Japan has been named as one of the top ten best value holiday hotspots for 2017 according to the Post Office’s Holiday Money Report. The Post Office’s ‘Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer’ surveys costs of 8 popular items UK tourists are likely to purchase - such as a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a bottle of mineral water, suncream, and a 3-course evening meal for 2 people - in 44 destinations.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the barometer is dominated by popular European destinations such as the Algarve, Prague and Budapest, however Tokyo’s debut at number eight this year makes it the only long haul destination in the list of top ten best value cities.
According to the report, Japan’s appeal has increased in leaps and bounds in recent years as the yen has fallen in value against the pound - by a whopping 24.7% over the past five years. Consequently, prices for commodities such as meals and drinks have dropped sharply, turning a country once regarded as a luxury destination for the few into a now affordable option for many.
In Tokyo, the average price of a glass of wine in a cafe or bar is £2.83 and a bottle of local beer or lager costs £4.17, while a 3-course evening meal for 2 including a bottle of house wine comes in at a hugely respectable £37.96. Such prices mean that, Japan’s capital is now by far the cheapest of eight Far Eastern cities and resorts surveyed, with tourist staples in Tokyo costing 18% less than in Phuket (Thailand), 28% less than in Penang (Malaysia) and 43% less than in Beijing (China). This makes it the best option moneywise for travellers who want to get out of Europe or visit a new continent, especially East Asia.
It’s worth noting that the prices measured for the Post Office’s barometer were taken in Tokyo, and that prices for accommodation, meals, goods and transport outside the capital in regional destinations are likely to be ever lower. For budget-conscious travellers, there are also many thrifty ways to cut costs even further on a visit to Japan.
Many restaurants offer great lunch deals, giving you access to a hot square meal for as little as around 1000 Yen (£7), and buying from convenience stores can help you slash your budget even further, with microwaveable pre-prepared hot meals for around 500 Yen (£3.60).
As well as the JR pass, which offers excellent value for money for those making long-distance trips on Japan’s famous speeding bullet trains, long distance and overnight buses offer a way to get around the country cheaply and in comfort, doubling as your accommodation at well as your wheels, while Japan has seen a surge in LCCs in recent years, pushing down the price of domestic flights.
Most daily necessities can be picked up for moderate prices at local pharmacies - the Post Office barometer survey gave the price of a bottle of sunscreen as £4.47, while a bottle of insect repellant costs just £3.74 - and Japan’s 100 Yen shops offer incredible value or money on all manner of items, from daily essentials to snacks and souvenirs. Local festivals and events offer an ideal way to get up close and personal with the locals while spending very little, and entry to many temples and shrines is often free, while paid entry is usually as little as £2-3.
It’s not just prices on the ground in Japan that offer value for money to wallet-conscious visitors from the UK - many airlines are currently offering extremely reasonably priced flights to from the UK to Tokyo. Prices for indirect flights with KLM/Air France currently start at a bargainous £439, while BA is offering indirect flights from £516, and Japan’s top carriers JAL from £517 and ANA from £554. See our latest deals page
for a full list of flight offers.
The latest results should help cement Japan’s growing reputation as one of the most affordable long haul destinations around. Japan has something to suit travellers of all budgets, from luxury ski and hot spring resorts and Michelin-starred haute cuisine to smoky backstreet noodle joints and izakayas and hiking, camping and swimming in its gorgeous outdoors.
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