The basic misconception that travelers have about Japan is that a trip to this country will break your wallet and bank account. Below are some of the cheap spots you can visit and enjoy in Tokyo without hurting your budget.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is the ninth tallest building in Japan. You can see a great view of the metropolis from the top, and compared to Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree, admission to this building is free. If you go on a day with good weather, you might just score a view of the famous Mt. Fuji.
The observatory is on the 45th floor of the building. There are fewer tourists here than other observatory towers, therefore you have ample time to take pictures and enjoy sightseeing. There is also a cafe and a souvenir shop available in case you get tired.
NHK offers a behind-the-scene look on how NHK programs are made at their STUDIO PARK. The most exciting part is probably being in the 3D theater and pretending to be a weather girl or newscaster. Though most of the activities are for kids, it will not hurt to go and enjoy these activities for only 200 yen.
I was so happy to see Cardcaptor Sakura posters in NHK! Although I would have been happier if they had some Cardcaptor Sakura items for sale, too, because it’s really hard to find them in Japan.
— Valiant School (@ValiantJLS) July 17, 2014
As a Japanese language learner, I am actively looking for resources on how I can learn more and improve my skills.
After doing a search on Google, I found out that some language schools in Japan offer free classes. One of the most accommodating schools in terms of that is Valiant Language School in Roppongi.
So I sent Valiant an email asking if they still offered a free class for my level. Luckily, they had available slots and without hesitation, I went to one of their evening classes for JLPT level N4. There were only three of us in the class so the teacher was able to focus on each of us, which was very nice. After the class, I was given a take-home assignment and asked to provide feedback on their lesson.
Valiant also offers private lessons if you want a more personalized experience. I signed up for their group class and also tried their private lesson and I recommend both. They are worth every yen I spent!
Please note that free trial classes are not the same for all language schools. Some might offer a free trial but the class will be limited to “merely observing” with no interaction whatsoever. Some might also require you to sign up for their school after joining the free class so always ask first.
Hotto Motto is a famous bento box chain in Japan. I am telling you, they have one of the best karaage in the country! First time I tried it was in Kiso, Japan and it was love at first bite. I recommend this to those who are tired of “conbini” or convenience store food but do not want to spend a lot. The prices of their bento range from 500 yen to 1,000 yen. Not bad for a generous serving.
The latest addition to the growing Godzilla attraction in Japan is the Shin Godzilla statue at Hibiya Chanter. It is located in central Tokyo, surrounded by malls and restaurants. All you need to bring is your camera. No entrance fee required.
Yebisu is one of the most famous beers in Japan, and its museum in Ebisu will take you back to the history of how everything started. They have galleries showing how the bottle designs and labels evolved through the years.
There is no entrance fee for the museum, but there is a guided tour that you can avail. It costs 500 yen, inclusive of a beer tasting at the end of the tour.
For those who don’t want to miss their workouts while in Japan but also don’t want to spend more, YogaJaya in Shibuya, Tokyo is the answer. Just a 6-minute walk from Ebisu Station, this yoga studio will provide you free usage of Manduka yoga mats and blankets. There are vending machines outside the studio if you need water.
They have four different levels of classes: Level 1 (Foundation) is great for beginners, Level 2 (Elements) is for those who are moving to headstands and crow pose, while Level 3 (Strategy) and Level 4 (Integrate) are for advanced practitioners. Please note that you cannot attend a Level 3 class unless you attended Level 1 and 2.
YogaJaya offers a 5-time trial pass for newbies at 3,000 yen valid for one month.
These are just seven out of the probably hundred less expensive activities in Japan. I think it is time to break the misconception that Japan is an expensive country to visit. Again, your expenses will depend on your itinerary. If you want to save money, consider giving these places in Tokyo a visit!