Vacationing to any foreign country can become an expensive venture in a short amount of time. The same holds true when vacationing in Japan. Besides the travel costs, there are a number of extra expenses that begin to add up as soon as you step foot in the country. From lodging to shopping, food costs to entry costs, the money you have set aside for your Japanese adventure can disappear quickly. But there are several things you can do to be a budget conscious traveler while still enjoying all that Japan has to offer.
Buy a JR Pass Beforehand
If you plan on exploring all the natural beauty and culture that can be found throughout Japan, it would be a very good idea to buy a Japan Rail Pass before entering the country. It is a pass offered to tourists that wish to take in all of the sights that Japan has to offer, from the Northern Japanese Alps to the tropical regions of the south. The rail line takes off in all directions throughout the country, allowing you to visit several different regions. It is a great deal for country-wide transportation that can save you a bundle if used numerous times on your adventure.
Ride the Overnight Highway Bus
If you are looking to maximize your vacation time by visiting several areas of Japan, taking a highway bus to your next destination may not only save you valuable daylight time, but eliminate the cost of lodging for a night. The bus tickets are reasonably priced and run from Tokyo to Osaka. They are also great for the lone traveler, as the bus company takes the extra safety precautions of seating people of the same gender next to one another.
Find a Discount Ticket Shop
There are stores in the larger cities, especially Tokyo, that offer discounted prices for travel tickets. You can also find discounted tickets to a number of other events such as sporting events and concerts. It may be worth a visit to find an unexpected adventure to experience while in the country that is sure to be memorable.
Rent a Bike for City Travel
It has become increasingly popular to rent a bike while visiting the different shopping areas or cultural sites in bigger cities like Tokyo. If you are visiting the country in the warmer seasons, this may be a fun way to easily get around the city while enjoying the weather and general atmosphere of city life.
Stay in a Capsule Hotel
A visit to Japan wouldn’t really be complete without a stay in the famous capsule hotels, which can be some of the best hotels in Japan, especially if you’re on a budget. You can have a good night’s rest in a comfortable environment while experiencing a truly memorable time. Capsule hotels are cheaper than standard hotels, allowing you to save some of your money set aside for lodging costs.
Hostels Are Everywhere
An even cheaper option than a capsule hotel is a hostel. Hostels cater to travelers on a budget and if you look hard enough, you can find a great option and an even better price. They tend to be in heavily populated areas that are close to popular sites and stores, making this a great choice for tourists wanting to spend some time in the city. While an internet connection may not be offered in many hostels, buying a pocket Japan wifi before entering the country will allow you to access apps and websites anytime and anywhere. (Find a hostel in Japan.)
Walk When Convenient
If you’re staying in an area with a nearby shopping center or cultural exhibit, it may be easiest, and definitely most cost-effective, to walk to your destination. If you are looking to spend a few days shopping, many areas of Japan, especially in Tokyo, have shopping districts that allow you to visit a number of different stores without traveling a great distance.
Find Low-Cost Food Options
You can experience Japanese cuisine and still save money if you keep an eye out for some well-priced options. There are several gyudon chains in Japan that offer a large serving of food for a very reasonable price. You can find soba at a great price if you visit a tachigui where you stand to eat. There are also several udon restaurants that allow you to serve yourself, quite like a buffet restaurant in America. You can get a sizable meal for a cheap price. Lastly, convenience stores in Japan offer a large amount of cooked meal options, unlike in America. Here you can sit down and enjoy some Japanese cuisine at a great price.
Find Cheap Souvenirs at a 100 Yen Shop
Similar to dollar stores in the United States, 100 yen shops offer a variety of different products all at a cost of 100 yen. If you want to bring souvenirs back to your friends and family back home, these shops are a great place to look first. They also offer many convenience items that you can get for a super low price in case you forgot an important item at home.
Find Inexpensive Treasures at the Flea Market
If you’re looking to do some shopping while experiencing the Japanese culture as well, stop by a Flea Market. They are usually held on the weekends and offer a variety of different goods. You can find some true Japanese treasure to bring back home and oftentimes you’ll be able to find items at a great price. This would be an especially great experience if you are well-versed in Japanese, as many vendors may not have extensive knowledge of the English language.
By cutting travel and lodging costs, you have already saved a large amount of money that can be better spent on experiencing the Japanese culture. Finding great deals can not only help to add memorable adventures to your vacation, but can save you stress and worry over budget concerns, allowing to fully enjoy your time in Japan.
Tiffy, a.k.a. AsiaTravelBug, is a travel planning freak, an ex-finance manager and currently a digital marketing ninja. Traveling has kept her sane from all the hustles and bustles of corporate life. Despite being a nervous flyer, Tiffy’s wanderlust has led her to visit Japan for 6 times (and counting). Her favorite cities are Kyoto and Tokyo and would choose to visit Japan over Paris in a heartbeat!