How to Travel Japan on a Budget

Japan has a reputation as being an expensive place to travel. But the good news is you can travel in Japan on a budget – and you can still have an amazing time in this fascinating country when you are not spending hundreds of dollars a day.

Many people believe that only the rich can truly enjoy Japan, but that is very far from the truth. Japan is as affordable as most countries in Western Europe and there are many ways you can keep the costs of your trip down. Here’s how you can enjoy Japan without maxing out your credit cards.

How to Travel Japan on a Budget

Get a Japan Rail Pass

If you want to see as much of the country as you can, you will be spending a large proportion of your budget on transportation costs. It is true that buying a train ticket, especially for the super-fast bullet train, can be out of the reach of many budget travelers. But you can minimize the costs by buying a Japan Rail Pass. The JR Pass is the only way to go when you are planning on taking more than one train during your vacation in Japan. In addition, you can use the pass to buy metro tickets in Tokyo which further helps your budgeting. True, the price of the rail pass can be daunting, and it is not something you can buy on a whim, but it really will save you money in the long run.

Take Buses Rather Than Trains

If you cannot afford to stump up for the cost of a Japan Rail Pass then try to avoid taking trains and choose the bus instead. Of course, taking the bus means you spend a lot more time on traveling but this is a good option for someone who has time to travel but little money.

Check for Low-Cost Flights

If you can find them, there are good prices available on budget airlines that fly within Japan. Otherwise, the flight costs are around the same as the cost of a train ticket although it is a fast way to travel and a good way to see the country if you are on a really tight timescale.

Buy Lunch from the 7-11

Keep your costs down by purchasing a quick lunch when you are out and about from the Family Mart or the 7-11. You will find sandwiches and basic set meals here for a very small amount. You can also buy set meals from supermarkets which are very inexpensive, so you don’t need to spend money eating at a restaurant for lunch.

Cook Your Own Food

If you are staying in a hostel or in an apartment with a small kitchen it makes a good budget sense to cook your own food. You can buy inexpensive ingredients from the supermarkets and save your budget for a few standout dinners.

Find the Cheap, Filling Food Favorites

Look for the cheap and delicious bowls of ramen, or curry, or donburi. These staples are hearty and taste wonderful, plus they are well within the average budget. You won’t feel like you are missing out when you eat these for dinner.

Choose the Fast Food Chains

In a similar vein, you can find filling and even nutritious foods at the fast food places. You don’t have to go for burgers when you go for cheap fast food. And you can get great drinks and sides when you visit these places.

Get Your Conveyor Belt Sushi

You can indulge in sushi even when you are on a budget. You can try affordable sushi from a conveyor belt restaurant where you simply choose your picks from the array that come by, and then add up your total by taking the plates or the cartons to the till at the end.

How to Travel Japan on a Budget


Save Money on Attractions

Most of the time you will not have to spend much money on visiting attractions as museums, cultural sights, and other places are not expensive. Yes, you can spend plenty of money on spas or luxury shopping but you do not have to. In places like Kyoto where there is plenty to see you can save money by buying a temple pass which gives you admission to several different places for a discounted price.

Visit in the Off-Season

If you do not have a lot of money to spend avoid visiting around the New Year, in August, and in the spring months when there are a lot of cherry blossom spotters. Prices rise and it is more difficult to secure budget accommodation options.

Stay in a Capsule Hotel or Internet Café

It may sound weird, but internet cafes are often actually lined with sleeping cubicles, which are cheap and comfortable with a bed and even a TV or games console. Capsule hotels are a little more expensive but still well within the budget range and they also come with a comfy bed, privacy, and a TV.

Find out more about traveling in Japan on a budget and what you need to know to visit Japan at PhuketOn. Your guide to Asia travel experiences – PhuketOn.

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