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10 Tips On How To Travel To Japan On A Budget

Are you wanting to learn how to travel to Japan on a budget?

After all, Japan is one of the most popular countries in the world to visit.

In fact, millions of people travel to Japan each and every year.

But one thing that many people think about when they travel to Japan is that it is very expensive.

Many people think that they will have to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars if they ever visit Japan.

However that simply isn’t true.

The cost of Japan is actually not that bad and is pretty similar to the costs you’ll see in Europe, if not then maybe even cheaper!

In this post, i’ll show you the 10 best tips to use when you are wanting to travel to Japan on a budget. This will help you save a lot more money as well as making your trip a lot more enjoyable without going broke.

10 Tips To Help You Travel To Japan On A Budget

Using public transport

1) Bus

If you want to save the most money, then traveling around Japan by bus can be the cheapest option.

Although it is the cheapest, it does come at a cost though. That cost being time, as this is often the slowest form of transportation. However if you are wanting to save money, then this is the route you’ll want to go.

Also here is a tip, if you travel during the night time, you can save a few more dollars as well.

2) Local train metro

If you want to save some money then you can choose to travel by a local train. This train stops at every single stop which makes exploring a lot more easier.

It is a great way to spend your day as you get off certain stops and take in the amazing views that you’ll see.

A good resource to use if you are in Tokyo is the Tokyo Metro website here.

3) Japan Rail Pass

One form of transportation which I highly recommend is the Japan Rail Pass.

It is a very convenient pass to have as you are able to use the trains as much as you want during the time frame of your pass.

Do note that you’ll have to have your pass on with you at all times to pass through the gate to get on the train.

Although the Japan Rail Pass is a bit costlier than some of the other options on the list, it does get you to places a lot faster. So in the end, it’s up to you. Do you want to save money and sacrifice time, or do you want to sacrifice money to save time?

Travel during the off-season time

One thing you should always know is that whenever you are going to travel anywhere, it is normally always best to travel during the off-season time.

So what are the off season times for Japan?

Some important vacation periods you need to know about in Japan, are New Year, Golden Week (late April to early May), and Obon (mid-August).

During these times, the Japanese will try to do as much shopping or travel as possible. Mainly because they don’t need to go to work or study during these times.

So if you come during the dates of the important vacation periods in Japan, then you’ll be met with hundreds if not thousands of people. Which means prices for everything is going to go up as well.

Not only that, but you’ll have to wait in line for ages to be able to see what you are wanting to see.

So avoid New Years, Golden Week, and Obon and you should be fine.

Plus, you’ll also be able to get cheap flight tickets as well since off-season times usually means cheaper tickets.

How to stay in Japan on a budget

1) Internet cafe

What is an internet cafe?

These places are basically a place where you can play video games, read books and also serves as a place where you can sleep.

Depending on which one you go to, you might find ones with private cubicles which have either a couch or a flat so you can sleep on. These places also has showers and a blanket rental as well as vending machines for food.

Everything you need to survive is located all in this one area.

Plus it is pretty cheap too. For instance, a ‘night pack’ (for 6 to 12 hours) starts at around ¥1500 ($15) and 2500 ($25), depending on which type of private cubicles that you choose.

So if you ever find yourself unable to book a place to stay overnight, then these areas makes for a perfect place to stay.

2) Capsule Hotel

What is a capsule hotel?

Basically like the name implies, it is a capsule that serves as a hotel room for you to stay in.

The capsules themselves aren’t really big, and can usually only fit one person inside.

But depending on which capsule hotel you stay in, they may have some amenities like a TV or an outlet for you to use your electronics. Plus some of these have showers as well as a lounge area for you to relax.

It costs a bit more than an internet cafe, but still really cheap compared to what other hotels charges.

3) Hostels

Hostels are a great choice if you want a place to stay in Japan.

They are really cheap too and most of them have enough facilities for you to use to enjoy your stay.

Depending on which place you choose, you can either have a private room to yourself or a shared room with other travelers.

Definitely a great idea if you are looking to find a place to stay on a budget.

Places to see and visit on a budget

Japan has all sorts of places you can visit at a very affordable price or even for free!

Although this might take some planning before hand as you have to figure out which places are free and low cost.

For example, many temples and shrines in Japan are free to visit. So you can spend your time wandering around these places. Even some castles on the outside are completely free so you can roam around the castle grounds and take pictures of the beautiful castle themselves.

A lot of towns in particular or mountain hikes are also free that provide phenomenal views of the entire region.

Get a free local guide

If you ever want a free local guide to show you around the city, then one thing you should definitely do is Couchsurf.

This is a platform that helps connect locals with travelers from all over the world. You can use Couchsurfing to connect with many Japanese locals who may be kind enough to show you around the city.

It is a great way to meet people as well as learn the cultures of the country.

Eating on a budget

Japan is probably most well known for its amazing array of foods.

And often times, you can find food on the cheap.

For instance, if you love sushi, why not head to a conveyor belt sushi where you can get sushi pieces at ¥100! That is a steal!

Or if you love seafood, you can go to the many market stalls all over Japan and try to score some cheap and fresh seafood.

But my best tip of all for food, is to generally go to a local 7/11 or a Lawsons. These places are basically corner stores that sell extremely cheap food. You can get sandwiches for like a dollar or two and they will be enough to fill you up for that meal.

The point is, there are tons of different places in Japan where you can find food on the cheap. Just look around and you are bound to find some places selling amazing food at amazing prices.

Tax Free Shopping

Many stores all over Japan will offer tax-free shopping to foreign tourists who spend a certain amount of money.

Depending on the store you go to, some may offer you a coupon or discount or some may just not charge tax.

So if you are wanting to do some shopping, ask before you purchase to see if they have any special benefits for foreign travelers.

Don’t Use Mobile Data

There is simply no need to pay for mobile data while you are in Japan.

After all, in basically every major city like Tokyo or Osaka etc..you can find wi-fi for free easily.

You can basically find them at any shops, hotels, train stations, restaurants, etc..the options are endless.

So if you are only going to visit Japan for a short time period, there is no need for you to buy any internet.

Plus, if you get lost and need directions, simply asking somebody on the street is perfectly fine as the Japanese are very nice and most of them know some basic form of English.

Buy a Sim Card/Rent A Wifi

Now if you absolutely must have wi-fi wherever you go, then you will be pleased to know that you can either rent a portable wifi adapter or you can buy a SIM card if you are in Japan.

So depending on how long you are going to be staying in Japan, you might want to consider a SIM card instead of a portable wifi because for a portable wifi, you’ll have to pay for it per day.

Don’t use a taxi

Never use a taxi in Japan unless you really have to.

The reason for this is because taxi’s in Japan are actually pretty expensive.

Just the price of opening the door for you is around $6-8 dollars depending on where you are located. Just this price a lone will eat up your costs of traveling.

So instead, why not take the bus or metro rail.


As you can see, there are quite a few ways for you to save some money.

Although most of these need some time to plan out, but in the end it is totally worth it.

So hopefully this list was able to help you find some ways to save some money.

This way next time you decide to visit Japan, you’ll know exactly what to do to save money.

Also, if you are planning to visit Japan anytime soon, you might be interested in some of my other Japan posts.

Or you can check out my complete list of things to do in Japan by clicking here.

Let me know how your trip goes!

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If you’re looking for the best deals on hotels to stay at, one best site to use is Booking.com. We highly recommend them to any and all travelers as they are able to find deals all across the world.

If you’re looking for something other than hotels, like a hostel for example, then one of the best places to look for cheap hostels is Hostel World.

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