Whether you’re looking to backpack through Japan for just a few days or a few months, you’re going to need some help to do it in an economical way. Japan can be one of the most expensive places to travel in the world, and keeping expenses down can be difficult. It doesn’t have to be that way — Japan has so much to offer and even if you’re on a small budget, you can enjoy visiting. It’s going to take a lot of planning and research to do, but when you’re done, you’ll be able to see and do all Japan has to offer!
The best time to backpack is either the Spring or Autumn, because the weather is much drier and the skies are more clear. If you’re looking to see the famous cherry blossoms, go in March. The first week of May, known as the “Golden Week” can be a really busy period (with higher costs!), but is filled with a lot of festivals. Be sure to make a list of things you want to see and do during your visit, and then prioritize them.
What’s the Cheapest Way to Get Around While Backpacking Through Japan?
First thing is to find some really cheap flights to Japan — this will greatly cut into the cost of the trip. Travel expenses can be minimized by using the Japan Rail Pass for visits up to three weeks. If you’re on a really tight budget, consider the Seishun Juhachi (18) Kippu train pass. It’s only good for a few times of the year (March 1-April 10, July 10-September 10, and December 10-January 10). The Highway buses are a great option if you’re looking for single leg journeys. Also, if you go overnight on a bus, you save money on your accommodations! Not a bad deal.
For accommodations, make sure you do a lot of research and book them in advance. There are a lot of choices when it comes to accommodations in advance, and finding cheap ones will help you stretch your budget even further. Hostels and Capsule Hotels offer a tremendous value if all you’re looking for is a place to rest your head at the end of the night. If you’re traveling as a couple, Love Hotels and Cheap Business Hotels offer good savings. Some other cheap ways to stay are camping (when weather permits), couch surfing, volunteering with a WWOOF host, and Rider’s Houses.
For some cheap eats, convenience stores offer an excellent source of food while you’re on the go during the day. Another interesting way to save money on food is to look for department store food stalls. They have a massive variety of foods including skewered meats, sushi boxes, rice balls, and so on. For a more sit-down experience, ramen noodle bars can be around 250 Yen and offer a great value. If you’re volunteering or doing a home stay, you can get some great home cooked meals for cheap with the people you’re staying with.
No matter what you want to see while you’re backpacking through Japan, you’re going to need to be a little budget conscious. Follow our tips outlined here to save money on flights, transportation, accommodations, and food. Save travels!