This will depend on your travel goals, but expect to spend between $500-$900/person for a week in Tokyo.
While $500 is a bit low-end, you could be even more thrifty and get down to more like $350/person a week.
I also want to remind you, these budget ideas do not include airfare (international travel) since these prices can vary by wide margins. Check out AirFareWatchDog for great deals.
What does $350-$500 a week look like?
If it’s your first time in Tokyo and you’re looking to check out the city but also not empty your bank at the same time — you could get away with $350-$500/person a week.
This would mean you’d spend more time walking. Less train rides, no taxis (or only when very necessary). Which is totally doable in Tokyo — there’s a ton to see during the walks.
Fewer big sights
Attempting to stay very cheap will mean you’ll have no choice but to pick a few big sights instead of trying to hit them all in one trip.
And when planning each day, clump the sights you want to see together by proximity to each other. Walking distance if you can — which depends almost entirely on what you want to see in Tokyo.
You might even be able to step into some izakaya during your trip, where you’ll end up spending around $15-$20.
In fact, I’d almost say the experience of an izakaya is mandatory when you visit Tokyo. Grab a few good skewers of grilled meats and your favorite beer (or try something new). You won’t regret it.
Not flat out of money
Even when trying to keep it down to $350 a week, if you walk everywhere (within reason, maybe one-two train rides a day) and eat budget-friendly foods — you could have a bit left over.
Save it, or buy some cool souvenirs.
What about around $900 a week?
Now you’re getting into more comfortable territory. Rather than walking everywhere you can hop on trains and take some taxis.
You won’t be able to go hog wild and spend, spend, spend… but it will open up your options.
With $900 a week you can plan for sights further apart and a quick train ride will get you there. Three or four train rides a day won’t break your budget but will get you out to more sights.
Better dining options
Okonomiyaki, tempura, and other more traditional Japanese foods are definitely within range of this price. Even middle-tier sushi shops will be a treat — and they’re a noticeable improvement over budget sushi.
You can add in some shopping at this budget level too. Again, nothing crazy… but quite a few good souvenirs to be had.
Maybe some Japan-only t-shirts and other various knickknacks. But the high-end department stores might be a little pricey.
The cheapest months to travel to Japan is mid-January to March
This is when there are the fewest tourists too.
So it’s kind of a win-win isn’t it? You get cheaper airfare because airlines are trying harder to fill seats in the off-season.
And you get to enjoy more of Tokyo with less crowds since everyone is planning their trips in the summer months.
The average cost of goods will still be the same as usual, but you can fly to Tokyo cheaper and save time with smaller crowds and lines.
When I finally visited Japan years ago in 2011, I was shocked to discover that, while it isn’t cheap, Japan isn’t the prohibitively expensive country many people think it is. In fact, I actually found Japan to be very affordable and on par with (and sometimes cheaper than) countries in Western Europe. —NomdicMatt
I stayed in a capsule hotel, spent a night in a ryokan, slept on a tatami mat floor, stayed in family-run guesthouses, and checked out some pretty cool hostels. Accommodation in Japan was on a par with Western European prices, so not incredibly expensive. While I did attempt to save money by staying in some cheaper places, I was also happy to splurge on extremely well-rated rooms, too. —NeverEndingFootsteps
One of the best parts about budgeting for Japan is that it is easy to sightsee on your own without a guide and many of Tokyo and Kyoto’s most famous attractions are free. Temples and museums charge small entrance fees, usually ¥600 (about $5.50) per adult, half price for children. This includes things to do in Tokyo like Senso-ji temple, and the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park. —We3Travel