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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Traveling in Japan on a Budget


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!

Drug Store in Japan

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.

Free Water in Japan

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.

Matsuya Restaurant, Japan

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.

Origin Bento store, Japan

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.

Free Pass Hakone Boats, Japan

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!

Tabehodai - 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.

Narita Express, Tokyo

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.

Love Hotel in Japan

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.

Capsule Hotel, Japan

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.

Willer Express Highway Bus, Japan

Matthew Baxter

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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  1. Helpful tips! Japan is a great destination - pretty and unique. Good to know the budget options.

  2. Thanks for your clear guides. What you have mentioned is absolutely correct. I am a frequent traveller in Japan, often on a free and easy trip. I have done most, if not all, of what you have suggested for a budget travel. Love hotel can be a nice option if travel with partner.


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