few times on flying visits (most recently Kagoshima and Okinawa a few months back) but have never hit any of the places you got to see; not even Tokyo yet. A longer stay with the sort of things you got up is certainly on our travel list, although it’s a very long list and keeps getting things added to it.

This is my dream trip! You’re so lucky and it looks absolutely incredible! I will get there one day ❤️

Now I want to go to Japan! This looks amazing. Pictures are perfect! Well done.

Beautiful photos!

Girl. This post was such a DELIGHT! Wow! Beautifully organised and put together and guess what – I bookmarked it immediately because Japan IS on my travel wish list and I know I will definitely find this blog post of yours super handy one day. I really enjoyed it. I am lost for words when it comes to commenting on something particular – there’s just SO MUCH! 😀 Amazing travel diary blog post! xox Nadia

What an incredible trip! Japan is at the top of my Travel bucket list, we are hoping to go for our honeymoon next year so this has given me so much inspiration. love you photos xx


This is such a great informative post! Your pictures are fabulous too, really bringing the place to life. I like how you gave a mix of shopping in the city and visiting the various temples. Japan is a place I would love to experience, and I feel like I have been there from reading your post! What was your favourite part of the trip? You really packed a lot in! There is so much to comment on…the crepes look amazing, how cool that you are able to rent a kimono too!

Thanks for sharing this great post!

Aimsy xoxo https://www.aimsysantics.co.uk

The layout of this post is EPIC. I’m in awe of your talent when it comes to content creation. The photos are beautiful too. Gosh I would love to go to Japan one day, I will be referring back to this post for sure 🙂

Rach | https://rachaelhope.co.uk/

Oh wow! What an epic post! Japan is definitely on my bucket list and it’s amazing how much you managed to fit in. Beautiful photos as well!

Francesca Andrews

I don’t even know where to start, this trip sounds like an absolute dream. All of the photos are incredible and can only imagine how much better it was in person. Such amazing experiences!! x

I am so incredibly jealous. Japan is on my bucket list for years and reading through your post makes me wanna go even more. The Osaka castle is ao beautiful. And I am very impressed with the pocket wifi 😅

Woahhh! Lol just wow 😲 your trip was jam packed with fun! Like I’m trying to wrap my head around how you got to go so many places lol, talk about great planning. Omg I was reading completely spazzed when I realized you got to go to the Pokémon center and Disney Sea! 😱😱😱 Also Nara looks super beautiful…All your pics are stunning and look like they truly capture the beauty of Japan! Great post hun 💕💕✈️

I have always wanted to go to Japan and it’s firmly on my to-travel list! This post is fantastic and should I book a trip to Japan any time soon, I will be bearing it in mind!

Melanie || melaniewithanie

Wow, what an incredible trip! You managed to fit so much in too, you must have done a tonne of planning! I haven’t made it to Japan yet but I definitely hope to one day xx

Wow!! So dope!! Seems like an elaborate and fun and organized trip! I cannot wait to explore japan in the guture❤️❤️😍😍

Yessss all these spots you went to are great! I hope to one day get the kimono experience as well, it’s ridiculous I’ve been to Kyoto twice now and never had the time for it despite of it.

When I was younger Japan wasn’t really on my bucket list but after a mixture of reading your post, being wow’d by the imagery and following a old school friends journey back-packing Japan.. I really am being to get the tingles to want to go! This post was honestly amazing and the images you’ve captured are fantastic!

Omg this is an amazing post!! This sounds like my perfect holiday, it has made me extra excited to go to Japan and I will come back and check this post when planning my itinerary.

Thank you so much for this Nele! I was anxious about planning our own itinerary to Japan next year but this seems totally doable. I’m going to use this as a template!

One question, I was nervous that you can’t book train travel in advance – did you have any issues at all?

So glad you like the post! We booked the JR passes in advance, but there’s no need to book any of the trains in advance 🙂 You can reserve a seat at the train station before getting on the next train, which is super super easy! Transport in Japan is top notch, we had no problems with it whatsoever and we don’t speak much Japanese 🙂

Hi! Did you get the 7 day pass and just use for the week you were away from Tokyo or did you get the full 14 day pass for the JR? I am debating which to get for this same type of itinerary 🙂 Thank you!! Love the post!

Hi Kim! So glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 We got it for only 7 days, so it fitted perfectly for the days we travelled to Kyoto, Osaka and Nara – and we just paid for little trips in Tokyo and it saved us so much money! Would 100% recommend doing that if you’re looking on saving some money 🙂

This is such a great itinirary! I only got to spend 10 days in Japan but to be honest it was more than enough. Honestly Japan is one of the best countries I’ve visited! I definitely want to go back haha xx

10 days in Japan sound amazing – what cities did you visit? I totally agree, Japan is so far my favourite country – really hope to go back soon!

I felt like I was on the trip with you! Thank you for the info and awesome pictures!

So glad you liked it! Thanks for the comment ^_^

I absolutely LOVE this list. It’s a mega list of things everyone should do their first time in Japan on a two-week stay. Simply amazing with beautiful photos to boot!

In Asian Spaces | https://inasianspaces.com/

Gundam looks cool!

Japan always looks amazing! I would really really love to visit some day x

This is such an amazing and in-depth post! it sounds like you managed to fit in a lot of amazing things during your time there. Absolutely love the photos! x


Japan is so high on my list! Such a fantastic and detailed itinerary. The crepe looks super yummy! And what an amazing view of Mt. Fuji! I will definitely use this itinerary when I plan the Japan trip. 🙂

Japan is on my bucket list, one day, one day i will go there, the photos are stunning

Argh I’m dying to visit Japan, and have done for years! It’s such an amazing country and I can’t wait to explore all the quirky spots one day 😀

Shannon x http://www.shanylou.co.uk uk based travel + lifestyle blogger

Me and my husband are going to Japan in June! And I’m using this blog as my guide as I make plans for our trip, and I actually copied the exact itinerary since it has everything we wanna see in Japan. Such a life saver, and also we will be using all the links in this blog to get what we need. Thank you so much Nele!

Hey Alexis! It makes me so happy to hear that the itinerary is helpful ^_^ I hope you and your husband have the most amazing time in Japan next June – if you need any more help planning or if you have any questions, please feel free to send me a message! <3 And thank you so much for using the links in this post, that helps me massively! Much love, Nele

Japan is on my to visit list and honestly this is so gorgeous! It looks like you have had the best time!

Love, Amie ❤ The Curvaceous Vegan

This is really helpful! This is pretty much the exact itinerary we’ve got planned, except we are planning a day to Hiroshima too. How long did you spend in Nara?

If we visit Hakone and see mt Fuji from there, does another day trip to mt Fuji is worth it ?

I think so! Hakone is pretty good for seeing Mount Fuji, but the best views can be found around the Five Lakes for sure!

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Two Weeks in Japan: A Super Efficient Itinerary for 2024

Before you start to read this itinerary, there’s a very important question you have to ask yourself: Are you a “do it all, see it all” traveler? Or do you prefer to take things slow and steady? If the first describes you: perfect , you’re going to LOVE this itinerary for two weeks in Japan . If you you fall into the second camp, allow me to explain why you might still enjoy this whirlwind tour of Japan without getting overwhelmed…

Why visiting 12 locations in 14 days is completely doable in Japan

The key to see Japan in an affordable and efficient way is the Japan Rail Pass . This pass allows you to take unlimited super fast “bullet trains” between locations, which is critical in a country that is surprisingly big (150% the size of the UK!). Here’s why the bullet train makes it work:

  • You can make it between huge stretches of Japan in relatively little time.
  • The train is so comfortable, that traveling to your next destination feels relaxing .
  • Every train station has coin lockers, where you can store your backpack while you explore a city and haven’t checked into your Airbnb or hotel yet. This means you can pop into a new place, store your stuff, and get going.

Let’s look at the awesome experiences packed into these two weeks, and then you can tell me if you think it’s crazy or kinda clever 😉

Recommended accommodation in Japan

I stayed a lot of places in Japan, but out of those can only recommend a few. Here are the two specific spots I stayed in that I absolutely loved during my time in Japan.

  • Sumiyoshi Ryokan (Takayama) – Absolutely the best place we stayed in Japan . Such friendly hosts, amazing traditional Japanese ryokan, and it’s entrancing to see your in-room breakfast get cooked before your eyes. It does get completely sold out at times so booking in advance is advised!
  • Nikko Backpackers Nikkoriso (Nikko) – Technically a hostel, we booked a private couples room, which was beautifully decorated. But what made this place special is that the hosts happened to recognize us at the train station and gave us a ride! That was so lucky and so kind.
  • Airbnb or Booking.com (any large city: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto) – We mostly stayed in Airbnb in large cities. That said, It can be hard to find the location because of the complex Japanese address system, the fact that the addresses are often in Japanese and the hosts sometimes don’t speak much English, so be prepared to improvise 😉
Eating our in-room breakfast at a ryokan in Takayama, Sumiyoshi Ryokan , in the Japan Alps!

At least once during your trip in Japan, I do recommend staying in a ryokan , which is a traditional Japanese inn. You can read my entire post about staying in a Ryokan in Japan to learn what to expect and how to find a ryokan that fits your budget!

How to prepare for a trip to Japan

Here are a few ways I really recommend being prepared before you actually travel to Japan. In a lot of places you can “wing it”, but I think Japan really favors the prepared! Some things are a lot easier (or mandatory) to do before you land in the country.

  • Buy a Japan Rail Pass , as they can only be purchased OUTSIDE the country . They’ll mail you a voucher which you can redeem in the airport. I later calculated that the JR Pass saved me more than $450 in train tickets. You can use this super helpful website to compare different Japan Rail Passes to see which one makes the most sense for your trip – both financially and in terms of the areas you want to visit.
  • Plan your train travel with Hyperdia – Hyperdia is an amazing English-language timetable tool for Japanese trains. You can also use it to calculate whether the Japan Rail Pass will save you money based on your Japan itinerary by looking at the standard train costs.
  • Get an offline-friendly Japan guidebook – It can be very useful in Japan to have a guide available offline. I personally don’t like to rely on my phone to get around! I tried 3 different travel guide books for planning my trip, and this travel guide book was the best one (and was just updated).

2 weeks in Japan

Here is what you’re going to see in this incredible two week Japan itinerary! One important thing to note is that this itinerary is optimized for seeing cherry blossoms in Hirosaki , in northern Japan. If you are not visiting during the later part of the cherry blossom season, you can swap out Hirosaki for another destination. I would’ve loved to spend more time in Osaka or Nikko, so those are great options for extending your trip!

Where to go for two weeks in Japan (especially during cherry blossom season!)

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo

Day 2: take the train to kyoto, day 3: enjoy the highlights of kyoto, day 4: day trips to fushimi inari shrine & nara deer park, day 5: remember the history of hiroshima.

  • Day 6: Miyajima, Himeji, Osaka

Day 7: Take the train to Takayam in the Japan Alps

Day 8: day trip to shirakawa-go, day 9: travel to aomori in northern japan, day 10: spend the day at the hirosaki cherry blossom festival, day 11: experience beautiful nikko.

  • Day 12-13: Tokyo
  • Day 14: Mt. Fuji

Today is about getting adjusted. About realizing: OMG I am in Japan right now , and my universe is in chaooooos! There’s no pressure to do anything in particular besides finding your hotel or Airbnb, try to order food in Japanese for the first time, and experience a

<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38660860” onclick="ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘Affiliate Link’, ‘Click’, event.target.getAttribute(‘href’));”

target=”_blank">complicated Japanese toilet .

No pressure, right?

Tokyo’s Ginza , an upscale shopping district. Streets are lined with shops carrying Chanel and Prada. This area in the heart of Tokyo is very close to the Tsukiji fish market , where my top Tokyo restaurant recommendation is located!

That said, depending on when you arrive you might have some time to really spend exploring Tokyo. We’re going to come back to Tokyo at the end of the trip, so our first day is really just about getting faimiliar with the city. Here are a couple of ideas of things to do in Tokyo

Things to do in Tokyo for first-time visitors to Japan

  • Go to Tokyo’s famous Robot Restaurant. It’s just one of those things that is “so Japan” you have to see it to believe it. During this 90-minute show robots in costumes sing and dance while you eat dinner and down Japanese beer. Book Robot restaurant tickets in advance because as weird as it sounds, this is a super popular thing to do.
  • Enter an immersive digital art museum. This limited, interactive art show is one of the most popular things to do in Tokyo. There may literally not be a better place in the city for instagram photos than this. Book tickets to the teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum (children 3 years old and younger can enter free!).
  • See Tokyo by night from its tallest building, Tokyo Skytree. Last admission is at 9:00PM, and you can even buy skip the line tickets before you go. We didn’t have skip-the-line tickets and ended up waiting almost an hour to get to the top. If you want to make it even more memorable, you can have dinner overlooking Tokyo at the Skytree’s Panorama restaurant 😱
  • Just explore your neighborhood. It’s pretty much guaranteed that no matter where you stay, there’s going to be an awesome point of interest right in your vicinity. Go outside, pop into a totally overwhelming electronics store, accidentally go into the “adult” section of the comics shop , pass by noisy pachinko parlors. There is nothing like people-watching in Japan.
  • Get your first sushi meal! I had the best sushi of my life at Sushi Zanmai (すしざんまい 本店) which is located in the super famous Tsukiji fish market . You can also try out conveyer-belt sushi , which is an experience of its own. Indulge in some sake while you’re at it!

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

The delicious, unique, and sometimes strange regional dishes and street foods of Japan that you simply won't find anywhere else.

After your first night in a probably miniscule Japanese hotel, the next morning is time to hit the road for Kyoto, where we’ll spend three nights!

Kyoto is considered the cultural capital of Japan. Why not? It was Japan’s official capital for nearly 700 years. Here you’re going to get a real taste for what traditional Japan was like, by visiting shrines and temples erected hundreds of years ago (or more!). Besides architecture, Kyoto also has an incredible food scene. Here is where you can try Japan’s famous multi-course meal, called kaiseki .

But we’ll get to all that later!

For now, store your stuff in a coin locker at the Kyoto train station and catch the bus or train to the Saga-Arashiyama Station . Getting from there to our first stop, Tenryu-Ji is as easy as following the flow of people. After that, we’ll visit the neighboring Arashiyama bamboo forest . The final stop of the day is the super shiny Golden Pavillion .

For more details, you can read my in-depth Kyoto itinerary , but the main points are all mentioned here in this post!

Get ready to start taking off your shoes! Every shrine or temple you visit will require that you remove your shoes to enter. Luckily these places have soft wooden or tatami floors, so removing your shoes feels like a relief after long days of walking. And don’t worry – no one will steal your shoes. This is Japan ✌️

Here you’ll wander around the shrine. Starting with the building and its many exterior halls. Afterwards, venturing into the zen garden, which is the real star. There are many beautiful plants and flowers, such as the Japanese wisteria, which you never see outside Japan. They’re all labeled in English and Japanese. It was also here that I saw my first cherry blossom tree in Japan! Even though we were way too late for cherry blossoms in Kyoto, this late bloomer stuck around. It was pretty special to see it just chillin’ in the garden.

Tenryu-Ji is conveniently located right next to the Arashiyama bamboo forest . You can simply follow the signs and you’ll find yourself at its entrance.

Bamboo Forest

Let me be the first to tell you: this bamboo forest is kinda small . At least, I was expecting something much more massive! That said, it’s clearly one of the essential experiences to have in Kyoto so I wouldn’t pass it up. You’ll walk through in 10-15 minutes (depending on how determined you are to take a photo with no people in them). Be sure to bring a wide-angle camera lens in order to really capture the super tall bamboo. I was severely lacking one and my photos reveal that!

From the Bamboo forest, take the bus to the Golden Pavillion (Kinkaku-ji) . The bus ride takes a little under an hour and involves a transfer, but you’ll get to see a bit of the city of Kyoto on the way!

Golden Pavillion

The Golden Pavillion was probably the place where I realized: holey moley, there are a LOT of tourists in Japan . It was so incredibly crowded, and getting a decent view of the pavillion was pretty difficult! People just tend to bunch up at the best photo spots, taking what feels like a dozen pictures, and then sticking around to chat!

That said, the pavillion is obviously super impressive and beautiful. Reflected in the lake, it’s no wonder this is securely in the top 3 things to see in Kyoto! From the vantage point of the photo, you can wander around the pavillion’s surrounding gardens.

I also have to say that this is the place where I had my first ever Japanese-flavored ice cream . Gernot had the green matcha, and I took the black sesame. It was actually some of the best ice cream of the trip, so even though it’s expensive and touristy, it was perfect!

Which brings me to another thing about Japan: walking and eating is considered grossly uncivilized in Japan. We realized this was true, for the first time, when everyone was sitting in a room to eat their ice cream instead of walking around.

After the pavillion, it’s time to come back to the train station, grab your stuff, and check into the hotel or Airbnb where you’re staying. At this point, it’s well and duly time for dinner! Kyoto is famous for haute cuisine , so you can get an extremely fancy multi-course meal in Kyoto.

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Today is the main day to discover Kyoto, so be sure to start early! Your most efficient path would be to start your morning at the Nishiki Market , take the bus to Gion , and then spend the day in East Kyoto in the Higashiyama area. After following that path and seeing tons of temples, shrines, and beautiful streets, you’ll end up close to Philosopher's Path , where you can walk a long the stream and enjoy some solitude!

Nishiki Market

If you’re set on trying all the weird foods you can find in Japan, Nishiki Market is an absolute goldmine. This relatively small market hall spans several streets, and offers snacks and produce which you can pick up to sample some traditional Japanese food. Here is where I tried tako tamago , the infamous candied baby octopus stuffed with a quail egg. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s the only place I saw it while in Japan!

Gion is Kyoto’s famous geisha district . This is really the epicenter of geisha culture in Japan, and the place which has the most traditional rules regarding who can become a geisha. Outside Kyoto, there have been very few non-Japanese geisha, whereas in Kyoto it is completely not allowed.

Can you see the geisha (or more likely, geisha-in-training) hustle down the street in her red kimono?

From Gion, we’ll walk towards the world famous hub of Kyoto’s best-known shrines and temples: Higashiyama . Southern Higashiyama is the place to be for the very best the area has to offer!


Chances are if you’ve looked up photos of Kyoto, you’ve seen mostly pictures of Higashiyama. The rest of the city is very modern and, I must say, not so beautiful in comparison to the historic Higashiyama district.

  • Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka – The two most beautiful streets in Higashiyama. The former is the location of the famous stairs. Most of the houses have been converted into souvenir shops. It can get pretty crowded at mid-day, so come either first thing in the morning or around dusk for a less cramped experience.

Besides the beautiful streets, there are loads of shrines and temples for you to visit. Here are a selection of my favorites:

  • Kyomizu-dera – This area is one of the busiest and best known in Kyoto for a reason. The view out over a sea of trees is hard to match – and in cherry blossom season, they’re also in bloom.
  • Kodai-ji – This place has got a yuuuge zen garden. Come here for one of the nicest zen gardens you can find in Kyoto.
  • Shoren-in – An oft-skipped but totally majestic Buddhist temple at the end of the Higashiyama route. Not crowded, gorgeous gardens, many winding corridors for you to explore. This place will make you want to live in your own Japanese villa one day! Read more about Shoren-in

After Shoren-in, you can walk to the Philosopher’s Path (2.3 km, found on Google Maps as Tetsugaku-no-michi ). This path along a narrow river is lined with cherry blossom trees in Spring. If you decide to talk this walk, you’ll end up near the Silver Pavillion . If you’ve still got energy, you can check it out! Otherwise, I recommend grabbing dinner at Asian Cample Foods Goya for a taste of delicious Okinawan food .

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Here are the best things to do in Kyoto that deserve a place on your two or three-day itinerary. From world-famous food to ancient temples and interesting day trips.

Imagine this: a capital city full of thousands of docile, free-ranging deer. If this sounds like your idea of paradise, you can’t miss Nara, Japan .

But first, it’s time to visit one of Japan’s most famous landmarks.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

These dizzying rows of red Torii are a photographer’s dream: if you can manage to capture an empty shot. I saw some of the thickest crowds of the whole trip when visiting these shrines, so be sure to give yourself some extra time if you want to focus on photos!

To get here, you’ll need to take the JR Line from Kyoto to Inari . After your time at the shrine, pop back on the train and continue to Nara.

The very first capital of Japan, Nara is humble by today’s standards. The city center is small, and the population a mere 360,000 inhabitants. But don’t let that fool you: Nara has some of the most unique experiences to offer on the Japanese itinerary:

  • Todai-ji – The world’s largest wooden building. Inside, a massive Buddha. You can try to climb through its nostril (a sign of good fortune).
  • Isui-en – One of the best gardens we saw in Japan. That, plus a personal tour from a member of the staff, made the story behind the garden really come alive.
  • Nara Park – Over 1,200 free roaming deer. Keep your map close, they will eat anything. Note that if you buy biscuits in Nara, those are for the deer , not you.
Sadly my camera died in Nara so I have very few photos to share. You’ll have to see for yourself!
Left, Isui-en Garden, Right, Deer 😂

Plan a solid half-day for Nara, if not more. We spent a lot of time walking around Nara Park, there is a lot to explore and hiking paths if you want to speak more time walking around!

Spend your last night in Kyoto and wake up early to catch the train down to the southernmost post on our itinerary: Hiroshima .

I will start by saying that Hiroshima is simply not a beautiful city. It was hastily rebuilt after the tragic events of World War II and the destruction of the atomic bomb. As a result, you won’t find charming alleys or old merchant districts. Instead, you come to Hiroshima to get a glimpse into the lives of the people who both died and survived as a result of the bomb, and the effects it’s had on the community.

The Atomic Bomb Dome

This is the singular building that was left standing after the atomic bomb devastated Hiroshima. You should absolutely visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum . The museum really toes the line between giving a realistic look at the consquences of the bomb, while also shielding you away from some of the more gruesome details (meaning, it is still suitable for children).

Hiroshima Castle

This is the first castle on our trip to Japan, and to be honest, it’s a bit underwhelming. The interior has been completely gutted to turn into a museum (on the up-side: you can get your photo taken in a samurai outfit!). Don’t worry, we’ll end up at the mother of all Japanese castles later.

Here are some more ideas for things to do while you’re in Hiroshima, after you’ve visited the museum, the Peace Park, and seen the flame that remains lit until the last nuclear weapons on earth are destroyed.

Things to do in Hiroshima

  • Hiroshima is the birthplace of

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target=”_blank">Okonomiyaki , and the city does it like nowhere else. Combine that with

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and you’re eating the most quintessential regional dish. Be sure to visit Okonomi-mura (Okonomiyaki Village) for the epicenter of Oko-eating in the city.

  • Hiroshima is also famous for its nightlife. If you’re looking for a wild night, Hiroshima might just be the place to have it.
  • Mitaki-dera is a very special and unique shrine in the northwest of Hiroshima.
  • Ride the vintage tram. Hiroshima prides itself on having a super old-fashioned tram system, complete with cars from the 70s! Blast from the past, yoo.

Spend the night in Hiroshima and wake up early, we’re going to Miyajima!

Day 6: Miyajima, Himeji, & Osaka

This is our crazy day. Start in Hiroshima, take the JR Ferry to Miyajima. Spend some time on the island, catch the ferry back, connect to a train to Himeji. Spend the rest of the day exploring the castle and grounds until it closes. Wind up in Osaka to start binging on street food.

Are you ready?

I’ll start with this preface: If you’re not set on exploring Hiroshima by night, I’d encourage you to spend the night on Miyajima instead. This island in Hiroshima bay is home to one of the top 3 national sights in Japan, and is one of the most visited locations in the entire country. You can beat the first boat ride in and have a Miyajima at sunrise all to yourself!

