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HOW TO turn HIGH-COST JAPAN into A affordable location TO see

Updated: 11/19/20 | November 19th, 2020

For years, I put off traveling to Japan since I was terrified of exactly how costly it would be. The rumors I’d heard about the country’s high costs made me hesitant to go. I’ve always liked Japanese culture, as well as I understood any type of see would include gorging on sushi as well as ramen, sees to great deals of temples, as well as heavy train travel with the countryside.

But the believed of exactly how much it would expense always made me think, “I’ll wait up until I have a lot more money.”

When I lastly checked out Japan years ago, I was shocked to find that, while it isn’t cheap, Japan isn’t the prohibitively costly country lots of people believe it is. In fact, I really discovered Japan to be extremely budget-friendly as well as on par with (and often more affordable than) countries in Western Europe.

In subsequent visits, I’ve discovered to additionally master the country as well as turn high-cost Japan into an budget-friendly location to visit.

Travel to Japan doesn’t requirement to expense a great deal of money. Here’s a in-depth breakdown of exactly how you can cut your costs to see Japan on a budget!

How to save on transportation in Japan

The bullet train, while awesome, comfortable, as well as fast, is not cheap. private tickets can expense numerous dollars. Yet I believe train travel is the very best method to see the country, so in buy to minimize your train costs, get a Japan Rail (JR) pass. The pass is vital for travel in Japan.

These passes expense 29,650 JPY ($282 USD) for 7 days, 47,250 JPY ($449 USD) for 14 days, as well as 60,450 JPY ($574 USD) for 21 days. All pass times are for consecutive travel.

Compare that to single tickets, where the three-hour journey from Osaka to Tokyo costs 10,500-15,500 JPY ($100-150 USD) each way. That single trip is nearly the exact same cost as the entire 7-day pass!

Moreover, these JR trains likewise serve regional city areas as well as so can be utilized intra-city. I utilized my pass to get around Kyoto as well as Tokyo instead of getting metro tickets. So, even if you aren’t going to do much travel around Japan, getting a pass is much better than getting private tickets. While the high cost of the pass can cause sticker shock, the alternate is even worse.

In the past, you might only buy the pass before you arrive. However, up until March 2021 you can purchase a Japan Rail Pass in Japan. Passes are offered in the complying with country locations: Sapporo, Sendai, Niigata, Tokyo, Shinjuku, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu, Hakata, new Chitose Airport, Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, as well as Kansai Airport.

Most of the city metro tickets expense 100–300 JPY for a single journey. The cost varies by distance as well as may commonly be higher In Tokyo, fares variety from 170-320 JPY as well as a 24-hour pass is 600 JPY ($5.75 USD). You can get a day pass in a lot of cities which provides you unrestricted travel for 24 hours for less than 800 JPY ($7.50 USD).

Buses are a less costly alternate to the bullet train system in Japan, however they take a lot more time. For example, the three-hour train trip from Tokyo to Osaka becomes a nine-hour bus ride. The cost for that seat is just 4,000 JPY ($38 USD), however at some point, you requirement to believe about exactly how much your time is worth. For me, saving some 10,000 JPY was not worth the additional seven hours of travel, considering that I had such restricted time during my visit. If I’d had a lot more time, I’d have just taken the bus.

There are likewise bus passes offered that offer unrestricted travel as well as begin at 10,200 JPY ($97 USD) for three non-consecutive days of travel.

There are lots of budget plan carriers now serving Japan — you can discover them on sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. Peach, Spring, Jetstar, as well as Skymark are a a few of the primary budget plan airlines available.

In general, their costs are on par with bullet train tickets. If you book well in advance, they may even be more affordable than the train. However, a lot more commonly than not that will be a bit a lot more costly as well as not truly any type of quicker if you’re going a short distance.

ANA likewise uses special last-minute fares by means of a hidden page on their website. It’s only offered to foreigners as well as can often be more affordable than the flights you discover on Skyscanner, particularly for longer routes around the country.

How to save on Food in Japan

Surprisingly, I discovered the food to be low-cost in Japan. True, my sushi addiction considerably boosted the expense of my trip but, overall, I discovered that I was costs far less on food than I’d anticipated.

