questions & answers: general japan travel

traveling on a low budget - money needed for a week, cheap transport etc.

Traveling on a low budget - money needed for a week, cheap transport etc.

Hi,

I have just started thinking of visiting Japan in August. My plan so far is to go there for 2-3 weeks on my own, using backpackers' accommodation and couch surfing. I am not sure if buying the Japan rail pass would be cheaper than buying single tickets as I want to travel on a low budget, I would appreciate an advice on that.

Here are the places that I would like to see:
Tokyo, Mt Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Osaka, Hiroshima and maybe Nikko

Is it realistic to see all these places during a 2-3 week long trip? Is it wise?
Would anyone estimate how much money will I need for 1 week - for accommodation, for entrances to temples or other places, how much money would I need for food for a day etc.

What about the cost of traveling? Can I use Japan rail pass for overnight trains as well? I thought that this way I could safe some money on accommodation, besides I will need to come back from Hiroshima all the way up to Tokyo in the end of my trip.

Thanks a lot in advance for any tips and recommendations.

Barbora

Bara
Bara

Hi Barbora,

The price of a 7-day JR Pass is pretty close to the cost of a shinkasen round-trip ticket from Tokyo Kyoto. If you can structure your trip so that Tokyo -> Kansai & Hiroshima -> Tokyo portion can fit in a 7-day period, then a 7day pass will probably be the best value.

Using JR and JRpass is definitely the /easiest/ way to do most of what you're talking about here. There are cheaper highway buses including night buses, but JR is much more straightforward for foreign visitors.

Albert A
Albert A

Hi Barbora,

To continue a little on Albert's already great post,

First, time wise 2-3 weeks would be ideal for your plans. I would recommend a 14-day JR pass for this, this way you have a good amount of time to enjoy every place you visit and spend the period outside of the JR Pass in Tokyo.
You can use the JR Pass on some night trains too and this is a great way to save some money on accommodations.
The sunrise express especially is a great experience.

About other expenses, Japan can be rather traveled on a relative low budget. Hostels are about 2000-3000 Yen /night and with a little planning 1,000Yen a day for food, although I would recommend setting aside 2,000 a day if you want to enjoy some of the Japanese kitchen. For a cheap but filling meal, look for Gyudon places like Yoshinoya. Temple and other entrance fees range from 0 to 800 Yen and sometimes a little higher for special places. The other big expense are souvenirs, you will find many great and tiny things only available in Japan and this can rather add up, at least for me :)

Hope this helps,
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Thanks a lot, both of the answers are very helpful. Speaking about the night trains.
Do you know about any train that is going from Hiroshima to Tokyo over night?
Can I use the JR Pass for it? Or for a bus from Tokyo to Mt Fuji? It's a Keio Express Bus.

Some links for timetables or precise information on all the transport that I could use the JR Pass for would be great :).

Barbora

Bara
Bara

Hi Again,

There is no night train that goes all the way from Hiroshima to Tokyo but you can take the Sunrise express from Okayama which is not far way from Hiroshima. A normal seat is covered by the JR Pass but like all night trains is very popular so I would recommand trying to make a reservation for the night train the moment that you activate your JR Pass.

I would heartily recommend using Hyperdia for timetables and planning. It is a great resource to plan your trip with. See our blog post for a short introductory course on how to get started. You can use this interactive map to see all lines and destinations covered by the JR Pass.

Mount Fuji unfortunately can't be reached all the way with the JRPass (its not valid on the Keio Express Bus). The most economic way to travel there is to take the JR to the station Otsuki near Tokyo and from there take the Fujikyu line (1,100Yen) to Fuji.

Let me know if you have further questions :)
Daniel

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Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

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