Any world traveler must make a stop in Japan and explore the city of Tokyo. But before you get on that plane, just how expensive is Tokyo?
Tokyo is an expensive city compared to the rest of Japan as it is the country’s city center. It’s also a more expensive destination than other parts of Asia. How much you will spend during your stay will vary based on airfare, accommodation, transportation, dining, and preferred attractions.
Tokyo is generally an expensive city but you don’t have to splurge to enjoy it.
Tokyo’s Reputation: Is Tokyo Expensive?
Tokyo, and Japan in general, has a reputation for being expensive. This stems from the fact that Japan was once and still is, one of the world’s leading economic powerhouses.
Today, Japan is still an expensive city, especially compared to other premier travel destinations in Asia.
In the same way, Tokyo, the country’s city center, can also still be considered expensive, though not as expensive as it once was. Compared to other cities in the country, Tokyo is undeniably more expensive because it is the country’s city center. However, compared to other cities like New York, you will realize that Tokyo isn’t at all that expensive.
How Expensive Is Tokyo: How Much Does Staying in Tokyo Cost?
If you’re in the middle of planning your next destination holiday and are interested in going to Tokyo, you will want to know exactly how expensive Tokyo is and how much you can expect to pay during the duration of your stay.
It’s difficult to say exactly how much you can expect to pay due to varying factors that differ per person. To better understand how expensive Tokyo can get and to help you budget for your trip better, we’ll break down below the common expenses you can make during your stay and how much they could cost:
The first thing that will cost you money is exactly what will bring you to Japan: airfare and plane tickets.
The cost of flights going to Tokyo varies depending on where you’re flying from, the time of the year you’re traveling, and whether it’s a roundtrip or one-way ticket.
Generally, though, you can estimate airfare and flight tickets to go from about $500 to about $1,000. The cheapest roundtrip ticket to Japan you can find is $508 from Honolulu to Tokyo with the airline ZIPAIR.
Staying in Japan means you will need to find accommodation. Accommodation costs in Tokyo can vary depending on where you’re staying.
Generally, we can categorize available accommodation options in Tokyo into three groups:
Tokyo is packed with budget hotel options for travelers who don’t want to splurge on where they sleep. These are affordable options but don’t compromise safety and comfort. They are mostly clean and comfortable and even offer free Wi-Fi.
These cheap hotels typically cost about $20 to $60 per night.
Mid-range hotels are a step up from budget hotels for travelers who are a bit more picky about where they sleep. These could cost anywhere from $60 to $150 per night.
Of course, luxury hotels are also widely available at every turn in the city. The price range for these hotels varies greatly but expect to pay at least $150 per night.
Capsule hotels are also abundant in Japan’s capital city. A capsule hotel is an enclosed bed space with enough room so you can sit as well. These typically cost about $50 to $100.
Ryoka, or traditional Japanese inns, are also popular among travelers. These could cost you about $50 to $150 per night.
Lastly, manga cafes or manga kissa are also becoming a popular accommodation option, especially for manga and anime fans. These are cafes where you can read mangas. Internet and accommodation on a budget are also available. These could cost you about $10 to $20 per night.
Tokyo is known for its extensive, reliable, accessible public transportation system. You have many options to get around the city: by train, bus, taxis, or ride-hailing services.
Trains are by far the quickest and cheapest way to travel to the city. Expect to spend at least $7 per day on train tickets. This could vary depending on your destination and how many times you ride the train.
An unlimited one-day pass is cheaper and is good for 24 hours. You can also purchase a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) for 7, 14, or 21 days if you have plans to visit areas other than Tokyo.
Buses are also a good option but could cost more. Taxis and ride-hailing apps are the most expensive transportation options so many travelers tend to avoid them if they can.
- Food and drinks: restaurants, street food, and convenience store food
Tokyo is a food lovers’ paradise. As currently as 2024, Tokyo still holds the record of the most Michelin stars than any other city in the world.
Food costs in Tokyo vary widely, depending on where and what you’re eating.
Tokyo has many budget-friendly ramen shops, sushi places, and convenience stores. Street food stalls also line the neighborhoods and markets. Remember, cheap food doesn’t mean it’s bad.
Of course, there are also high-end restaurants that offer fine dining. These options cost way more than those mentioned above and could make a huge dent on your food budget.
Meals can range from $5 to $80.
- Attractions, activities, and entertainment
Tokyo has become a hotspot for tourists due to the many entertainment, attractions, and activities visitors can do.
Some attractions have entrance fees that usually start at $5.
Some popular attractions that tourists flock to include the Robot Restaurant, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Skytree, and Tokyo Tower.
Luckily, there are a good number of Tokyo sites you can visit without paying a fee. Meiji Shrine, Ueno Park, Tsukiji Fish Market, Yoyogo Park, Imperial Palace, and Shibuya Crossing are only a few of these famous attractions.
Shopping is also big in Japan.
- SIM cards, data plans, Wi-Fi, and internet
In most public spaces, Tokyo boasts modern and high-tech connectivity with widely available Wi-Fi. Still, you’d want to make sure to stay connected. Buying SIM cards for data plans or Wi-Fi rentals for internet connectivity is also big for many travelers.
- Other travel fees
Depending on where you’re coming from, you might need a visa to enter Japan. Application for it could cost fees. You would also have to process this before your trip.
Travel insurance is also something to think about. Though this is not required, keeping yourself safe as a traveler is always a good idea.
Money-Saving Tips While Traveling in Tokyo
Here are some tips you might find useful to save money during your trip to Tokyo:
- As much as you can, use public transportation, specifically Tokyo Metro as they’re the cheapest way to get around Tokyo.
- Plan your itinerary before visiting Tokyo.
- Book hotels, tours, and attraction tickets ahead of your trip. Not only will this be cheaper, but it will also be more convenient.
- Visit as many free attractions as you can.
- Eat at budget-friendly eateries and food stalls like a local.
- Download Japan Google Maps into your phone. And this doesn’t mean downloading the app but downloading Tokyo’s entire map for offline viewing.
Tokyo is a hotspot for travelers from all across the world. If you’re planning your next holiday trip to the city, you would want to know just how expensive is Tokyo.
Tokyo has a long-standing reputation for being an expensive city. Today, this still stands true to some degree. Tokyo is an expensive city to travel to in comparison to other cities in the country and the rest of Asia. How much you spend during your stay would depend on a variety of factors like airfare, accommodation, dining, transportation, and attractions.
While Tokyo may be expensive, you don’t have to spend money way above your budget to enjoy its magic. Being a smart traveler is always the better choice.