A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Shanghai vs. Tokyo for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Shanghai or Tokyo?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Shanghai and Tokyo. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Shanghai

Shanghai is the largest and most modern city in China. With a population of over 23 million, it is the economic and financial hub of the country. It also continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in China with regular changes to the city's layout and skyline. It is not uncommon for buildings to be torn down, rebuilt and then torn down and rebuilt again. The city also has skyscrapers that rank among the tallest in the world. It has an ever changing downtown and street scape. In Shanghai, the general mantra remains "out with the old, in with the new".

Tokyo

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is by far the most populous city in the world with a staggering 37 million people. As a worldwide hub for technology and business, it hosts millions of visitors annually. But Tokyo is not just a place for business trips. With its incredible mixture of historical temples and shrines, remarkably beautiful parks, endless shopping malls, and genuinely wonderful people, Tokyo is a terrific place to visit and to explore.

Which city is cheaper, Tokyo or Shanghai?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Shanghai is $101, while the average daily cost in Tokyo is $153. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Shanghai and Tokyo in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $142 for a double occupancy room in Shanghai.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $144 in Tokyo For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Shanghai $71
    Tokyo $72
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Shanghai $142
    Tokyo $144

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Shanghai is $3.39 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

Tokyo's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $19 per person, per day on transportation in Tokyo.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Shanghai $3.39
    Tokyo $19
Typical Local Transportation prices in Shanghai

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Shanghai:


  • Taxi Ride
    $3.93
  • Two Subway Tickets
    $0.91

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Shanghai

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Shanghai:

  • Private Day tour of Xi'an From Shanghai Including Transfer Service: $1,100
  • Private Mutianyu Great Wall Tour From Shanghai's Hotel Including Transfer: $1,100
  • Private Beijing One Day Tour From Shanghai 's Hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,036
  • Private Day Trip Of Xi'an From Your Shanghai's hotel Including Transfer Service: $1,000
  • Private Day Tour Of Beijing From Shanghai's Hotel Including Flight And Transfer: $1,000
  • 2-Day Huangshan Tour by Cable Car with Private Transfer and Lunch from Shanghai: $653
  • 3 Days Shanghai Suzhou Tour Package with Airport Transfer: $555
  • 1-way Transfer Between Shanghai Pudong Airport and Yiwu Per Vehicle Price: $388
  • Shanghai Luxury Airport Transfer: $332
  • Transfer from Shanghai Pudong Airport to Nantong Downtown Per Vehicle Price: $265
  • Shanghai Disneyland with Transfers Plus 2-Night Accommodation in 4-Star Hotels: $264
  • Super High-End Luxury Private Transfers Between City and Shanghai Airports: $240

Typical Local Transportation prices in Tokyo

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Tokyo:


  • Metro from Airport
    $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tokyo

Also for Tokyo, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Japan Railway Station Shared Departure Transfer : Tokyo City to Tokyo Station: $25
  • Shared Departure Transfer : Central Tokyo Hotel to Haneda Airport: $51
  • Tokyo Disneyland Shared Transfer : from Tokyo to Disneyland (One Way): $51
  • Tokyo DisneySea Shared Transfer : from Tokyo to DisneySea (One Way): $51
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Tokyo to Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND): $78
  • Tokyo hotel/address to Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) - Departure Private Transfer: $80
  • Tokyo to Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) - Departure Private Car Transfer: $80
  • Japan Private Airport Transfer from Tokyo City to Haneda Airport (HND): $97
  • Shared Departure Transfer : Central Tokyo Hotel to Narita International Airport: $101
  • Departure Private Transfer from Tokyo City to Haneda Airport HND by Minivan: $108
  • Haneda Airport Private Transfer: $114
  • Private Transfer from Tokyo City Center to Tokyo Disneyland: $119

Is it cheaper to fly into Shanghai or Tokyo?

Prices for flights to both Tokyo and Shanghai change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food

The average traveler spends about $19 per day in Shanghai for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

The price of a meal in Tokyo can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $36 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $14 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Shanghai $19
    Tokyo $36
Typical Food prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of dining costs in Shanghai are as follows:


  • Dumpling Breakfast
    $1.51
  • Desserts in Jinmao Building Observatory
    $22
  • Ajisen Lunch for Two
    $7.87
  • Cantelope
    $1.82
  • Dumplings and Soup
    $2.27
  • Duck Dinner
    $4.54
  • Pastries
    $3.18
  • Barbeque Dinner
    $9.68

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Shanghai

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Shanghai.

