Is it possible to Travel Cheap in Japan?
Japan is a world class destination, boasting ancient temples and bustling cities. Yet Tokyo ranks on the top 10 list of the world’s most expensive cities. A visit to Japan can be quite pricey when you consider the cost of accommodation, night-life, restaurants, and sightseeing; particularly if you stay in major cities like Tokyo or Osaka. Yet it’s certainly possible to travel on a budget. Many deals can be found in student areas of large cities or out in smaller towns. With an open mind you can travel cheap in Japan.
One of the major expenses for visitors to Japan is staying in a hotel. Large hotels in cities like Tokyo are in high demand, and have a high price tag to match. Yet budget accommodation can be found in areas like Taito and Yokohama. Youth hostels can be a good way to save money and meet fellow travellers at the same time. These are often located in vibrant districts like Shinjuku, with a buzzing nightlife and entertainment options. Visitors who are planning on staying in Japan for several weeks or months may wish to rent an apartment from a local, which will be cheaper than a hotel and gives you access to a full kitchen as well.
Eating Well on a Budget
There’s no need to spend all your money in fancy restaurants when there is excellent food to be found everywhere in Japan. Even at a convenience store, you’ll find rice balls, bento lunch boxes, and inexpensive yet fresh sandwiches. Bento shops are another good choice for those travelling on a budget. These offer takeaway lunch boxes featuring a combination of rice, sushi, meat or fish, and vegetable options. Noodle bars are cheap, addictive, and very popular with the locals. You can usually buy a meal ticket for your bowl of noodles from a vending machine, which helps with language barriers. Conveyor belt sushi restaurants allow you to pick and choose your meal from a range of price options, and fast food restaurants like Matsuya and Ootoya will give you a giant bowl of meat, rice, and vegetables that will keep you full all day.
Low-Cost Sights and Activities
Save money on admission fees and visit Japan’s numerous free sights. Temples and shrines are free of charge in most cases, including the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. Art galleries, food markets, and parks are further ways to pass the time. The Imperial Palace Garden in Tokyo and Imperial Palace in Kyoto are both free, as are quirky sights like the Suita Brewery in Osaka and Instant Noodle Museum. With a little bit of advance planning, you can keep busy without spending any yen.
Share your thoughts with us
What are your favourite ways to save money when you’re travelling? Are there certain activities that are worth paying more money for? Share your tips for budget travel with fellow readers.
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