Japan Trip Costs – Lodging and Rail Only

“Japan is expensive.” is the first thing everyone says when I talk about Japan travel. No shit, really? Don’t know or care if that means the person can’t afford a trip, doesn’t think it’s worth it, has a different definition of ‘expensive’ than I do, or if that’s all he knows about travel in Japan.

As of today I’ve booked 11 of 14 nights lodging. Also purchased a 7 day Japan Rail pass. I plan to bullet train the **** out of that pass. What’s the average daily cost? Using the average room cost and a guesstimate for local train and bus, it’s about $110 a day.

Possible to spend less on lodging? Sure. But then I’d have to give up the most expensive overnight stay, in a shukubō (temple lodging for pilgrims) at Mt. Koya, the mountain top spiritual center of Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Many do Mt. Koya as a day trip. Others say they’ll remember forever the overnight experience.

Could easily cut the cost of the first two nights in Kyoto in half by not staying in a mid range hotel a few minutes from the rail station. But I’d like to experience it. Also like to not haul luggage on a 15 minute walk to guesthouse after 6 hours on a plane, 1 hour on a train and their associated waiting. I’ll make that walk the morning of day 3. The remaining rooms are all in backpacker/budget places.

Possible to spend less on rail? Sure. But bullet trains go Whoooooooosh, allowing more widely spaced destinations and reducing travel fatigue.


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