Japan is an expensive place to visit. Accommodations and transportations cost a lot of money, and you may go bankrupt if you don’t manage your budget. So here are our Japan budget travel tips to make your trip to Japan affordable.
・Use Airbnb. Hotels are expensive in Japan, so if you want to save on accommodation, Airbnb can be a good option.
・Search for a Share House or a Guest House that offers dormitories. Dormitories are cheaper than private rooms, and some of them can be only for women.
・Stay at an Internet Cafe or a Manga Cafe (called インターネットカフェ or マンガ喫茶, Intaneto kafe or Manga kissa in Japanese). Starting from 750yens for 5 hours, you can have your own little booth with a computer, mangas and a reclining chair. Most cafes also have shower rooms. They are open 24 hours and you don’t need a reservation.
・The JR Pass is well-known among foreigners. It costs 29,110 yen for 7 days, 46,390 yen for 14 days, and 59,350 yen for 21 days. Since you can start using it when you want, we recommend you to plan carefully your destinations and to start using it when you have to take the Shinkansen. If you plan to stay in one or two cities, the JR Pass is not worth it.
・You can also use Regional passes if you plan to stay in one particular region.
・You can also have a look at one-day pass offered in big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka. There are different types of passes, such as buses passes, JR passes or metro passes.
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・Night buses are also a cheap alternative to trains. With a night bus, you can go from Tokyo to Osaka for less than 5000 yens.
・Eating in restaurants is not very expensive in Japan. Moreover, in some restaurant chains you will be able to eat for less than 500 yens. Generally, restaurants with vending machines at the entrance are cheap. Chains like Yoshinoya (gyudon), Hidakaya (ramen), Fujisoba (soba), Donmaru (sashimi), Tenya (tempura) can be found almost everywhere in Japan.
・Another option is to go to a university cafeteria. Indeed, most of university cafeterias are open the public, and offers very cheap (from 200 to 800 yens) and healthy meals.
Most parks, temples and shrines are cheap, but not free. Here are some ideas of things that you can do for free:
・Going to a Hanabi taikai (fireworks), or to a matsuri (festival)
・Watching sumo morning practice (click here to know more about it)
・Going to the Tokyo metropolitan Government building in Shinjuku. The access to the 45th floor of the building is free and offers a view of Tokyo and of the Mt Fuji when the weather is clear.
The best budget shopping places in Japan are:
・100 yens shops. 100 yens shops are discount stores selling a wide range of high quality items for 100 yens. Souvenirs, ceramics, stationery, cosmetics, accessories and toys, you can find almost everything there. The most popular 100 yens shops chains are Daiso, Can Do, and Seria.
・Secondhand shops. The group Hardoff have many branches such as Book Off and Mode Off, where you can find second hand items such as books, mangas, DVDs, CDs, video games, clothes...
Being smart and following these advices will help you make the best of your trip to Japan, and save some yens. A final tip: look carefully at the exchange rate before withdrawing money!