Things to know about visiting Miyajima

I’ve already written a bit about things to do on Miyajima besides seeing the shrine so I won’t duplicate the information here. Here is a quick summary of things you need to know when visiting Miyajima:

  • Don’t take the “scenic boat ride” around Hiroshima’s harbor, just go for the JR Ferry. As I mentioned, Hiroshima is not very scenic and its harbor is no exception. It costs more and takes longer.
  • Take the ropeline to the top of the mountain for a view over the bay. Along the way you’ll see many treasures ^__^
  • If you’re collecting souvenirs, buy a rice paddle in Miyajima. It’s the essential Miyajima souvenir!
  • Skip paying to go out onto the dock in front of the shrine – the best photos can be taken from the shore anyways, and you can just walk around to the other side without paying.
  • Be sure to plan your visit in tune with high tide! At low tide, the water recedes and you miss the “floating Torii ” illusion.

Did I mention there are also deer on Miyajima? They’re more aggressive than the Nara variety. Guard your map!

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Anyone and everyone who goes to Japan has probably seen the famous floating Torii on Miyajima Island – but far fewer see Mt. Misen for sweeping views over Hiroshima bay.

After taking the ferry back from Miyajima to the mainland (you want the Hiroden-miyajima-guchi station ), hop on the train to Himeji. We’ll spend the rest of the day here until the castle closes at 5PM. Upon arrival, lock your backpack in a coin locker and catch the bus to the castle from the train station.

For the uninitiated: Himeji Castle is perhaps Japan’s most famous and best-preserved castle. It’s meant to resemble a bird in flight, and is known as the “White Heron Castle.” It has survived extensive bombing of the surrounding city during World War II as well as a massive earthquake in the mid-nineties. Himeji is here to stay.

If you have time, there are also samurai quarters to explore in the vicinity. You can buy a combination ticket for the castle and the quarters at the entrance. Unfortunately we couldn’t make time to see those before leaving, but they’re reportedly really interesting.

Important! Check the train times to make sure you’ll be able to catch a train to Osaka shortly after the castle closes.

If there’s one place I feel I didn’t get enough time, I’d have to say it was Osaka. It’s got such a cool, alternative vibe when compared to high-heels-and-Prada Tokyo. It’s most famous for its street food, and it considered the foodie capital of Japan . If you’re here to eat everything in sight, Osaka is a wonderfully dangerous place to end up.

Where to stay in Osaka

If you have just one night in Osaka, there’s no other place to stay than Dotonbori . The neighborhood’s eponymous street is THE definition of the loud and chaotic Japan. The first thing that happens as you approach is that you smell SO much food. Street vendors cook takoyaki in giant, metal trays filled with fried balls of dough and minced squid. If you don’t come hungry to this street, you are making a huge mistake!

Besides food, this street is also famous for its moving, animal billboards. Cows, crabs, and pufferfish are just a few of the giant electonic puppets looming over the heads of pedestrians.

Things to do in Osaka

  • See the famous Glico Man sign at Ebusu-bashi bridge. This is perhaps the most recognizable landmark in Osaka (that’s right: a giant illminated sign).
  • Go to the Osaka Castle , one of the prettiest in Japan with its teal and gold coloring.
  • Eat Honetsuki-dori ! This was one of my most memorable meals in Japan. You basically get two choices of chicken (young chicken or old chicken) and then you can choose from sides, which are mostly also chicken.
  • As mentioned, eat the takoyaki!
  • If you’re feeling adventurous (and spendy), you can splurge on a plate of Fugu (pufferfish, which can be deadly if not cooked by a licensed expert).
  • Osaka also has a huge aquarium, which you can visit if you decide to spend more than a night in this city.

Don’t get too comfortable: after a lazy breakfast and a sobering view of Osaka by day, it’s off for a culture shock on top of your existing culture shock. We go from always-on Osaka to sleepy Takayama in the Japan alps.

You read me right: Japan has got its very own range of alps. It contains three mountain ranges: Akaishi mountains, Kiso mountains, and Hida mountains. We’re going to the latter, to the Hida region.

Absolutely do not forget to book the Wide View train for your ride through the mountains! You’ll get a train with enormous glass windows, perfect for day dreaming about your imaginary life in the Japanese countryside a la My neighbor Totoro .

For us, Takayama seemed the perfect place to check in to a traditional Japanese inn, called Ryokan . This has got to be one of the top experiences to try in Japan , and if you’re not in a big city like Kyoto, you can do it for a bit of a better price.

Why you should stay in a Ryokan in Japan

  • You get to dress up in Japanese dress. You can put on a Yakuta (a summer kimono) while you eat your delicious, amazing, unidentifiable Japanese breakfast.
  • Experience Japanese hospitality. Our hosts were so kind and hilarious. At times it was a challenge to communicate, but with patience and humor anything is possible.
  • Onsen minus public nudity. If you aren’t familiar with the Japanese concept of onsen , it’s basically a super hot public bath where head-to-toe nudity is mandatory. You shower off before getting in, and they’re divided by gender. Our ryokan had a private onsen you could visit with your partner. It’s awesomeeee.

Be sure to consider Sumiyoshi Ryokan when you go to Takayama! Room rates start around 150 EUR so it’s not cheap, but it’s absolutely going to be the most memorable place you stay on your trip!

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Staying in a Ryokan in Japan is supposed to be one of the top ways to experience authentic Japanese culture. But is it worth all the extra money, which can run up to a thousand dollars per night? Let's see!

All checked in and cozy? Here are some ideas of what to do during your time in Takayama.

Things to do in Takayama

  • Stroll around the Edo-era merchant district . The houses are very well preserved, although many have been converted into souvenir shops.
  • Try Hida beef , the local variant similar to Kobe beef. You can go to various grill-your-own joints for a fancy experience, or get a skewer for a couple bucks at the morning market.
  • Visit the morning market for handcrafted souvenirs. There are two markets, but the one along the river is far better for souviners. You can get wooden carvings made from the Japanese Yew, chopsticks in all configurations and price ranges, and of course a lot to eat.
  • Indulge in a box or two of sake! Takayama has a prominent sake industry, and you can recognize sake spots around town by the dried cedar balls that hang in front of the front door.
  • Buy your Japanese souvenirs, period. This is where we bought our one serious souvenir from Japan, which is a gorgeous black and gold teapot. It cost around 80 EUR (which is a pretty standard price for teapots, believe it or not!)
  • Visit “Little Kyoto”. Now that you’ve been to Kyoto, you’ll realize: Takayama’s temple district is nothing like that of sprawling Higashiyama in Kyoto, but there is one distinct difference: you have the place to yourself.

Enjoy breakfast in your Ryokan , check out the morning market, and in the early afternoon, hop on a bus to Shirakawa-go.

Shirakawa-go, is one of the tiny tiny villages where people still live in thatch-roof houses. Every 30-40 years the roofs are replaced by 200 community members and volunteers working quickly over two days. The town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you can go inside several of the thatched houses and learn more about life in the village.

What to know before visiting Shirakawa-go

  • Shirakawa-go is visited by massive tourist crowds. No one in the blogosphere seems to admit this, but it’s a simple fact: Shirakawa-go experiences hit-and-run by tons of tourist groups.
  • That said, your best option is to spend the night in Shirakawa-go in order to get a more authentic and private experience.
  • Shirakawa-go’s scenic overlook is not accessible in winter. If you’re traveling to Japan in Winter, the location where you can see the entire valley at once is not accessible when the path is snowed in.

After visiting Shirakawa-go, spend your last night in Takayama. Enjoy breakfast the next morning, because it’s time to hit the road and head north.

I will start with this: If you’re not visiting Hirosaki during cherry blossom season, I’m not sure it’s worth it . The town itself is pretty lackluster, and it’s the park filled with 2,500 cherry blossoms which makes this location truly spectacular and yet under-the-radar for western visitors.

That said, Hirosaki is probably one of the few places where we really felt like we weren’t just one of thousands of western tourists. Almost everyone in the city was either Japanese, or traveling to Japan from a neighboring country in Asia. For that reason, it was really cool to visit somewhere that felt a little undiscovered by people like us.

The trip from Takayama to Hirosaki takes about 8 hours, so most likely, you’ll arrive in the early evening, with enough time to see Hirosaki’s cherry blossoms illuminated by night.

After spending the night in the park, grab dinner at

<a href="http://www.kadare.info” class="place” onclick="ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘Affiliate Link’, ‘Click’, event.target.getAttribute(‘href’));”

target=”_blank">Kadare Yokochō . This food hall is a favorite with locals, and offers a ton of options. You can read more about what to try here in my guide to Hirosaki.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Few Western visitors ever experience northern Japan, but Hirosaki's immense Castle Park bursting with blossoms, bridges, and moats is an unbeatable reason to come north during Cherry Blossom Season. It's even illuminated at night. Come see for yourself!

The next day, it’s time to enjoy the park in all it’s bright and blooming glory. The park is overflowing with flowers, idyllic Japanese-style bridges, petal-filled moats, and one of the coolest sights: Sakura Tunnel .

I imagine this place also looks spectacular in Autumn, but I can only tell you: it’s gorgeous in Spring, and perfect if you’re making a late Spring trip, where the cherry blossoms in more southerly locations will have already gone.

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Catching a glimpse of sakura in Japan is more than a matter of timing and luck. When and where to see cherry blossoms all throughout Spring!

Tonight, take the train to Nikko, Japan, a town a short way from Tokyo but packed full of historic locations and natural wonders!

I made a critical mistake when coming to Nikko. I came during Golden Week, which happens at the beginning of May. During this time, the entire country of Japan is basically on vacation, and of course, where do they go on vacation: why, Nikko!

And it’s no wonder: Nikko was once a favorite retreat for the emperor, once he had moved his residence from Nara to Tokyo. As a result, Nikko has some of the most concentrated famous sights in Japan. In fact, a huge swath is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a small town, this place has got a lot going on.

Things to do in Nikko (AKA more shrines 😄)

  • Shin-kyo – The most famous bridge in Nikko (pictured above). There’s a fee if you want to cross it, but perfectly good photos can be taken fo’ free.
  • Tosho-gu – This group of buildings that comprise the Tosho-gu shrine comprise several buildings. Each structure offers something different. Here are a few of them:
  • Yomeimon (Gate of Sunlight) – Perhaps the climax of Nikko’s temple district, this gate is unique because it’s just so gaudy . Gold everywhere, super ornate. The only problem is that it’s currently under rennovation until March 2019.
  • Naikiryu (Crying Dragon) – Enter the Yakushi Hall at Tosho-gu and see, painted on the ceiling, an enormous dragon. It’s believed that the sound of wooden blocks clapping together in this room sound like the dragon is crying (depends on how imaginative you are if you ask me!)
  • Kegon Waterfall – I didn’t have time to see this myself, but if you stay a little longer in Nikko, you can take the trip here. Nikko has a few other waterfalls, but Kegon is easily the most popular.

Now, after all of this, I was honestly left pretty overwhelmed by Nikko. 99% because the crowds were so dense, it was totally uncomfortable to view some of these places. The other 1% was probably actually being underwhelmed because of some of the construction that covered the coolest structure, Yomeimon .

Actually, I wanted to LEAVE. Luckily, Nikko still had something waiting for me…

Kanmangafuchi Abyss

After a tasty and expensive slice of cheesecake and coffee at Nikko Coffee , we embarked on a walk to the Kanmangafuchi Abyss . This natural canyon in Nikko is like the polar opposite of Tosho-gu . Somehow no one else knew that there was this natural treasure just a kilometer away from the popular shrines. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful places in Japan .

On your way in, these statues line the path to the gorge. It’s said that it’s not possible to count the name number of Bake-jizo on your way in as on your way out. You’ll just have to try for yourself! (Spoiler: I failed, but I don’t blame any inanimate objects for that).

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

With UNESCO World Heritage sites galore, Nikko is a popular day trip from Tokyo. But the best part of Nikko just a little over a kilometer away from the most popular shrines, in a small gorge with its own shrines, whirlpools, and waterfalls called Kanmangafuchi Abyss.

Enjoy your time in Nikko, because after this it’s back to the big city! Pick up your stuff from the hostel, hop on a train, we’re going to Tokyo…but for real this time.

Day 12 and 13: Time for Tokyo

A lot of people who come to Japan spend a lot of time in Tokyo. I mean, it makes sense: it’s got the most restaurants per capita in the world, you could spend a lifetime exploring every conceivable experience this city can offer. That said, I didn’t try to do Tokyo hardcore. For one, I actually visited friends while here, which tends to make everything a little less go-go-go. On the other hand, there is just so much there, your chances of “making a dent in Tokyo” are miniscule, so why try!

Ideas for what to do in Tokyo

  • Ascend the Tokyo Skytree. If you’re scared of heights (like me), this place is going to make you SO NERVOUS. The highest point in the city, on a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji which is 100 kilometers away.
  • See the faithful Hachiko statue at Shibuya station. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the faithful dog that waits for years at the train station, even 9 years after his owner has passed. If you want to see this world famous symbol, head here – also a popular meeting place!
  • Take a walk through the Yoyogi Park. You’ll see buskers, groups of friends, maybe even the famous

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLl9GERTMYg” onclick="ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘Affiliate Link’, ‘Click’, event.target.getAttribute(‘href’));”

target=”_blank">Tokyo rockabilly dancers .

  • See the Shibuya Crossing. One of the most famous sights in Tokyo, this crosswalk is the busiest in the whole world. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out – you can get a view over it from a 2-storey Starbucks across the street.
  • Visit the Tokyo National Museum. Learn more about the culture and history associated with Japan in this museum. It’s got art, statues, scrolls, outfits, armor, pottery – so many things you can see develop over time with the Japanese people.
  • Eat a meal at the Tsukiji Fish Market . If you missed it on your first night, now’s the time to come back! Wake up at the crack of dawn to see the daily haul of tuna, or come by in the evening to grab some dinner.
  • If you haven’t gotten enough of shrines, check out Meiji Shrine. Easily the most popular shrine in Tokyo! Unlike so many shrines, admission here is free.
  • Do some luxury shopping in Ginza. Essentially every world famous fashion brand has a flagship store in this shopping district. If you’re a luxury traveler, this might be the perfect place to pick up your Tokyo souvenir.
  • Go to Harajuku and feel extra ordinary. This area has some of the most eccentric people you’ll see in the city, with the very best outfits and hairstyles. It’s a must-see area if you love people-watching!
  • Stock up on electronics in Akihabara. Known affectionately as Electric Town, Akihabara is a bright and loud neighborhood and home to the largest electronics store in the world, Yodobashi Akiba .
  • Got more time in Tokyo? Find more things to do in this Tokyo 5-day itinerary or go to one of many amazing day trips from Tokyo .

After your last day in Tokyo, take the train to Kawaguchi-ko and sleep at the base of Mt. Fuji. Wake up early the next morning to enjoy the mountain!

Day 14: Spend the day at Mt. Fuji and fly home in the evening

It’s the last day, you can do it! Get up as early as you can muster to see Mt. Fuji in the morning light, reflected in Lake Kawaguchi. Conventional wisdom states that your best viewing of Mt. Fuji happens first thing in the morning, but for us, the mountain became more visible as the day went on. By the end of the day, it was clear and big and blue.

I’ve gone in-depth about the best places to view Mt. Fuji , especially if you’re going in Spring, but one thing I can’t help but mention here is the Pink Moss Festival ! You can take a bus here from the main station in Kawaguchi-ko, and travel to a spot closer to the mountain that is just covered in pink flowers.

In terms of booking tickets to the festival, I just happened to discover it thanks to a brochure in my hotel. Check the website for admission tickets. There’s also tons of different ways to get to the location by bus, just check on the website’s “Access” page.

In 2019, the Pink Moss Festival is happening from April 13th - May 26th ! That means you can still visit this year if you’ll be arriving between now and the end of May.

How cute is this? There’s even a mini-Fuji made out of flowers! After you’ve had your fill of flowers and too-perfect shots of Mt. Fuji, take a bus back to down and spend any free time you have walking around the lake and walking around town. Get your last matcha ice cream or any last-minute Fuji-themed souvenir.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Spring is one of the best, most magical times to see Mt. Fuji of the whole year. Here are several vantage points that offer the most impressive view of "Fuji-san", plus tips on predicting Mt. Fuji's visibility.

Alas! It’s time to take the train back to Tokyo, transfer to transport that’ll take you to your airport, and start the long journey home.

And that’s a wrap!

Have you ever been to Japan? Or are you planning a trip RIGHT NOW? Would love to know about anywhere I missed in my itinerary or what you would do differently! Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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About the author

Hi there! I'm Monica, an American expat living in Germany for over six years and using every opportunity to explore the world from my homebase in Berlin. My goal is to capture my memories in photos and posts that show how easy it is to start from scratch and travel the world by working abroad.

Follow along on Instagram , Twitter , Bloglovin , & Facebook .

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Japan 2023 Cost | A Two Week Itinerary And How Much To Budget For Your Trip

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Visiting Japan In 2023

Japan has such an incredible array of offerings for travelers that it can be overwhelming trying to see everything in one trip.

Some careful planning is your best chance at successfully making your way through some of the major sites to see in the country for your first trip. 

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With how much there is to see and do in Japan, it’s a country that people will often come back to more than once.

Not only does it allow them to see and do more, but even experiencing Japan in different seasons is worth coming back for.  This guide will help you plan your own trip of a lifetime.

What Makes Japan So Enticing?

One of the many fantastic traits of Japan compared to other countries is the way it’s been able to retain a lot of tradition and remnants of culture from centuries ago while also embracing modern technology and Western influences.

You can move from a big city to a small town in a short train ride, almost as if you’re being transported from one time period in Japan to another. 

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Japan is also a very safe country comparatively, both for locals and tourists. Tourists who are respectful of Japanese culture are embraced and treated with kindness and hospitality wherever they go. Many people in Japan love to share their traditions, food, and their ways of life with those willing to learn. 

Getting Around Japan 

It’s completely unnecessary to rent a car when traveling through Japan, though it is something you can do should you need one.

The public transportation system in Japan is one of the best systems in the world and is clearly the best way to venture from city to city or within a city itself. 

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While it takes some time, planning out the specific routes for where you want to go in Japan is crucial, so you know how to budget for your transportation costs. It also helps you understand what your options are in terms of getting from one place to another. 

It can be overwhelming traveling through a foreign country when you don’t speak the language fluently .

It’s highly recommended that you purchase a pocket wifi device so you can pull up translation apps and maps with ease, as well as communicate with your loved ones back home. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

It’s relatively inexpensive and easy to find these devices; you can book one in advance and pick it up at the airport you fly into.

To have access to pocket wifi for a two-week trip, you’re looking at around $50 USD or so. It’s worth adding that to your budget to stay connected and look up directions when needed. 

The Japan Rail Pass 

One of the most economical ways to utilize public transportation when making your way through Japan is to purchase a Japan Rail pass . A JR Pass gives you the ability to ride many of the local trains and even some bullet trains, or shinkansen, simply by presenting your pass at any train station. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

You’ll save a lot of money using a pass, even if some of the routes you plan on taking don’t accept the pass. The 14-day pass is an excellent bargain if you want to see as much of Japan as possible. If you’re mainly spending your trip in Tokyo , it’s not worth buying a pass. 

The cost of the Japan Rail Pass will likely vary depending on which pass you choose, as well as whether or not you want to buy an upgraded pass to get luxury seating on select trains .

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

While it’s quite a cool experience to have a green pass, especially if you plan on riding a bullet train, it’s not a necessary expense. 

The Limits Of The JR Pass 

It’s important to note that while the JR Pass is extremely convenient and cost-effective for traveling through Japan, there are some limitations to where you can use the pass.

You’re only going to be able to use it when traveling on a Japan Rail-owned public transportation medium.  Take note that there is some extra cost when using limited express or shinkansen routes.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If you find that you’ll have to ride some subways or public transportation owned by other transportation companies in Japan, it’s worth looking into an IC Card . IC Cards are available for major transportation companies such as Pasmo and Suica.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

These cards let you board these trains and subway cars, as the Japan Rail pass doesn’t work on them. 

The IC Card doesn’t get you any special deals when you use them, but they help you limit the number of yen you have to carry on you.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Furthermore, you can use these cards at some vending machines and convenience stores around Japan , so it’s worth setting it up and having some extra yen on it just in case. 

Since there are numerous companies that offer IC Cards, your research is going to have to be thorough once you decide where you’re going, so you choose the right card.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

You can purchase and load an IC Card at a train or subway station; Tokyo Station will likely be your best bet since you’ll likely make your way there on your trip. 

Tips For Using Public Transportation In Japan 

When you’re planning out your routes for getting around Japan, planning around where the JR Pass and IC Cards can get you is the most effective way to get around.

It’s not only convenient but helps you keep your travel costs down as much as you can. 

What most seasoned travelers and locals do is use their JR Pass to get as close to their intended destination as possible, as JR routes tend to go pretty far through Japan.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Then, they will use their IC Cards for the more direct route to get to their intended destination. 

You can take your luggage on public transportation with you, but you’ll want to be cognizant of how much you pack when you know you’ll be using public transportation.

Some trains will have limits on what you can bring on board with you in an effort to make sure you don’t take up too much space. 

Preparing For Your Trip To Japan 

You’ll want to prepare yourself with a good portion of yen based on what you decide to do on your trip. A lot of places in Japan either only accept cash or prefer cash.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Be sure you have a small and secure spot for storing your cash when you have it on you. Japan is safe, but you can never be too careful. 

Japan has centuries of history that may be overwhelming to some, but taking the time to learn basic manners and important aspects of the culture can help you navigate the country much more seamlessly. Some light online reading about manners and a translation app on your phone will do wonders for you. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

So long as you’re sure to be polite, say please and thank you, and avoid being too loud or rowdy, you’re likely going to fit in very well in the country. 

Visiting Japan: Why Two Weeks?

Japan is not a country to visit for only a couple of days, or even a week. Two weeks will give you the opportunity to see a sufficient portion of the country.

One of the best ways you can pack in as much adventure and sightseeing as you can hope for is to organize your trip by the cities you want to stay in. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If you plan to spend two or three days in each city, you’ll have the opportunity to not only explore the city itself but explore nearby towns. Pretty much all of Japan is accessible by train or bus, so you have the ability to make day trips to nearby cities or towns a part of your trip. 

A Two-Week Itinerary For Visiting Japan In 2023

Japan is a fairly big country, and narrowing down where to go can be tough. If you have two weeks, planning to see a couple of cities at minimum is not only doable but recommended, especially if you have a JR Pass. While Tokyo is a grand city and is worth spending a couple of days in, it’s not the only big city worth seeing. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

You also don’t want to overlook smaller villages and cities where the amount of learning you can do is tremendous. So many of these smaller cities and towns have remnants of traditional Japanese culture and ways of living that you have the opportunity to witness. 

When visiting Japan for the first time, you’re likely going to want to hit some of the popular spots that bring people to the country every year.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

You’ll eventually want to come back again to explore some of the hidden gems of the country and the smaller neighborhoods where unique culture abounds. 

To make your two-week trip as comprehensive and adventure-packed as possible – without spending too much time traveling and overwhelming yourself – your best bet is as follows: 

  • Start your trip in Tokyo and spend three to four days there, with the option of staying in the Fuji Five Lakes for a day
  • Make your way to Kyoto for three to four days
  • Next go to Hiroshima for two days, making a jaunt to Miyajima island for the day
  • Spend your remaining days in Osaka before heading back to Tokyo to head home

Below are some of the top destinations for each of these cities, as well as some other ways to enjoy your time in between seeing the big sights.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

It’s important to note that there are so many other places in Japan that are just as beautiful and full of places to see, but you’d need much more than two weeks to see them all. 

There are lots to see and do in the large city of Tokyo, and you have access to so many other places in Japan through a bus or train ride. For instance, making your way to Mount Fuji from Tokyo to spend a day or two there is very easy. You could easily spend your whole two weeks in Tokyo, but you don’t want to limit yourself.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Tokyo is made up of several different districts and neighborhoods and is divided by Central, North, South, East, and West Tokyo.

