Planning Your First Japan Trip, Part 1: Doing the Math
The cost of a Japan trip has gone up surprisingly little over the years.
WHERE TO STAY
I like Toyoko Inn, which is currently about US$50-$75 (single) or US$80-$85 (double or twin) for a clean, quiet, modern room
with bath, TV, free breakfast, free internet, and a coin laundry. If you prefer a more authentically Japanese experience, if you want to meet more fellow travelers, or if you just want to save money, you should consider traditional inns and youth hostels. And
everyone should try an overnight stay at a Buddhist temple.
WHERE TO GO
I love putting together an itinerary, but I can’t possibly fit all I have to say about that into this posting. So I’ll save that for Part 2 .
TRANSPORTATION AND FOOD
Once you’ve sketched out an itinerary, you’ll probably want to buy a JR rail pass: A 2-week pass is about US$460 at today’s exchange rate. To find train schedules and fares between cities in Japan, see Hyperdia.
The Japan Guide web site, “a godsend for Japan travelers,” offers this rough guide to food costs.
That’s it for the biggest expenses. You’ll want to add a bit–say, US$100 to $200 a week for subways, buses, the Shiraishi ferry, presents from the Moooo! Bar, and other incidental but important items.