See Japan on a Budget – Affordable Travel Tips for Land of the Rising Sun

in Japan

Japan once had a reputation as an expensive vacation destination, but the country’s economic downturn has put it back on the radar of bargain-seeking tourists.

With careful planning and a little know-how, your Japanese yen can go further in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Buying individual tickets on the Japanese rail system can be expensive, but you can avoid those high costs. If you’ll travel throughout Japan, it’s worth investing in a Japan Rail Pass before you go. The pass will help you save on train travel all over the country, including its iconic bullet train.

An open ticket is often a smarter purchase than an individual train fare when sightseeing in Tokyo. These are a more expensive, but as they offer unlimited trips they’re typically a more economic choice for tourists.

Patient travelers can save cash by eating when the mall food courts close. The vendors want to get rid of their last meals, and they’ll offer considerable discounts to see it happen! It can be competitive, but hustle for a really cheap eat.

If that seems too challenging, look to conveyor belt sushi restaurants or Japanese pubs known as izakayas. It might seem strange to sit on the floor with your beer, but the meals are tasty and affordable. If you’re on the go, don’t be afraid to grab a meal at the train station. The stand-up shops here sell tasty and affordable Japanese comfort food. Remember that tipping is not expected at Japan’s eateries, so you can keep an extra few yen in your wallet.

With travel and food organized, you’ll need something to do. Japan’s major cities have no shortage of free attractions to fill your days. In Tokyo there’s the Sumo Museum and the Imperial Palace East Gardens. In Kyoto you can people watch at Gion’s geisha district or see the Tanzan Shuzo Sake Cellar. In Osaka it costs nothing to visit the animals at Satsukiyama Zoo, or see the quirky Instant Ramen Museum. And Sapporo has the Hokkaido Brewery and bustling Nijo Fish Market.

japan travel map photo

Map of Japan

If you really want to save money in Japan though, it’s smart to leave the cities altogether. The mountainous countryside is free to explore, and amongst the most beautiful in the world. The traditional country inns, known as ryokan, are also much more affordable than their city counterparts.

You’ll probably visit a Buddhist temple in Japan, but you might not think about staying there. However, many of these sacred places offer affordable, and culturally enlightening, accommodation. For around 10, 000 yen a night, or around US$120, travelers will enjoy a private room, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. Koyasan and Eko-in temples are good options for travelers wanting to experience this serene and affordable accommodation style.

You don’t have to feel like you’re skimping to save money in Japan. These tips will make sure you have an enjoyable, culturally rich time in the East, and return home with more money in your pocket than you’d expect.

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