Japan on a budget — 5 tips on how to save money while traveling in Japan

Renting hotels, hostels, homestays, motels, or shops in the locations is extremely expensive in Japan, making travel to Japan quite expensive. If you want to save money on your vacation to Japan, you may apply the ideas and methods in this article. These are the top 5 Japan budget travel ideas to help you save money when visiting Japan.

Choose the time of travel

When traveling during the busy season or on the weekend, it is often difficult to obtain hotels, and virtually all affordable lodgings are already filled. So, if you intend to go, you should reserve a hotel at least two to three months in advance. In addition, if you travel on a weekday, you will be able to get cheaper accommodation. You should also consider the time to utilize the preferred tickets in the location you want to visit in order to select the ideal time to come simply to enjoy the scenery and save money.

Cherry blossoms in Japan

The transportation

You should consider the choice of transportation vehicles as well as the preferential fares in the tourist places to build a reasonable route. For example, Seishun tickets can be used to go all JR routes (except Shinkansen and Tokkyu train) with only 2.370 yen per day.

Some other types of tickets: In Kyoto, Surutto Kansai (Kansai area tickets) tickets in the Kansai region, Hakone Free Pass tickets in Hakone region and surrounding areas (Odawara, Mishima, Atami, …), and many more. You can search for these tickets with keywords: destinations + from otoku (お得) + kippu (切符) on Google.

If you want to go by bus you can refer to Willer Express with cheap tickets of 10,000 JPY for 3 passes or 15,000 JPY for 5 passes.

If you want to go as far as Hokkaido or Okinawa, Kagoshima you can refer to cheap airline tickets from Peach firm.

Fuji bullet train
Fuji bullet train

The accommodation

Hotels, hostels, motels

The cost of renting an apartment in a tourist location will be significantly higher. As a result, you should look for a hotel that is a fair distance from the tourist area’s center. If you use Seishun tickets or other houdai tickets, you will not pay any more money, and even if you take another bus or train trip, the amount saved for the hotel cost will be considerably reduced. To locate your lodging, consult the transportation system in the region you choose to visit as well as the scope of use of the inexpensive tickets. Online booking services such as Rurubu, Rakuten, and Jalan can help you discover accommodations. (Most of these sites are in Japanese, but you can use Google Translate to understand the relative information and booking conditions.)

hostel in tokyo
Inside a hostel in Tokyo

For example: If you visiting Kanazawa you can book your room in Kaga-onsen, visiting Izu Peninsula or Hakone region you can book your room in Mishima, visiting Kyoto you can book your room in Shiga, …

The special accommodations

You may also sleep in the Capsule Hotel, Manga-Net Cafe, or Karaoke Shop for approximately 2000 yen per night, which is significantly less expensive than renting a hotel room. Please keep in mind that many Net Cafes offer bathing and internet connection, but Karaoke shops and Capsule motels do not. (You must have adequate identification to register your new membership and enjoy the services in these types of special accommodations.) You may also use the power outlets and get free water in Net Cafe and Karaoke.

capsule hotel, tokyo, japan
The Capsule hotel. Photo: uniqhotels.com


Individual rooms like this one in an Internet cafe in Warabi
Individual rooms like this one in an Internet cafe in Warabi

Food and drinks

The chain restaurants

When you want to save money on food and beverages instead of consuming speciality dishes, you may go to one of Japan’s many chain restaurants. Chain restaurants are often less expensive, and you can also manage the expense of eating because the prices of these restaurants are set at the price of each dish.

japanese food

Some popular chain restaurants in Japan:

Conveyor belt sushi (100 yen / per dish đĩa): Kura-sushi, Sushiro, Kappa Sushi.
Gyudon (beef rice) about 400 ~ 700 yen / per person: Yoshinoya, Matsuya, Sukiya.
Italian food: Saizeriya (under 1000 yen / per person).
Chinese food: Osho (under 1000 yen / per person).
Fast food: McDonald, MosBurger, …

kappa sushi
Kappa Sushi Retaurant


select dish on the screen
Select dishes on the screen

Search via apps

You may search for restaurants by location, price, and cuisine using mobile applications or websites such as Google Maps, Tabelog, or Gurunavi. You may use this software to check reviews and ratings from other diners about the restaurants you want to visit. Ramen, curry, udon, soba, and other inexpensive Japanese foods are available.

tabelog app
Tabelog app

Take a tour

Promotional tours are featured on the homepages of travel booking companies such as Rakuten, Rurubu, and Jalan. You may also follow the trips given by transportation companies like as JR or Hankyu. Take a tour; you can save money on travel by sharing traffic expenses with other tourists, but you won’t have the time to take the initiative.

tourist at kinkaku-ji temple
The tourist at Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto