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How to Enjoy Japan on a Budget
If you’re looking to enjoy Japan without breaking the bank, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you do so.
From finding affordable accommodations to seeking out inexpensive dining options, there are many ways to stretch your budget while still experiencing all that Japan has to offer.
In this guide, I’ll be sharing some of my top tips for enjoying Japan on a budget.
If you are traveling alone or in a small group, you may want to consider staying at a capsule hotel.
In a capsule hotel, each guest occupies one small bed space, which is typically enclosed in a pod-like capsule.
While the capsules are small and basic, they offer a comfortable and private place to sleep, as well as access to communal facilities such as shared bathrooms and lounges.
Prices typically range from around 18 dollars to 40 dollars per night, making it an affordable option for travelers on a tight budget.
Additionally, many capsule hotels are conveniently located in the heart of major cities, making them an ideal choice for travelers who want to explore the sights and sounds of Tokyo, Osaka, or other urban areas.
If you are traveling in a group, Airbnb is also an option.
Compared to western countries, Airbnb is not so common in Japan, and as a result, the number of available listings can be quite limited.
Additionally, the average price for an Airbnb in Japan can be relatively high compared to other countries, due in part to the limited availability of options.
However, if you are splitting the cost of a room, you can often get more space and amenities than you would in a traditional hotel, while also enjoying the privacy and convenience of having your own private space.
When it comes to chain restaurants, you may think about western shops such as McDonald, KFC, and Subway.
But if you are in Japan, you can find healthy, cheap, and delicious alternatives.
Quick one plate dish (￥300-800)
A popular fast-food chain that specializes in gyudon (beef bowl). They offer a variety of toppings and flavors, and the prices are affordable.
Another fast-food chain that specializes in Japanese-style rice bowls. They offer a variety of toppings, including beef, pork, and chicken, and the prices are very affordable.
A popular curry chain that offers a wide range of curry dishes with varying levels of spiciness.
Japanese set meal "定食" (￥500-900)
Yayoiken specializes in traditional Japanese-style meals, such as rice bowls and set meals.
They offer a wide variety of dishes, including meat, fish, and noodle.
Ohto Ya also specializes in traditional Japanese-style meals, but compare to Yayoi Ken, they focus more on healthiness.
Both restaurants are affordable and popular with locals and tourists alike.
Japan Railway provides rail passes which covers train, express train, and shinkansen.
The price is different based on the area and period, so please check if this covers the area you are visiting.
Not only Japan Railway, but also subway has 24hours metro ticket.
If you explore one prefecture deeply in one day, 24hours metro ticket is a good option as well.
If you go around Japan crossing the sea, for instance going to Okinawa or Hokkaido, you need to take a flight.
If you take LCC flight, such as Peach, Jetstar and Skymark, the flight fee is less than half of JAL and ANA.
The cheapest way to travel around Japan is taking a bus.
For example, from Osaka to Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet-train) costs around ￥15000.
On the other hand, if you take a night bus, it only costs around ￥8000.
Sightseeing and Entrance Fees
Japan has many great entertainment facilities, such as Tokyo Disney Resort, Universal Studio Japan, teamLab, Onsen, etc….
However, let’s be honest. The entrance fees for these facilities can be quite expensive, and it’s not feasible to visit them every day.
Shrine and temple
Shrines and temples which exist over 100 thousand in Japan come to first place in a guidebook.
People can appreciate unique Japanese architecture and gardens in a shrine and temple, which you can visit without an entrance fee.
Enjoy the cityscape
If you find yourself in a bustling metropolis such as Tokyo or Osaka, take the time to enjoy the stunning spectacle of towering skyscrapers and the dazzling array of neon lights that illuminate the city streets at night.
Sure, if you don’t mind spending around 2,500 yen, you can go up to Tokyo Skytree and enjoy a view of Tokyo’s cityscape.
However, you can also go to Tokyo city hall in Shinjuku and enjoy the view without an entrance fee!
Take in the natural beauty
If you find yourself in Japan, a country known for its stunning and varied landscapes, be sure to take the time to appreciate the natural beauty of its four distinct seasons.
From the cherry blossoms of spring to the vibrant foliage of autumn, each season brings its own unique colors and charms. Whether you’re exploring the mountainous regions of the countryside or taking a stroll through the parks and gardens of Tokyo, Japan offers a wealth of opportunities to experience the changing seasons in all their glory.
So why not take a moment to pause and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you?