Budget travel in Japan: Ten tips for frugal travelers in Japan
1. Accommodations in Japan are known to be expensive, but there are still great deals to be found.
- For cheap rooms look at youth hostels and business hotels first, or try spending the night in a capsule hotel.
- Love motels offer unique ambience at affordable prices. They can also be rented by the night or by the hour.
- Family-owned and operated Japanese style inns called minshuku offer a reasonably priced bed, and if you’re lucky, you might get a meal or two. Plus, you’ll gain first-hand knowledge of traditional Japanese lifestyles. Contact the Minshuku Association of Japan for more information.
2. A car rental is both economical and convenient if you are traveling in the remote countryside in groups of two or more.Japan’s domestic car rental agency, ToCoo, offers excellent rates, and they offer support in English.
- Check for discount coupons online.
- An international driving permit is required for renting a car in Japan.
- Rental cars are economical, but the price of toll fees and gas prices can add up. Do your homework in advance.
3. Take a tour with a Goodwill guide. These guides are local residents and volunteers who offer personal tours of their city or town.
- You are expected to pay entrance fees and buy lunch for your guide.
4. Avoiding taxis and expensive parking fees and opt for public transportation or walking.In Japan, tourist attractions are a lot closer than you think.
- Buy day passes instead of single tickets if you’re traveling by public transpo.
5. Traditional meals like sushi and udon might be expensive at a fancy restaurant, but they’re relatively inexpensive at supermarkets, convenience stores, department store food courts, and small family-owned restaurants.
6. Shop for souvenirs at flea markets and 100 yen shops. Avoid pricey mega-department stores.
7. Lodging and meal expenses drop once you leave big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. Find a room in the countryside and enjoy your room at half the price.
8. Select one or two tourist attractions that you don’t want to miss and skip the rest. You’ll save a bundle by avoiding expensive entrance fees.
9. An overnight ferry or bus ride is a cheap way to travel, and you’ll also save on lodging as well.
10. There are loads of free things to do in Japan. Do your research and remember that some of the best Japanese experiences are free: a drive through the rural countryside, window shopping, parks and gardens, even department stores are all excellent places to learn about Japanese culture.