Japan Tops Long Haul Holiday Value Chart!

Yasaka Jinja Shrine, Kyoto

Book your winter break to Japan now! Tokyo has leapfrogged Cape Town to rank as the best value long haul destination from the UK, according to new research by the Post Office.

Japan’s capital Tokyo has eclipsed all its competitors - including Cape Town, which bagged the no.1 spot last year - to emerge as the best value destination for UK holidaymakers according to a report by the Post Office. Tokyo topped the list as the most affordable city in the Post Office’s tenth annual Long Haul Holiday Report, which compares the price of ten holiday essentials, from a cup of coffee and a bottle of local lager to a three-course evening meal. 

The report found that the Japanese capital now offers the lowest price out of a total of 30 popular cities and beach resorts surveyed for a ‘basket’ of ten tourist staples. The price for the ‘basket’ of ten typical tourist items in Tokyo, including meals and drinks, was calculated at less than £50. In fact, the ‘basket’ of  ten essential tourist buys costs just £48.90 in Tokyo, compared to £64.50 in Cape Town, making Tokyo 24% cheaper than its closest competitor.

Tokyo also offers the cheapest evening meal, with a dinner for two people including a bottle of wine costing just £35.02 - all the more impressive when you consider that the city boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world, even Paris and New York.

This year marks the first time in ten years that the Japanese capital has taken the top spot in the global rankings conducted by the Post Office, overtaking South Africa’s capital as the cheapest long-haul destination for the first time this year - a feat all the more remarkable considering the fact it was ranked 27th just four years ago. 

Once seen as one of the most expensive cities in the world, Tokyo is now the cheapest long-haul destination for UK travellers. The city, which is due to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, is now about 25% cheaper than this year’s runner-up, Cape Town. And local costs in Tokyo are less than a third of those of Rio de Janeiro, which was ranked as this year’s most expensive destination, with a total basket price of £160. 

Tourist costs in Tokyo are 23% lower than they were a year ago, and this year’s ‘basket’ cost roughly half of what the same ‘basket’ would have cost even just a few years ago in 2013 (£103.58). The recent drop in prices is thanks to a mix of strong competition between restaurants, bars and cafes coupled with the downward spiral of the yen. 
Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said, “With continuing uncertainty about sterling, it is more important than ever before for people planning winter sun holidays to do their homework and pick a destination where prices for tourist staples are low. … Fortunately, price falls in many UK favourites mean there are plenty of great value long haul destinations to choose from.  Japan looks very affordable these days with low prices for meals and drinks in a wide range of centrally-located restaurants and bars.”

Japan is currently one of the destinations in hottest demand according to the latest bookings figures from long haul tailormade holiday specialist Travelbag, which helped research and cross-check the figures for the Post Office report. Bookings for Japan are up almost 23% compared with a year ago. Isn’t it time you visited Japan?


PO Long Haul Top 5 2017

How To Travel Japan on a Budget

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 are therefore likely to be ever lower. For budget-conscious travellers, there are many thrifty ways to cut costs even further on a visit to Japan - here are our top tips.
Many restaurants offer great value lunch deals, giving you access to a hot square meal for as little as around 1000 Yen (£7) if you remember to eat your biggest meal at lunch rather than dinner time. Buying from convenience stores can help you slash your budget even further, with microwaveable pre-prepared hot meals on offer for around 500 Yen (£3.60).
For transport, the JR Pass continues to offer excellent value for money for those making long-distance trips on Japan’s famous speeding bullet trains, while long distance and overnight buses are a great way for the wallet-conscious to get around the country cheaply and in comfort, doubling as your accommodation at well as your wheels. Japan has also 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, and Japan’s famous 100 Yen shops offer incredible value or money on all manner of items, from daily essentials to snacks and souvenirs. For entertainment, local festivals and events offer an ideal way to mix with the locals while spending very little, and entry to most temples and shrines is either free or paid entry for as little as £2-3.

And it’s not just prices on the ground that offer value for money to money-minded visitors from the UK - many airlines are currently offering extremely reasonably priced flights to from the UK to Tokyo. JAL is currently offering return tickets from the UK to Japan (with a short stopover in Europe) including two free domestic flights within Japan for as little as £529. Air France and KLM are also offering return tickets from the UK to Japan for around the £400 mark. 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 from the UK. Japan has something to suit travellers of all budgets, from luxury ski resorts and Michelin-starred haute cuisine to cosy but basic capsule hotels and smokey backstreet noodle joints. Now is your chance to experience Japan for even cheaper than ever.

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