Japan has always been a tourist magnet: it offers modern world conveniences while harking back to traditional times. However, one thing many people do not take into consideration when deciding they want to travel to Japan is the cost. As one of the most expensive countries in the world, it behooves the savvy traveler to plan in advance and budget, budget, budget.
1. The flight. Unless youíre taking a ferry from South Korea or China, you will probably be flying into one of Japanís airports. If youíre coming from Europe or North America, then prepare for the large cost. Last minute round trip tickets from the USA to Japan can cost as much as $3000 for coach. If you plan ahead months in advance, you can change that to less than $1000. Either way, prepare to budget most of your money just for the cost of getting there and back.
2. Accommodation. Hotels are also expensive, whether you go for Western style or the traditional ryokan style. Itís not uncommon to pay over $100 a night in the cities even for mediocre rooms. If youíre traveling by yourself or with another adult, think about staying in one of Japanís many hostels, which run as low as $15 a night. You will meet great people from around the world while getting right into the culture. For extended stays, try renting a room from a guesthouse.
3. Food. Admit it, youíre going to Japan partially for the food. If youíre in the city, however, youíre going to be swamped with the usual Western fast food chains. The costs are about the same as in the West. But if you do find an authentic Japanese restaurant, be prepared to still pay about $5 per meal per person. No one said getting yakisoba was cheap in Japan.
4. Transportation. While many things will be available by foot if youíre staying in a city, the best way to get around Japan is still by train. Many tickets are pretty cheap, but the costs can add up. If youíre staying for a long while, consider getting a JR Rail Pass. These can be had for one, two, or three week intervals. This is perfect if you plan on traveling between cities in Japan as well.
5. Attractions. Thereís very little to do in Japan for free. Museums and landmarks often cost a small admission, and going shopping can really rack up a bill. Plan out what you want to do ahead of time and research admission costs online. This way you can budget it into your schedule without having a heart attack at the gate.
Visiting Japan is a life altering experience. If you travel there, you are sure to have a wonderful time, indulge in a fantastic culture, and meet all sorts of neat people, both foreign and Japanese. In order to maximize your enjoyment, itís important to plan ahead and budget accordingly. The more money you save, the bigger the adventure you can have!