As long as I didn’t feed my sushi addiction, I discovered I might eat for less than 1,500 JPY per day. Some normal costs were:

Sushi lunch sets (sushi,soup, salad): 1,600+ JPY

Traditional Japanese set lunches: 1,200+ JPY

Sushi trains: 125–625 JPY per meal

Small pasta: 400-500 JPY

Western set menu (sandwiches, burger, pizza, etc): 1,200-1,500 JPY

Fast food: 700 JPY

Ramen: 700-1,000 JPY

Tempura dishes: 100-150 JPY

There’s an variety of affordable food choices in the country so you don’t truly requirement to spend much money on food (unless you want to sprinkle out). You can save money on food in Japan by doing the following:

Eat at “100-yen” shops – There are lots of 100-yen shops (the Japanese equivalent to dollar stores) in Japan, where set meals, groceries, water, toiletries, home items, as well as a lot more are just 100 JPY. I did all my buying at these stores. Their names vary by region, so ask your hotel/hostel reception where the nearest 100-yen shop is located.

Use sushi trains – Sushi in Japan is tasty in any way levels. While I had a few fancy, sit-down meals, you can’t beat the sushi trains for value. At around 125 JPY ($1.20 USD) per plate, I might stuff my deal with for less than 1,500 JPY ($14.25 USD) a lot of of the time. I normally just ate at sushi trains.

Eat at 7-11 – 7-11, household Mart, as well as other comfort stores have a great deal of pre-set meals for under 500 JPY ($5 USD) that produce affordable lunches. Additionally, supermarkets have lots of set meals at similar prices. I observed this was a prominent choice for lots of Japanese people.

Cook your food – Hostels (as well as lots of Airbnb rental apartments) have kitchens, where you can cook as well as cut your food costs to less than 1,100 JPY ($10 USD) per day, particularly by buying at the 100-yen stores.

Avoid fresh fruit – The one rumor about Japan that [turned out to be] true was that fresh fruit as well as vegetables were expensive. outside of buying for an apple or banana at the market, I normally avoided fresh fruits as well as vegetables. They were as well expensive.

Eat curry, ramen, as well as donburi – I essentially lived off these three foods during my three weeks in Japan. Curry bowls are as affordable as 400 JPY ($3.75 USD) per plate. Donburi, bowls of meat as well as rice, are around 500 JPY ($4.75 USD). Ramen is never a lot more than 1,000 JPY ($9.50 USD). These are the very best methods to eat affordable as well as filling meals in Japan.

How to save on lodging in Japan

Living costs in Japan are exceptionally high because of the restricted space, high population, as well as rising housing prices. Unfortunately, those high costs transfer over into the tourism industry, making discovering affordable lodging a genuine pain.

Hostel dorms normally expense 2,500-4,000 JPY ($20-35 USD) per night as well as hotel spaces begin at 8,500 JPY ($75 USD) for a double space at a budget plan hotel.

Here are some methods to save on accommodation:

Work for your space – Hostels in Japan commonly let you stay for complimentary if you clean for a few hours a day. utilize a site like Worldpackers to discover chances before you arrive.

Couchsurfing – Hospitality exchanges are not as extensive in Japan as somewhere else in the world, however there is a small, active Couchsurfing neighborhood here. A great deal of expats take pleasure in holding since it lets them get back in touch with other westerners so don’t hesitate to reach out to them as well. just make sure you send a request ahead of time to boost your chances of success (especially in prominent cities like Kyoto as well as Tokyo). checked out a lot more about Couchsurfing here!

Use credit score card points – It’s times like these that travel hacking is available in handy. regular flier miles as well as routine hotel points can be redeemed for great deals of complimentary nights. I utilized my complimentary accumulated nights from hotels.com for two complimentary nights in Tokyo, however with the big sign-up bonuses ideal now for hotel cards, you can get as much as a week’s complimentary accommodation! Here’s a listing of my preferred travel credit score cards!

