Essential Budgeting Tips for Your Trip to Japan

  • HOW TO
  • Japan is often described as an expensive country to visit, live or work in. However, this does not need to be so and is not entirely true. Accommodation to live in Tokyo can be very expensive, but the same can be said for any other capital city across the world, such as London or New York. If you are planning a trip to Japan, you may feel that you need to save a lot of money to visit. This does not have to be true. Equally, if you wish to splash your cash in Japan, then there are many ways to do so. Below are the areas in which your money will be spent. You can either choose to save or spend in any or all of these areas.


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    If you are going on holiday, then you need somewhere to stay, a base from which you can explore all that the country has to offer. In Japan there are many different types of accommodation, as I have written about here. The main options to stay in Japan are; hotel, capsule, hostel and ryokan. Each of these options comes with varying price tags. For example, hotels go from reasonably priced to extravagant. Capsule hotels are often the cheapest options. Many businessmen and savvy travellers stay in capsules to save money. Capsules are not great for couples as they are gender segregated so a hostel or hotel may be better if you are traveling with your partner. Ryokan are usually more expensive as they are in the traditional Japanese style. They also have extra features such as yukata to wear or onsen to relax in. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can really save hundreds of pounds/dollars/yen if you plan right. Booking in advance is really helpful too. Often, the reasonably priced hotels sell out quite quickly, leaving little choice for your budget. Do check around 6 months in advance as some accommodations do not put their availability up before this date.

    Top tips for booking accommodation in Japan:

    • Booking early can save you money.
    • Check 6 months before you are travelling as some places only book 6 months in advance!

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    No one can go to Japan and not think about Washoku, traditional Japanese food. Also, food is essential so this is not something you can skip buying. Being renown for sushi, Japan is known for its high-quality foods and fresh ingredients. The first time I went to Japan I was a university student, so saving money was essential for me. I have already written about how to eat in Japan on a budget and this is a really good thing about travelling. If you are smart you can spend under £20 a day on food, which is pretty cheap for a holiday. Equally, you may want to try the finer things on offer, such as freshly caught tuna or Japanese beef. Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any city so there is a lot of excellent food. Each of these 3 starred Michelin restaurants offer different types of cuisine. If you would like the best ramen with a good price tag, go to Aoba in Nakano-ku. The prices here are actually quite reasonable!

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    For a more traditional Japanese set meal, Akomeya in Chuo-ku offers beautifully cooked and designed meals. A seat-charge is taken for your meal and then the food is on top.


    Japan is not an enormous country, but in order to take in all the top sights you may need to do a bit of travelling between cities. Japan is well known for it’s excellent cross-country train systems and the ultra fast Shinkansen. I love travelling on Shinkansen, it is such a smooth ride and saves a lot of time when going between cities. However with this luxury comes a large price tag. A one-way ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto on the Nozomi will set you back around ¥13,910 for a reserved seat. Getting a Japan Rail card can really save money on long distance travelling, but is a large cost to start with. If you don’t mind travelling at a slower pace, there is a great network of buses which travel the same routes as the Shinkansen. Willer Express are a well-known coach company who run day and night buses. A one-way ticket between Tokyo and Kyoto (day time) costs just ¥5,800. You can also take a night bus and sleep during the journey, waking on your arrival in Kyoto for ¥5,300. These buses are an excellent way to half your travel time, and also your accommodation if you take the night bus.

    Whatever your budget, you can enjoy all Japan has to offer. Whether you are on the trip of a lifetime with a huge budget or want to save along the way, it can be done. Enjoy Japan!
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