No matter which part of Tokyo you decide to stay in, you have the opportunity to visit special districts dedicated to certain aspects of Japanese culture while also being able to shop, see shrines , and enjoy various activities and delicious foods. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

In Central Tokyo, you’ll find Tokyo Station, the Akihabara District, which is perfect for anime, manga, and tech lovers, as well as Ginza , home to the best shopping you’ll do in Tokyo. You’ll also find the Tokyo Dome and the nearby Koishikawa Korakuen garden, as well as the Yasukuni Shrine. 

North Tokyo features the infamous Tokyo Skytree and the Tokyo National Museum, in addition to Ryogoku, known as the sumo wrestling epicenter . You’ll also want to see the Sensoji Temple or the landscapes of the Botanical Garden or Ueno Park . 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

South Tokyo is home to some temples and shrines , such as Sengakuji, and the man-made island of Odaiba . You can also enjoy a ride on the Tokyo Water Bus, or do some shopping and exploring in Roppongi or Shiodome districts . 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Finally, West Tokyo is home to the fantastic Shibuya , Harajuku, and Shinjuku districts, full of shopping, fun activities, and various subcultures. Yebisu Garden Palace is a great place to enjoy some Japanese beer, and the Meiji Shrine is a gorgeous place to see. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Tokyo can be a confusing city to traverse, so google maps are highly recommended to aid you in your exploration.

Tokyo Station 

You’re likely going to make your way through Tokyo Station a few times in your travels through Japan. Don’t just let the station pass you by, though; in and around Tokyo Station, you’ll find a wealth of things to see and do.

Tokyo Station is also where you’re able to catch the shinkansen , or bullet train, which is likely to get you to many of your intended destinations. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

When you venture outside of Tokyo Station, which is in Central Tokyo, you’re surrounded by the Marunouchi business district , a vast array of shopping, and the Imperial Palace and accompanying garden. There’s also a lot of green space to sit down, relax, and enjoy some fresh air. 

Mount Fuji And Fuji Five Lakes 

Mount Fuji brings floods of tourists to Japan every year. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a crucial element of Japanese culture and spirituality and is a very important symbol for Japan.

The beauty of Mount Fuji cannot be understated, and it’s worth the trek to the area. There’s a lot more to do around the Mount Fuji area than some might realize. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

The Fuji Five Lakes area surrounds Mount Fuji, and you’ll find various ryokans to stay at, as well as shrines, hot spring baths , and even an amusement park.

While it can be hard to pick where to stay since there are so many enticing spots in Fuji Five Lakes, you’ll want to stay at least one night to get to explore as much as possible. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

You’ll be surrounded by some of Japan’s main attractions in this one region. Mt. Fuji is the symbol of Japan itself. There is a cable car in the area, but it does not offer a trip to the summit of Fuji. If you have a few extra days to spend in the area, you’ll be rewarded with incredible mountain views at sunset and sunrise .

Kyoto is a place in Japan that is so full of history, a lot of which can be learned about from various museums and temples in the city . Many of these historically significant sights in the city have been standing for a very long time, despite the amount of devastation the city has seen over centuries of strife.

Like Tokyo, Kyoto is split up into Central, Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern Kyoto, so you’ll want to spend a couple of days in the city at least. Central Kyoto is home to palaces and temples galore, such as Sento Palace and the Kyoto Manga Museum.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

In Eastern kyoto, you’ll find numerous temples and shrines, as well as Maruyama Park and Gion, the famous geisha district.  

Northern Kyoto houses a wealth of stunning locations of both historical and spiritual importance, including the Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion , the Enryakuji Temple, and the Kamo Shrines.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

In Western Kyoto, you can sip some Japanese whiskey in the Yamazaki District, or take a boat ride through the Hozugawa River. Southern Kyoto has the Fushimi Sake District and the Daigoji Temple among other sites. Don’t forget to visit Nishiki market in downtown area. Kyoto itself is one of the best cities to see cherry blossoms in the spring.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Of All Japanese cities kyoto is one you should not miss if you want to see the real Japan.

Hiroshima is the city known for falling victim to the atomic bomb, but the resilient city is so much more than that. The picturesque city is full of natural and created beauty, and there’s a lot to be learned from the major sites there.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

The Peace Memorial Park is the place to remember the lives lost from the atomic bomb, and the Hiroshima Castle is truly a marvel in construction. 

When you make your way to Hiroshima to stay for a couple of days, you’ll want to split up your trip to venture to nearby Miyajima. 

Miyajima is a stunning island that’s not too far from Hiroshima, and you can take a short boat ride to spend the day there before heading back to Hiroshima.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Miyajima is also where you’ll find the very famous red torii gates of Itsukushima.

Nature lovers will enjoy seeing the very large Mount Misen, and making their way along the various walking trails around the island.  A truly beautiful city you will want to see if you’re visiting Hiroshima.

Finally, you’ll absolutely want to make your way to Osaka to spend the final days of your trip there. Osaka is full of bright lights, bustling city life, and many things to see and do. For instance, you can do some shopping and exploring in Shinsekai, a district that looks a lot like old Japan. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Minoo Park and Mozu Tombs are great places to get some sun and see some nature, and the Tenma District is the place to go for arcade games. Kuromon Market is a great place to go for some food-based souvenirs or some snacks to take home for yourself. 

Osaka is the perfect place for hardcore foodies. The good news is that so many restaurants ensure you have enough time to sample Osaka’s various dishes.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If your visiting Osaka for more than a couple of days, a short train ride will take you to Himeji Castle Japan’s most visited castle.

Making Your Two Week Stay Memorable

When you’re finalizing your two-week itinerary, there are some things to keep in mind before you make your final decisions.

These travel tips can not only help you keep to your intended budget, but they can also help you make the most of your trip. 

Take Advantage Of Free Experiences 

Exploring Japan doesn’t have to be expensive. There is a lot to see and do that doesn’t require any money, other than what you might need to spend traveling to and from the spot as well as any sustenance you might need. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

That said, with your JR Pass or IC Card and some snacks bought at a convenience store beforehand, you can easily spend at least half a day exploring Japan for free.

For instance, parks in Japan offer green space, plenty of seating, and even some amenities and trails to walk around. 

Visit Temples And Shrines 

Even if you don’t practice religion, visiting some of the thousands of Buddhist temples, Shinto temples, and accompanying shrines is not only inexpensive but will be an especially memorable experience.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Many of these spots have guides you can learn from, picturesque gardens to walk through, and works of art in their architecture. 

Hot Spring Baths/Onsens 

An onsen is a hot spring bath, usually sourced from natural spring water in the area of the bath. One can find these baths indoors and outdoors, and onsen towns have been created by many sources of hot spring water throughout Japan.

These small and inviting towns are some of the best places to stay in Japan if you’re looking for a reprieve from the stresses of life. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Hot spring baths and bathing culture are big in Japan. Before homes had accessible baths, the only option in Japan was to enjoy a public bath or Sento .

Outside of the social aspect of bathing culture, hot spring baths have been utilized in Japan for centuries for various ailments and health concerns. 

If you plan on spending any time near Mount Fuji, you’ll definitely be able to enjoy your fill of hot spring baths. That said, there are plenty of onsens all around Japan so no matter where your travels take you, you’re likely to find at least one. 

Where To Stay In Japan 

The specific accommodations you book for your travels are going to be dictated by where you want to go.

The fantastic aspect of accommodations in Japan is that many of them is an experience in and of themselves rather than simply a place to sleep. Your options are quite extensive, from hostels to capsule hotels to traditional Japanese inns, also known as ryokans, that have a traditional Japanese private rooms. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

The language barrier is not as big a problem as you might imagine, as most accommodations will have at least one persons who understand basic English.

Japanese Hostels 

A hostel is most often the cheapest option, especially if you’re not picky about your accommodations.

What’s important is to research hostels to ensure that where you’re staying is suitable to your needs and comfort level.

Best Hostels In Japan Via Tripadvisor

That said, Japanese hostels have a fantastic reputation for being clean, full of friendly and hospitable people, and very affordable. 

Japanese Capsule Hotels 

A Japanese capsule hotel is a unique experience where you sleep inside a pod. Most of these capsule hotels are fairly affordable, though, of course, a hostel or a hotel may end up being more affordable.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If you have the room in your budget, it’s worth checking out a capsule hotel for a night.  If you’re looking for a cheap hotel, this is your best option.

Japanese Hotels 

Staying at a regular hotel in Japan can easily become expensive, depending on what kind of hotel you choose to stay at. As expected, hotels range from mid-range to luxury in terms of price, amenities, and location. You can find a lot of recognizable hotel chains in Japan, as well as a mixture of local and smaller hotels. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Hotels cost more if you stay right in the heart of major cities . Given how great public transportation is in Japan, there’s no need to stay in a hotel right in the city.

Instead, you can save a few bucks if you stay in a hotel just outside of the city and take the train in when you’re planning on sightseeing. 

Japanese Ryokans 

A ryokan is a preferred accommodation option if you’re looking to immerse yourself into Japanese culture as much as possible.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

These traditional inns can offer a range of different experiences and amenities depending on where you’re staying. Typically, you’ll have a small, clean room to yourself, though bathrooms are often shared between guests.  Most ryokan has hot springs on site.

Some of their hotel rooms even have a private onsen (hot spring bath) located within the room. One of the most important things to remember if your using a shared onsen with other guests is that nudity is part of the onsen experience.

Eating In Japan 

Going out and experiencing authentic Japanese food is well worth making a part of your travel budget. While it’s not economical to indulge at five star restaurants every night, you don’t want to miss out on local delicacies and unique dining experiences based on where you’re staying.

There is so much more to Japanese food than sushi, though sushi in Japan is better than anywhere else. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Comparatively, it’s not expensive to feed yourself when traveling through Japan. Your best plan of action to ensure you get to indulge in some memorable meals is to seek out the local delicacy in each place you stay in as you make your way through your itinerary.

You can either chat up the locals or do some research beforehand, depending on what you’re comfortable with. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Seeking out an izakaya is also highly recommended at least a few times when you’re in Japan. These are Japanese bars that serve small bites and snacks often using locally sourced ingredients crafted in unique ways. 

Budget-Friendly Eating In Japan 

You have a ton of options to get your fill of delicious Japanese food without blowing your food budget too quickly. You won’t miss out on good eating even when you opt for budget friendly options.

There are ways to find authentic, yummy Japanese fares without having to go to a restaurant for every meal. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Street food is pretty bountiful in Japan, from vendors on the street to various stalls at a market. You can even find vending machines that offer inexpensive yet delicious snacks.

You can also grab some quick meals at convenience stores that are high quality, made with fresh local ingredients, and are also very budget-friendly. 

Shopping In Japan

Japan is an epicenter of some very unforgettable shopping, as it’s one of the biggest fashion trend-setting countries in the world.

Outside of fashion, there is so much shopping to be done in Japan that it’s very easy to spend a lot of money doing so.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Having a strict budget for yourself can help you avoid spending all your money on other parts of your trip buying things.  Tokyo department stores often have multiple levels of goods and services. The best thing is the onsite restaurants that have incredible dining experiences.

Japan is known as a cash-based society, so its a great idea to have Japanese yen in case credit cards are not an option. Many small mom-and-pop coffee shops are cash-only.

Budgeting For Your Trip To Japan 

Budgeting is a major priority as soon as you know you’ll be planning a trip anywhere. The time of year you opt to travel to Japan can have some influence on cost. For instance, Japan is a popular place during cherry blossom season , which starts in April, so you can end up paying premiums for travel and accommodations. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Despite popular belief, traveling within the country of Japan isn’t as expensive as one might assume. Some careful planning and having an itinerary mapped out beforehand can help you get a better sense of how much money you’ll need. 

Having a safety net such as a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees can give you some peace of mind, even if you don’t end up using it.

You can use a credit card at many places in Japan you’ll likely frequent, though it’s good to note that many places, especially tourist destinations, prefer cash when possible. 

An Estimated Budget Of A Two Week Japan Trip In 2023 

The biggest expenses you’re likely to see will be your flights and your accommodations. Your flight costs will vary depending on where you’re flying from, what season you’re choosing to fly in, and whether you pick a direct or indirect route, with added advice on the best time to fly. 

Keeping your eye out for deals or seeing if you can cash in some reward points towards your flight can potentially save you a lot of money flying such a potentially long way. 

There’s no exact answer for how much money you’ll need for a trip to Japan, no matter if you’re looking for a trip on a budget or not. All things considered, you could travel to Japan and stay for two weeks with between $3000 to $6000 USD based on what your final itinerary looks like and how well you manage your money in the country. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

The following list features estimates based on a two week stay in Japan, considering some of your major and minor expenses. It’s important to note that estimates are just estimates and cannot be considered exact due to the numerous variances in costs associated with travel. 

Furthermore, this chart and the estimated costs are based on traveling from the United States and are based on American currency USD.

Estimates may also be a little bit higher than what you could actually spend based on a number of factors. It’s always better to budget extra and have extra wiggle room than underestimate how much your trip will cost. 

Estimated Costs (USD)

Airfare (international flights)




Attractions and Experiences 

Miscellaneous Expenses

TOTAL (Estimate by Budget)

Below is a further explanation of the budget seen above in the chart to understand how prices can vary depending on your specific plans and overall Japan cost. 

It is a good idea to purchase a sim card to ensure your phone will operate on Japanese networks. The following is a more detailed look at cost of your Japan itinerary:

You’re likely looking at anywhere between $1300 to $1800 USD for your flights to and from Japan if you’re traveling from the United States.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If you have the option to, fly into the Haneda Airport . It’s the most convenient airport to fly into as it’s close to Tokyo, which you’re likely going to travel in or through as you make your way through Japan. 

Depending on your origin city, there are many direct flights to Tokyo and Haneda and Narita are the easiest way to begin a journey in Japan.


Conveniently, you can purchase a JR Pass for a 14 day trip for unlimited travel on most of Japans train system. The cost for a 14 day Japan Rail pass is about $400 USD.

If you decide you want the upgraded pass, you’re looking at around $600. With how clean, safe, and accommodating transportation is in Japan, it’s really not needed for you to upgrade to a green pass to get luxury seating.  If your traveling with a small group JR Pass will save you a lot on public transport.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If you also plan on getting an IC card, you’ll have to account for the deposit and the minimum amount needed on the card. This only accounts to about $15 USD altogether.

If you put $50 USD on your card, you’ll be able to use it for local transportation fares and likely not have to reload it, though doing that is pretty simple. 

You can also choose to add a little more since you can also use the card at vending machines and select convenience stores. It’s good to have a little extra cash on you for transportation in the very off-chance you can’t use either of your passes. 


Accommodations can make up a moderate to big portion of your budget depending on what kinds of places you choose to stay in.

Generally speaking, accounting for between $100 and $125 dollars per night you’re in Japan is a good place to start. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

You’ll find quite a few accommodation options that are going to fall under this amount, though whether or not you choose to stay in those options is based on your comfort level. 

You could easily feed yourself well on a budget in Japan without missing out. If you consider a food budget of about $30-$50 USD a day, you’ll have a lot of freedom in terms of being able to mix in some indulgences with some more budget-friendly options.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

For two weeks, you’re looking at anywhere between $400 to $700 USD, though it’s very easy to be flexible with your food budget at many great restaurants . 

Attractions And Experiences 

This is likely to be one of the trickiest parts of your budget to plan. Traversing through Japan can be affordable or very expensive depending on how you plan and what it is you’d like to do.

The good thing is that you have a range of affordable places to see and things to do in Japan, many of which are highly desirable tourist spots. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

When possible, it’s worth seeing if you can purchase admission or tickets for your planned excursions in advance.

This won’t usually save you money, but in some cases, it might; it’ll definitely save you a lot of time you could waste waiting in long lines to get admissions. It can also help you reserve your spot should you indulge in something where participants are limited. 

Your shopping budget will also have a lot of flexibility depending on your shopping habits. You always want to keep in mind what you have the capacity to bring back with you.

You want to be somewhat generous with your shopping budget no matter your habits, as letting yourself experience all the incredible districts with unique shopping opportunities is a must.

It’s important that you don’t over-promise people regarding what kinds of souvenirs you’ll bring back for them, as you don’t want to blow your spending budget on souvenirs for other people.

There are many places where you can find inexpensive souvenirs for people, however, and not just cheap, boring souvenirs, either. 

Miscellaneous Expenses 

You’ll want to have some room in your budget for things like incidentals or extras that you may not necessarily need but can make your trip more convenient. This can include things like a pocket wifi device so you can look up maps and connect to the internet safely when needed. 

If you can budget for some wiggle room or have a backup plan should you run out of money, it can be a safety net of sorts if you find a few things you just can’t do without.

This is where a credit card with no foreign fees can be handy, though not if you’re the type of person who will be tempted to continuously swipe their card. 

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

There are some costs associated with traveling to Japan that can’t be avoided, such as your plane ticket and your accommodations. The further in advance you can plan your trip, the better off you’ll be in terms of being able to shop for deals on tickets to sites, plane tickets, and even hotels or ryokans . 

Don’t just stick to fancy restaurants when eating out either; some of the best food you’ll find will be in the streets or in little hole-in-the-wall restaurants that you’ll only discover once a local tells you about it. 

Final Pro Tips On Visiting Japan

Depending on what your travel goals are, Tokyo is the best place to begin your exploration. Even if you are planning on spending your time in another city, it’s best to plan at least one full day there.

It’s a great way to see ultra-modern Japan and experience good food, luxury hotels, and the many Buddhist temple sites.

japan is known as an expensive country to visit and so having credit cards for an unplanned emergency is a great idea.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

The Japanese people are incredibly well-mannered and kind. First-time visitors will be surprised, even in crowded Tokyo, by how willing they are to assist you if you find you need help.

The price range for visiting Japan can vary greatly depending on your personal budget, and travel guides are a popular option for your first day in Japan.

It is one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit there is still room for a good deal for savvy travelers. Some single-room business hotels can have lower average prices over larger chains, and many of Japan’s big cities have business hotels.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Finally, if your planning to travel long distances, then train travel is your best option, and comfort and speed is a good reason to opt for the shinkansen if only for a single trip between cities.

Flights can vary greatly depending on your home country, so remember to use sites that can search for great deals on flights, such as Kayak or Flight Hacker, which will charge a small commission to save more.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

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how much spending money for Japan 2 weeks

So, you have a couple of weeks off and want to go to the land of sushi and anime but have no clue as to how much spending money for Japan (2 weeks) you need.

As a fellow budget-conscious, spreadsheet fanatic I am pleased to be of assistance.

This post (and video above) is going to break down all the costs associated with traveling Japan for 2 weeks, the budget I used, plus a free travel planner available for download.

Having spent two weeks myself traveling through Japan (Tokyo, Kobe, and Osaka) I know what a realistic budget is to have a good time.

So how much spending money for Japan 2 weeks do you need? Keep on reading.

DISCLAIMER: This post goes over my exact costs for traveling to Tokyo, Kobe, and Osaka. Not everyone is going to the same cities, so your budget could vary more or less depending on where you go and how frequently you move. Keep that in mind as you form your travel itinerary.

Read all the way to the end because I share a few tips that will help you save money during your travels around Japan, no matter the city.

Psst. . . Looking for more guides around Japan? Check out my other posts.

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how much does 2 weeks in japan cost?

How Much Does It Cost to Fly to Japan

Your long-haul flight is one of the biggest expenses you will face. If you book without doing any kind of research, you might be missing out on far better deals. Cheaper ones.

Here are a few tips on getting cheap flights:

Keep an eye out for special offers .  Subscribe to airline email notifications, tour companies, etc. They often run flash sales.

B e flexible with your travel dates . This is always a tough one if you’re working a 9-5. At least it was for me when I worked a desk job. I had PTO that needed to be approved ahead of time, which meant I couldn’t be ask flexible as I hoped. And in some cases, making sure my schedule aligned with my travel partner.

If you find yourself in this situation, be upfront with your boss, or whoever approves your time off. Let them know that you are looking around these dates but might jump at whatever date is the cheapest. I’m sure they will have no problem with it. Glass half full ya’ know?

Follow Scotts Cheap Flights. This one, in particular, is great. You get daily emails with super cheap flights to destinations all around the world. I can’t say for sure a Japan destination will be on every email, but surely one. Keep an eye out.

If you enjoy playing travel roulette and will go wherever you can get some seriously cheap flights.

Travel Hack with travel rewards credit cards. Ahh, the points game. I will say I’m not a super pro when it comes to travel hacking, but I’m getting better year-after-year. I have earned many free flights from my efforts.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:   Where Should I Stay in Singapore? Best Hotels for Tourists

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

How Much Spending Money for Japan 2 Weeks?

The best way to explain this part is to show you exactly what I spent during my 2 weeks in Japan.

I am a budget-conscious traveler with a few intentional splurges here and there, so if you’re like me then this is exactly what you can expect to spend. I would triple for luxury.

Accommodation $1,237

  • Tokyo Airbnb (10 nights): $884
  • Kobe 4-Star Hotel (3 nights) $272.36
  • Osaka moderate hotel (1 night) $80.35

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Food & Drinks $793

A huge chunk of this spend was a Kobe beef dinner costing $270. Even in Kobe, the beef was not cheap.

We were only in Osaka for one night. We were catching an early flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand from Osaka’s airport.

That said, we didn’t explore Osaka. We pretty much got dinner at a nearby restaurant (a Hawaiian burger bar of all places) and relaxed in our hotel room.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Transportation $449

  • Shinkansen Bullet Train $280
  • Tokyo Local Transportation $128
  • Kobe Local Transportation $11
  • Train from Kobe to Osaka $30

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Attractions $233

  • Sake Tasting in Kobe $30
  • Ropeway to Herb Garden $20
  • Teamlab Borderless $60
  • Senso-Ji activities: $2
  • Arcade Games: $8
  • Rides at Tokyo Dome: $5
  • Street Kart tip: $5
  • Disneyland: $103

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

Shopping $169

  • Shopping in Harajuku $162
  • Kit Kat candy to take home $7


How much spending money do you need per day in Japan?

Flight, lodging, and transportation aside, you should expect to spend around $42-45 per day in Japan. That’s for all your meals and activities per person.

Now if you’re like me and need to know your total per day cost including everything but long-haul flight, then you should plan to spend an average of $102 per day in Japan per person.

how much spending money for Japan 2 weeks

How to Budget your Money in Japan

At this point, you saved money for your trip and are ready to explore Japan. When you’re in awe you are likely to get distracted by the cost of things. “When in Rome” “Who cares I’m on Vacation”.

Those are fun and all until you look at your bank account.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure costs stay low during your two weeks in Japan.

Dine at markets and/or pick up groceries from a local supermarket and cook at your Airbnb or hostel.

Skip booze or buy purchase at supermarkets . Booze is a huge expense, especially when you’re getting a couple of drinks a day. If you can’t avoid it (guilty) then go to bars during happy hours. Always be on the lookout for deals advertised outside of bars.

Pay attention to plate designs at conveyor belt sushi restaurants.

Save money on accommodation by staying in a hostel, capsule hotel, or outside the city . You can easily find hostels in the $20-30 range. I love using hostelworld.com.

Purchase the Japan rail pass if you plan to move around. Bundling transportation costs will save you money in the long run.

How to Save for a Trip to Japan

First things first, you need to save yo’ money. While this is going to be the trip a lifetime, I never recommend getting into debt. For that, one must whip out the piggy bank and tuck some Benjamin’s away.

Here’s how I save for all my trips which is applicable to saving for Japan. Same method. Different city.

Ask yourself when you want to go then what you absolutely want to see. If you’re not sure what the best things to do in Japan are you can start with my guide to Tokyo or Kobe.

How much are flights for the dates you want to go and are you flexible? If you’re flexible on dates then set some price alerts for a few airlines or Skyscanner and when the price gets to your threshold, book! One of the biggest money savers when it comes to travel is cheap airfare.

Calculate a rough estimate of your trip costs. For example, let’s say two weeks in Japan will cost you $6k and you want to leave 6 months from now.

