Here's How To Visit Japan On A Budget

Planning, making smart choices, and embracing the local culture and cuisine will give you a memorable and affordable experience in this country

Japan, with its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities, has long been a dream destination for travellers around the world. However, many people shy away from visiting Japan due to the perceived high costs associated with travel to this beautiful country. The truth is, it's entirely possible to explore Japan on a budget without sacrificing the quality of your experience. Here are some valuable tips on making your dream trip to Japan affordable without compromising on the essence of this incredible destination.

Consider Your Transportation Options

Train in Japan
Train in Japansat0ru_k0sug1/Instagram

Investing in a Japan Rail Pass can be a cost-effective option if you plan to travel between cities. This pass allows unlimited travel on Japan's extensive and efficient rail network for a set period, saving you significant money compared to purchasing individual tickets.

Choose Your Accommodation Wisely

Japan offers many accommodation options, from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses. To save money, consider staying in capsule hotels, ryokans (traditional Japanese inns), or budget-friendly chain hotels. Booking well in advance can also help you secure lower rates.

Capsule hotel in Japan
Capsule hotel in Japantodoku_japan/INstagram

Eat Smart And Cheap

Sushi in a restaurant
Sushi in a restaurantdaikisuisan/Instagram

Japanese cuisine is renowned for its quality and variety, but dining in high-end restaurants can be expensive. To save money, eat at local izakayas (Japanese pubs), street food stalls, and affordable restaurants. Look for "set menus" or lunch specials that offer good value for your money.

Enjoy Free Or Low-cost Attractions

Japan has many amazing sights and attractions that you can enjoy for free or for a low fee. For example, you can visit some of the most famous temples and shrines in Japan, such as Senso-ji in Tokyo, Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto, or Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, which are free to enter (although some may charge a small fee for entering certain buildings or areas).

You can also explore some of Japan's most beautiful gardens and parks, such as Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, or Kenrokuen in Kanazawa, which are free or charge a nominal entrance fee. You can also enjoy some of the best views of Japan from observation decks or towers, such as Tokyo Skytree, Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, or Nagoya TV Tower, which offer discounted tickets for foreign visitors or have free sections.

Catch The Free Festivals

Cherry blossom in Japan
Cherry blossom in JapanUnsplash

You can also catch some of the free festivals and events that take place year-round in Japan, such as cherry blossom viewing (hanami) in spring, fireworks (hanabi) in summer, autumn foliage (koyo) in fall, or snow festivals (yuki matsuri) in winter.

Plan Ahead

Planning is the key to travelling on a budget anywhere, and Japan is no exception. Start by setting a budget for your trip and researching the various expenses you'll incur, such as accommodation, transportation, food, and activities. Consider using budgeting apps and websites to keep track of your expenses and find cost-effective options for your journey.

Local Transportation

While the Japan Rail Pass is excellent for intercity travel, consider using local transportation options such as buses, trams, and subways within cities. These options are usually more affordable than taxis and provide a chance to experience Japan's efficient public transportation system.

Convenience Stores

Convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Lawson, and FamilyMart are ubiquitous in Japan and offer a wide range of affordable food and snacks. You can grab everything from onigiri (rice balls) to bento boxes and drinks at these stores, making them a budget-friendly dining option.


Instead of splurging on expensive souvenirs, consider purchasing affordable and unique items from local markets and craft shops. Traditional Japanese goods like fans, handcrafted ceramics, and textiles make memorable and budget-friendly keepsakes.

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