1) Buy drinks from drug stores
While 100 yen shops may seem like a good deal (about a dollar for a drink), drug stores usually have drinks for as cheap as 60 yen!
2) Fill up your water bottle for free
Have a look in that restaurant you want to visit. Are there water bottles on the tables? Most cheap places have them. Don't bother orderings drinks, drink that free water and refill your water bottle.
3) Eat at Japanese fast food restaurants
With prices starting at 3 dollars, get your fill of some junky, but Japanese food. Look out for Matsuya (松屋), Yoshinoya and Sukiya.
4) Go to cheap bento box takeaway shops
Origin Bento is a great place to pick up a cheap bento for 400 yen or more (about 4 dollars). There is loads of choice and there are plenty of little parks around to eat them in.
5) Use 'Free passes'
Going for a one day trip somewhere? There may be a 'free pass' to this place, offering unlimited bus and/or train use plus maybe some discounts at tourist attractions for a whole day, for a fixed price.
6) Eat at cheap all-you-can restaurants
Look out for these signs outside a restaurant: 食べ放題 (tabehoudai) or ご飯のおかわりが無料 (free rice). These mean all-you-can eat!
7) Don't get the expensive express train from the airport
Instead of getting something like the Narita Express into Tokyo, get on a normal express train and save on the extra charges. It will only add half an hour or so to your journey.
8) Stay in a love hotel
While they do sound a bit sleezy, many offer a nice, small room for around 6000-9000 yen a night. A stay in a love hotel is also a truly 'only in Japan' experience.
9) Stay in a capsule hotel
It may look like a coffin, but it’s the cheapest way to stay in a 'hotel' in the center of a Japanese city. Prices start from just 2500 yen a night, about 25 USD.
10) Use highway buses instead of the Shinkansen
Use cheap bus companies like Willer Express and take a night bus to save a huge amount of money over taking an expensive bullet train and staying in a hotel room.
Matthew is a blogger, game developer and writer living in Tokyo, Japan. He has lived cheaply in Japan for over 5 years, and writes for Cheapo Japan, a travel guide dedicated to budget travel in Japan. You can read more of his work at www.cheapojapan.com
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