That means you need to save $1k per month. If that is not achievable then you need to leave at a later date or lower your budget or spend less time in Japan.

To start tucking money away you can temporarily divide a portion of your paycheck to deposit money into your savings account on payday. Out of sight out of mind.

Cut out unnecessary expenses. You don’t need to go out to bars and restaurants every weekend with your friends. Instead host game nights, cocktail mixers and cook at home. I love playing host at my house.

Pick up a second job. I love working side hustles to help me save for travel quickly. You can find all kinds of jobs from teaching English online to work liquor demos at your local liquor stores. I’ve made as much as $40 per hour sampling spirits at Total Wines & More.

I’ve also done freelance photography and videography jobs that have earned me as much as $500 a day. Get creative and brainstorm what services you can monetize in your spare time.

Bucket List Budget

Snag your FREE Bucket List Budget and Travel Planner. This planner includes: travel budget breakdown, savings tracker, checklists, and itinerary templates.  

Yay Freebies!

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

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Lists by Lukiih 🍀

Practical travel guides with less fluff

  • 💰 My 2024 Japan Trip Cost: A Budget Breakdown

A woman holding chopsticks with little plates of foot in front of her.

Japan, a country famous for its cherry blossoms and temples, can be visited with a budget of $60 to $120 a day.

My two-week trip to Japan cost a total of $2,829 . In this post, I share:

  • 💰 Expected travel costs
  • 💡 Budgeting tips
  • 💵 How much cash to bring
  • ✈️ My trip’s costs by category
  • 📍 My trip’s costs by major cities

Planning a trip? Here’s what to know about Japan .

  • Is Japan Expensive?
  • How Much Is a Trip?
  • About My Trip
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Daily Budget: $145
  • Flight: $796
  • 🏠 Accommodation Cost in Japan: $807
  • Transportation: $374
  • Entertainment: $155
  • Kyoto: $616
  • Withdrawing Cash
  • How Much Cash To Bring
  • Cash-Only Places
  • Tipping Etiquette

Lists By Lukiih is readers-supported. When you buy with my affiliate link, I may earn a small commission. Thanks!

Is Japan Expensive To Travel To?

Japan ranks as  one of the most expensive  destinations in Asia. While it can be visited with a lower budget, Japan has pricey accommodations in major cities, the Japan Rail Pass is not cheap, and fees for attractions can add up.

Along with Singapore and Hong Kong, Japan is often considered a luxury destination in Asia.

However, with advanced planning and the willingness to forego certain experiences, Japan can be visited on a small budget .

💰 Trip Daily Budget for Destinations in Asia

For comparison, I visited these countries in Asia within a year of visiting Japan, and here’s how much I spent per day at each one:

*My Cambodia daily budget is high because I splurged on accommodation.

See all my daily budget for each destination I’ve visited .

How Much Is a Trip to Japan?

This section covers estimated trip costs depending on your travel style. I share my actual travel expenses further below.

🎒 Budget Traveler – Japan Trip Cost

Budget travelers can expect to spend approximately $60 per day or $840 for two weeks of travel in Japan, excluding flights.

Here’s what a budget traveler’s cost breakdown can look like:

To travel on a budget to Japan, below are some things you’ll need to do.

Accommodation Budgeting Tips

  • Stay in a dorm-style hostel for about $30 a night in big cities like Tokyo. You can find hostels for closer to $15 a night in more remote areas.
  • If you want more privacy, consider staying at a capsule hotel, where you can rent an enclosed bed for less than $40 a night.
  • The average cost of a private room in a budget hotel can also be cheap, but only if you stay on the outskirts of central areas . Otherwise, budget hotels are priced like mid-range hotels in central places of major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.

A small room with a bed, small table and narrow walkway.

  • Avoid traveling during Japan’s high season, which is the cherry blossom season in the spring (March to May). Traveling during the low season, which is summer or winter, will get you the best deals on accommodation .

See what traveling to Japan is like in December .

Transportation Budgeting Tips

Japan’s public transportation, a complex and vast network of trains, makes traveling convenient and cheap.

  • If you know you’ll be taking the train a lot, consider buying a day pass, which can be as cheap as $4 per person in Tokyo.
  • If you’re traveling long distances around Japan, consider getting the Japan Rail Pass , which gives you unlimited rides for a set time and includes access to high-speed bullet trains.

The JR Pass is expensive , so you should know your rough Japan itinerary before purchasing it. That way, you can evaluate whether it’s worth it.

Food Budgeting Tips

You can eat cheaply in Japan and find meals for $5, even in big tourist cities.

  • A great way to save money on food is to shop at convenience stores like Family Mart, 7-Eleven, and Lawson. These stores provide decent meals for less than $5 . I had a latte and onigiri (rice ball) for breakfast several times at convenience stores, which cost only $2 per meal.

If you buy a refrigerated meal, like gyudon, ramen, or pasta, they will warm it up for you and provide utensils .

A store aisle selling sandwiches and snacks wrapped in seaweed.

  • Fast food places that typically have automatic ordering machines also provide hearty meals for $5 or less. In Kyoto, I had an udon bowl for $3; in Tokyo, I ate at a ramen restaurant for $7.

A woman pushing buttons on a screen with food selections on it.

  • Markets, like the popular Nishiki Market in Kyoto and the Kuromon Ichiba Market in Osaka, are cheap places to try a wide variety of good food for less than $12 , as each stall sells $1 to $3 snack-bite food.

Black fish next to thinly-sliced white raw fish.

  • Conveyor belt sushi restaurants are a good deal if you’re craving seafood . I ate at one in Shinjuku, a central location in Tokyo, for $13.

A conveyer belt wrapped around a big dining table with sushi dishes on the belt.

Entertainment Budgeting Tips

While many of Japan’s main attractions require an entrance fee, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the country without spending much money . Some of my best days in Japan didn’t require me to pay for any attractions.

  • Many famous temples have a small entrance fee, but there is an abundance of other less well-known temples around Japan that are free .

A pathway surrounded by trees leading to a small temple.

  • Similarly, gardens and some bigger parks will also have entrance fees, but many urban parks have free access.

💰 Mid-Range Budget Traveler – Japan Trip Cost

A mid-range budget traveler like myself can expect to spend approximately $120 per day or $1,680 for two weeks of travel in Japan, excluding flights. I break down my trip expenses by travel category below.

About My Japan Trip

To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip:

  • Tokyo : 6 days
  • Kyoto : 2 days
  • Osaka : 1 day
  • Mount Fuji hike : 2 days
  • Shimanami Kaido cycle : 2 days
  • ☀️ High season – I visited Japan in September, the beginning of the high season. Japan has two high seasons: one in the spring and one in the fall.

See the upsides and downsides of visiting Japan in September .

  • ✌️ Group travel – I traveled with one other person, so we were able to split some costs, such as housing.
  • 💰 Mid-range budget – I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler, and these expenses reflect that. I don’t aim to travel on a budget, but I’m thoughtful about how and where I spend.
  • 🍀 Self-funded – My trips are self-funded, so I paid for everything listed below. None of my excursions or experiences are sponsored.
  • 💵 US dollars – All costs listed in this post are per person and in US dollars, which have been converted from Japan’s local currency, the Japanese yen.

The exchange rate was $1 USD = 142 JPY at the time of writing.

A woman standing on a bridge with a lush mountain background.

Japan Trip’s Total Cost: $2,829

My two-week trip to Japan cost a total of $2,829 , including flights.

See the highlights of my trip in this  Japan itinerary .

💰 Cost Breakdown for Japan

Here’s a quick overview of my expenses by travel category:

🗓️ Daily Budget in Japan: $145

My Japan trip cost $145 per day , excluding my round-trip flights from and to the United States.

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $120 per day in Japan. This generally means staying at accommodations that cost about $70 per night, eating a mix of food from convenience stores and restaurants, and visiting several of Japan’s big cities.

✈️ Flight Cost to Japan: $796

My round-trip flight from the West Coast of the United States to Haneda Airport in Tokyo was $796 .

A round-trip flight between the US and Japan that costs under $700 is considered cheap; international flights typically cost over $900.

🏠 Accommodation Cost in Japan: $807

My average cost of accommodation in Japan was $58 per day . I was able to split accommodations with one other person at all times.

Here are the accommodations I stayed at and how much I paid for each:

Budgeting Tips for Accommodations in Japan

Here are my budgeting tips and things to note regarding accommodations in Japan:

  • Accommodations are pricey – While accommodations in Japan can be affordable in non-central areas, expect to pay $70 for mid-range hotel rooms in central areas of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Luxury hotels in those major cities will be as high as $900, but I recommend staying in a ryokan if you have a larger accommodation budget.
  • Be prepared to shell out for a ryokan – Ryokans, which are traditional Japanese inns, are typically more expensive than mid-range hotels; a decent one starts at around $150.

Ryokans are usually attached to onsens and serve kaiseki, a multi-course Japanese meal, for breakfast, dinner, or both. Despite their higher costs, they’re considered a unique experience that’s worth a one- or two-night stay.

Two Japanese-styled beds on wooden floors.

  • Don’t pack toiletries (optional) – Many hotels in Japan will provide toiletries, pajamas, and breakfast sets as part of their accommodation costs. All the hotels I stayed at (with Mt. Fuji hut being the exception) provided toothbrushes, toothpaste, face lotion, etc.

A rack with boxes filled with toiletries like toothbrush and face soap.

🍣 Food Cost in Japan: $489

My average cost of food in Japan was $35 per day .

Food costs in Japan vary widely ; you can eat on a budget or extravagantly. For either budget, try eating at local spots for the best authentic eats.

Here’s a hack for finding local eats in Japan .

Cheapest Meals in Japan

Here are the most affordable meals I ate during my trip:

If you’re on a budget, you can eat Japanese food   for $3 to $10  at convenience stores (Family Mart, 7-Eleven, and Lawson), street food markets, and fast food restaurants where you sometimes order at a machine resembling a vending machine.

Most Expensive Meals in Japan

Here are the most expensive meals I ate during my trip:

A circular grill with marbled meat next to an open kitchen.

You’ll notice that fresh fruits in Japan can be very expensive (e.g., over $15 for a handful of grapes) because fruits hold more significance in Japanese culture. But if you go to local supermarkets, you can buy them for reasonable prices.

🚆 Transportation Cost in Japan: $374

My average cost of transportation in Japan was $26 per day .

Here are the transportation methods I took and how much I paid for each:

A woman biking on a modern-looking bridge.

When figuring out transportation, know that many of Japan’s train stations have coin-operated luggage storage that is cheap and convenient. It typically costs less than $5 for 24-hour storage . As the name implies, they are sometimes cash-only and need exact change. Train station attendants can give you change for larger bills.

A set of lockers with the sign that says COIN-LOCKERS.

Budgeting Tips for Trains in Japan

The best way to travel around Japan is by train. Here are my budgeting tips and things to note regarding trains there:

  • Consider getting the JR Pass – JR, the same group that operates all the bullet trains (called Shinkansen ), serves many of Japan’s trains. A bullet train ride can be expensive (around $100 from Tokyo to Kyoto), so you should determine whether getting a JR Pass , which gives you unlimited rides for a set time, is more economical. I got the 7-day JR Pass for my Japan itinerary because it was cheaper than buying individual rides.

A ticket that says Japan Rail Pass.

  • Take advantage of day passes – Some local transportation, like Tokyo’s local trains, offers a cheap day pass that is usually cost-efficient if you take the train more than three times within 24 hours.
  • IC cards can make things more convenient – You’ll notice that many places in Japan, including public transportation, convenience stores, restaurants, and vending machines, will accept IC cards like PASMO and Suica. An IC card is a rechargeable travel card that you can get to make navigating Japan easier.

⛩️ Entertainment Cost in Japan: $155

My average cost of entertainment in Japan was $11 per day . My entertainment costs are on the lower end because I did many free things and took advantage of the country’s beautiful nature, which is usually low-cost.

A typical mid-range traveler in Japan will likely spend closer to at least $30 a day on entertainment.

Costs of Activities and Attractions in Japan

Here are all the activities and attractions I paid for and how much each cost:

Japan is a beautiful country where many people like to take photos. Before snapping a photo of a local, ask them for permission , as doing so without consent is considered disrespectful. Learn more about proper Japanese etiquette .

Free Things To Do in Japan

Japan is known for its natural beauty, so there are many free outdoor activities and attractions available.

Here are the attractions and activities I did in Japan that were free:

  • Fushimi Inari Taisha – This famous shrine complex in Kyoto has no entrance fee.

A view of red shrines overlooking a city.

  • Mount Fuji hiking – Mt. Fuji has four trails, and starting in 2024, you only need to pay for the Yoshida Trail, the most popular one. When I did the Subashiri trail, I just had the option to donate a small amount.

A woman next to a Shinto shrine above the clouds.

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building – Shibuya Sky is a popular sunset observation deck in Tokyo, but you can save $15 by going to the deck on the 45th floor of the government building instead.
  • Parks – Tokyo has tranquil and beautiful urban parks, including Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku Central Park.

A lush garden with a small pond and Chinese-style building.

  • Smaller temples – Many of Kyoto’s smaller and less well-known temples in the Arashiyama district and Philosopher’s Path are free.
  • Bustling districts – You can spend hours walking around and window shopping in districts like Tokyo’s Akihabara and Osaka’s Dotonbori.

A set of lit-up buildings with anime girls on it.

Cost Breakdown by Destination in Japan

Below are my trip expense breakdowns for Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka . These three major cities are often featured in first-timers’ travel itineraries.

I also spent time in the following places:

  • I stayed at Gotemba , a nearby city of Mount Fuji, to hike up the iconic volcano . I spent $139 over two days while doing the hike.
  • As part of the Shimanami Kaido two-day cycling activity , I stayed on Ikuchi Island and Imabari City. I spent $223 cycling the route.

🍱 Tokyo Trip’s Total Cost: $97

During my six-day trip to Tokyo, I averaged  $99 in daily travel expenses.

In Tokyo, I stayed at two hotels in the Shinjuku and Nihonbashi areas to be close to major train stations. I paid to visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden , watch an Olympics Qualifiers volleyball game at Yoyogi Stadium, and sing karaoke with some locals.

A full sports stadium with a volleyball court at the center.

Tokyo is the most expensive city in Japan to live in, but it’s not the most expensive city to visit . With a plethora of restaurants and sights to see, you can explore Tokyo on your own for free or hire a local guide to optimize your time there.

⛩️ Kyoto Trip’s Total Cost: $616

During my two-day trip to Kyoto, I averaged  $308 in daily travel expenses.

Kyoto is where I splurged more on accommodation as I stayed at a ryokan and a nicer hotel near the Kyoto train station. I also spent more on dining, as my two most expensive Japanese meals were here.

A red temple peeking out of a lush forest of green trees.

Kyoto is known for its well-preserved historical sites. It boasts over 1,600 temples, and all the major or popular ones have a small entrance fee (usually around $5). The city also has many free temples , like the ones found on the Philosopher’s Path or in the Arashiyama district.

🐙 Osaka Trip’s Total Cost: $50

I did a day trip to Osaka from Kyoto. During my short trip, I visited the Kuromon Ichiba Market , walked around the popular and bustling Dotonbori area, and visited the Osaka Aquarium , which I found to be unique and well-designed.

A busy, commercial street next to a canal at night.

Osaka is called “Japan’s Kitchen” and a foodie’s paradise. It’s well-known for its street food, nightlife, and numerous Michelin-starred places, so expect to spend a bit on dining . If you like some guidance, plenty of English-speaking guides offer street food tours .

Do You Need Cash in Japan?

Although Japan has a good credit card infrastructure, a significant part of its economy is based on cash transactions . This is especially true once you wander outside its major cities, so make sure to bring some cash.

Below are tips on bringing and using cash in Japan.

💴 1. Withdraw cash in Japanese yen.

Japan’s currency is the Japanese yen (JPY), and the US dollar is not widely accepted.

ATMs are readily available in many central areas of Japan, but you might have trouble finding them elsewhere. For example, during my ryokan stay, I had trouble finding an ATM on the outskirts of Japan.

A hand holding a couple of Japanese yen bills next to an ATM.

💵 2. Carry about $40 worth of cash per day in Japan.

On a typical day, a mid-range budget traveler in Japan will need at least $40 in cash to cover food, transportation, and attractions. A daily cash expense breakdown can look like this:

  • $15 at restaurants and cafes
  • $10 on shopping
  • $5 on attractions
  • $5 on taking the trains
  • $5 on miscellaneous spending like vending machines, coin-lockers, etc.

Japan’s trains have a fixed price based on the distance traveled, so you must calculate the price every time you ride and buy a disposable ticket. However, you can buy a PASMO card to avoid calculating the price every time and  minimize the amount of cash you need to carry.

A machine in Japanese that has several slots and takes cash.

On my Japan trip, I spent a total of roughly $200 (about $15 per day) in cash. Here’s a breakdown of how I used my cash:

I keep my cash in my crossbody bag , but if you want extra protection against pickpocketing , carry it in a hidden money belt instead.

🏧 3. Many places in Japan are cash-only.

While credit cards are commonly used in Japan, I still had to use cash more than 30 times during my two-week trip. Here are some of the places that were cash-only in Japan:

  • Markets – Kyoto’s Nishiki Market and Osaka’s Kuromon Ichiba Market are both cash-only.
  • Restaurants – This includes places in major cities and smaller towns. I had to use cash in restaurants specializing in tofu, fluffy pancakes, ramen, and conveyor belt sushi.
  • Cafes and bakeries – This includes a popular matcha place in Kyoto and an ice cream stand in Onomichi.
  • Smaller shops – Shops tend to be cash-only in less accessible areas (e.g., at the top of the Fushimi Inari in Kyoto).
  • Train stations kiosks – None of the kiosks took my Chase travel credit card, so I used cash for all my train rides.
  • Coin-operated lockers – As the name implies, these lockers only accept coins.
  • Smaller temples – Some less well-known temples in Kyoto had small entrance fees.
  • Vending machines – Most vending machines in Japan are cash-only.

A woman standing in front of a set of vending machines selling bottled drinks.

💰 4. Tipping is not customary in Japan.

Japan does not have a tipping culture, and you’ll find that locals will refuse tips even if you offer or insist. This is because they feel you’re already sufficiently paying for their service.

I offered a tip out of habit twice while in Japan, and my tips were refused both times.

See other essential travel tips for Japan before visiting.

Japan Trip Planner 2024

To make your travel preparation easier, download the trip planner below. It has destination-specific travel information, itinerary, map, and packing list.

My trip planners are built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning. I genuinely love this tool and creating an account is free .

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below .

Japan Travel Guides

  • 🇯🇵 Planning a Trip to Japan: 11 Practical Things To Know
  • ⛩️ 10 Epic Days in Japan: A Unique & Active Itinerary
  • 🌋 Hiking Mt. Fuji: Firsthand Review & Tips
  • 🚲 Cycling the Shimanami Kaido: Firsthand Review & Tips
  • ⛩️ Fushimi Inari Taisha: Firsthand Review & Tips
  • 🙅🏻‍♀️ Etiquette in Japan: 13 Things Tourists Should Not Do
  • ☀️ Visiting Japan in September: Tips & What To Know
  • ❄️ Visiting Japan in December: Tips & What To Know

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Honest Travel Stories

The complete budget guide for a 2 week trip to Japan

Our trip to Japan was like a dream come true. We waited for it for a long time, we were worried about the plane tickets, we planned everything carefully and we made mistakes. It’s the way things work for us. But planning the budget for the trip was never a problem, as you will see in this complete budget guide for a 2-week trip to Japan.

Yes, it’s true guys, there might be affiliate links in this awesome, free post. This means that if you decide to buy something that you find here, and you use one of my links to do so, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I plan to use this money on ice cream, chocolate, and to travel more so I can write these useful guides for you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Not because we have won the lottery (as if…). And even though everyone thinks that living and working in Switzerland automatically links you to a full bank account, we still travel the same as before: budget to mid-level. What does this mean?

It means we’re usually spending around 50$ per hotel night, and we never go to hostels. I did too much of that in college, don’t want to go back. It also means we usually go to local restaurants, and half of our meals are to-go. Still, from time to time, we’ll splurge and invest in a night at a special hotel, or a nicer island in the Maldives , or even a room above average in Indonesia .

And lots of times we hear this question when we come back from a trip: “How much did you spend, overall?”. We usually know roughly how much we spent, but we rarely focus on the details. But, since I’m trying to become a better blogger (or WTH am I doing here anyway), I started keeping a better track of our costs for the trip to Japan.

Tickets to various castles from our 2 week trip to Japan.

Table of Contents

What you need to know.

First of all, I have to tell you that these numbers are all approximate. Japan is still a cash-based country, so we had to withdraw money from an ATM and spend it like this. And spending cash makes it pretty hard to track what you spent on. I have a rough idea, but please take this information with a grain of salt.

Second, we didn’t visit everything that we wanted, due to lack of time (and sometimes bad planning, because why not?). But we researched a lot before going, and at the end of this post you’ll find a printable sheet with entry fees to all the cool places to visit in Japan, plus our comments and helpful tips.

Third, we were always on the run, so half of our meals were things we bought from grocery stores, not proper restaurant meals. Breakfast was almost always taken either in the room or on a train on the way to the next adventure. I also only had one cup of coffee to go, since I felt guilty about producing so much waste. Since then, I have bought a to-go coffee cup so that I can enjoy my guilty pleasure without the actual guilt.

Forth: even if you’re on a budget, never ever travel without travel insurance. It used to be fairly OK, but during the last few years, we have learned that it’s not OK anymore. You can get a quote in the widget below.

And the last one: the prices are displayed in Yen, for two persons. We used 2 Revolut cards and one TransferWise to withdraw money (50.000 Yen in total), and we paid everything we could in Yen since this is the best option, so here’s a pro tip for you: while traveling, always, ALWAYS pay in the currency of the country you’re in.

Are you ready to find out how much is a trip to Japan for 2 weeks going to cost you? Good. Let’s start!

Don’t have time to read it right now? Pin it for later!

How much to budget for the flights to japan.

Of course, it depends on where you’re coming from, the season when you’re traveling, if you could find a crappy combination that takes you there cheaper or have miles that take you there free. In our case, we used my benefits, so the price we paid is irrelevant.

But, since this will be a large chunk of your budget, I looked into it a bit. I used Skyscanner for this, filtered for round trips from Tokyo, in November (using the whole month feature), and verified the prices from the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Of course, you can use the same features to search for the flights by yourself, but I’ll attach my findings just to provide an idea.

From the US

  • 900-1.200$, from the West Coast (LA, San Francisco)
  • 1.300-1.500$, from the East Coast (New York, Washington)

From Europe

  • 900 euro from Italy
  • 1.000 euro from Spain or Germany
  • 1.100 euro from France
  • 1.200 euro from Netherlands or Switzerland
  • 350$ from Thailand or Hong Kong
  • 550$ from Singapore
  • 650 from India

From Australia

As you can see, the prices are somewhere in the area of 1000-1.200$ for a round trip for 2 people. It’s not as bad as I thought. We paid 1800 euro (about 2000$) for the crappiest flight we ever had, so my standards are not that high.

So, how much does it cost to fly to Japan? About 1200$, I would say. This means 131.527 Yen .

Fushimi Inari shrine in Japan

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Japanese bookmark received when buying a SIM card and a travel book I'm currently reading

Internet in Japan for tourists – 7 ways to have Internet when traveling to Japan

Red bridge over a river in Japan

Onsens in Japan – Rules, tips and everything you need to enjoy a hot spring in Japan

The cost of transportation in Japan will be one of the major downfalls for your budget. You'll spend about a quarter of your budget just to get around Japan, and probably another quarter on the flights that will get you there. So be prepared and buy ahead everything you can, so you don't feel the burden of paying everything at once for transportation in Japan.

How much does accommodation in Japan cost for 2 weeks?

