Japan can be expensive, especially when travelling in Tokyo. But this does not need to stop you from coming to the most exciting city in the world! Surely you already know that staying at a youth hostel is cheaper than staying at a luxury hotel and that flying economy class is a great way to save money. But when you come to Japan, there are several other ways to save a penny that you might not have thought of yet. Keep reading if you want to know how!
Instead of eating three full meals a day at a fancy or less fancy restaurant, you could try eating out only once a day (lunch time usually has the best deals), and use alternatives for the other 2 meals. Breakfast you can easily fix yourself if you have access to a kitchen. If you don’t feel like doing that or stay at a place without a kitchen you can buy something simple the night before in a convenience store or supermarket. Convenience stores in Japan have a great selection of ready-made food like rice balls (‘onigiri’) that are not only tasty but also not too unhealthy. They also cost no more than 150 yen each.
If you want something slightly more upscale for lunch or dinner you should definitely try the larger supermarkets and department stores. There you can buy complete bento boxes that will make you feel full and satisfied, and that for usually not more than 1000 yen per box!
Tokyo has various metro companies, and some of them offer cheap one-day-tickets that let you use the lines of that company an unlimited amount of times on that day. An example of a great ticket is the one-day pass for all JR lines, as the JR Yamanote line has stops at many great sightseeing places. You can then try to visit the famous places that are near the stations on that line.
Besides this, Tokyo is quite pedestrian friendly and many places of interest are in close proximity of one another. It is possible to walk from spot to spot and see one area a day, saving you money and keeping you in good health at the same time! Examples of areas in Tokyo that are easy to explore on foot are Shinjuku, Asakusa, Odaiba, Shibuya and Ikebukuro.
If you want to travel to other cities besides Tokyo you should definitely check out the Japan Rail Pass, only available to foreigners outside of Japan. This way you can ride the Shinkansen unlimited for a relatively low price!
When traveling, going shopping is an experience that can make us easily forget about our budget and can cause our credit cards to reach their limits fast. If there is something you need to buy at a supermarket or drug store, it can pay off to walk in a few different stores to compare prices, as there can be quite a difference in price amongst different stores while the products are exactly the same. Don Quixote is a good example of a relatively cheap store that carries many different products, from food to drugstore items.
If you want to visit a pricey tourist attraction like the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, it can really pay off to check out the deals that are available online (for example by typing in ‘robot restaurant Shinjuku discount’ on Google). Sometimes you can save thousands of yen per person!
Especially if you travel by yourself, business hotels can have good prices as they usually charge per person instead of per room, but youth hostels and capsule hotels are, of course, cheaper. Hostels in Japan tend to be very clean and the available food is often tasty, so they are definitely worth checking out even if you have high standards. Capsule hotels are quite unique to Japan so even if you prefer your space, it might be interesting to stay here for at least 1 night to see how you like it, and even if you don’t you still will have saved up thousands of yen on your stay!
Some Airbnb places offer great accommodation for good prices as well (especially if you don’t need to stay in a central and popular location), but if it is too cheap you had better be careful and check out reviews before risking a bad experience.
As you see, traveling in Japan doesn’t need to come at a high price. There are many ways to save a yen without having to compromise on the fun. If the expensive image of Japan has stopped you from coming here until now, be assured that you won’t have to break the bank to have a great experience in the Land of the Rising Sun!