2019 - A Vacation in Japan on a Budget
There is no doubt Japan is a great tourist destination. It is one of the places in the world you would never want to miss.
However, it is not such a cheap destination. Many who dream of spending their vacation here end up postponing because they
have no cash to meet the cost.
Japan appears from a distance and reality a futuristic technology hub. Even bars and restaurants alone will demand another
visit to the ATM. We have not even talked about $100 department store melons you read about all over the internet.
Because of this, anyone visiting Japan for the first time will come with the same stereotype. Well, that does not have to
be for visiting the country.
In this article, we are going to share a few ideas on this.
What You Need to Know to Save Money
You can get around Japan without having to pay a lot of money. Here is the information we
will talk about:
• Transport Costs in around the Japanese cities
• The best accommodation which cheaper facilities
• Where to get cheap food
• Top things to do at no extra cost
• How Much to Budget Overall
• Background on Japan being expensive
Getting Around Japan on a Budget
Japan has had a reputation as being costly for a long time. People pay hundreds of dollars for a piece of Kobe beef or a
sliver of the finest blue fin tuna or anything of that kind.
This is one of those places. Spending a fortune is not that hard. Hotel and accommodation prices can get crazy, especially
during the festive seasons. As if that is not enough, getting around in public transport can take you a fortune. Even though
it is reliable, you can be easily put off just thinking about how much you are going to spend.
One of the reasons for this is its vast cultural and physical tourist attractions. Japan as a whole is established on a
rich culture and history, making it one of the best tourist destinations in the world. It has very many festivals. These
include Obon, Cherry blossom, the festival of the dead and many others.
Also, Japan is considered a center of futuristic technology. As you visit the country for its culture, you will not stop
admiring some of the modern, most beautiful, and tall structures- like the Sky-tree. They are all built around a rich history
of empires and emperors. There are several temples and shrines to prove this.
All these factors contribute to marketing Japan a great destination for fun-seekers. But that beauty comes at a high
Well, does it sound crazy that you can get all these and much more on a simple budget?
Off-Season Travel Dates
If you have a lot of money to come to Japan, we would advise you to check on the seasons. But if you are running low on cash,
consider avoiding times like New Year, Obon and the Golden week. This means the end of December to mid-Jan, late April and
There are never enough rooms during these seasons and the few that are there fill up first. The cities and towns are filled
with tourists making rooms fill fast as the demand raises the rates.
Therefore, avoid such times. Any city will be fine as long as you get the dates right.
Japan has some of the best hotels across the globe. You get both Riokans and modern hotels, but some are very expensive.
Here are a few tips to avoid too many expenses.
Stay in a capsule hotel. On average, you will spend about 2,700 JPY per night. This translates to $23. It may be a bit
tight still, but it is cleaner and more decent.
Sleep outside. Nojuku is a common Japanese term for sleeping outside. During summertime, it is the best idea for travelers
concerned about their budget.
Couch surfing. This is the best way to get a free place to stay while delving into Japanese culture.
Work and get free hostel accommodation. If you have the will to work for a night’s stay, most hotels will give you a chance.
So go ahead and find yourself some job.
Can You Book a Hotel Once in Japan?
You can make arrangements for a hotel even when you are in Japan. You can use Expedia, Hotwire, etc. and book over the web.
You can search for the exact area you want and get the price within your budget. So don't panic, it is so easy.
Get Airtime Tickets Cheap
Airtime tickets allow you to travel freely at no extra cost. If you are spending a few weeks here, it should give you a great
Japan Rail Pass
Individual tickets on public transport cost hundreds of dollars. So the best way anyone can think of for traveling across the
country is by train. And for that, a Japan Rail pass will reduce your cost. You can pay, for instance, 28,300 JPY
for seven days.
Use the Bus
Buses are far less expensive than trains. But they are much slower. However, you can save up to 10000 JPY from Tokyo to Osaka on
a bus compared to a bullet train.
Local Train vs Bullet Train
Trains are more expensive in Japan. Bullet trains are much faster but cost way more than using local trains. But with a JR pass,
you shouldn’t have to worry.
Avoid Expensivc Taxi Costs
Taxis are the most expensive mode of transport here. Since they are considered more private, you can end up spending money
worth buying your car for the period you will be here.
Walk Often in Japan
There are always friendly people on the streets. This is why walking may be a good idea for you as well. Besides, it gives you a
good time to see most attractions at a close range.
What to Carry & Bring on Your Walking Tours in Japan
So make sure you pack the following:
• Walking shoes (You will walk alot, wearing slippers will hurt your feet)
• Hat (Protection from the sun)
• Sunscreen (Make sure you apply often)
• Bring Water (You can purchase from vending machines)
• Phone with Google Maps (You will need it for directions)
• Phone charger (Phone battery will need recharging)
• Backpack (To hold all your things)
• Camera, Video camera, backup batteries
• Eat at a vending machine restaurant. This is perhaps the cheapest way to get your meals.
There are many of these restaurants across the city.
• Eat at convenience stores. Japanese ‘conbinis’ (convenience stores) gives you the cheapest eats.
You may not find the best sandwiches you may be expecting, but the bento boxes, platters of sushi and sashimi and
quick rice snacks may just e enough.
• Eat at conveyor belt sushi restaurants. These restaurants can get you great sushi at as low
as $1. You can try all kinds of amazing meals at the lowest price.
• Eat street food. Food the street stalls is fairly friendly on the pocket. At the same time,
it allows you to taste much of what Japan has to offer in terms of meals.
• Eat at a family restaurant. This is where you can easily get free food. At famiri resu,
students, worker, and couples burst in at lunch and dinner time. Spend less than $2 on great meals.
• Eat at a restaurant during lunch and not dinner. If you have been in Japan for some time,
you should know lunch meals are usually cheaper than the ones served during dinner. For this reason, go for
a bigger lunch then consider something light for dinner.
• Buy food at “100-yen” shops. In these shops, meals, groceries, water, toiletries,
household items, and many other things are preset at 100 JPY. There are many in the country.
• Eat at Sushi trains. Sushi in Japan is delicious, no matter where you buy it. The sushi
trains have the best value both for cash and for quality.
• Cook your own food. There are kitchens in most hostels. If you can cook for yourself,
then you can enjoy quality meals at less than 800 JPY per day.
Tour Guides Are Free
In places like Nara, Tokyo, and other Japanese cities, there are volunteers ready to offer free guided tours. These are
basically locals seeking to benefit from tourists in other things aside from money. For instance, friendly local seeking
to improve their English language skills can offer to take you around just to make a new friend and learn from you.
This amazing sound right, well it is. You don’t only get to meet new faces, but you can enjoy the best attractions in any
city at cost.
Free Things To Do in Japan
Many major attractions in Japan are actually free. For instance, temples and shrines don’t charge anything for both local
and international tourists. You can take advantage of this and go site seeing.
There are many natural site seeing spots as well. Consider, among others, the deer park in Nara, the Bamboo forest near
Kyoto, viewing cherry blossoms in different areas and visiting Mt. Fuji.
Other places include:
• Shrines. There are many shrines in Japan. In fact, each city has several shrines
dating hundreds of years. Except for Kyoto, other cities don’t charge you to visit the sites.
• Public market places. Japan is filled with public market places with so many goodies.
If you enjoy shopping, these are the places you want to be. They have everything from cheap restaurants,
street food to amazing shopping areas.
• Free beer tours - Japanese breweries. You will always a free beer at the breweries.
This the best place to visit when you are filling thirsty but low on cash.
Having a budget of $90 (10,000JPY) per day will secure you a comfortable trip around any city. This depends on the
number of activities you are planning to get into.
However, you can still have fun buy spending way less than half of this budget. How? Hang out in parks, visit shrines,
eat, and travel on a budget. We have shared the best tips to give you all that, and we hope it helps.