This is a tricky one. Of course, it can cost anything from 30$ to 1.000$ a night. And Japan is known to have one of the most expensive accommodation offers in the world. And we’re saying this while we know the prices for accommodation in Switzerland (in short, we need to start crapping money before we take a 2-week vacation in Switzerland).

I’ll give you two views about this. The first one is the options that you have so that you know your options for any budget. The second one will be our exact costs for accommodation, with detailed information about the places, nights and everything you may need.

How expensive can accommodation in Japan be?

  • Hostel – 50-80$
  • Capsule hotel – 30-50$
  • Guesthouse – 80-100$ (but are not very different than hostels, to be honest)
  • Love hotel – 120-130$ (but you can rarely book ahead, usually they’re booked per each night individually)
  • Ryokan (traditional inn) – 50-500$ (no exaggeration, you can find either of these prices and everything in between)
  • Budget hotel – 60-100$
  • Mid-range hotel – 100-250$
  • High-end hotel – 250-1.000$

As a reminder, these are the prices for 2 people per night. Multiply this with the number of nights you’re planning to stay, and you’ll have a good overview. Also, I have to specify that I found these prices using Agoda . This is my favorite toy to use for finding accommodation, and the prices are often better than other competitors, especially in Asia.

Suitcase with packed items for a beach trip, including sun hat, camera and toiletries.

Packing list for 2 autumn weeks in Japan – What to pack for a fall trip to Japan (printable included)

Digital art museum, a part of modern Japan - one of the myths about Japan

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Clear view over Mount Fuji

The best 2 week Japan itinerary for autumn – Where to go, what to do and see in 14 days in Japan

What was the cost of accommodation in japan for us.

OK, now you have an overview. The next prices are the ones that we have paid. Our target budget was to fit, on average, below 100$ per night. And, in my opinion, we nailed it. The prices were good, the places were great, and everything worked out smoothly.

  • Hamamatsu – Hotel Daiwa Roynet – 9.211 Yen
  • Kyoto – Shizutetsu Hotel Prezio – 8.280 Yen
  • Gero (ryokan) – Yukai Resort Geroonsen – 19.110 Yen
  • Tokyo – Hotel Keikyu Ex Inn – 9.700 Yen

We stayed for a total of 12 nights. The first one was in Hamamatsu, the next 5 in Kyoto, the next in Gero, and the last 5 in Tokyo. For these 12 nights, we paid a total of 116.961 Yen .

Between castles, temples, and shrines, I fully recommend that you visit at least a Japanese garden. It may sound like a bad idea to pay a price to see a park, but it's worth it. These gardens were designed in such a way that they bring you joy and peace of mind, and they're usually in the middle of a crowded city, making it even better. You should invest a part of your budget into visiting a few Japanese gardens while you're there.

How much does transportation cost in Japan for tourists?

Boy, am I on a roll here or what? So, for transportation, you have two main topics: the JR Pass and the rest. Luckily, I covered this subject in a detailed guide to transportation in Japan , so I am already informed about the subject.

How much does the JR pass cost?

Well, first of all, you have to analyze if you need it. There are lots of ways to do this, and I’ll cover them separately, but a good rule of thumb is that if you’re going to do the Tokyo-Kyoto return trip at least once and a day trip somewhere outside Tokyo or Kyoto, you already need the pass.

The JR pass is quite expensive. We paid 96.417 Yen for the one valid for 14 days. This is around 800$. It hurt, it really did. But, and this is a big one, but it would have been even worse if we wouldn’t have had it. We used it intensively, and I think it paid for itself in the first half of the trip.

And this price is valid if you buy it outside Japan. In the last years, they have enabled an option to buy the JR Pass inside Japan as well, but this will cost you even more than that, about 105.920 Yen. The difference doesn’t seem that much, it’s about 50$, but you can invest this in a better hotel room, a nice souvenir, or a gallon of ice cream. No one’s judging.

trip to japan cost 2 weeks

If you’re buying any JR Pass product with my affiliate link, whether it is a train pass , a portable Wi-Fi , or the Meet & Greet package, send me a copy of your receipt at [email protected] and you’ll get my Japan Map Collection entirely for free!

How much does transportation in Japan cost, apart from the JR?

And now it’s the challenge. The other transportation has to be paid cash. No matter if you use Suica/Icoca/Pasmo or any other card, you will fill it up with cash. There’s no way to do it by card, and, believe me, we have tried. That’s why it’s challenging.

Out of everything that we paid from the cash amount we took from the ATM (50.000 Yen), my estimations tell me we have spent around 20.000 Yen on transportation. This includes:

  • 500 Yen per each card as a deposit (you get it back when you redeem your card, don’t worry, but you need to provide this amount)
  • a 1.400 Yen trip with a local bus to see a cool cave near Hamamatsu
  • a 4.200 Yen trip with a local bus from Odawara to Hakone
  • a 3.200 Yen round trip by cable car to see Mount Fuji

These expenses are the bigger ones. The rest of them were around 200-250 Yen each, and we also walked a great deal. My Fitbit was so proud of me those two weeks…

So, the total amount spent on transportation in Japan is…( drumrolls )… 116.417 Yen . A big chunk, I know.

Shinto Shrine in Japan

How to use a train in Japan – a simple and helpful guide

How to use a bus, tram or metro in japan – a simple and helpful guide, how to use the public transportation in japan – everything you need to know, how much does food in japan cost.

So, we got to my favorite part. I mean food. Japanese food, on the other hand, is a story for another time. How much did we spend on food? Well, again, it boils down to your spending behavior.

We ate a maximum of one meal per day at a restaurant (main dish, drink and sometimes dessert), and the other meals were gracefully provided by all sorts of grocery stores, pastry shops, random street food isles, and quite a few ice cream stands.

Costs for eating out in Japan

In 12 days, we spent around 33.952 Yen on food in restaurants. We paid by card in most of them, and tipping is not a thing in Japan, so there are no extra charges in this field. One complete meal for two was usually around 35 to 40$, no matter where we ate.

We didn’t eat in fancy restaurants, we tried to find places where we could eat like the locals. No worries, the food is good everywhere and it’s worth it to order based only on pictures. I honestly have no idea what I have eaten in there, but I seem to still be alive so, can’t be that bad, right?

Costs for eating on the go in Japan

In grocery stores, we spent around 16.495 Yen , out of which my estimation is that only 15.000 Yen was food and water. Because, unfortunately, while tap water IS drinkable in Japan, it tastes too much like chlorine to be actually drinkable.

Some of the grocery shopping visits were influenced by us buying large amounts of fruit, which we missed there, and some others by us randomly taking things just to see what they were. There were some isolated occasions when we paid for food in cash, but it’s an amount not worth mentioning.

So, in total, we spent about 55.952 Yen on keeping our weight as it is. Maybe we added a little bit though…

Visiting temples and shrines in Japan is probably why most of us go there. While some temples are free to visit, some of the others can cost up to 1000 Yen. If your budget is tight, you can visit just the free ones, and make a judgment call on the others. Or you can decide it's worth it and you can temple yourself out as much as possible.

How much did we spend on entry fees?

Well, now you’ve caught me. I lied before, the food is not my favorite part (although you won’t say that based on my figure…). Visiting the stuff is my favorite part. I even create Trello boards for this part of every journey. Kind of explains why people don’t come with us on trips. Anymore.

Because we spent more time moving from one place to the other compared to what we thought we will, and also due to my lack of skills for basic functions like counting days, we missed some of the places we wanted to visit. Also, some of them were free of charge, and no one loves a bargain more than I do.

In the end, we spent about 32.000 Yen on entry fees. This included expensive stuff like the Digital Art Museum in Tokyo (it’s totally worth the 6.400 Yen we spent on it) or a geiko and maiko show in Kyoto , but also some things that didn’t impress us that much (some rebuilt castles, for example), and some totally useless things like the audio guide in Hiroshima.

For each one of us, this price will vary deeply. I didn’t see the point in paying to walk on a bridge in Nikko, for example, when I could see it very well from the bridge next to it. Others will feel templed out after 2-3 temples and shrines, and will invest this money in other things, or will just not spend it altogether.

Enjoying an experience in Japan can cost you quite a bit. A dinner with geisha show can be up to 2000$, a tea ceremony can be around 100-200$ and a private tour can also be very pricey. Still, I fully recommend going to at least one experience. In the end, there's no use of a trip to Japan if you cannot enjoy and meet this outstanding culture. Make use of any budget planning techniques you know and put aside some money for this.

To help you with this decision, I have prepared a printable PDF with prices for the most important places to see in Japan. I have also added some personal comments to it, which I think will be of great help when it comes to the decision of what to visit in Japan. And yes, I also did the currency exchange for you, you’re welcome.

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Any other additional costs we should know of?

Of course, not everything comes down to these categories mentioned above. What other things we spent our money on include, but are not limited to:

  • commissions for ATM withdrawals – 917 Yen
  • a bag to be able to split our luggage, because I packed like crazy and didn’t expect that many stairs – 3.080 Yen
  • a short visit to the pharmacy because I am not only unable to count, but I’m also unable to walk safely – 198 Yen
  • souvenirs – 5.840 Yen (it honestly could have been a lot more)
  • a SIM card that saved our buts SO many times – 3.700 Yen

All of this got to a whopping amount of 15.340 Yen . This is money we don’t have anymore and we’re not exactly sure why. #responsible_adults right? I promise, we didn’t do anything illegal or immoral, we’re too old for this sort of thing.

Want to have a helpful resource to make your planning efforts not only easier but also more enjoyable? Check out my Japan Travel Guide from the shop!

Japan travel guide eBook

The complete budget guide for a 2 week trip to Japan – Key takeaways

Phew, that was a big one. Was it as hard for you to read as it was for me to write it? I hope not, I’m trying to be helpful here. So, how much does a trip to Japan cost for 2 weeks, you ask?

In case you’re more of a visual person, I have created a chart for the budget needed for a two week trip to Japan. Because who doesn’t like charts? Right? Right? * awkward silence *

This chart is the best representation for the budget split while on a 2 week trip to Japan. Most of the money went into the flights, accommodation and internal transportation.

As you can see, the total budget for this trip went up to 468.197 Yen , which means around 4.300$ . It’s not cheap, I know. I feel your pain.

It’s similar to what we paid for the trip to the Maldives . But the Maldives is known as a luxury destination (not how we did it though), and Japan offers so much more than beaches and sunshine.

But, with proper planning , you can do this without feeling it is such a burden. If you split the big money suckers across a whole year, it may feel less stressful.

In any case, now you know everything about how much it costs to travel to Japan.

Wait, there’s more! You almost forgot your printable PDF with the entry fees for all the important things to visit in Japan.

2 thoughts on “The complete budget guide for a 2 week trip to Japan”

Wow, about $300 USD a day for 2 people is pretty expensive! Going to Japan is definitely on my bucket list and I love your approach to food and fun but those hotel costs are what always dissuade me from heading to that country! Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue even at 44 years old with staying in a Private Room in a hostel with my wife since we don’t plan on staying in the room beyond sleeping and storage! But dang that is ridiculous with pricing!

I know, right? Again, this is pretty similar to what we paid in The Maldives if you catch my drift. But there are two things to keep in mind: 1. I included the airfare in the price. This can vary widely depending on so many factors and can be quite helpful if you can score a better deal here. 2. We decided we’re too old for hostels, and my husband didn’t want a capsule hotel experience (you can see which of us is older this way :)) )

If you can go lower with airfare and accommodation, you can probably score this to about 200 $ per day, which is still not cheap, but might make you decide to go already 🙂

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How Much Does a Trip to Japan Cost: 2024 Japan Travel Cost Breakdown

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May 30, 2024

Trip to Japan cost

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Trip to Japan cost is generally considered moderately expensive, but there are ways to save money and travel on a budget. The major costs of a trip to Japan are flights , hotels, eSIM , JR Pass , transportation, food, and activities.

Overall, a budget traveler can expect to spend around $50 to $100 per day in Japan, while a mid-range traveler can expect to spend around $150 to $250 per day. It's important to plan ahead and research activities and costs to create a budget that works for you.

How much does a trip to Japan cost for 1 or 2 Weeks?

Cost of a trip to japan for 1 week.

For a one-week trip to Japan, budgeting accurately is key to enjoying a variety of experiences without overspending. Here, you'll find specific costs for a single traveler to Japan.

Cost of a Trip to Japan for 2 Weeks

Extending your visit to two weeks means considering how daily expenses add up over a longer period, especially for accommodation and meals.

How much does a trip to Japan cost for Flights?

The cost of flights to Japan can vary depending on various factors, such as the departure location, time of year, airline, and availability. Generally speaking, the cost of a round-trip economy class ticket from major cities in North America to Tokyo, Japan can range from approximately $600 to $1,500 or more , depending on the factors mentioned above.

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How much does a trip to Japan cost for Hotels?

Trip to Japan cost Conrad Tokyo

Conrad Tokyo

The cost of hotels in Japan varies depending on several factors such as the location, season, and the type of accommodation you are looking for. As a general rule, hotels in major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka tend to be more expensive than hotels in smaller cities or rural areas.

  • In Tokyo, for example, the average cost of a mid-range hotel room can range from around 10,000 to 25,000 Japanese yen per night (around $90 to $230 USD). However, luxury hotels in Tokyo can cost upwards of $500 USD per night.
  • In other cities and smaller towns in Japan, hotel prices can be more affordable, with mid-range hotels typically costing between 6,000 to 15,000 yen (around $55 to $140 USD) per night.

Of course, prices can fluctuate depending on the time of year and availability. It's always a good idea to compare prices on multiple travel booking websites and to book your accommodation well in advance to get the best deals.

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Trip to Japan cost Osaka Dotonbori

Osaka Dotonbori

  • Street food or fast food : around 300 to 800 Japanese yen (around $3 to $8 USD)
  • Casual dining or local restaurants : around 800 to 2,000 Japanese yen (around $8 to $20 USD) per meal
  • Mid-range restaurants : around 2,000 to 5,000 Japanese yen (around $20 to $50 USD) per meal
  • High-end or luxury restaurants : around 10,000 to 20,000 Japanese yen (around $100 to $200 USD) per meal or more.

In addition to restaurants, there are also many affordable options for food in Japan, such as convenience stores and supermarkets, which offer a variety of tasty and healthy food at reasonable prices. It's worth noting that tipping is not customary in Japan, so the prices listed above are typically the final price you will pay. Also, keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the location and the time of year.

How much does a trip to Japan cost for Souvenirs?

Trip to Japan cost Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee

  • Japanese snacks and sweets : prices vary depending on the item and packaging, but small boxes or bags of sweets can cost around 300 to 500 Japanese yen (around $3 to $5 USD), while larger boxes or packages can cost around 1,000 to 2,000 yen (around $10 to $20 USD).
  • Traditional crafts and goods : prices for traditional crafts such as pottery, lacquerware, and textiles can vary widely depending on the item's quality, size, and the artist's reputation. Prices for traditional crafts can range from a few thousand yen to tens of thousands of yen (from around $20 to $200 USD or more).
  • Anime and pop culture merchandise : items such as figurines, keychains, and clothing featuring popular anime or manga characters can range from a few hundred yen to several thousand yen (from around $3 to $30 USD or more).

It's worth noting that many souvenir shops in tourist areas have fixed prices, but there may be room for negotiation in other types of stores, such as flea markets or antique shops. Additionally, keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the time of year, and it's always a good idea to shop around and compare prices before making a purchase.

How much does a trip to Japan cost for Transportation?

Trip to Japan cost Osaka Nankai Line Airport Express

Osaka Nankai Line Airport Express

  • Train and subway : The cost of train and subway tickets in Japan depends on the distance traveled and the type of train. For example, a single ride on a Tokyo subway line can cost around 200 to 400 Japanese yen (around $2 to $4 USD), while a ride on a long-distance bullet train (Shinkansen) can cost around 10,000 to 20,000 yen (around $100 to $200 USD) or more, depending on the distance and train type.
  • Bus : Local buses in Japan generally cost around 200 to 500 Japanese yen (around $2 to $5 USD) per ride, depending on the distance and location.
  • Taxi : Taxis in Japan can be quite expensive, with prices starting at around 600 to 700 Japanese yen (around $6 to $7 USD) for the first kilometer and increasing by around 100 to 200 yen (around $1 to $2 USD) per additional 200 to 300 meters.
  • Rental car : Rental cars in Japan can be expensive, with prices starting at around 5,000 to 8,000 Japanese yen (around $50 to $80 USD) per day, depending on the type of car and rental location.

It's also worth noting that Japan has several transportation passes and discount tickets available for visitors, such as the Japan Rail Pass, which allows unlimited travel on most JR trains for a fixed period, and the Tokyo Subway Ticket, which provides unlimited travel on Tokyo subways for a fixed period. These passes can be a good value if you plan to do a lot of traveling in a short period.

How much does a trip to Japan cost for Attractions?

Trip to Japan cost Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan

  • Temples and shrines : Many temples and shrines in Japan are free to enter, while others may charge a small admission fee ranging from 200 to 500 Japanese yen (around $2 to $5 USD).
  • Museums and galleries : Admission fees for museums and galleries in Japan vary widely depending on the location and type of museum. Prices typically range from around 500 to 2,000 Japanese yen (around $5 to $20 USD) per person.
  • Theme parks : Admission fees for theme parks in Japan vary depending on the location and type of park. Prices typically range from around 2,000 to 8,000 Japanese yen (around $20 to $80 USD) per person.
  • Onsen (hot springs) : Prices for onsen vary depending on the location and type of onsen. Prices typically range from around 500 to 3,000 Japanese yen (around $5 to $30 USD) per person.
  • Tours and activities : Prices for tours and activities in Japan vary depending on the type of activity, location, and duration. Prices typically range from around 2,000 to 10,000 Japanese yen (around $20 to $100 USD) per person.

It's also worth noting that there are many free or low-cost sightseeing options in Japan, such as walking tours, parks, and public gardens, which can provide a great experience without breaking the bank. Additionally, some attractions offer discounts or free admission for foreign visitors, so be sure to check before you go

How much does a trip to Japan cost for Internet?

Trip to Japan cost Japan eSIM Day Pass

Japan eSIM Day Pass

  • Rental Wi-Fi router : Rental Wi-Fi routers are a popular option for tourists in Japan. Prices typically range from around 700 to 1,200 Japanese yen (around $7 to $12 USD) per day, depending on the rental company and plan. Some companies offer discounts for longer rental periods.
  • SIM card : Another option is to purchase a prepaid SIM card for your mobile device. Prices typically range from around 3,000 to 5,000 Japanese yen (around $30 to $50 USD), depending on the data plan and provider.
  • Free Wi-Fi : Many public places in Japan, such as airports, train stations, and coffee shops, offer free Wi-Fi. However, the quality and availability of free Wi-Fi can vary widely.

It's also worth noting that some hotels and accommodations offer free Wi-Fi for guests, so be sure to check before booking. Additionally, some smartphone apps, such as Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi, provide access to free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Japan. Overall, the cost of Wi-Fi in Japan can vary depending on the method of access and the data plan. However, there are many options available for travelers to stay connected while in Japan.

  • Country Japan
  • Package Option 500MB/Day
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  • Price USD 0.81
  • Package Option 1GB/Day
  • Number of Days 5 Days
  • Price USD 3.23
  • Package Option 10GB
  • Number of Days 15 Days
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Best Japan eSIM for Travelling

How much does a trip to japan cost for passport.

Trip to Japan cost Sensō-ji

  • In the United States , the cost of a new passport book for an adult (16 years or older) is $145, while a child's passport (under 16 years) is $115. Expedited service for an additional fee is available.
  • In the United Kingdom , the cost of a standard adult passport is £75.50, while a child's passport is £49. Expedited service for an additional fee is available.
  • In Australia , the cost of a new adult passport is AUD $298, while a child's passport is AUD $148. Expedited service for an additional fee is available.

It's important to note that passport fees can vary depending on the country of citizenship and the type of application. Additionally, some countries may require additional fees for visa applications or other travel documents. It's always a good idea to check with your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information on passport and visa requirements and fees.

How much does it cost for Insurance in Japan ?

  • For a single trip to Japan, travel insurance can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 USD, depending on the coverage and duration of the trip.
  • For an annual travel insurance policy that covers multiple trips to Japan and other destinations, the cost can range from $100 to $500 USD or more, depending on the coverage and frequency of travel.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance policies that include medical coverage, trip cancellation/interruption coverage, and other benefits can cost more than basic policies that only cover certain aspects of travel.

It's important to shop around and compare travel insurance policies from different providers to find the coverage that best meets your needs and budget. Be sure to read the policy details carefully and understand what is and isn't covered, as well as any deductibles or exclusions. Additionally, some credit cards and travel booking sites offer travel insurance as a benefit or add-on, so be sure to check those options as well.

How much does a trip to Japan cost for 3 Days?

Trip to Japan cost TeamLab Planets TOKYO

TeamLab Planets TOKYO

  • Flights: Depending on your location, flights to Japan can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,200 for a round-trip ticket.
  • Accommodation: Budget hotels or hostels can range from $20 to $50 per night, so for 2 nights, you can expect to spend around $40 to $100 for accommodation.
  • Transportation: Japan has an excellent public transportation system, and a one-way subway or train ticket can cost around $1.50 to $5. For 3 days, you can expect to spend around $30 to $50 for transportation.
  • Food and drinks: Meals at budget restaurants can cost around $5 to $10 per meal, while street food and convenience store meals can cost even less. Drinks can range from $1 to $5, depending on the type of drink and location. For 3 days, you can expect to spend around $60 to $100 for food and drinks.
  • Sightseeing and activities: Some popular attractions like temples and shrines may be free or cost a small entrance fee, while other attractions like theme parks or museums can cost upwards of $20 per person. For 3 days, you can expect to spend around $50 to $100 for sightseeing and activities.

Overall, a budget traveler can expect to spend around $200 to $400 for a 2-night, 3-day trip to Japan . It's important to note that these are rough estimates, and actual costs may vary depending on your travel style, activities, and other expenses.

How much does it cost for family, couples or single when travelling to Japan ?

Trip to Japan cost Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea

  • Airfare: The cost of airfare to Japan can vary depending on the departure city and the time of year. A round-trip ticket from the United States to Japan can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,500 USD per person.
  • Accommodation: The cost of accommodation in Japan can vary depending on the type of lodging and the location. A budget hotel or hostel can cost around $50 to $100 USD per night, while a mid-range hotel can cost around $100 to $200 USD per night. Luxury hotels and ryokans can cost upwards of $500 USD per night.
  • Food and drink: The cost of food and drink in Japan can vary depending on the type of cuisine and the level of luxury. A budget meal at a local restaurant can cost around $7 to $15 USD per person, while a mid-range meal can cost around $20 to $50 USD per person. A cup of coffee can cost around $3 to $5 USD, while a beer can cost around $5 to $8 USD.
  • Transportation: The cost of transportation in Japan can vary depending on the mode of travel and the distance. A single metro or train ticket can cost around $1 to $5 USD, while a long-distance bullet train ticket can cost upwards of $100 USD. Taxis and car rentals can also add to the transportation costs.

Overall, the cost of traveling to Japan can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per person, depending on the factors mentioned above. A family, couple, or single traveler can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 USD or more for a trip to Japan, depending on the travel style and preferences.

Methods to save money when travelling to Japan

Trip to Japan cost Akihabara

  • Visit during the shoulder season: The high season in Japan is during the cherry blossom season in spring (late March to early April) and the fall foliage season in autumn (October to November). If you can travel during the shoulder season (April to May and September to November), you may be able to find lower prices on flights and accommodation.
  • Use public transportation: Japan has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, including trains, subways, and buses. Using public transportation instead of taxis or rental cars can save you money on transportation costs.
  • Eat like a local: Japan has a diverse and delicious food culture, and there are many affordable options for eating out. Look for local restaurants and street food vendors that offer affordable options like ramen, udon, and sushi. Convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Lawson also offer affordable and tasty meals.
  • Stay in budget accommodations: Japan has a wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Staying in a budget hostel or guesthouse can save you money on accommodation costs, and many hostels offer private rooms as well as dormitory-style accommodations.
  • Take advantage of free attractions: Japan has many free attractions, such as parks, temples, and shrines. You can also find free museums and art galleries in some cities.
  • Purchase a Japan Rail Pass : If you plan to travel around Japan by train, purchasing a Japan Rail Pass can save you money on train tickets. The pass allows you to travel on most JR trains, including the bullet train, for a set period of time.

