In March Adam and I will be returning to Japan for another trip, having previously visited last Easter. What kinds of costs are associated with a trip like this? I thought I’d give a run down of some of the planning and spending that went into our trip:
First things first, we had to plan where we were going. From the UK it’s cheapest to fly into Tokyo and of course the capital was going to be a major feature on the trip anyway, having enjoyed it so much on our previous trip.
On our previous trip we had considered a number of day trips from Tokyo and in the end decided to go to Nikko, Kamakura & Yokahama. I had dismissed Hakone because I felt it was more expensive to travel there and seeing as a Mt Fuji viewing is not guaranteed I thought the other places were more appealing. This time however I want to visit to do the hot springs and pirate ship on the lake Ashi!
I also fancied doing something a little different, I had a look around at some of the Japanese islands (Japan-guide.com is a great site for this) and decided I really wanted to do Naoshima, the ‘art island’. From Tokyo the trip can be done via Okayama but it’s quite lengthy, about 6 hours long. I decided to do a night in Nagoya instead to break up the trip a bit. Nagoya seems to have a lot of good connections so is perfect for this reason.
On our first trip we had visited Disneysea and really loved it and this time we decided to go to Universal Studios in Osaka therefore a trip to Osaka was scheduled in after we leave Naoshima. Last time we had visited Osaka briefly, stopping at the aquarium so it will be nicer spending a bit longer.
Hiroshima had really surprised us on our first trip, it was so lovely and we really wished we had spent longer there so we felt this was an addition we needed on our upcoming trip. We are planning a return as well as a return to the nearby island of Miyajima.
Takayama was one of the places that really stole my heart during my original Japanese research but realistically we couldn’t fit it in during the last trip if we also wished to do Kyoto. Making sure we could do it this time was very important and we also lucked out as without knowing it we’ve booked to stay there during it’s famous festival!
Kanazawa is a very beautiful place that is reachable from Takayama, known for having one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in the country, and there is a direct train back to Tokyo, meaning it is the perfect destination to be our last visit.
So in total our holiday will be costing us £1835 each, for an all inclusive trip.
What needs to be remembered is Adam and I both work at a school so we have no option but to take our trip in school holidays, during cherry blossom season. This means that if you have more flexibility than we do you can do the trip for cheaper!
This is the breakdown:
We booked our flights using AirChina. They aren’t direct, there is a short stopover in Beijing but the times were good for us. We haven’t flown AirChina before but I hope they will suffice. The flights cost £425 after we booked them 9 months in advance.
Location is always my first priority when booking a hotel and I like to keep the costs as low as possible whilst ensuring the hotel is well reviewed (I’m a big fan of tripadvisor) and I want to have a private bathroom! Our entire accomodation cost is £670.
For a Tokyo stay AirBnb is absolutely invaluable. Our 7 night stay is costing us just £26 a night, including all cleaning and service fees. We are staying in a small apartment, within a 5 minute walk of Shinjuku. We won’t be spending a lot of time in the apartment so the small size won’t be an issue and I think it will perfectly serve our needs.
Nagoya: 1 night in ‘Viainn Nagoya Shinkansenguchi’. We got our hotel for £80 for the night.
Osaka: 1 night in ‘Hotel the Lutheran’. Our night cost us £70.
Hiroshima: 2 nights in ‘Urbain Hiroshima central’. This cost us £50 per night.
Takayama: 2 nights at the ‘Country Hotel Takayama’ are costing us £45 per night.
Kanazawa: 1 night at the ‘Hotel Mystays Kanazawa Castle’ at £55 for the night.
Tokyo: 1 night at the ‘Chisun Inn Kamata’, very conveniently located to catch our return flight, £80 for the night.
There have been a few items I’ve bought in advance online, I like to book as many things as I can in advance as I find it easier to budget that way.
Rail pass: £185 for a 7 day pass
If you plan on travelling around at all in Japan then a rail pass is a great purchase. Shop around a little online as there can be up to £20 difference in what some websites want.
Universal studio tickets: £52
Obviously this cost won’t apply to everyone but if you do wish to visit a theme park during your time in Japan I’d recommend buying in advance as it cuts out a lot of the queueing on the day.
Bus from Tokyo to Nagoya: £27
As the rail pass wouldn’t have been activated at this point I booked a bus to make this journey, through a company called Willer Express. The journey will take us 5 hours but the coaches look very comfortable and the website was very easy to navigate.
Rental wifi: £35
Rental Wifi is fantastic, especially on this kind of holiday when you’re constantly out and about. There is always going to be a moment when you’re not quite sure where you’re going or want to double check an email and this way you can also ensure you have access to facebook on those long train journeys! I used CD Japan, a company I also used the last time I visited, and they’re certainly competitively priced, the rental price covers 21 days.
Trip to Shirakawa: £45
Whilst in Takayama I will be making a trip to Shirakawa, a small traditional village that is a UNESCO world heritage site. The tour, by Nohi Buses, takes a half day to visit the village and includes lunch too.
Adam and I are going to be taking £1500 collectively for spending money whilst we’re there.
The way this breaks down is :
This covers all travel done outside of the JR pass activation or certain journeys not covered by the pass. The majority of this cost is the pass needed to travel to Hakone and the rest is taken up by subway costs. We preload a PASMO card when we arrive and it means we can just swipe and go the whole time we’re in Japan, its so simple and easy.
This is one area where I do not skimp, if I want to do something then I’ll do it. This can be done a lot cheaper, we’re not really do any temples this time, and we’re doing a lot of museums with high admission costs. We’re also visiting some other places with high admissions such as the onsen in Hakone and a few amusement parks.
There is a big variation in the cost of eating in Japan. Last time we pretty much lived out of 7-11’s, our cost was not even half of this amount, however this time we’re eating pretty much exclusively at restaurants and so of course that is reflected in the price.
There are just too many amazing things to buy in Japan! Last time I walked away with a shopping haul of dresses from Harakuju and I plan to replicate that this time. Adam likes to pick up some figures in Akihabara and we’re both on the lookout for adorable Ghibli bits!