Capsule hotels – A step up from hostels as well as a step down from hotels, capsule hotels (pictured above) are small capsules you sleep in. You share bathrooms as well as typical areas, as well as your capsule has a light, outlet, as well as often a little television. They are often utilized by businessmen who work late. These capsules begin at around 3,000-5,500 JPY ($25-50 USD) per night.

Airbnb – Airbnb is a affordable option, however, because of a 2018 legislation there are a few caveats. First, only holds who have registered with the government can listing accommodation. Second, you’ll requirement to send a copy of your passport to your hold before showing up or let them copy your passport when you check-in. That said, it’s an budget-friendly option for any individual traveling as a group/family.

How to save on Attractions in Japan

Most of the attractions were extremely cheap. I didn’t spend a lot more than 500 JPY ($5 USD) permuseum or temple. In Kyoto, there’s a temple pass that provides you unrestricted transportation as well as gain access to to the temples for 1,300 JPY ($12.50 USD). It’s a great deal, thinking about you’re most likely going to see a great deal of museums in Kyoto. Osaka as well as Tokyo had similar passes for their attractions.

Overall, I discovered these passes to be the very best method to save money on temples, museums, as well as other attractions. Additionally, there are lots of complimentary gardens, temples, as well as parks! I barely spent any type of money on attractions while I was in Japan.

How much money Do You requirement to see Japan?

Japan has an picture of being one of the most costly countries in the world, as well as if you’re staying in hotels, eating out, as well as traveling around a lot, it can be. You can quickly spend over $200 USD each day by traveling that way. However, I don’t believe a trip to Japan needs to be that expensive.

Traveling around Japan can be budget-friendly if you understand what to do as well as keep an eye on your costs. You can save money in Japan by living like a local.

Staying in a hostel, getting a rail pass, eating fairly affordable food, as well as checking out a few attractions will expense around $100 USD per day.

For reference, a 21-day trip would expense at least $2,100 USD (plus your flight). For that much money, you can go to Southeast Asia for months!

However, by using the ideas above, I believe you can travel Japan for $80–85 USD per day. Japan shouldn’t expense you a lot more than that each day if you don’t splurge. This would indicate a lot more bus travel, a (very) restricted amount of sushi, only affordable restaurants, as well as the occasional night Couchsurfing (or other complimentary accommodation).

On a bare-bones budget, a trip to Japan will expense you $65-75 USD each day if you stay with Couchsurfing, affordable food, bus travel (trains would be far as well expensive), as well as only complimentary attractions. I saw great deals of travelers in Japan traveling on the cheap. They did it, as well as it’s possible — however you’ll never feed your sushi addiction if you travel this way.

To me, budget plan travel is value travel. Japan is never going to be as affordable a destination as Cambodia, Ukraine, or Peru, however there are methods to save money in every location in the world, as well as Japan has lots of methods to see on a budget. Japan will never expense $20 USD per day, however it likewise doesn’t requirement to expense hundreds.

Whenever people go to Japan as well as come back, they always state “It wasn’t as costly as I thought” since it doesn’t have to be! affordable Japan travel is possible as well as I hope this post taught you that! stay with the discount rate transit, regional food, as well as regional lodging as well as you’ll keep your costs low!


Book Your trip to Japan: Logistical ideas as well as Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to discover a affordable flight. They are my two preferred browse engines since they browse web sites as well as airlines around the globe so you always understand no stone is left unturned. begin with Skyscanner very first though since they have the greatest reach!

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the greatest stock as well as finest deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, utilize Booking.com as they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses as well as affordable hotels.

Don’t fail to remember travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage will secure you against illness, injury, theft, as well as cancellations. It’s detailed security in situation anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to utilize it lots of times in the past. My preferred business that offer the very best service as well as value are:

Safety Wing (for everybody below 70)

Insure My trip (for those over 70)

Medjet (for extra repatriation coverage)

Looking for the very best business to save money With?
Check out my resource page for the very best business to utilize when you travel. I listing all the ones I utilize to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Be sure to inspect out the Japan Rail Pass if you’ll be traveling around the country. It is available in 7-, 14-, as well as 21-day passes as well as can save you a ton of money!

Want a lot more info on Japan?
Be sure to see our robust destination guide on Japan for even a lot more planning tips!

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