Tips for travelling to Japan

  • Learn some basic Japanese phrases: While many Japanese people speak English, it is still helpful to learn some basic Japanese phrases like hello, thank you, and excuse me. This can make it easier to communicate with locals.
  • Follow local customs and etiquette: Japanese culture has many customs and etiquette rules that may be different from what you are used to. For example, it is customary to remove your shoes when entering someone's home or certain businesses like traditional ryokans. Be sure to read up on local customs and etiquette before you go to avoid any cultural misunderstandings.
  • Carry cash: While credit cards are accepted in many places in Japan, some smaller businesses may only accept cash. Be sure to carry some cash with you, especially if you plan to visit more rural areas or small towns.
  • Use public transportation: Japan has an extensive and efficient public transportation system that includes trains, subways, and buses. It is a convenient and cost-effective way to get around the country, especially in larger cities like Tokyo.
  • Purchase a prepaid transportation card: If you plan to use public transportation in Japan, consider purchasing a prepaid transportation card like Suica or Pasmo. These cards can be used on most public transportation systems and make it easy to pay for fares without having to purchase tickets each time.
  • Take advantage of free Wi-Fi: Many train stations, convenience stores, and tourist attractions offer free Wi-Fi. You can also rent a pocket Wi-Fi device or purchase a SIM card for your phone.
  • Be mindful of the weather: Japan has a diverse climate, with different regions experiencing different weather patterns. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go and pack accordingly. In the summer, it can be hot and humid, while in the winter, it can be cold and snowy.

What is the best time to visit Japan?

Japan can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you want to do and see. Spring (March to May) is the popular cherry blossom season, while autumn (September to November) is the season for fall foliage. Winter (December to February) is good for skiing and winter sports, while summer (June to August) can be hot and humid but great for outdoor activities.

What is the currency used in Japan?

The currency used in Japan is the Japanese yen (¥). It's important to carry cash with you as many small businesses, especially in rural areas, may not accept credit cards.

Do I need a visa to enter Japan?

It depends on your nationality. Citizens of many countries, including the US, Canada, UK, and most European countries, can enter Japan for tourism without a visa for up to 90 days. Check with the Japanese embassy or consulate in your country for more information.

Is it safe to travel to Japan?

Yes, Japan is considered a very safe country for travelers. Crime rates are low, and the country is well-organized and efficient. However, as with any travel, it's important to take precautions, be aware of your surroundings, and take care of your valuables.

What is the best way to get around Japan?

Japan has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, including trains, subways, and buses. It's easy to get around, especially in larger cities like Tokyo and Osaka, using public transportation. Consider purchasing a prepaid transportation card like Suica or Pasmo for convenience. Taxis are also available, but they can be expensive, especially for longer distances.

Trip to Japan 2024

  • 1. How much does a trip to Japan cost for 1 or 2 Weeks?
  • 2. How much does a trip to Japan cost for Flights?
  • 3. How much does a trip to Japan cost for Hotels?
  • 4. How much does a trip to Japan cost for Food?
  • 5. How much does a trip to Japan cost for Souvenirs?
  • 6. How much does a trip to Japan cost for Transportation?
  • 7. How much does a trip to Japan cost for Attractions?
  • 8. How much does a trip to Japan cost for Internet?
  • 9. How much does a trip to Japan cost for Passport?
  • 10. How much does it cost for Insurance in Japan?
  • 11. How much does a trip to Japan cost for 3 Days?
  • 12. How much does it cost for family, couples or single when travelling to Japan?
  • 13. Methods to save money when travelling to Japan
  • 14. Tips for travelling to Japan

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Visit Japan, blog

How Much is a Trip to Japan for 2 Weeks?

Japan is an increasingly popular destination for tourists, and the number of travelers visiting this incredible country continues to rise each year. With its rich culture, stunning landscapes and exciting cities, it’s no wonder that so many people want to explore Japan’s many wonders! But how much will a two-week trip to Japan cost? The answer depends on your budget and what type of vacation you are looking for. If you are planning a luxurious holiday in Tokyo with five-star accommodation, fine dining experiences and daily guided tours – then expect the cost to be significantly higher than if you opt for cheaper hostels or Airbnb rentals. Additionally, travel costs such as flights from your home country can vary depending on the time of year and airline company chosen. However, typically speaking, most travellers feel that a two week trip to Japan could cost between $2 000-$4 500 USD per person (including airfare). This estimate would also include food expenses during your stay as well as any activities or attractions visited throughout your travels.

How To Spend Two Weeks in Japan – A Travel Itinerary

Are you considering a trip to Japan for two weeks? If so, you’ve probably already asked yourself the question: How much is a trip to Japan for two weeks going to cost me? It’s hard to give an exact answer since there are several factors that can affect the overall cost. For example, airfare will vary depending on when and where you fly from/to. Additionally, accommodations can range from hostels or budget hotels all the way up to luxury resorts. And of course, how much money you plan on spending during your stay in Japan—eating out at restaurants, shopping for souvenirs, etc. —will also have a big impact on your total costs. That said, most people planning a two-week vacation in Japan should expect to pay somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000 per person (including roundtrip flights). This figure includes accommodation costs as well as estimated expenses related to meals and sightseeing activities while in Japan. Of course it could be more or less than this amount depending on which city(ies) you visit and what type of lodging/food options you choose. If saving money is important then there are some things you can do prior to departure that might help cut down on costs such as looking for discounted airline tickets online or booking an Airbnb instead of staying at a hotel.

Japan Trip Cost Calculator

Planning a trip to Japan can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to make sure you budget your expenses properly. That’s why using a Japan Trip Cost Calculator is such a great tool for travelers. A cost calculator helps to ensure that you don’t overspend on your vacation and allows you to plan out exactly how much money you will need for each aspect of the trip. The first step in using the Japan Trip Cost Calculator is determining what type of transportation will be used during your travels. This includes choosing between airfare or taking the train, as well as which class of service (first-class, standard) and airline/rail company if applicable. Once that decision has been made, inputting this information into the calculator will give an accurate estimate of how much those costs should run. Accommodation is another big expense when traveling abroad – luckily there are many different options available depending on your needs and budget requirements! With the cost calculator, travelers can easily compare hotel rates across cities in Japan as well as calculate estimated nightly costs based on their desired location(s). Additionally, hostels are also listed in order to provide budget-friendly accommodation prices for those looking for more affordable lodging choices throughout their journey. Food expenses can add up quickly while traveling around so it’s important to factor them into any travel plans!

How Much is a Trip to Japan for 1 Week

If you are looking to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan, the cost can vary depending on where and how long you want to stay. A trip for one week will likely be more expensive than a shorter duration but it’s possible to find ways of reducing your costs. First off, think about when you plan on traveling. You should try and avoid going during peak season as prices tend to increase significantly during this time – Christmas/New Year’s and Golden Week (end of April/early May) being two examples. On the other hand if you’re able travel outside these periods, there are usually great discounts available so this could help reduce your overall expenditure. Next up is accommodation which is probably one of the largest expenses associated with any holiday abroad; fortunately Japan has an abundance of choices ranging from budget hostels all the way through 5* luxury hotels costing thousands per night! To save money opt for mid-range establishments or cheap guesthouses instead; they provide plenty of amenities at an affordable price point too! If you prefer something more traditional why not consider staying in a ryokan – Japanese style inns found across most cities – or even Airbnb rentals which often offer competitive rates compared with hotel accommodation options.

2 Weeks in Japan Cost from Uk

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, then two weeks in Japan should be at the top of your bucket list. From its stunning natural beauty to its ancient temples and vibrant cities, this country has something for everyone. But how much does a trip like this cost from the UK? The good news is that two weeks in Japan won’t break the bank. Depending on where you stay and what activities you do, it could easily cost under £3,000 per person (not including flights). Here’s a breakdown of what costs you can expect when planning your trip: Flights: Flights from London to Tokyo will typically cost around £500-£600 return. If you choose to fly with budget airlines such as Scoot or Jetstar Pacific Airways, then prices might be slightly lower (around £400 return). Accommodation: Accommodation varies greatly depending on location and type of room but generally speaking, hostels start from around £20 per night while hotels range between £50-£150 per night depending on star rating. AirBnbs are also popular in Japan and there are many options available – prices vary but generally they start from around £25 per night or less if booked far enough in advance.

Japan 1 Month Trip Cost

Are you planning a month-long trip to Japan? If so, then you’re in for a treat. Japan is an amazing country with endless possibilities for exploration. From the ancient temples of Kyoto to the bustling cities like Tokyo and Osaka, there’s something for everyone! But before you pack your bags, it’s important to know how much your month-long trip will cost. Accommodation: Depending on where you stay and what type of accommodation you choose, housing can range from as little as $30 per night up to $200+ per night. For example, if you decide to stay in a budget hostel or capsule hotel (both common in Japan), expect prices around $30-$60/night. On the other hand, if luxury is more your style and comfort level then staying at a 5 star hotel could set you back anywhere from $150-$250/night depending on location and seasonality. Transportation: Getting around Japan is relatively easy with its extensive rail system covering nearly every corner of the country; however transportation costs can add up quickly depending on how far off the beaten path one decides to go during their journey. A basic 7 day JR Rail pass cost around ¥29000 (~$270) which grants access between most major cities across multiple rail lines throughout the country; this may be ideal if traveling long distances within short time frames such as 1 month trips are concerned.

How Much Yen for 2 Weeks in Japan

Are you planning a trip to Japan and wondering how much Yen you’ll need for two weeks? You’re in luck – this blog post has all the information you need! When budgeting for a trip to Japan, it’s important to factor in your accommodation, transportation costs, food expenses, and entertainment. Depending on where you stay and what activities you do during your visit, the amount of money needed can vary greatly. However, a general estimate for spending two weeks in Japan is between ¥80-100k ($700-900 USD). Accommodation tends to be one of the biggest expenses when traveling abroad. If you’re looking for more affordable options, there are plenty of hostels or budget hotels that offer decent quality rooms at competitive prices. Prices range from around $40-60 per night depending on location and amenities offered. For those seeking higher end accommodations such as four or five star hotels with luxurious facilities may expect prices above $200/night. It is also possible to rent an Airbnb apartment or house if desired which could potentially reduce overall costs significantly compared to staying at a hotel – just be sure to read reviews before choosing any rental property! Transportation is another major expense while visiting Japan; however there are ways to minimize these costs by taking advantage of available discounts like JR Passes (which provide access across multiple train networks) or prepaid IC cards (for bus rides & other services).

How Much is a Trip to Japan for 2 Weeks?

Credit: www.aglobewelltravelled.com

How Much Money Do I Need for 2 Weeks in Japan?

If you plan to travel to Japan for two weeks, the cost will depend on your activities and what type of accommodation you choose. Generally speaking, a budget of at least $2,000 USD is recommended for a two-week trip in Japan. Accommodation: Accommodations in Japan can vary greatly depending on your exact needs and preferences. For example, if you are looking for higher end options such as four or five star hotels with upscale amenities like pools and spas, then expect to pay around $100-$200 per night. On the other hand, if you prefer more affordable lodging options such as hostels or Airbnb apartments that come equipped with basic amenities like kitchenettes and laundry facilities (but no pool), then you could get away with spending anywhere from $25-$50 per night. In total this would add up to around $700-$1,400 over 14 nights depending on how much money you want to spend each night. Food: Food costs also tend to vary significantly based on personal choices so it’s hard to give an exact number here but generally speaking most people should budget about ¥3-5K ($30 – 50 USD) per day for food in Japan which adds up to roughly between ¥42K – 70K ($420 – 700 USD) over the course of two weeks.

Is 2 Weeks in Japan Too Long?

If you’re wondering if two weeks in Japan is too long, it all depends on what kind of traveler you are and how much time you have to explore. There is truly something for everyone here, from bustling cities like Tokyo to serene mountain villages and everything in between. Whether your interests lie in culture, nature or shopping, there is plenty of opportunity to make the most out of your two week trip. For those looking to experience as much of Japan as possible during their stay, two weeks may not be enough. With its wide range of attractions ranging from ancient shrines and temples to modern art galleries and neon-lit nightlife districts – plus an abundance of delicious cuisine – trying to fit it all into a fortnight can be quite tricky. However, if your plan is simply take it easy while exploring the main sights around one region at a leisurely pace then two weeks should provide more than enough time for a worthwhile holiday experience. Popular destinations such as Kyoto offer so many incredible things that even just taking them all in within this timeframe will leave lasting memories for years afterwards. Finally, if you want to really make the most out of your visit but don’t feel comfortable cramming lots into a single trip then why not split up your stay?

How Much Does 15 Day Trip to Japan Cost?

Are you planning a 15 day trip to Japan? If so, you’re likely wondering how much it is going to cost. While the exact answer depends on your budget and preferences, there are some general guidelines that can help give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to pricing. The most important thing to consider when budgeting for a trip to Japan is accommodation. Prices will vary depending on location and type of lodging, but generally speaking, the average price range for hotels in Tokyo ranges from $100-200 per night depending on the quality and amenities offered. For those looking for more affordable options, hostels or capsule hotels usually run between $30-50 per night with shared rooms being cheaper than private ones. Food is also an essential factor in determining overall cost since meals can quickly add up over time. Eating out at restaurants runs around ¥2,000 – 3,500 ($20-$35) per person while street food such as ramen or sushi typically costs about ¥500-1,000 ($5-$10). Grocery shopping and cooking your own meals can save money if you have access to kitchen facilities during your stay as well as saving food waste disposal costs which come with packaged instant foods like cup noodles etc.. In terms of transportation expenses within Japan itself , train fares tend be relatively inexpensive compared other countries .

How Much Does Japan Trip Cost?

Planning a trip to Japan can be an exciting yet intimidating experience. After all, the country is known for its high cost of living and expensive attractions. But don’t let that deter you from embarking on your dream trip! With careful planning and budgeting, it is possible to have a wonderful time in Japan without breaking the bank. This article will provide you with an overview of how much it costs to visit Japan. We’ll cover everything from airfare and lodging expenses to entertainment and food costs so that you can plan your perfect Japanese getaway within your means. Airfare: The average price of round-trip flights from the US to Tokyo ranges anywhere between $800-$1500 depending on when you choose to travel (it’s usually cheaper if booked well in advance). You may also want to consider purchasing a rail pass if traveling around Japan during the duration of your stay since trains are often faster than buses or planes over short distances. Prices for these passes vary but tend to range between $200-$500 per person, depending on where exactly you intend on visiting within Japan’s extensive railway network. Lodging: Accommodation prices in major cities like Tokyo or Osaka tend to be relatively pricey compared other parts of Asia; however there are still plenty of affordable options available such as capsule hotels or hostels which offer beds at very reasonable rates ($20 -$50/night).

Planning a two-week trip to Japan? You’re in for an exciting adventure! But how much will it cost you? Well, the amount of money you’ll need depends on your preferences and travel style. Generally speaking, it’s possible to have a great time in Japan without breaking the bank. Accommodation is likely going to be one of your biggest expenses. You can find reasonably priced hotels but if you want more luxury, expect to pay higher rates. Alternatively, Airbnb rentals are also available at competitive prices and offer a unique experience that’s closer to what locals do. Transportation costs vary depending on where you plan on visiting within Japan; however, there are options like rail passes that can help save money if you plan on taking multiple trips during your visit. Food is another expense and varies greatly from fast food chains (which tend to be quite affordable) up through high-end Japanese restaurants with multi-course meals that could set you back several hundred dollars per person for just one meal! Finally, don’t forget about souvenirs – these range from small knickknacks all the way up through expensive antiques or art pieces – so budget accordingly!

Izumi Kenta

Hi, I’m Izumi Kenta from Japan. By profession, I worked as a tourist guide and interpreter in Japan. Besides this profession, I’m a hobbyist blogger. I love to talk about different things about Japan and share them with a wider audience who wants to know about my country. To share my thoughts, I’ve created this site Visitjapan and brought some Japanese travel enthusiasts and tourists worldwide to share their experiences.

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  • How to Plan a 2-Week Itinerary in Japan and South Korea

Japan and South Korea are becoming bucket list destinations for many travelers, especially families with teenagers and couples. They are neighboring countries in East Asia, and it only takes about two hours to fly from Osaka in Japan to Seoul in South Korea. It is possible to spend 2 weeks visiting both countries: 7–10 days in Japan and around 7 days in South Korea.

In Japan you could see spectacular Mount Fuji and breathtaking cherry blossoms, experience traditional ryokan accommodation, have an afternoon tea ceremony in kimonos with a geisha... South Korea is famous for its full-city Seoul views from Namsan, sandy beaches of Haeundae, great sea views from Jeju Island, and tasty Korean BBQ...

  • 1. Do I Need a Visa to Visit Japan and South Korea?
  • 2. Where to Go in Your 2 Weeks?
  • 3. The Best 2 Itineraries Lasting 2 Weeks
  • 4. How Much Does 2 Weeks Cost?
  • 5. Best Times to Travel

Do I Need a Visa to Visit Japan and South Korea?

Nationals of many countries are exempt from needing a visa to enter Japan, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Most travelers can stay in Japan without a visa for 90 days.

To encourage tourism in Visit Korea Year (2023–2024), from April 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024, K-ETA (Korea Electronic Travel Authorization) will be temporarily waived for 22 countries including the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Australia.

Where to Go in Your 2 Weeks in Japan and South Korea?

Touring Japan and South Korea is suitable for a family or couple's vacation, due to this combo's plentiful experiences and charming attractions.

Top Destinations in Japan:

  • Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are top cities in Japan you shouldn't miss.

1) Appreciate the blend of history and modernity in Tokyo: view the magnificent Mount Fuji, feel the old vibe of Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple, make sushi at a local home, try on samurai armor, shop anime products to satisfy your kid's interest, and have a day tour in Hakone for onsen bathing.

2) Discover the tradition-filled city of Kyoto: watch geishas perform in Gion District, immerse yourself in a classical tea ceremony, stay at a ryokan to enjoy Japan's old-style accommodation, try on kimonos for a memorable family photo, and have a close encounter with friendly deer in Nara.

3) Experience the prosperous trade city of Osaka: sample street food in Dotonbori District, make cup noodles based on your preference at Cup Noodle Museum, and spend a great time in the movie atmosphere of Universal Studios.

Top Destinations in South Korea

  • Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island are well-known cities in South Korea.

1) Immerse yourself in the vibrant capital of South Korea: view Seoul's oldest palace — Gyeongbok, admire the sunset from Namsan, visit the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) to appreciate a cherished and guarded peace, and enjoy the lively nightlife in Hongdae.

2) Revel in the bustling seaside city of Busan: feed seagulls on Haeundae Beach, stroll through Gamcheon Cultural Village with its colorful houses, and sample the freshest seafood.

3) Feel the relaxed pace of Jeju Island: enjoy brilliant sea views, stroll on sandy beaches, and visit the natural landscapes created by volcanic activity.

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Contact us for more suggestions based on your interests.

Suggested reading: How to Plan a Trip to South Korea >>>

2-Week Japan and South Korea Itineraries: The Best 2 Options

Here are two itinerary options matching families' and couples' needs and covering the major attractions in Japan and South Korea.

1) A Classical Route (For Families)

This itinerary would be nice for a first family time in Japan and South Korea. It includes experiencing kid-favored animation elements, trying on kimonos, feeding deer in Nara, and, on the last 3 days, relaxing on the sandy beaches of Busan.

Here is a well-organized itinerary for your inspiration:

  • Days 1–3: Tokyo, Japan

Days 4–5: Hakone

Days 6–8: Kyoto

  • Day 9: Osaka and fly to Seoul in South Korea

Days 10–12: Seoul

Days 13–15: Busan

Days 1–3: Tokyo

Tokyo is the top city for entry into Japan, and international flights offer many options. Visit the historical Meiji Shrine, feel the Edo vibe and take a manpower rickshaw in Asakusa, and make sushi at a local home. For anime lovers, you can buy your favorite anime products in Akihabara and have a happy time in the Pokémon Center or J-World.

Spending a day in Disneyland or Disney Sea would be a good choice as well.

Hakone is the home of onsens (hot spring baths). Stay at a ryokan with an onsen to enjoy an incredibly relaxing time with your family, and visit Lake Ashi on a replica pirate ship.

Kyoto is an impressive medieval capital of Japan where geisha, sake, tea ceremonies, and ryokan stays are the essence of the city.

  • Visit the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine and orange-red torii gates to understand the history of Japanese shrines.
  • Have an afternoon tea with geishas in Gion District, and try on kimonos for memorable photos.
  • Sleep on a tatami at a ryokan to experience the best of traditional Japanese accommodation.
  • Participate in an authentic tea ceremony in a tea house.
  • Spending a day in Nara. Feeding the friendly deer at Nara Park could be a great family moment.

Day 9: Osaka

Sample delicious street food like takoyaki (octopus balls) in Dotonbori. Depart from Kansai International Airport and fly to Seoul, Korea.

Seoul is the energetic capital city of South Korea. Its Korean food and K-Pop are famous around the world.

Visit Seoul's biggest and oldest palace — Gyeongbok Palace, try on Hanbok and meander around the quiet Korean traditional village of Bukchon Hanok, have a full view of the city from Namsan, and sample delicious Korean rice cakes, bibimbap ('mixing rice'), or kimchi (Korean pickles).

Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea and a flourishing port city. Enjoy the comfortable sea breeze and feed seagulls in Haeundae, take a leisurely walk around Gamcheon Cultural Village with its multicolored houses, and visit Haedong Yonggung Temple — a Buddhist temple with stunning sea views.

Suggested reading: 12-Day Trip in Japan and South Korea >>>

Let us help you plan your trip! Contact us and we will create a trip based on your group size, time, budget, interests, and other requirements.

2) A Route Full of Natural Beauty (For Couples)

For a couple (or family) who want to discover the deeper rural life in Japan and South Korea, this itinerary allows you to travel at a laid-back pace. Visit traditional villages in both countries, interact with locals, and see the World Natural Heritage on Jeju Island.

Here is a hand-picked itinerary summary with more detail following:

Days 4–6: Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Kanazawa

Days 7–9: Kyoto

  • Day 10: Osaka, fly to Seoul in South Korea

Days 11–13: Seoul

Days 14–15: Jeju Island

Tokyo has perfect blend of history and modernization. Try on samurai armor at Samurai Museum for a cool photo, sample freshly-prepared sashimi at Tsukiji Market, and visit a Japanese garden with amazing scenery.

Suggested day trips from Tokyo:

  • Spend a day at Fuji Five Lakes to see the spectacular Mount Fuji perfectly framed.
  • Relax in an onsen with your partner in Hakone.
  • Nagano is 200 km (130 miles) from Tokyo. You can see monkeys bathing in hot springs, and ski in winter (December to February).

Explore Japan's picturesque countryside away from the crowded cities.

  • Takayama: wander around the well-preserved townhouses and taste delicious Hida beef.
  • Shirakawa-go: View traditional Gassho-zukuri farmhouses. If you go in January or February, you can see their beautiful winter lighting.
  • Kanazawa: Purchase gold-leaf products and sample Japanese sake at a brewery.

To experience traditional history and culture in depth in Kyoto, the best ways are to see its shrines, meet its geishas, and stay at an authentic ryokan.

Appreciate the ancient atmosphere in Nijo Castle and Kinkaku Temple, meander around the Gion district to see the beautiful geishas in kimonos and enjoy a high-class Kaiseki at a ryokan.