  • Online Chinese Cooking Class: $22
  • Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: $52
  • 3-Hour Shanghai Summer Night Local Dinner and Shopping Private Tour: $65
  • Private Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with Vegetarian Option: $69
  • Private Authentic Chinese Cooking Class in Shanghai with a Lovely Local: $70
  • 3-Hour Shanghai City Walking Tour with Dinner: $74
  • Shanghai yummy food tour: $75
  • A Bite of Shanghai Small-Group Food Tour: $80
  • Shanghai Hairy Crab Dinner: $85
  • Shanghai Evening Food Tour/Shanghai tour gastronomico nocturno: $85
  • Night Market & Street Food Tour in Shanghai: $95
  • 3-Hour Flexible Private Shanghai Night Tour with Local Dinner Option: $100

Typical Food prices in Tokyo

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Tokyo:


  • Late Night Noodles
    $6.16
  • Conveyor Belt Sushi Snack
    $6.16
  • Meal at Airport
    $8.04

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tokyo

For Tokyo, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • 1-Hour Tsukiji Fish Market Food Tour with Local Guide: $26
  • Unique Private Cooking Class with a Tokyo Local Emi: $78
  • Local Food Tour on Sunamachi Ginza Street: $83
  • West-Side Walking & Street Food Tour: $95
  • Private Ramen and Gyoza Cooking Class from Central Tokyo: $108
  • Private Japanese Cooking Class with a Local Chef: $120
  • Tokyo Food Tour: 3-Hour Culinary Adventure: $129
  • Gyoza Cooking Classes in Tokyo: $135
  • Private Dining: Wagyu and sake pairing dinner in Shinjuku: $136
  • Private Market Tour and Traditional Japanese Cooking Class in Asakusa: $142
  • Tokyo Private Food Tour: From Ramen Bars, Vending Machines To Cat Cafes: $174
  • 3-Hour Food Tour of Shinbashi at Night: $182

Entertainment

Shanghai's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $7.39 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Tokyo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $67 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Shanghai $7.39
    Tokyo $67
Typical Entertainment prices in Shanghai

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Shanghai are as follows:


  • 30 Minute River Cruise for Two
    $30
  • Zoo for Two
    $15

Tours and Activities in Shanghai

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Shanghai are as follows:

  • 1 Day Bus Tour in Amazing Shanghai Highlights: $113
  • 1 Day Hangzhou Private Tour: $312
  • 1 Day Shanghai Airport Layover Private Tour for City Highlights: $202
  • 1 Day Shanghai Highlight Small Group Tour: $124
  • 1 Day of Shanghai Premiere Experience: $730
  • 1 day Nanjing tour from Shanghai by train: $400
  • 1 day Shanghai City Mini Group tour: $92
  • 1-Day Authentic Shanghai Tour by Walking & Metro: $193
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai City Tour to See Its Past, Present and Future: $204
  • 1-Day Private Shanghai to Wuzhen Tour to Admire the Classical Water Town: $271
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Hangzhou by car from Shanghai: $305
  • 1-Day Private Tour to Shanghai Museum,Yu Garden, the Bund and Nanjing Road: $178

Tours and Activities in Tokyo

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Tokyo.

  • Samurai Spots in Tokyo Virtual Tour: $8.26
  • Tokyo Tower: Admission Ticket: $11
  • 1-Hour River Cruise Asakusa to Odaiba: $11
  • Japanese Snacks You Should Try: Online Experience by Local Guide: $12
  • [Virtual Tour] Japan: the bathing and Sento experience: $12
  • [Virtual Tour] Ghibli Spots in Japan: $12
  • [Virtual Tour] Tokyo Highlights: $12
  • Tokyo Online: Virtual Experience in Shibuya and Shinjuku with a Local Expert: $14
  • Virtual Tour to Discover Mount Fuji: $14
  • Online Japanese Archery Experience: $15
  • Tokyo Online Tour All in One, With 10+ Top Sights!: $15
  • Thermae-Yu Hotspring in Shinjuku Entrance Ticket: $21

Alcohol

The average person spends about $6.44 on alcoholic beverages in Shanghai per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Tokyo, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $31.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Shanghai $6.44
    Tokyo $31

Sample the Local Flavors in Shanghai

Also in Shanghai, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Shanghai Luxury Bar Crawl in 5-star Hotel or Boutique Hotel: $255
  • 3 Hour Local Craft Beer Crawl with Brewery Tour: $350

Typical Alcohol prices in Tokyo

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Tokyo:


  • Sake
    $4.62


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Shanghai and Tokyo, we can see that Tokyo is more expensive. And not only is Shanghai much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Shanghai would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Shanghai and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Tokyo would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Tokyo than you might in Shanghai.

Budget Your Trip

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Shanghai vs. Tokyo Travel Comparison

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