The old adage “the best things in life are free” definitely apply to traveling in Japan: walking the neon streets of Shinjuku and basking in Mt Fuji’s glory are must-do experiences that don’t cost a single Yen (or require a vault full of gold).
That being said, you do need to eat and sleep during your stay, which in pricey Japan may be beyond the means of most budget travelers. These 4 hacks can help you save a boatload of cash during your time in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Book Hostels Online
Obviously sleeping is going to be one of your top costs during your stay. Even if you’re well beyond your backpacking years, a hostel may make sense for you. Japanese hostels have high standards of cleanliness and more often than not offer private rooms at a fraction of the price of a hotel and tend to be even cheaper than even capsule hostels.
Sites to comparison shop include HostelBookers.com and HostelWorld.com
Eat Moving Food
No, it’s not alive but rotating sushi bars are the rage in almost every major city in Japan. Not only is eating sushi an integral part of your Japanese experience, but it can also save you a lot of cash as well. Many sushi bars offer low-cost rolls starting at 99 yen (about 1 US Dollar) and up.
Japan’s famous Bullet Train is absurdly expensive –even with the famous 7-dayvisitor pass. Travel like the locals do (at least the students) and travel by bus. Japan has some pimped out buses that offer plush reclining seats and other amenities not seen in the West. Most companies offer overnight buses that are perfect if you’re traveling long-distance (Bonus: night buses also save you money on a hostel or hotel for that night).
Go “Free” Whenever Possible
Many of the most sought-after experiences in Japan — from seeing a Geisha show to sleeping in a ryokan — are pricey. That being said, there are a number of completely free or low cost activities in every Japanese city. When you first arrive in Japan, opt for these free activities first and splurge later if you have extra money. Some top free Japanese experiences include walking through Nara park, window shopping in Ginza and Hiroshima peace park.
Spencer Mitchell recently returned from a 2-month trip to Japan, and thanks to these money-saving tips, he was able to afford it. When Spencer isn’t on the road, he’s usually posting surveys for money reviews on his website, SurveySpencer.com. His most recent review was for the paid survey panel Ipsos I-Say.