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How much spending money do I need for Japan?

Get a feel for Japan with these prices to help you budget without going overboard.

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For the most part, Japan's prices are similar to Australia's, although there are price differences. For example, beer is cheaper in Japan but a nice sushi meal is more expensive.

Of course, the amount you'll spend depends on your style of travel. Here's a general idea of how much you should set aside based on your travel style.

How much money do I need for Japan?

Once you've booked and paid for your flights and accommodation in Japan, this is approximately what you'll need per day for food and activities.

  • Budget: ¥8,000 ($97) per day, if eating cheap and only doing budget attractions.
  • Mid-range: ¥10,000 ($121) per day, if eating nicer meals and doing one to two big attractions.
  • High-end: ¥20,000+ ($243+) per day will get you fancy sushi dinners, into all of the top attractions in the country and let you ride around in first class on the train.

These budgets assume you've organised your flights and accommodation prior to landing.

What is the best way to take money to Japan?

It is best to bring cash when travelling in Japan as the use of credit cards is limited compared to western countries.

The good news is that cash is easy to get in Japan with ATMs available in large and small towns. If in doubt, 7-11s almost always have a machine that accepts international and travel money cards.

Credit and debit cards are accepted at major hotels and shopping brands in large cities.

How much are taxis in Japan?

Taxis start at ¥489.50 ($5.96) and cost ¥410 ($4.98) per kilometre. An example price from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station in the Tokyo CBD is ¥20,605 ($250.67) or from Haneda Airport to Shibuya is ¥7,078 ($86.12).

As an aside, Japan has an extensive and highly regarded transport system comprising of buses and trains. Visitors seeking to travel between regions can purchase a JR-rail pass prior to arrival, which is discounted for travellers.


How much does a hire car cost in Japan?

A car rental in Tokyo starts at ¥4,946 ($60.18) for a one-day rental from Narita Airport if booked one month in advance for a driver over 30. Medium-sized cars start at ¥5,052 ($61.48) and large cars from ¥7,515 ($91.45). All prices were found using our car hire comparison site.


How much are Japan rail passes?

Depending on where you want to travel and how long you need the pass for, Japan Rail Passes vary from as low as about $50 for a 2-day regional pass up to more than $750 for a 21-day national pass when travelling in an "ordinary car", or up to about $1,000 if you want to travel in a "green car", which is like first class.

If you're not quite sure where you're travelling to yet or prefer to plan as you're on the road, a national pass may be your best bet. As of February 2019 after currency conversions, it's $360 for a 7-day pass, $578 for a 14-day pass and $741 for a 21-day pass.


How much is food and drink in Japan?

Prices vary in Japan depending on which city you're staying in and whether you're after a quick, local meal or an immersive food experience, especially comparing the big cities such as Tokyo to the more rural areas.

Food in Tokyo can be as cheap as ¥300 ($3.65) for something light from a bakery to ¥1,200 ($14.60) for a lunch set to ¥8,200+ ($100+) for dinner at a fancy restaurant. If you're popping into a sushi train (kaiten-sushi), plates can be as low as ¥100 ($1.20) each.

A beer will cost you anywhere from ¥280-¥800 ($3.40-$9.73), wine around ¥1,000 ($12.16) and a cup of sake for ¥800 ($9.73) or more.

Some iconic Japanese dining experience include themed restaurants, where all of the decor and waiters are dressed up as anything from hospital to samurai to prisons. There's also a robot restaurant in Japan. While the robots, unfortunately, don't actually serve you meals, they do put on a show while you dine.


How much is sightseeing in Japan?

Luckily, Japan has a number of free sightseeing attractions such as markets, museums and temples.

Some of the top things to do in Japan to budget for include seeing Mount Fuji, ¥10,800 ($131.43), the Ghibli Museum, ¥3,500 ($42.59), seeing the snow monkeys, ¥13,125 ($159.72) and watching sumo wrestling, ¥26,000 ($316.38).


How much for a Japanese SIM card?

If you plan on travelling around Japan by rail, then the most convenient way to get a SIM card is to order it with your JR pass.

A second option is to pre-purchase it and have it delivered to your home before you leave. This not only gives you peace of mind that you'll be able to communicate and hook up to the Internet from the moment you land but gives you time to choose an appropriate plan.

You can also purchase a SIM card at the airport but expect to pay a premium for the convenience.

Lastly, you can pick up a SIM card in town for as low as ¥3,219 ($39.16) for 1GB for 30 days. Other options include 4GB for 15 days for ¥5,000 ($60.83) and similar.


Quick facts about money in Japan

  • Currency: Japanese yen (¥)
  • Exchange rate to AUD: AUD$1 is equal to ¥82.73
  • Cost of food: ¥600-¥4,000 ($7.30-$48.65)
  • Cost of a local beer: ¥280-¥800 ($3.41-$9.73)
  • Travel money cards for: Browse top travel money cards for Japan

Exchange rate is approximate, obtained from xe.com on 9 November 2018.

Compare travel money options for Japan

Updated March 30th, 2020
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Travelex Money Card
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB

Overseas: $0

Domestic: 2.95% of the amount withdrawn

1.1% of initial load value or $15, whichever is greater
1.1% of transaction value or $15, whichever is greater
Lock in exchange rates for up to 10 currencies, pay no overseas ATM fees and get exclusive merchant offers.
Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
USD $2.50, EUR €2.50, GBP £2.00, NZD $3.50, THB ฿80.00, CAD $3.50, HKD $18.00, JPY ¥260.00, SGD $3.50, AUD $3.50, AED 10.00
$0
$5
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated March 30th, 2020
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM withdrawal fee Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
12.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 26 months (with a 2% fee), complimentary travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card

0%
20.24% p.a.
$225 p.a.
Receive 75,000 bonus Velocity Points, a complimentary flight and 2 Virgin lounge passes per year. Plus, 0% foreign transaction fees.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

0%
$0
17.99% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
Westpac Lite Card

0%
9.9% p.a.
$108 p.a.
Keep credit card costs low with a maximum credit limit of $4,000, a 9.9% p.a. purchase interest rate and no foreign transaction fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated March 30th, 2020
$
Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Internatonal ATM Fee Foreign transaction fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Visa
$0
$0
0%
Special offer: $100 bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases under $100.
Enjoy no foreign ATM or transaction fees and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available. T&C's apply to $100 bonus and 2% cashback offers.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated March 30th, 2020
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
Travelex Foreign Currency
$500
$5,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Travelex makes it easy to exchange and get the best rate on over 40 currencies so you can be prepared for your next holiday.
Foreign Xchange Travel Money
$0
$9,999
In Store, Home Delivery
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia. No delivery fee for orders over $1,000. A $10 flat fee applies to orders less than $1,000.

Compare up to 4 providers

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