Cost of Vacation in Japan


Jul 10th, 2016, 03:03 PM
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Cost of Vacation in Japan

Like many here, I've traveled widely in Western Europe. I know Spain, Italy, France, etc very well. However, I can't get a handle on the cost of a vacation to Japan. For example, I just did two weeks in Spain and Portugal. We had terrific boutique hotels in Barcelona and Madrid, and rented a villa in Cascais outside of Lisbon. Airfare, car rental, hotels and excellent restaurants (highly rated on Tripadvisor &Yelp) came in at $12,000 per couple. How do I compare to something similar in Japan---Tokyo, Osaka, a stay at a country ryokan--the usual stuff? Can I get some estimates please?
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Jul 10th, 2016, 03:49 PM
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We all travel differently, so it is very hard to say what you might spend in Japan. I expect you will want to spend some time in Kyoto - the highlight of Japan for us - which has the highest hotel prices. Ryokans can be very expensive, but of course, they include an incredible dinner (as well as breakfast). Transport within Japan is pretty reasonable on their fabulous train systems. You can rent a machiya house - we did in Kanazawa. We spent considerably less than you did in Spain and Portugal and we travel very well.

Japan is many things to many people. Take a good look at to see what about Japan interests you most.

What time of year do you plan to travel? We traveled in November, so we were there for the koyo (fall colors). Take a look at our photos:
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Jul 10th, 2016, 03:55 PM
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Twelve thousand is a pretty good budget for Spain and Portugal unless you are paying for business or first class airfare. Costs in Japan will vary widely depending on restaurants and accomadations. If you eat like a native, meals will run $10-15. On the other hand you can spend $350 A person for a top sushi restaurant. Hotels range from around $300 for a nice hotel like the Westin in Tokyo to somewhere around $1000 a night for the Aman or a top Ryokan.
I personally spend less money in Japan than I do in places like London or Paris.
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Jul 10th, 2016, 06:31 PM
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Plenty of decent 3* business hotel chains for about $100 a night (and less outside Tokyo). Just expect small rooms. Lunch and dinner $10-15 can be found easiky, less for breakfast.
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Jul 11th, 2016, 06:13 AM
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I won't comment in £ or $ as exchange rates seem a bit volatile just now.

In Yen, I'd suggest around 20,000 for a mid-range western hotel, note this is not remotely the high end chains or places - you can definitely find accommodation for less but you may also pay more in locations like Kyoto.

A night in the high-end ryokans can easily be 30,000 Yen per person, often a lot more. That will include a kaiseki feast of a dinner and an extensive breakfast but it's still pricy.

Of course, once again there are cheaper options to experience Japanese ryokans (and minshuku), especially if you're not as fussy as I am about having an en-suite bathroom. Shared bathrooms are more the norm in less expensive places.

So for me, accommodation is more than the similar level in Europe.

That said, food is far far less and you can easily eat a great lunch for less than 1500 Yen per person, often half that. Dinner is easy peasy for 3000 Yen per person, though you can do lower and of course, much much higher.

Drinks (both soft and alcoholic) are expensive in restaurants so we often did the free water or tea and bought coffees and sodas etc. from vending machines or supermarkets or convenience stores while out and about.
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Jul 11th, 2016, 08:15 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I tried some websites that allow you to calculate the cost of trip to Japan based on your budgetary preferences. Most of them came up with the same number for a higher end trip-- about 26,000 yen per day per person, which included hotel, transport, food, tourist activities etc. Does that seem reasonable?
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Jul 12th, 2016, 12:50 AM
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Per person, that's definitely doable.

As I mentioned, a mid-range Western hotel room for two, on our recent 28 night trip in April, ran an average of 20,000 yen per room per night, so that's only 10,000 per person.

More in Kyoto, less in a few places. It's a fair bit higher than that (everytime I looked, anyway) for the Hyatts, Mandarin Orientals, Westins etc.

If you up that to 30,000 per room per night (between two), that pushes you up a bracket and you should be able to find some pretty nice hotels.

Note that the higher end ryokans will be higher than that, you're looking 25,000 to 30,000 per person per night, but that's including the food feasts!

You can shave hotel costs down if you want to by looking at the budget chains such as Dormy, Route Inn (stayed at both), Toyoko Inn and others. These offer clean, well-furnished, comfortable rooms at a great price. Where there are multiple room types, we always pick the largest available, and they've been great for us. Do take care on bed size, in Japan a small double is really really small, way too small for my husband and I to share.

For transport, it really depends on your route / itinerary. You should investigate costs of trains via (look at the total price which is train ticket PLUS seat fee, the seat fee is not optional).

Within a city, transport costs for public transport are low, between 200 and 300 yen per person for most metro/ bus journeys. Obviously, more if you use taxis much.

Food, I mentioned above, is the easiest to do at any budget. If you allocated 5000 to 8000 per person per day, you'd be absolutely fine.

If you want to do one of the real splurge places in Tokyo, these run upwards from 25,000 yen per person for dinner.
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Jul 12th, 2016, 10:45 AM
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You could, no doubt spend $12,000 per couple for two weeks, but you'd have to work at it. (I'm assuming that price does not include your international airfare)
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Jul 12th, 2016, 01:10 PM
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Over the past 5 years Tokyo has been more expensive than Madrid but less expensive than Paris or Milano if you stay at five star hotels. Not sure how it is right now, haven't been following JPY.

The last time we were in Tokyo (peak cherry blossom 2015) we stayed at the Palace Hotel Tokyo, we paid around 400.000 yen for 7 nights for Club Level, which means we had food and drinks almost around the clock. That's some 28,500 pp per day. I think we booked pretty early, 3-4 months ahead. We have also stayed at the Ritz Carlton that was slightly more expensive. Both hotels were terrific value for money compared to luxury 5 star hotels in Europe. The views were amazing.

We only walked or took taxis but that was a marginal cost. Dinner can cost anything.

In Kyoto we have stayed twice at the same Hyatt, but paid very different daily rates even though it was the same time of the year. Both times cheaper than Tokyo but it was a simpler hotel. Very nice though.
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