Should you visit Japan or Indonesia?
Japan is significantly more expensive than Indonesia for a variety of reasons. These two Asian countries also have vastly different attractions and cultures, as Indonesia is a tropical nation on the equator while Japan is much further north.
Japan is a nation of deep history and culture wrapped in a modern technological wonderland. Here you can visit ancient temples and castles and then participate in a sci-fi anime film festival on the same day. Outside of the larger cities, a calm agricultural countryside awaits you. Here you can go biking, hiking, boating, or even relax on a beach.
Indonesia is a relatively inexpensive destination known for beautiful tropical beaches, exotic jungles teeming with wildlife, and large urban areas full of culture and markets. Visitors to Indonesia are often surprised at the number of activities to do and places to visit, as once they step away from the beach, they find historic temples, eco-tourism adventures, jungle and mountain hiking, and more.
Which country is cheaper, Indonesia or Japan?
Should I visit Japan or Indonesia? This is a popular question for many travelers. By figuring out which country is more expensive, you'll understand where you'll get more bang for your buck. A week in Indonesia can cost you about $423 (per person), while a week in Japan may cost you around $876. These differences become even more noticable if you plan to spend a longer time in the country. 10 days, two weeks, or even one month of travel to Indonesia or Japan can really add to your travel budget.
Accommodation is often cheaper in Indonesia compared to Japan ($32 vs. $60). Budget travelers usually stay in less expensive hostels and guest houses, while nicer hotels often appeal to families and upscale travelers.
Compare hotel prices here: Japan Hotel Prices and Indonesia Hotel Prices.
Or, compare hostel and guesthouse prices between Indonesia and Japan to find the cheapest accommodation here: Indonesia hostels and Japan hostels.
When comparing food in Japan vs. Indonesia they are not just different in cuisine, but also in price. Meal and restaurant costs in Japan ($31) are often cheaper than Indonesia ($16).
When is the best time to visit Japan and Indonesia?
Tokyo Fish Market
Japan experiences four full seasons, much like Europe and North America. Winters in northern Japan can be quite cold and snowy. The south is generally mild and warmer in the winter, however. Summers are the peak travel time, especially in the larger cities in the central and northern regions of Japan. Visit during the shoulder seasons for mild weather and lower prices.
Much of Indonesia is very close to the equator and quite tropical. Therefore, the seasons are divided between wet and dry depending on seasonal winds. The dry season is from May to September, while the wet season is from October to April. A few places have an exception to this (such as Sumatra), but you can expect warm tropical temperatures everywhere in the country.
Why is Japan more expensive than Indonesia?
Japan has one of the highest costs of living in the world and an extremely strong economy, leading to an increased price for anything tourism related. Modern, high tech hotels and transportation systems provide you with every convenience and comfort, but they don't come cheap. While cheaper hostels and budget hotels can be found, they are often more expensive than their counterparts in the rest of Asia. Even food can be expensive in this nation of islands, where many goods are imported from mainland Asia.
The overall low cost of living of Indonesia, combined with low wages and a massive population has left the tourism industry with plenty of competition, especially compared to some of its Asian neighbors. For western travelers from the U.S., Australia, or Europe, this means that Indonesia is a dream destination for a cheap price (once you pay for a plane ticket). With some of the most beautiful tropical destinations in the world available for extremely low prices, it's easy to see why this is a popular destination.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in Japan and Indonesia?
The cities in Japan are usually more expensive than the countryside. In larger cities, and tourist destinations, such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Sapporo, hotels and restaurants have higher prices due to more demand for services. While the countryside is not necessarily cheap, better bargains can be found, especially in rural areas away from heavily touristed areas. Beach and resort destinations are also pricey.
Tourism has driven up prices in some areas of Indonesia, namely Bali, Lombok, and some of the surrounding islands known for their beaches and scenery. If other travelers are flocking to an area, then expect prices to be higher.
In the larger cities of Indonesia, it's possible to find a wide range of accommodation, restaurants, and activities at a variety of prices. Budget hotels and hostels are often found not far from high-end luxury hotels. If you want luxury, you can expect to pay a fair amount more for it, but it is still usually of good value and quality.
In the countryside, prices can be very cheap, especially in off-the-beaten path locations.
How you can save money when visiting Japan and Indonesia?
Look for budget accommodation in Japan online, and shop around. This will help with your overall budget, as hotels and hostels tend to be expensive.
To eat cheaply in Japan, look for one of the many small restaurants that serves up traditional Japanese noodles and soup. Often, these restaurants will have a payment machine that looks like a vending machine. Buy a cheap ticket from the machine, and the cook then prepares your bowl of noodles.
Use public transportation in both countries whenever possible. Taxis can be very expensive, and trains and buses go everywhere, especially in urban and other developed areas.
Eat the street food. In Indonesia, small eateries known as "warungs" are everywhere in urban areas. They offer delicious food at a cheap price. Also, buying food at local markets is significantly cheaper than at restaurants or larger stores.
Flying between the islands of Indonesia can get expensive. Instead, pick just a few islands and stick to them, or look for the less expensive ferry boats. Use public transportation whenever possible.