Essential Tips for Exploring Japan on the Cheap

Essential Tips for Exploring Japan on the Cheap

The lure of tourists flocking to Japan isn’t showing any signs of slowing down with a record level of over 30 million visitors exploring the country in 2018, according to the Japanese Government.  If you’re planning to go to Japan but are concerned you don’t have enough money to cover the costs of the trip, then don’t despair, there are many ways to save money for your travels and enjoy your vacation without it breaking the bank. With its breathtaking natural beauty, amazing cultural attractions and delicious cuisine, Japan offers the tourist a range of budget-friendly options to make the most of your trip.

Where to eat and drink

Exploring Japan on a shoestring means ensuring that you save money on every aspect of your holiday, which means not spending a large chunk of your budget on food and drink. You won’t be disappointed with the varied selection of Japanese cuisine options which range in prices according to the type of restaurant and what time you eat out. However, for extreme budgets, try a Button Restaurant where you can order and pay for a meal using a vending machine before it is served at your table. Alternatively, eat out at a ‘Kaiten’ or conveyor belt sushi eatery and order your food with an iPad before it gets delivered to your table on a conveyor belt. For drinking on the cheap, check out dive bars and konbinis which can be found in city districts or experience nomihodai for some hardcore drinking madness.

Where to sleep

While Japan’s hostels may not be as affordable as Vietnam or Thailand, they are substantially cheaper than booking a room in a hotel. Room rates can vary according to where you stay in Japan but the good news is that they are extremely clean and have good facilities such as kitchens for the frugal traveler. If you’re not fussy about sharing a bathroom or not having a kitchen to cook food, try sleeping in one of the many Capsule Hotels where essentially, you are simply paying for a bed and shower although there can be other amenities such as a television within the walls of a tiny room. As with most accommodation options, try and book well in advance to secure a cheaper deal and bear in mind they also tend to get booked up fast.

Where to be cultured

Along with discount cards for popular tourist attractions being available to the visiting foreigner, exploring Japanese temples are also a money-saving choice to immerse yourself into Japanese culture. Located in most municipalities, they often have no entrance fees so you’re free to learn more about sacred Buddhist collections, customs and etiquette in Japanese temples or shrines. Other possibilities include walking around some striking architecture, relaxing in a park, shopping in markets or taking a walking tour, the latter of which can be found in bigger urban areas such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Shibuya, and Higashiyama.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, you don’t have to spend a small fortune exploring Japan. Just as long as you make wise choices and are flexible with your plans, you’re sure to have a great time on your travels.

I never travel anywhere without Travel Insurance. If you are looking for insurance be sure to check World Nomads first.

This post was proofread by Grammarly


Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with. 
  • – I LOVE especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there. 
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership! 
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review. 
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration. 
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

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