Suggested day tours from Kyoto:

  • Arashiyama is definitely a good place to relax: medieval Tenryu Temple, lush bamboo groves, and the sightseeing train will make your trip worth it.
  • Nara is popular with travelers because you can feed the lovely deer at Nara Park.

Day 10: Osaka

Visit outstanding Osaka Castle, and leave from Kansai International Airport on a short flight to Seoul, Korea.

As the capital, Seoul contains all the essence of South Korea. Hike in scenic Bukhansan National Park, taste authentic Korean street food at local Gwangjang Market, and take a slow walk at Cheonggyecheon, which is quiet-but-huge recreation space in the downtown area.

Jeju Island, an island formed by volcanic activity, is a good place to relax. Enjoy a wonderful sunrise or sunset on Seongsan Ilchulbong ('Sunrise Peak') — a World Natural Heritage tuff cone, visit the Manjanggul lava cave, and walk on the sandy beaches to appreciate stunning sea views.

The above represents popular choice of attractions, but you can simply tell us your preferences and requirements , and we will customize a tour for you.

How Much Does 2 Weeks in Japan and South Korea Cost?

A 2-week tour of Japan and South Korea costs around US$9,000–10,000 per person based on a group of 2-4 people.

  • Private touring in Japan costs about US$350–500 per day per person, and the cost in South Korea is about US$400–500 per day per person, including 4-star hotels, full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, private cars, and private guides.
  • Direct flights from Osaka to Seoul are about US$100–150.
  • Travel costs in peak times can be double, especially airfares and hotels. Thus, we recommend you plan ahead and book flights and hotels at least 6 months in advance.
  • It's worthwhile to try a night's stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan. They cost around US$300–450 per night.

We promise you a 100% refund of any payments made to Asia Highlights up to 3 weeks before departure ( details⇒ ).

Best Times to Travel to Japan and South Korea

Japan and South Korea have similar climates with four distinct seasons.

The best times to travel to both countries are in spring (April and May) and in autumn (September to October) , when you would enjoy pleasant temperatures, less rain, and the best scenery. In spring, you could appreciate blooming cherry blossom, and autumn is the time to enjoy red maples and golden gingkoes.

Summer (June to August) is hot, humid, and sometimes there are typhoons. But this won't affect a well-prepared and flexible journey too much, and prices are lower and attractions less crowded. Summer is the festival season in Japan, so you can experience a variety of lively festivals and fireworks shows.

November to March is cold and dry in most of Japan and South Korea. It's a good time to ski and soak in hot springs in northern Japan. Christmas and New Year is extremely busy in both countries; flights and hotels are easily booked up. So, we suggest you make reservations at least 6 months in advance for a festive-season stay. The weather is OK in November and March compared to summer and winter months, and prices are relatively cheap.

Suggested reading: 

  • Best (and Worst) Time to Visit Japan
  • Best (and Worst) Time to Visit South Korea

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The Perfect 7-Day Japan Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

A narrow path lined by beautiful cherry blossoms in Japan

Japan captured my heart from the moment I firs visited. The delicious food, the rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, vibrant history, and the very friendly and polite people – it all blew my mind.

But Japan often feels impenetrable, especially to first-time visitors. While I think Japan deserves a minimum of 10 days, I get that some people might only have a week, so I wanted to write this, my ideal seven-day itinerary for Japan for a first-time visitor.

With only a week, there’s not much you can see unless you really rush it. And I don’t think you should do that.

So this itinerary only focuses on Tokyo and Kyoto (the most popular destinations) as well as some day trips from each. If you wanted to rush things a little, you could add in Osaka (more on that at the end).

(Note: If you purchased a Japan Rail Pass , activate it on arrival. That way, you can take advantage of the free JR trains throughout the city.)

Table of Contents

Japan Itinerary Day 1: Tokyo

Japan itinerary day 2: tokyo, japan itinerary day 3: tokyo, japan itinerary day 4: kyoto, japan itinerary day 5: kyoto, japan itinerary day 6: nara, japan itinerary day 7: tokyo, an alternative itinerary.

The popular and colorful Asakusa Temple in bustling Tokyo, Japan

Tsukiji and Toyosu Fish Markets Cure your jet lag with some food! In 2018, Tokyo’s main fish market moved to Toyosu. It is now twice the size of Tsukiji (the old one), making it the largest such market in the world. Here you can eat fresh sushi for breakfast, just a few feet from where it was hauled in from the sea, while marveling at the chaotic atmosphere.

You can still head to the old market in Tsukiji to eat, shop, and wander as well. I like it a lot, because there are more food options! Food and drink tours of the Tsukiji Outer Market are available for around 15,000 JPY.

Toyosu Fish Market is open Monday-Saturday 5am-5pm, though most shops don’t open until 7am. Admission is free, but you have to pick up a visitor’s pass when you enter. Tsukiji Fish Market’s hours vary by shop (usually 5am-2pm). Admission is free.

teamLab Planets This digital art installation is a multi-sensory and immersive experience in which you become part of the artwork, walking barefoot through the four exhibition spaces and gardens as you interact with the installations’ elements in unique ways. It’s really fun! TeamLab is generally sells out in advance, so I recommend getting your tickets online ahead of time .

Take a walking tour Walking tours are a great way to get the lay of the land while connecting with a local guide. I always go on one or two when I arrive somewhere. Tokyo Localized offers many free tours, including a classic overview and ones of both the famed Harajuku and Shinjuku neighborhoods. Its Imperial Palace tour would be the most convenient one after teamLab.

The Imperial Palace Formerly Edo Castle, the Imperial Palace was built in the 15th century, and some of the walls and moats from that time are still in use to this day. When the emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1869, he took Edo for his new palace and renamed it. While you can’t go inside, it is surrounded by beautiful grounds, a moat, and a park worth wandering through. You can also see the changing-of-the-guard ceremony (though it’s relatively low-key and unassuming). Admission to the grounds is free.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden This park is over 144 acres and home to some 20,000 trees. Most of the original park was destroyed in World War II but was rebuilt and reopened in 1949. During spring, it is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms. My favorite area is the landscape garden, which has several ponds with bridges and islands. It’s a peaceful oasis away from the urban hustle and bustle.

Depending on how you feel relative to your jetlag, you could fit a few more activities before you end your day. Check out this post for suggestions .

A bright and bustling street lit up at night with neon signs in Tokyo, Japan

  • Senso-ji – This is Tokyo’s most popular and famous temple. Beautifully painted, it sits in a scenic spot near a pagoda and the lovely Kaminari Gate. There’s a huge statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, inside the main hall. It’s very busy during the day, so maybe check out the grounds in the evening.
  • Asakusa Shrine – This nearby Shinto shrine is much more peaceful, with fewer visitors, but with people praying, meditating, or performing traditional rituals. It was built during the Edo period (1603–1868) and survived the air raids of World War II.

Afterward, head to Ueno Park . Spanning over 133 acres, Ueno Park was established in 1873 on land formerly owned by a 17th-century Buddhist temple. It gets super busy in cherry blossom season, as there are over a thousand trees here. Throughout, you’ll find various stalls and vendors selling snacks, drinks, and souvenirs. On weekends, there are usually cultural events or festivals showcasing traditional arts, music, and dance. Four of Tokyo’s main museums are here:

  • Tokyo National Museum – Established in 1872 on the north end, this massive building is the oldest and largest art museum in Japan. It houses one of the world’s largest collections of art and artifacts from Asia, particularly Japan.
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum – This museum showcases rotating exhibitions of contemporary and traditional Japanese art.
  • National Museum of Nature and Science – This museum features a wide range of permanent and temporary exhibitions covering natural science and history.
  • Tosho-gu Shrine – This beautiful 17th-century Shinto shrine has carved gold doors and other ornate carvings. It’s worth seeing up close!

Afterward, walk down to Akihabara to explore the video game parlors, arcades, and anime shops. This very buzzy area is ground zero for all things electronic, and it’s fun to play many of the games. This is where you’ll find the famous maid cafés, where servers dress up as maids and serve you food and drinks. These range from big touristy ones to holes-in-the-wall (the girls on the street are promoting the latter, which are a lot more culturally fun). They aren’t cheap, though, as you have to buy drink packages and pay a fee, but they’re kitschy and fun.

In the evening, visit Shinjuku and then drink in Golden Gai . In Shinjuku, you’ll find a plethora of cool bars, bright lights, and tiny hole-in-the-wall eateries. Be sure to wander down Memory Lane (aka Piss Alley) for tiny izakaya joints and bars. Afterward, head over to Golden Gai, a warren of narrow alleyways with a bit of a red-light-district feel, flanked by diminutive backstreet bars. It’s quite touristy but also a lot of fun. I’ve had some wild nights here!

With Arigato Tours , you’ll learn about the neighborhood while stopping to sample Japanese classics like sushi, yakitori, and ramen. The 23,900 JPY cost includes a drink and dishes at four stops.  

The sprawling skyline of Tokyo, Japan with the famous Tokyo Tower in view

Kamakura Here you can see a 13-meter (43-foot) bronze statue of Buddha that was built in 1252. It was initially constructed within Kotoku-in Temple, but that has since been washed away by several storms, so it now sits in the open air. Admission to enter the temple grounds is 300 JPY, while it’s 20 JPY to go inside the statue. The journey there — around an hour — is free with a Japan Rail Pass .

Tokyo Disneyland I’m a sucker for Disney. You’ll find many of the same classic rides from Disney World here, like Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, and everyone’s favorite teacup ride, The Mad Tea Party. But there are several unique attractions as well, like Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Ticket prices vary depending on the day and time, but full-day admission begins at 7,900 JPY for adults and 4,400-6,200 JPY for children. It’s best to book in advance .

Mount Fuji Mount Fuji is located an hour outside of Tokyo. An active stratovolcano (which last erupted in 1708) and covered in snow for almost half of the year, it stands an impressive 3,776 meters (12,389 feet) and provides one of the most iconic views in the country. One of the Three Holy Mountains of Japan, Mount Fuji is both a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and a UNESCO Cultural Site. In the summer, the mountain is open to hikers, who take 5-12 hours to reach the summit (traditionally, they depart at night to arrive at the top for the sunrise).

If you don’t want to hike, you can simply visit on a day trip. There are buses that can take you partway up, where you’ll be offered sweeping vistas of the surrounding area. Guided day tours from the city cost around 12,000 JPY.  

A quiet path through the famous bamboo forest in beautiful Kyoto, Japan

Wander the Bamboo Forest For a relaxing break, head to Arashiyama and let the dense and towering stands of bamboo envelop you. Located near the famous Tenryu-ji temple, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the entire country. It’s not that big, but there are some hidden areas to explore. Just make sure to arrive early if you want to enjoy it without the crowds (it fills up fast after sunrise).

While there, I would also recommend visiting the Okochi Sanso Garden, which (along with the home) belonged to the famous Japanese actor Denjir? ?k?chi (1898–1962). It’s not free (it’s 1,000 JPY), but it’s really nice and has some wonderful views.

Visit the Golden Pavilion Originally built in the late 14th century as a retirement villa for the shogun (military governor), this iconic structure was later converted into a Zen Buddhist temple. The present-day edifice dates only to the 1950s, however, when a monk attempting to kill himself burned the historic original to the ground. The rebuilt temple is covered in brilliant gold leaf, symbolizing purity and enlightenment. Each of the three stories exhibits a different architectural style. Completing the scene are the serene reflecting pool and traditional Japanese gardens that contain lush foliage, manicured trees, and scenic walking paths.

1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, +81 075-461-0013, shokoku-ji.jp. Open daily 9am-5pm. Admission is 500 JPY.

Admire Ryoan-ji Temple This is my favorite temple in Kyoto. Originally established in 1450 as a residence for a high-ranking samurai, it was soon converted into a Zen temple and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a mausoleum that houses the remains of seven emperors. Its traditional rock and sand garden is considered one of the best in the country. There’s also a teahouse where you can experience the traditional Japanese tea ceremony ( chanoyu ) as you overlook the Kyoyochi reflecting pool.

There are other temples in the area to check out as well:

  • Daitoku-ji Temple – This massive complex dating back to 1315 covers almost 60 acres. It contains several dozen temples and is a good place to see a variety of Zen gardens and architectural styles. It’s also deeply linked to the Japanese tea ceremony, as several of the country’s most noteworthy masters studied here.
  • Toji Temple – This is home to Japan’s tallest pagoda (five stories high). Founded in 796, just after Kyoto became the capital, it was one of only three Buddhist temples allowed in the city.

Go on a sake brewery tour Kyoto has a sake (rice wine) brewing tradition going back 400 years and is known for some of the best in the world, due to using the area’s pure natural spring water in the brewing process. Arigato Tours offers an excellent three-hour tour of Fushimi (the brewing district) for 23,320 JPY, including stops at several breweries, a guided tour of the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, and tastings.  

A winding, narrow street in historic Kyoto, Japan

See the Fushimi Inari Shrine This mountainside Shinto shrine, dating back to 711, is dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and prosperity. It’s known for its thousands of vibrant orange torii gates that form a network of trails leading up Mount Inari. You can hike the trails on your own while enjoying panoramic views of Kyoto below or join a guided hiking tour , on which you’ll get off the paved paths and into hidden bamboo groves. Get here as early as possible to avoid the crowds.

68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, +81756417331, inari.jp. Open 24/7. Admission is free.

Walk around Higashiyama Spend an afternoon walking along the narrow streets of one of the oldest and best preserved districts on your own or on a walking tour . The traditional machiya buildings (traditional wooden townhouses) are filled with small shops selling local specialties and handicrafts, as well as restaurants and teahouses. It’s a popular area in which to participate in a tea ceremony . Another nice place to stroll in this neighborhood is the Philosopher’s Path, which follows a cherry-tree-lined canal that’s beautiful and meditative even when the blossoms aren’t in season.

Visit Kiyomizu-dera One of a number of UNESCO sites in ancient Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera (meaning “pure water temple”) is located in the foothills of Mount Otowa in the eastern part of the city. It’s one of the most famous temples in all of Japan. It was established in 778, but most of the existing buildings date to the 17th century. There’s not a single nail used in the construction, which becomes all the more impressive once you see how large the temple is, which is best known for its wooden terrace that juts out over the hillside. The temple’s name comes from the nearby waterfall whose waters (from which you can still drink today) are said to have wish-granting and healing powers.

1 Chome-294 Kiyomizu, +81 75-551-1234, kiyomizudera.or.jp. Open daily 6am-6pm. Admission is 400 JPY.

Explore Shorin-ji Temple This small temple dates back to the 16th century. What makes it worth visiting is its meditation classes. You’ll get to tour the temple and then be instructed in zazen , the Japanese style of meditation. It’s a very unique experience and something that I think will add a lot of depth and nuance to your visit (especially if you’ve seen a lot of temples). Just make sure to dress comfortably.

15 Chome-795 Honmachi, +81 75-561-4311, shourin-ji.org. Open daily 10am-4pm. Admission is 800 JPY.

Wander the Nishiki Market Nishiki Ichiba is now one of the biggest indoor markets in town. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen” and spanning over five blocks, it is full of vendors selling traditional dishes from the region, classic Kyoto souvenirs, and really just about anything else. There are over a hundred stalls here, many of which have been in the same family for generations. Opening hours depend on the shop but are typically from 9am to 6pm.

To dive deeper into Japanese food culture, you can take a food tour of the market . It’s the best way to learn about all the food you’ll see, as well as the market’s history.

Explore Gion Gion, the historic geisha district, is renowned as being one of the most iconic and atmospheric areas of town. It’s known for its traditional wooden machiya houses, narrow alleyways, cobblestone streets, and preservation of geisha (known locally as geiko) culture. Lining the main street are ochayas (teahouses where geishas entertain), small shops, and many restaurants, ranging from upscale kaiseki restaurants serving traditional Kyoto cuisine to casual eateries.

To really learn more about this amazing party of town and its past, take a walking tour of Gion . You’ll learn a ton and get a lot of context. They cost around 1,800 JPY.

At night, go to the Pontocho Row , a narrow street lined with restaurants, hole-in-the-wall bars, and jazz clubs. It’s one of the more lively areas in Kyoto.  

A small deer eating grass in a park in Nara, Japan, with cherry trees blossoming in the background

Nara was the capital of Japan in the eighth century, so there are lots of buildings and temples here that are upwards of a thousand years old (which is rare in Japan, due to the prevalence of fires and earthquakes, as well as World War II). Some things to do:

  • Frolic with deer – The real draw in Nara are the deer. Since the 17th century, those in and around the city have been considered sacred. You can buy crackers to feed them or just watch them stroll around carefree.
  • See the Buddha – Don’t miss a visit to Todai-ji, the world’s largest wooden building, home to a 16-meter (52-foot) Buddha statue. It was built in 738 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Take a walking tour – This guided half-day walking tour for 11,500 JPY includes all of Nara’s highlights as well as a traditional lunch.

The sprawling skyline of Tokyo, Japan lit up at night with Mount Fuji in the distance

Ryogoku Kokugikan, Japan’s most famous sumo wrestling arena, hosts tournaments three times each year, in January, May, and September. Tickets sell out quickly, so book online in advance. Prices vary but start around 3,200 JPY for arena seats. You can book a ticket online here (you’ll be accompanied by a guide too, so you can learn more about the tradition as it unfolds before your eyes).

To learn more about the sport in in the off-season, book a tour of a sumo stable .  

the historic Osaka Castle in Osaka Japan towering over the city on a sunny summer day

So, if you want to add another city to this itinerary you can follow this breakdown:

  • Days 1 & 2: Tokyo
  • Days 3 & 4: Kyoto
  • Day 5: Nara
  • Days 6 & 7: Osaka

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara are all covered above. As for Osaka, some of my favorite things to see and do:

Take a food tour Known as “the Kitchen of Japan,” Osaka boasts a diverse culinary scene. Mouthwatering sushi and sashimi, Kobe beef and Japanese BBQ, and flavorful ramen can all be found here in abundance. Plus, there are local specialties like okonomiyaki (a savory pancake with egg and vegetables) and kushikatsu (kebab skewers). You can take a food tour for around 13,000 JPY, a ramen and gyoza cooking class for 9,500 JPY, or just wander and eat.

Osaka Castle One of the most famous landmarks in the country, the castle was originally built in the late 16th century by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and played a pivotal role in the unification of Japan during the Sengoku period (1467-1615). Over the centuries, it has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times due to wars, fires, and natural disasters. The current version dates to 1931. The castle is situated amid sprawling grounds and surrounded by a moat. It’s also home to a small but insightful museum and an observation deck that offers some picturesque urban views.

Dotonbori This is arguably Osaka’s most iconic district, known for its vibrant nightlife (bars, clubs, theaters, and music venues), colorful signage, and delicious food. It’s best seen at night due to the plethora of huge neon lights and signs lining both the canal and streets, which have become symbols of Osaka’s nightlife. A guided walking tour that includes Dotonbori as well adjacent neighborhoods is 6,500 JPY.

Shitennoji Temple This temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan, founded in 593. The architecture is a blend of traditional Japanese and East Asian styles, featuring impressive pagodas, gates, and shrines set amid serene gardens. Stroll through the tranquil grounds, admire the beautiful architecture, and learn about the temple’s historical and cultural significance at the museum. The temple is 300 JPY to enter, the garden is 300 JPY, and the museum is 500 JPY.  

Japan is one of my favorite countries. While it’s relatively small, it offers an amazing array of things to see and do (as well as some of the best food in the world). With seven days, you can easily see a good number of the main highlights and get a taste for the incredible history and culture. It will be a busy week, but this itinerary ensures you’ll still have some time to slow down, relax, and take in the local pace of life.

Just make sure you get a Japan Rail Pass before you go. While it’s not as cheap as it used to be, it will likely save you time and money!

Book Your Trip to Japan: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner . They are my two favorite search engines, because they search websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know no stone is being left unturned!

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the most comprehensive inventory so they are best for booking a hostel. If you want to stay in a hotel or guesthouse in Japan, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancelations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel — and I think they will help you too!

Be sure to check out the Japan Rail Pass if you’ll be traveling around the country. It comes in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and can save you a ton of money!

Looking for More Travel Tips for Japan? Check out my in-depth Japan travel guide for more ways to save money, information on costs, tips on what to see and do, suggested itineraries and reading and packing lists, and much, much more!

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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a pagoda in Japan overlooking Mount Fuji


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What to do and see with 2 weeks in Japan

Tom Jamieson shares his journal from his 11-day tour of Japan

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Article content

From go karting round the streets of downtown Tokyo to snow monkeys hanging out in the hot springs of Jigokudani, this is our journal from our April 2024 trip to Japan. (Note: If you are travelling to Japan for seven days or more, purchasing a JR Pass ahead of time is the way to go. The bullet trains are amazing and we also used the pass to get around Tokyo and on buses in other cities.)

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APRIL 3 We arrived just after 3 p.m. in Tokyo. Once through the airport we headed to the Japan Rail (JR) ticket exchange to activate our JR Pass voucher (you can buy the vouchers ahead of time in Canada but have to activate them in Japan). Armed with our passes, we headed for the Narita Express, an express train that took us to Tokyo’s main station in less than 45 minutes.

APRIL 4 On the recommendation of our daughter, who visited Tokyo a few years ago, we’d signed up for the Official Street Go-Kart Tour.  Basically, you dress up in your choice of costume, from the racks provided, and led by a guide, drive around the streets of Tokyo in Go Karts that can hit 70km/hour.

Our route took us over the famous Rainbow Bridge, past the Tokyo Tower and through downtown Tokyo, before heading back to base 2 hours later. Driving a Go Kart on the streets of Tokyo, surrounded by trucks, buses, taxis and cars, was quite the exhilarating experience.

After Go Karting, we took a train to the Kanda Myojin Shrine. This shrine dates back to 730, but the current series of buildings were built in 1934, following a major earthquake in the area. We then headed to the Tokyo Skytree which soars in the Tokyo skyline and has been fairly described as a combination between the Eiffel Tower and the Seattle Space Needle. The Skytree is Japan’s tallest structure and not surprisingly, the views from the top, of Tokyo at night, were spectacular.

APRIL 5 After an excellent breakfast in our hotel, we headed off to the Tsukiji Outer (Fish) Market. After being completely overwhelmed by the Tokyo train network when we first arrived (likely compounded by the throngs of people all scurrying around), we mastered the network pretty quickly thereafter. And on the odd occasion when we looked somewhat lost gazing at the myriad of signs, we were approached every time by a local offering to help.

Like much of Tokyo, the fish market was complete chaos with vast hives of people milling around a fairly small area. The market comprises one main street and numerous alleys and side streets filled with vendors selling their fresh catch, sushi and various other edibles. We purchased a giant shrimp cracker (almost like a poppadom). Very tasty.

Next we headed to the world-famous Shibuya Crossing. Without doubt its claim to be the busiest crossing in the world was fair; as many as 3,000 people cross the six-intersecting crossings at any one time. After making a couple of crossings ourselves, we sat at one of the food courts in the area, where the spectacle of the crossing can be viewed from above.

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After lunch we headed to Yoyogi Park, which is a pleasant oasis of trees and gardens, headlined at the far end of the park by the Meiji Shrine. It’s a very peaceful and tranquil setting and a nice place to unwind after the bedlam of downtown Tokyo.

Our final destination took us to the gardens surrounding the Imperial Palace. While the palace is not open to the general public, the gardens are accessible and feature a variety of trees and plants, a moat and wall surrounding the palace (oh, and one solitary swan).

This completed our whirlwind visit to Tokyo – chaotic but well worth the experience. We then took the Shinkansen train to Shizuoka, which reaches speeds of more than 300km/hour, and checked in to our hotel, which was located right at the station.

APRIL 6 We’d been told that Mount Fuji is only visible if the skies are clear, and although we woke up to overcast conditions, we rented a car and headed to the Mount Fuji area.  Barely 30 minutes into the journey, Fuji popped out of the clouds.

