How much does it cost to visit Japan?
The cost of our Japan trip (2 adults & 2 kids) was pretty much in line with what BudgetYourTrip website said at that time. For kids, the per-person cost was around 40–50% less; I would say, if the kid is younger than 11 years, one can assume that much "discount".
The link below will give you per-person costs excluding the airfare (to & from Japan) that anyway varies depending on where, when, how, etc.
There are many ways you can "get the best value for your money" (or put simpler - spend less ;-) in Japan and the other answers have captured some of them. The key ideas tend to be:
- Using the Japan Rail Pass for long distance train travel, especially if you will be moving a lot between cities. In fact, there are websites to calculate whether it's worth buying The Pass: Japan Rail Pass Value Calculator
- Using appropriate passes for metro and bus, especially in big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka. First, carefully check if there's overlap with your JR Pass. Second, look at your travel plan, travel style & travel frequency and then choose the right pass; there are so many passes in Japan, you need to be quite sure. Third, keep in mind - a lot of times, a pass is simply not worth it.
- Booking apartments / rooms via Airbnb, booking in less-touristy areas and trying to maximize the number of days in a single place. For example, Kyoto or Osaka are a good base (combined with a JR Pass) to visit multiple places like Osaka/Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Mt Koya, Hiroshima, Kobe, even Nagoya and more. If you are single (or maybe even a couple), you could save a lot by booking in hostels, shared dorms or capsule hotels.
- Eating in local chain restaurants (e.g. Gyudon, Curry, Ramen), food halls (in big malls or stores) or simple street stalls, especially ones that are crowded with locals. Fast food chains is another option if you are up for it.
- Buying packed food from convenience stores like 7/11, Lawson and FamilyMart. These can be quickly heated in a microwave (right there in the store) and are fresh most of the time (look for the date on the packaging). BTW, fresh fruits and veggies are very costly in Japan.
- Going easy on the alcohol. Alcohol in restaurants or hotels is somehow quite costly in some areas of Japan, so either skip it or buy it from a store.
- If you are mostly on the move, vending machines are a decent value for money (for the saved time) and a good way to get rid of the thousands of coins you'll be accumulating in Japan.
- Avoiding taxis and walking a lot :-).