We bought our tickets 4 months in advance, came out to about $1100 non-stop from Seattle to Narita Airport, Tokyo. As far as transportation, we bought the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass). The pass grants unlimited train travel for a certain period of time. The JR Pass comes in 3 forms: 7days, 14days, and 21days. We purchased a 21 day pass and a 7 day pass to cover our travel for the month.
In Japan, you trains take your everywhere, literally everywhere, from downtown Tokyo to the rural Japan around Nikko! My point is, you cannot go wrong with the rail pass. For 28 days of unlimited train travel the total came to about $750. Now keep in mind this is the National Pass, they have more affordable ones, regional passes restricted to parts of Japan. For our itinerary the National one made the most sense. To give you some idea of the savings, a train ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto (about 2.5 hours ride) costs about $80+ so unless you plan to stay in one city only, you will save money. It is extremely easy to use, basically all you have to do is identify the train you need to catch, find the gate, flash your JR Pass and board the train. Simple as that. Rarely do you need to reserve seats, so nothing to worry about…unless there is a typhoon…but we’ll get to that later…
There is an extremely useful app called “Hyperdia”, it is run by Japan Rail and it by far the best app for getting a train itinerary for whatever you want to do. It cost a few dollars to use it for a month and it comes in English and Japanese. This is an absolute must if you plan to frequently use the train. You won’t need to worry about figuring out the train schedule when you have this app on your smartphone. The train system in Japan is superior to any other train system in the world. And they are timely, and I mean timely. If the train schedule says Arriving at 1:05PM and Departing at 1:09PM, it will arrive exactly at 1:05PM and depart exactly at 1:09PM. These trains are rarely late. If you miss a train, don’t worry, unless it is a less traveled route, you can probably catch another train going that same route within 15 minutes.
Essentially our cost of the majority of the major travel came to about $1850 (Plane Ticket+ JR Passes).
(You can add $150 for Okinawa as well as $300 to Busan, Korea – an official total of $2300.)
We stayed in hostels the entire time we were there. Never spent more than $35 a night. On average we spent about $25 per night, per person. Hostels are the way to go in Japan, you meet so many people and often get opportunities to do things that you wouldn’t have if you were in a standard hotel. And they are clean so nothing to worry about there. I will talk about each hostel we stayed in my following blog posts. I use Hostelworld.com.
Total spent on housing: Around $750 (per person)
Food and Drink:
Eating out in Japan is great. The cost of eating out is similar to the states, surprisingly it is a littler cheaper. You could spend about $4-7 on a meal if you are really on a budget. Normally we would spend about $8-15 per meal. Drinking in Japan is very comparable to the an major city in the States, avg alcoholic drink ranging between $6-10. Beer typically $3-5 dollars depending on quality. Although at many restaurants you can get a deal where you pay $20 and get unlimited beer for 1 hour, can’t really go wrong with that option…
My friend and I had this image of Japan thinking that technology would be cheaper to buy and more advanced. Nope. Pretty sure everyone had an iPhone lol We thought surely electronics would be cheaper, nope. They were exactly the same price as they are in the states. So if you planning to go to Japan and buy electronics, unless you are really willing to search hard, I would stick to buying your electronics where you live…Did very little cloths shopping but from what I observed, cloths seems comparable to the US as well, but correct me if I am wrong!
Anyway, I hope this helps you prepare for your trip or helps clarify a few things. If I missed anything that you would like to know about let me know in a comment. Continue following my story and I know you will gain further insight and understanding about Japan.
Feel free to ask questions or comment!
Onto to our story/adventure and onto Tokyo…