Best Places to Stay in Tokyo Minato area
Asia,  Japan,  Travel

How to Travel on a Budget in Japan

Traveling doesn’t always have to be expensive. If planned correctly and smartly, Japan can be a very inexpensive country to visit. You can truly discover and explore everything Japan offers without breaking the bank! I lived in Japan for about 2 years, and I will let you know the craft of how to Travel on a Budget in Japan. In average, a day with accommodation, transportation, and food can cost about 6000 yen per day, but if you are super savvy, it can be about 4000 yen per day.

Accommodations

Whenever I travel anywhere solo, I always stay in hostels. Hostels can be found in various countries around the world, offering budget-friendly accommodations and providing a social and communal atmosphere for travelers. Hostels in Japan are popular and a very safe option for budget-conscious travelers. I also have a blog post on hostels in Japan in more details. Other then hostels, Japan also has many capsule hotels that can provide a unique, private and inexpensive experience. The most reputable chain capsule hotel that has many locations in Tokyo is nine hours.

Here are some of the hostels that I stayed, at and recommend that usually cost under 3000 yen (depending on the season. Grids Tokyo Ueno, Cocts Akihabara, &AND HOSTEL, Imano Tokyo Hostel, and TOKYO-W-INN Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan.

Accommodation in Tokyo Hostel
Grids Tokyo Ueno

Hostels are great for solo travelers, but for people traveling in groups, hotels can be a cheaper option since you are splitting the cost of the room. I recommend booking hotels through Agoda. I love using Agoda when booking travel since it shows other traveler’s reviews and ratings in a very easy way. The website is also very easy to book on, and many accommodations on Agoda provide great cancellation policies for greater peace of mind.

If you are going to be in Japan more long-term, I recommend doing programs like Workaway or Worldpackers. Workaway is a platform that allows members to arrange homestays and cultural exchanges around the world. Workawayers are basically Volunteers and are expected to contribute a pre-agreed amount of time per day in exchange for lodging and food, which is provided by their host. Of course, these conditions change according to the hosts. This is how I was able to live in Okinawa and Tokyo for a few months. For exchange of a few hours a week, I got free bed and food. If you want to read more about my personal experience, read my Workaway experience in Tokyo blog post.

Transportation

In Tokyo, the public transportation system operates on a fare-based system, where the cost of your ride depends on the distance traveled. Fares typically start at around 170 yen for short distances and increase gradually based on how far you go. The best way to simplify the process, is by using a prepaid IC card like Suica or Pasmo, which allows for seamless fare payment by tapping the card at the entry and exit gates. If you want more easy access to an IC card to make your travel easier, consider getting a combined Welcome Suica Card + IC Special Pass that you can pick up at Haneda airport.

A great way to save money is by using day passes like Tokyo Subway Ticket – Unlimited Rides 1/2/3 Days. With this pass, you will have unlimited access to 13 different routes with over 250 metro stops and conveniently around Tokyo through Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines for 1-3 days. This is great for people who want to go to different locations throughout Tokyo in a day.

If you are going to travel throughout Japan, consider getting the JR pass. The Japan Rail Pass is a versatile train ticket that grants pass holders access to multiple train, bus, and ferry services throughout the extensive Japanese rail system throughout the country. With the JR pass, you can go to almost every major city in Japan!

Kamaishi Line Hamayuri train at Shin-Hanamaki How to Travel on a Budget in Japan
Kamaishi Line Hamayuri train at Shin-Hanamaki

Food

There are so many great ways to eat on a budget in Japan. Some of my favorite inexpensive eats is Yakiniku Like for Japanese BBQ. You get a personal grill and 1000 yen can get you a lot of meat. Any conveyor belt sushi chains like Hamazushi and Sushiro are also great options to experience fresh Japanese sushi for only about 100 yen a plate. If you want a super inexpensive lunch, head to Shin-Okubo and go to Nihamaru Bento Shin-Okubo for 290 yen bento boxes. Some other palces you can get full meals for less than 1000 yen is Saizeriya for Italian-Japanese fusion, Katsuya, Coco Ichibanya, Yayoiken, Hanamaru udon, Gusto and Yoshinoya. Street food stalls and convenience stores are also great ways to get inexpensive and unique food that can be found only in Japan!

To see a full list of all the restaurants/cafes I recommended, check out my thatch guide!

Yakiniku Like
Yakiniku Like

Activities

There are so many fun and inexpensive things to do in Japan. Go to public parks and gardens like Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, and Inokashira Park. Walk around fun neighborhoods like Asakusa, Nakameguro, and Shimokitazawa. During the Summer, attend local festivals and fireworks. Check out some free observation decks like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center. Sometimes,

If you want to experience ticketed activities, I recommend using discounted admission tickets from websites like Klook. Some great ones that are worth the cost is Shibuya Sky, Roppongi Hills Observation Deck ”Tokyo City View“ Ticket, Tokyo Disney Resort Park Ticket, and teamLab Planets.

hanami tokyo park How to Travel on a Budget in Japan
Hanami at Yoyogi Park

Shopping

Try to do all your shopping and souvenir shopping in 100 yen shops, known as hyakkins. 3 main hyakkin chains are Daiso, Cando, and Seria. Daiso is the most convenient out of all since can be found in many locations, but my favorite is Seria since they have more unique items. It also doesn’t have a store label on its products, making it the perfect place to get a souvenir for your friends, and they wouldn’t be able to tell it was only 100 yen. You can find almost anything from hyakkin stores, from stationary to kitchenware to snacks.

For all other shopping that can’t be found in 100 yen shops, check out Donki Hote, Japan’s largest discount store chain. They sell everything from skincare, clothing, luxury goods, home appliances, groceries, electronics, snacks, and souvenirs for a discounted price, making it the best place to buy souvenirs when you travel on a budget in Japan. The biggest Donki Hote is in. Shibuya.

Daiso Japan How to Travel on a Budget in Japan
Daiso – hyakkin store

Other tips

There are many other ways to save money while on a trip, like setting a daily spending limit, tracking your expenses, and prioritizing spending money on experiences rather than material items. I also recommend using Airalo for an e-sim to have data on the go. With careful planning, flexibility, and an open mind, anyone can Travel on a Budget in Japan, and have a memorable and affordable experience.


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Any questions/concerns/help on anything or Travel on a Budget in Japan?

Send me an email at pennylesstravels@gmail.com to plan a consultation with me!


Some Useful Sources when traveling to Japan:

My Japan posts: Pennyless Travels Japan posts
Youtube Channel: Just Coneys Corner
Instagram: @coneychiiwa
Email: pennylesstravels@gmail.com
General Tourism information: Japan Travel Website
Best E-sim for travel in Japan: Airalo
Airport pickup pocket wifi: 4G WiFi pocket wifi

Klook.com
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