Welcome to Japan!
Japan has rightfully earned itself a reputation as one of the most expensive countries to visit in the world.
But even though you will need some money, there are ways that you can save, and experience Japan for less.
Here are a few of our savings tips.
Paying for a place to stay is without doubt one of the biggest expenses when it comes to traveling in Japan.
A budget double room at a hotel will cost $60 – $80, and a hostel bed normally runs in the $20 – $50 range. You could also try a capsule hotel, but even that will cost you around $50 per night.
If you want to really save money, you can always search for a host on couchsurfing.
Another option is to visit during the offseason. Sure, it’s a bit colder in Winter, but great deals can be found at hostels and hotels.
In Tokyo there are a number of different train lines run by different companies.
Transfer from one line to another line and you’ll pay two fees. But the thing is, depending on where you’re going, you can often walk the distance instead of paying another train line (keep your map handy).
For instance, going to Tsukiji fish market, you take the Ginza line to Ginza station, and while you could have paid more and transferred right to Tsukiji station, you walk from Ginza, which only take about 15 minutes and save about 160 JPY ($1.57).
As for traveling around Japan and seeing other parts of the country, a Japan Rail Pass is one of the great ways to spend less.
When you purchase a JR Pass, it basically allows you to take any JP train, wherever you want to go in the country, and as many rides as you want in the time that your ticket is valid.
So if you plan to travel a route from Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, or other cities in Japan, definitely do some research about how long you wish to travel and how many places you want to go.
A seven-day ordinary pass runs about $272. you personally stayed in Tokyo the entire time you had in Japan, but you was able to save hundreds of dollars by using a JR Pass instead of purchasing all of his tickets individually.
You even used it to do some long day trips, like visiting Nagano from Tokyo and Hiroshima from Kyoto.
Despite everyone telling you the food in Japan is going to be outrageously expensive, and expecting that all meals will cost a fortune, you can actually get some great deals on food.
Budget meals, like bowls of delicious ramen or rice topped with pork and a soft-boiled egg, are pretty tasty and you can find them at restaurants for around $5 a meal – not bad.
When it comes to nicer sit down restaurants in Japan, making lunch your main meal is also a way to spend less.
During lunch in Japan, you’ll find menu specials which are often two to three times cheaper than dinner prices. A nice plate of sushi might cost $15 at lunch, but at dinner you’d pay $40 for the same thing.
Hotels in Japan normally come furnished with a hot water boiler. You can normally travel with a bag of oatmeal, and was able to make yourself some oatmeal for breakfast most days. This saved a lot.
Sensoji Temple, Tokyo
Public sites and attractions are reasonably priced in Japan. Many temples are free to enter, and there are many parks to explore for free as well. If you’re in Tokyo, you can go to Mt. Takao to climb the main mountain in the city, which has no entrance fee either.
Japan is also one of the best places in the world for walking. Sidewalks are spacious, and you can see so much by walking around on foot.
If you happen to be a student, you can often get discounts on admission fees using your student ID.
Also, for Tokyo specifically, if you pick up a free tourist guide pamphlet, there are some deal coupons in the back of the guide.
The Edo-Tokyo Museum entrance in Tokyo costs 600 JPY ($5.90), but when you showed them your coupon you can get a 120 JPY discount, so you just pay 480 JPY ($4.72) for entrance.
You can pick up the free Tokyo tourist guide at any official Japan Tourism Office.
Our last word of advice for saving money on attractions in Japan, and this goes for anywhere you travel, is to only do the things you’re most interested in, and also do only the things you have enough budget for – if you don’t have enough money to go to the top of the Tokyo Skytree look for something else to do.
Use self-control to decide what you really want to do and see. You’re in Japan after all, walking around and enjoying the place itself is one of the best attractions anywhere you go.
It wouldn’t be the smartest travel plan to show up in Japan with an empty bank account, but there are some ways to spend less and still have an amazing time.