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Cost of Travel: A Case Study of Spending During 33 Days of Travel in Japan

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In this post we look at a real life case study of our spending during 33 days in Japan.

This cost analysis is connected to the following itineraries:

Tokyo & Surrounding Cities, Japan in 11 Days Itinerary

Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara, Japan in 11 Days Itinerary

Tokyo, Osaka and Central Japan in 14 Days

Here are our aggregated costs per-category over 33 continuous days of travel across central Japan. Costs are reflected in US Dollars $.

CategorySpend $/Day/Person# of Days in CountryTotal Spend $ / PersonTotal Spend $ / Two People
Shopping + Miscellaneous $4.7233$155.73$311.46
Sightseeing + Entertainment$18.1633$599.16$1,198.32
Summary$105.24/person/day33 days of travel$3,472.95 / person$6,945.89 / two people

Assumptions per-category

Accommodation–We stayed in hostels in Tokyo for two of the three weeks we were in the city. Hostels in Japan are comparable to 3-star hotels in the U.S. Our typical configuration was a 6-person-mixed shared dorm.
–A friend joined us for nine days during our five week trip. In Tokyo, he treated us to a week of hotel stays between the Park Hyatt and Hotel Gracery Shinjuku. The averages of those costs were not factored into this analysis as they are luxury hotels. We instead used the cost of hostels in this analysis.
–In Kyoto, we stayed at a four-star hotel. The cost was split between three people.
–In places that were not Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, we stayed in two and three star hotels.
Transport–We used the subway in major cities.
–To travel between Tokyo, central Japan, Kyoto and Osaka, we relied on buses, local trains and high-speed trains.
–The cost includes tickets for a 7-day Shinkansen high speed rail pass. Check out of cost analysis for a high speed rail pass versus individual tickets.
–Does not include a flight to enter Japan (we used miles).
–Does not include flights depart Japan (we used miles).
Shopping + Miscellaneous
Sightseeing + Entertainment–We participated in biking tours in Osaka and Kyoto.
–We also traveled during cherry blossom season (high season in Japan) which may have contributed to slightly higher overall charges.
–We also visited museums, whisky distilleries, attended a baseball game and participated in different classes, including sushi making, calligraphy, and origami making.
Wifi–In the major cities, Wifi was included in our accommodation costs.
Laundry–All of the major city hostels we stayed in offered laundry facilities.
–We did our laundry on a weekly basis if laundry facilities were unavailable in our hostel.
Coffee–We averaged one coffee/tea out per day.
Breakfast–We usually ate at our accommodation.
Lunch–We ate out almost every day.
–It’s our favorite meal to try out local flavors.
–Costs are usually less expensive for the same meal offered at dinner.
Dinner–We usually eat a light dinner at our accommodation.
Snack–We kept snacks on hand to keep in our rental car and day packs.
Drinks–Libations at bars are expensive.
Grocery–We purchased groceries and breakfast and a light dinner at our accommodation.
Travel Insurance–We did not include our travel insurance costs in the overall price listed here.
–Our insurance ran $3.17/person/day, totaling $122.43 per person for 33 days, $244.86 total.


  1. In categories like laundry, shopping & wifi, we may not have spent any money on these services every day. Instead, we added up the total sum of that costs and divided by the number of days within that particular country. This helped us determine how much to budget for future trips.
  2. While we were mindful of our spending, especially because we were abroad for so long, we did splurge on meals and special activities. This may have raised the average costs in a particular category.

How much did you spend when you traveled to Japan (on a per-day basis)?


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