Our first stop in the region was the Fujisan Sengen Shrine, which dates back more than 1,000 years and is the region’s most important shrine out of more than 13,000 Sengen and Asana shrines in the region. It is often the starting point for those wishing to climb Mount Fuji and is home to more than 500 cherry trees, all of which were in full blossom, together with a number of delightful ponds, laden with koi. It’s a popular spot for wedding party photos and there were quite a few groups there.

We then went to see a couple of nearby waterfalls – the Shiraito Falls and the Otodome Falls – got some great pictures of the falls and Mount Fuji.

We then completed our Fuji outing by visiting some of its surrounding lakes, including Taruki, Motosu and Shoji. The latter two are part of the five-lakes group featured around Mount Fuji, of which Motosu is the third largest and one of the ten deepest lakes in Japan. Shoji is the smallest and was at one time part of Motosu, but was separated in the 9th century by lava flow when Mount Fuji erupted.

We then headed back to Shizuoka and boarded the bullet train to Nagoya, our stopping point for the night.

APRIL 7 Today was set aside for a trip to see the Formula 1 race in Suzuka, which is about a 50-minute train ride from Nagoya, followed by a 20-minute shuttle bus from the nearest station to the circuit, Shiroko.

With more than 200,000 fans attending the weekend event, the organization for the F1 event was spectacularly good. As soon as we disembarked from the train, we were guided by a large contingent of volunteers through a maze of chained off routes to get to the shuttle buses, which in turn took us to the circuit.

The weather cooperated and we had a great day. We were back at our hotel within two hours of the race finishing and had a lovely meal nearby in one of the little side streets, before calling it a night.

APRIL 8 We left Nagoya early in the morning and used our JR Pass to travel to Kyoto, our base for the next three nights. Once we’d dropped off our bags at the hotel we headed back to the station and boarded a train to Nara. This lovely little town’s main highlights are its numerous historic temples, the Nara Park, and the hundreds of deer that wander around the park.

Our first stop was the Kohfukuji Temple, which is one of Japan’s oldest and most famous Buddhist temples, dating back to the 8th century.

From there we headed to the park and were immediately greeted by the resident deer. Vendors (human that is, not deer) sell deer biscuits and the deer are well aware of this. And in keeping with Japanese tradition will bow their heads, in anticipation of a treat.

The park is very sizeable and a lovely place to wander around, and home to many temples and shrines. The first temple we visited in the park was the Todai-ji, originally founded in the 8th century but reconstructed several times since. The most significant reconstruction occurred in 1709 with the construction of the Great Buddha Hall. This houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana.

All of these shrines are in the park, and there are also many beautiful treed routes; we wandered through some of these on our way back, always with deer in close proximity. Our last stop off point was the Ukimido Gazebo, home to a small lake and the most-spectacular array of cherry blossom trees, all in full bloom.

Sharon and I both agreed that Nara was our favourite – it’s absolutely delightful.

APRIL 9 We decided we would limit our Osaka day to two primary landmarks. The first of these was the Umeda Sky Building , which comprises two 40-storey towers which are connected by glass bridges crossing the towers’ atrium space. A glass lift takes you up the first 39 floors and then an escalator takes you up to the sky deck. It was quite the engineering marvel at the time; the sky deck, after construction, was raised to the top of the building using a set of hydraulic elevators.

After leaving the Sky Building, we headed out to see the Osaka Castle – Osaka’s primary attraction. The castle was built in 1583 by a warlord who unified Japan. The castle has been reconstructed several times over the years, most recently about 100 years ago, and includes a museum covering seven floors, culminating in an open-viewing platform on the eighth floor. The walk from the station to the castle was also really nice with all the cherry blossoms and the moat surrounding the castle.

A lovely day but not as much to see and do as the other places we have visited so far and possibly a half day would suffice.

APRIL 10 Today we stayed in Kyoto and made use of the Hop On Hop Off bus. Our first stop was the Nijo-jo Castle , built in 1679, and one of the many World Heritage sites designated in Kyoto. We started our tour by going through the Ninomaru Palace, which is a fascinating series of buildings decorated with numerous carvings and paintings. One of the interesting features is the sound made when walking inside the building – like Nightingales singing – it was left this way after construction so that any intruders could be heard if they entered. The sound comes from the hinges used in the construction.

We then took the bus to the Kinkaku-ji Temple (also known as the Golden Pavilion). This building is set in magnificent grounds and dates back to the 14th century. Although the original structure was destroyed by fire, the reconstruction that took place in 1955 is apparently very close to the original. You can’t actually go in the temple, but the walk around it and through the gardens was well worth the stop.

Our last stop was the Gion District, home of the geishas. This is a busy area full of shops and narrow side streets but still finds space for the beautiful Maruyama Park. As well as housing several wild cats, it is, of course, full of cherry blossom trees and a lake, home to a number of koi which were being eagerly watched by a lone heron. Lots of food vendors had set up stalls in the park as there are festivals to commemorate the cherry blossom season.

APRIL 11 Our journey today took us to Arishiyama, barely a 15 minute ride out. After stopping at a café near the station for breakfast, we walked up a few narrow streets before emerging at the entrance to the Bamboo Forest. As its name suggests, it’s a natural forest of bamboo trees and includes the Sogenchi Gardens and the Tenryu-ji Temple.

After the gardens we continued through the Bamboo Forest heading to the bridge that goes over the Katsura River. The Togetsuko Bridge was originally built in the 9th century and leads to the entrance to the Iwatayama Monkey Park, the other big attraction is Arashiyama.

There is a bit of a climb (like doing the Coquitlam Crunch) required to get to where the monkeys hang out but worth it if you want to see Macaques wandering around. There are about 120 of them in this area and, although they are wild and can go wherever they want, they are content to hang out in this particular location during the day as they know that there is a constant source of peanuts and fruit to be had, purchased by tourists from vendors at the top of the trail. These treats are fed to the monkeys by dropping the food in front of them, but we encountered one particular monkey who threw back the peanuts, preferring instead the fruit that he knew we had.

Then back to the station to head back to our hotel in Kyoto to pick up our bags and head to our next destination, Kanazawa.

Although this is more than 260 km away, the bullet train gets you there in under two hours. The only hitch is that the journey requires a change of trains in Tsuruga, and with barely seven minutes between trains and two levels to navigate from the incoming track to the departing track, it led to a scene akin to an episode from the Amazing Race, with passengers racing through the station.

APRIL 12 We spent today exploring Kanazawa, located in Central Honshu. We got off the bus first at the Kenrokuen Gardens , which are stunning, and have been voted one of the top gardens in Japan. The gardens include ponds, tea houses, a maze of different paths and, of course, numerous cherry trees. The gardens were opened to the public more than 150 years ago and are absolutely worth the visit.

After leaving the gardens, we crossed to the site of the Kanazawa Castle. Originally constructed in the 6th century, most of the buildings are reconstructions to reflect how the castle looked in the mid 19th century; although the main keep was never replaced after it was destroyed by fire in 1602.

Next up was an ice cream cone wrapped in a sheet of gold leaf, which is unique to Kanazawa.

We finished our day with a stop in the Omicho Market, where vendors ply their trade, mainly seafood. However, we treated ourselves instead to a skewer of Wagyu beef, which was so tender.

Then back to the hotel to retrieve our bags. And once again take the bullet train, this time to Nagano.

APRIL 13 Today’s stop was Togakushi, which is about a 45-minute bus ride outside of Nagano, winding up narrow mountainous roads and reaching an elevation of about 1,200 metres. This is a beautiful part of Japan and the Togakushi area features five main shrines and a beautiful cedar-lined trail of more than two kilometres leading to the Okusha Shrine. It was still snowy and icy near the top but a magnificent setting for a hike.

After completing our hike, we caught the bus down to the main shrine; the Chusha shrine. (The bus does the loop once every hour so you have to get your timing right.) This shrine is set in the middle of the Togakushi area and has a number of small cafes in and around the shrine. We were told that we had to try a bowl of soba noodles, as this area is famous in Japan for soba.

The noodles are made primarily from buckwheat flour and the main chef at the café that we chose took a shine to us when he heard we’d travelled from Canada to sample his noodles. After bringing us the noodles, he also brought the kettle of water that the noodles had been boiled in and urged us to drink the water as “very good for health.’

We then took the bus back towards Nagano, stopping off at the Zenkoji Temple. This temple is one of the most important in Japan, dating back to the 7th century and is home to the first Buddha statue brought to Japan.

APRIL 14 Our last full day in Japan took us to the Jigokudani Monkey Park , about a 45-minute bus ride from Nagano. After the bus ride, a 45-minute walk is required to take you up to where the monkeys hang out. As in Arashiyama, these are Macaques, and they like this particular area in the day for two main reasons.  First, particularly in the winter, but also all year round, they come down the steep cliffs to enjoy the warm waters of the natural onsen (hot springs) before returning to their mountain retreat in the evening. The other reason they venture down is that they know the park attendants will throw down some seeds for them.

Even before we got to the official entrance to the park, we encountered several monkeys making their way in for their snack (no admission fee required for the primates).After dining, some of the monkeys headed off to the hot spring area for a relaxing sit in the onsen. Others decided it was nap time.

After leaving they park, we decided we would take a local bus to Shibu Onsen village. As its name implies, this village is home to several onsens and also has a few that are specifically for feet only.

After that, we caught the train back to Nagano, enjoyed our last meal in Japan, and readied ourselves for the long journey home.

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trip to japan cost 2 weeks

From Tokyo to Mount Fuji: A comprehensive two-week travel guide to Japan

I t’s Friday night and I’m sat in the corner of a dive bar in Hiroshima sipping a local plum wine and cheering on a group of three Japanese businessmen, dressed in full suit-and-briefcase attire, battling it out playing Pac-Man on an old arcade machine next to me.

I can’t help but wonder, has my Japan trip peaked?

Travelling across five main locations, the aim of my two-and-a-half-week trip is to immerse myself in Japanese culture, cuisine and history – and learn more about what this fascinating country has to offer .

It seems my idea isn’t the most original either – what with Japan now ranking as one of the highest trending destinations for 2024 , as well as recently being named the top spot for solo travellers.

For those considering a trip there soon, know that you can cram a lot into just a couple of weeks – mainly thanks to the country’s high-speed bullet trains, which whiz you from one location to the next.

For example, my 16-day holiday covered Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima – taking between 1-3 hours to jump from one location to the next. It’s also worth pointing out that now Japan Rail Pass prices have risen by 70%, it actually might be cheaper for you to pay for single journeys, depending on your route.

If the country’s bountiful offering is enough to make you feel overwhelmed, here’s a two-and-a-half-week itinerary mapped out for you…

Tokyo (1-5 days)

Our trip started in Tokyo , and for Japan first timers the sheer size of the city is likely to be your main takeaway – it was the first thing that blew me away when we touched down in Haneda airport. It’s the largest city by metropolitan area in the world, with a population of 37.3 million.

The best way to soak this up is by visiting one of the city’s many viewpoints and Shibuya Sky should be top of your list for the 360-degree open-air factor. Just be sure to book in advance and sunset is widely considered one of the best times to go, so you can witness the city skyline by day and night.

While visiting Shibuya be sure to tick off the Meiji Jingu shrine and the Shibuya Crossing, which is often dubbed as ‘the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world.’

One of our Tokyo highlights was the vibrant neighbourhood of Shinjuku, including the tranquil national garden (with the concrete jungle skyscrapers as the backdrop) as well as the tastiest, no-fuss (but delicious) ramen you’ll ever have at Tatsunoya, where the tonkotsu broth (pork bones and water) is simmered for 15 plus hours. Our two ramen bowls, plus a beer and two cokes, cost us just £15.

Food in Tokyo comes in two extremes, from authentic street food – like the sensational yakitori (grilled meat skewers) at Omoide Yokocho – to Michelin-starred dining , including the likes of Narisawa (which is the ultimate luxurious dining experience). Both showing the city’s offering through completely different culinary lenses.

Michelin-starred restaurant Est, located in Four Seasons Otemachi , was an absolute standout though – with wagyu, Hokkaido scallops and miso monkfish on the menu. This was my first time trying Japanese wine too – let alone a Japanese Chardonnay – and it was an unexpected delight.

You don’t see much Japanese wine in the UK, or even in other parts of the world for that matter. That’s because, as our sommelier tells us, the country’s produce is so good, winemakers prefer to share it with the population rather than export it en masse.

On the topic of drinks, while you’re at the Four Seasons a visit to award-winning VIRTÙ – headed up by the talented Keith Motsi – is a must. Keith’s passion for giving Japanese bars the attention they deserve shines through and his cocktail wizardry and outstanding drinks knowledge, as well as the doting bar staff, makes leaving this opulent Art Deco watering hole pretty impossible.

For a boozy night, bar-hop around Golden Gai, a network of six narrow alleys with little bars peppered throughout. 

Tokyo checklist:

  • Shibuja Sky for views of Tokyo
  • Lunch at est (in the Four Seasons Otemachti)
  • Shibuja crossing
  • Shinjuku National garden
  • Drinks at Virtu
  • Eat yakatori at Omoide Yokocho
  • Bar hop around Golden Gai
  • Kabukiza Theatre
  • Tokyo station

Mount Fuji (2 days)

It may be a slight detour from bullet train routes, but spending a portion of your trip in Japan’s natural beauty is a must. After all, what trip to the country would be complete without seeing the majestic Mount Fuji in all its glory? Among the Fuji Five Lakes – which are designated as a World Cultural Heritage – Lake Kawaguchiko is the easiest to access (a two-hour bus from Tokyo). 

Once you’re there, Villa Hanz Glamping is the perfect base for the rural part of your itinerary, particularly with the 3,776-metre high stratovolcano as the backdrop to this resort.

This luxury glamping site (think bougie pods with heaters and mini fridges) will make you feel right at home, while the resort’s activity offering of hiking, kayaking and stargazing will ensure you make the most of rural retreat.

Kyoto (1-3 days)

My first impression of Kyoto was how it was the perfect example of old meets new, but the thing that stood out the most was simply how stunning it was – a respite from Tokyo’s concrete jungle. 

The former Japanese capital has historic temples and sublime gardens nestled alongside bustling new food markets and shopping districts. It’s a city with a lot of natural beauty that also somehow spotlights the area’s rich history, from the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest to the ‘Golden Pavilion’. 

If you tick off one attraction in Kyoto, let it be the famous Fushimi Inari-Taisha . The red shrine gates follow a pathway that wanders 4km up the mountain – which, after a whole day of sightseeing, was pretty knackering. Nevertheless, was worth it for the view at the top – even in the dark.

Kyoto is also an excellent spot to sample some of the country’s vast cuisine. Comfort food doesn’t get much better than the curry udon at Mimikou – where a Kyoto-style curry soup marries thick wheat noodles in a curry powder-thickened Japanese soup stock called ‘dashi’.

You also can’t visit Japan without trying traditional okonomiyaki (a Japanese teppanyaki, savory pancake dish made with cabbage, meat and cheese) and Kyo Chabana is the spot to sample it in Kyoto.

Kyoto checklist:

  • Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
  • The ‘Golden Pavilion’
  • Fushimi Inari-Taisha
  • Curry udon at Mimikou
  • Okonomiyaki at Kyo Chabana

Hiroshima (2 days)

It might seem slightly out of the way, geographically, for a two-week Japan trip but believe me when I say this stop should definitely be on your itinerary. Plus, it’s only a tour-hour train on the trusty (literally, it’s never late) bullet train.

As someone who has always been interested in WW2 history, visiting Hiroshima felt more than just an itinerary pit spot, it felt like a necessity – and it was a sobering reminder of what took place at 8.15am on the morning of August 6 1945, and its aftermath.

The bomb obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometer radius – now the city’s re-built legacy urges one crucial message: never again.

The A-Bomb Dome, still in its original bombed-out condition with pieces of 1945 rubble on the ground, remains in tact – but really that’s it. Everything else has been rebuilt. Now there’s a well-manicured Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and a Museum – which houses belongings and artefacts, and tells the stories of the victims.

But what caught me off-guard the most was the city’s incredible underground nightlife scene – dive bars like Mac Bar and Stevie Wonderland, in particular, where you can while away the hours listening to vinyls while sipping on local beers and traditional plum wine.

Hiroshima checklist:

  • A-Bomb Dome
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and a Museum
  • Stevie Wonderland

Osaka and Nara (3-4 days)

An hour-and-a-half away from Hiroshima and on the way back to Tokyo, neon playground Osaka is the ideal spot for your trip’s finale.

What can only be described as Japan’s equivalent to Time Square, the Dōtonbori district comes alive at nighttime with eye-catching signage and riverside shops and restaurants. 

A day trip to Nara Park will also see you get up close and personal with TikTok’s famous ‘polite’ deer, which bow to you in return for crackers.

Top tip, try to feed a solo deer, otherwise you might be subjected to a herd showdown, with multiple chasing you for your crumbs (trust me, I speak from experience here).

Osaka checklist:

  • Dōtonbori district
  • Day trip to Nara Park

My main takeaway from my two-week trip, however, is simply how everything is better in Japan: from self-flushing toilets and exceptional hospitality, to the highest standard of foods – beyond anything I’ve ever tasted.

It’s a country that’s stolen a piece of my heart – and has left me dreaming of those efficient bullet trains while I’m waiting 10 minutes for the dreaded Circle Line back home.

Where to stay in Japan:

From glass lifts, to hot spring baths and a swim over Tokyo, here are six hotels that made my two-week holiday to Japan …

Bellustar Tokyo

Located in the heart of Shinjuku, this lavish skyscraper hotel is an excellent base point for  a Tokyo first-timer  or a seasoned visitor. The 97-room hotel is spread out across three floors, which also houses the five deluxe penthouses (some of which are double-storey)


Hotel Groove

While Bellustar occupies the upper half of Tokyo’s 48-storey Kabukicho tower, Hotel Groove lies in the lower one – and it’s the quirky and playful younger sibling of the two – with smaller rooms, bar and dining space, JAM17 and a roof terrace.


Four Seasons Otemachi

For a hotel that ticks all the boxes, look no further than the Four Seasons Otematchi. From a Michelin-star restaurant to an award-winning bar, not to mention sensational views of Tokyo.


Villa Hanz Glamping

Villa Hanz offers rural respite from city chaos. With both glamping and villa options available, you can stay with views of the 3,776-metre high stratovolcano. The site’s Pao pods offers a camping experience with a luxury twist.


Roku Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts

This spot is nestled in rolling foothills of the ancient capital’s north western mountain range, offering a natural sanctuary. Guests have five different room types to choose from. A firm favourite, however, is the Garden Deluxe rooms, which come with their own small Japanese-style garden, plus a roomy bath inside supplied with hot spring onsen water.


Hiroshima and Osaka

Hilton Hiroshima and Hilton Osaka

For creatures of habit when they’re abroad, Hilton has a number of hotels across Japan, each offering something a little different.

Hilton Hiroshima for example, is one of the newest additions. The hotel is also situated in the centre of Hiroshima City, so is the ideal base point for exploring what this destination has to offer.

Hilton Osaka is another great choice, nestled amongst the city’s vibrant Umeda district and train station – so is particularly convenient if you’re planning on heading to Nara for the day.

Getting there:

Flights to Japan start from £460 return on Skyscanner with one stopover.

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Covering Tokyo, Kyoto, Mount Fuji, Osaka and more… (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)


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    Hamamatsu - Hotel Daiwa Roynet - 9.211 Yen. Kyoto - Shizutetsu Hotel Prezio - 8.280 Yen. Gero (ryokan) - Yukai Resort Geroonsen - 19.110 Yen. Tokyo - Hotel Keikyu Ex Inn - 9.700 Yen. We stayed for a total of 12 nights. The first one was in Hamamatsu, the next 5 in Kyoto, the next in Gero, and the last 5 in Tokyo.

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    SHIRAKAWA-GO (day 7, day trip) TAKAYAMA (day 7 - 9, 2 nights) KYOTO (day 9 - 12, 3 nights) HIROSHIMA & MIYAJIMA ISLAND (day 12 - 13, 1 night) NARA (day 13 - 14, 1 night) Grab a cup of tea, coffee, or a glass of something stronger, and read on to learn the details of visiting each of these ten highlights of Japan. 🙂.

  20. How Much Does a Trip to Japan Cost: 2024 Japan Travel Cost Breakdown

    Total Cost for 2 Weeks. $3000 - $6000. Overall, a budget traveler can expect to spend around $50 to $100 per day in Japan, while a mid-range traveler can expect to spend around $150 to $250 per day. It's important to plan ahead and research activities and costs to create a budget that works for you. 🎁Trip.com Special Deals for Japan Travel.

  21. How Much is a Trip to Japan for 2 Weeks?

    Additionally, travel costs such as flights from your home country can vary depending on the time of year and airline company chosen. However, typically speaking, most travellers feel that a two week trip to Japan could cost between $2 000-$4 500 USD per person (including airfare). This estimate would also include food expenses during your stay ...

  22. Japan trip for 2 weeks budget : r/JapanTravelTips

    You can get a lot of good meals under $20/30. Breakfast can be under $10 if getting bread or things from konbini. Non-JR transport might be another $10 if not going too far. So an average day will cost around $100 which gives you a fair bit to spend on shopping, nicer meals and entry is to expensive sights. 7.

  23. The Ultimate Japan Itinerary for 2024: From 1 to 3 Weeks

    Day 1 & 2: Tokyo Chances are you'll be starting your trip in Tokyo, since it's home to the country's biggest international airport.If your trip is seven days long, activate your JR Pass right away, so that you can take advantage of the free JR trains that run through the city.. While you could easily spend your entire week in Tokyo and not get bored, here are some of the highlights:

  24. How to Plan a 2-Week Itinerary in Japan and South Korea

    A 2-week tour of Japan and South Korea costs around US$9,000-10,000 per person based on a group of 2-4 people. Private touring in Japan costs about US$350-500 per day per person, and the cost in South Korea is about US$400-500 per day per person, including 4-star hotels, full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, private cars, and ...

  25. Average cost, per person, of a 2 week trip? : r/JapanTravel

    Flight to Japan: $1840.58. Domestic Flights: 424 (estimate b/c final leg still needs to be booked) Hotels: 1400 (estimate b/c 1 night in a love hotel) Car rental: 455.84. Total estimate of fixed costs for two people: 4120.42.

  26. The Perfect 7-Day Japan Itinerary (Updated 2024)

    There's a lot to see and do in Tokyo (I cover it all here and here)!But consider taking a day trip out of town to see some non-urban sights: Kamakura Here you can see a 13-meter (43-foot) bronze statue of Buddha that was built in 1252. It was initially constructed within Kotoku-in Temple, but that has since been washed away by several storms, so it now sits in the open air.

  27. 2-week trip with family

    Hello, we are a family of 3 (2 adults + 1 child) and have a 2-week stay planned in Japan in August. Day 1-3: Tokyo (3 nights) Day 4: Tokyo to Okinawa(fly). Overnight Okinawa. Day 5,6: Okinawa (3 nights total) Day 7: Okinawa to Hiroshima(fly). Overnight Hiroshima. Day 8: Day trip to Miyajima. Day 9: Hiroshima to Kyoto (by train)

  28. What to do and see with 2 weeks in Japan

    Article content. From go karting round the streets of downtown Tokyo to snow monkeys hanging out in the hot springs of Jigokudani, this is our journal from our April 2024 trip to Japan.

  29. From Tokyo to Mount Fuji: A comprehensive two-week travel guide to Japan

    Our trip started in Tokyo, and for Japan first timers the sheer size of the city is likely to be your main takeaway - it was the first thing that blew me away when we touched down in Haneda ...

  30. Can i still use paper forms instead of visit japan web?

    Take the trip of a lifetime to Japan with All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan's largest airline. ANA is consistently awarded a 5-Star SKYTRAX rating, which means an exceptional trip always starts in the sky. ANA welcomes you aboard with "omotenashi" (Japanese hospitality) and the ultimate in comfort and convenience.