The land of the rising sun is an interesting mix of ancient culture and space-age technology, it’s amazing how Japan can hold on to its long history while being at the forefront of modern advances, it really is one of the most unique places in the world. It’s no wonder Japan is right at the top of most people’s bucket list.
We found Japan to be an expensive place, especially for eating out, we stayed in a few hostels and cooked a few meals ourselves, we also used 7/11 and Lawsons (convenience stores) a lot, the ready meals were pretty good.
Our average daily spend was £76 including accommodation, transport etc, the only thing not included is our international flights. Like everywhere, if you’re staying in dorm room you’ll spend less than we did on accommodation. Transport was around 45% of our spend, see ‘Getting Around’ below for more info.
You can save a lot of money in the 100¥ stores, where everything is 100¥. They come in handy for things like sunglasses and travel essentials.
We used the JR pass for almost every journey whilst in Japan, there are hundreds of blogs out there describing how to order, collect and use the JR pass in a lot more detail than I’ve included below but here are the basics:
• You can only use the pass on a tourist visa,
• You must order the pass BEFORE your travel to Japan,
• You will receive a voucher by post that you then transfer for the JR pass while in Japan,
• You can take most train journeys for free (those not included are clearly listed on the pass) and there is no need to book anything,
If you want the complete ins and outs of how it works click HERE, but it really is incredibly easy, the voucher sent by post contains all the information you need, and the staff at all train stations speak English and go out of their way to help you.
Cost for the JR pass are below: at first, they seem expensive but your almost guaranteed to save money, buying individual tickets is super expensive plus the JR pass gives you ultimate freedom.
7 day pass – £195
14 day pass – £311
21 day pass – £398
Internal flights in Japan are expensive and often unnecessary, the trains are faster and cheaper.
Most Japanese people speak great English, as usual its polite to learn a few basic words but you’ll get by fine if all you know is hello and thank you. You’ll probably be approached by dozens of school kids during your visit, they’ll all want to practice their English skills on you, use this as a good opportunity for restaurant recommendations etc., the kids will love that you’re interested.
Visa’s and Vaccinations:
If your traveling on a British passport, you can get up to 90 days visa free in Japan. There are no vaccinations required for Japan.
When To Visit:
Japan has very distinctive seasons, Summer is wet season, for the best weather try to schedule your visit during Spring or Autumn, especially if you want to see Mt Fuji which is completely covered by clouds and not visible during the Summer and closed to hikers during winter.
Expect to see some pretty wacky outfits in Japan, it really is a place where anything goes. Don’t worry too much about covering knees or shoulders (as long as you’re not walking around in a bikini top you’ll be fine) but do expect to take your shoes off when entering most temples, a few hotels and even some restaurants and shops.
Click HERE to read our full 3 week itinerary, it can easily be condensed into 2 weeks and I’ve included the highlight for anyone on a 1 week or less itinerary.
The currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (¥) or JPY. Credit/Debit cards are widely accepted, and the ATM’s are generally free, there one in every single convenience store. Exchange rates (as of September 2018) are below:
£1 (GBP) = ¥147.18
€1 (EUR) = ¥130.82
$1 (USD) = ¥111.92
I hope you this helped you plan the perfect trip to Japan, let me know if you have any questions.