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.
7 Day Japan Rail Pass
14 Day Japan Rail Pass
21 Day Japan Rail 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.
Shinigawa Sushi cooking class
Samurai themed Izakaya Drinking Party
Tokyo Robot Cabaret Show
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).
Sumo Wrestling Tournament
Nagano Day Trip
Get Your Guide
Mt Fuji Scenic 1-Day Bus Tour
Get Your Guide
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
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