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Japan on a budget


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Whether you are on a quick layover, short trip or extended vacation, there are always ways to stick to a budget while traveling in Japan. While there are many cost-effective ways to explore Japan without breaking the bank, here are a few tips to help any traveler explore Japan on a budget.

Free attractions and sites

One of the best ways to explore Japan on a budget is to visit all the free sites and attractions, and there are many. For starters, there are many parks and gardens to choose from. The perfect place to relax, enjoy a picnic, people watching or a welcome break from the fast-paced city feel, and the best part is, they are free! From Yoyogi Park to Inokashira Park and Ueno Park they each offer natural beauty and depending on the season, the foliage will be sure to impress.

Check websites for discount days

Many museums and attractions offer discount days, or sometimes even days where admission is free. If you have specific sites in mind, always research ahead of time and plan accordingly, as the day you visit may make all the difference in terms of price. To explore Japan on a budget, a simple shift in the days you visit can help cut down on costs.

Travelling in Japan on a Budget

Window shopping

While Japan has some of the best shopping in the world it is, of course, tempting to shop til you drop. However, if you are doing your best to see Japan on a budget then it is advisable only to window shop. There are plenty of windows and shopping districts which make it appealing to admire the fashion trends without needing to take out your wallet. Additionally, exploring areas like Harajuku provide an opportunity to admire street fashion as the youngsters sit out on the street displaying the latest and hippest trends.

Tax-free shopping

There are several malls and shopping areas designated for tax-free shopping. If you are planning to make purchases it is best to plan strategically to shop at tax-free shopping malls or designated tax-free shopping establishments.

Travel in the off-season

If your travel date is flexible, it can make a huge difference in price to travel in the off-season. Not to mention that all the sites will have fewer crowds, visiting Japan in a less busy time is one of the best ways to see Japan on a budget. Ideally, from late autumn until mid-march, prices on both flights and accommodation tend to be much cheaper. Keep in mind that the week of the New Year’s holiday prices will rise again.

Vending Machine and Street Food

If you are trying to keep costs down, one of the best ways to taste Japan on a budget is to take advantage of the many vending machines scattered throughout the country. It is amazing to find all the options from hot meals to a cold beer or even crepes. Vending machines are not only fun to use but they are cost effective. Additionally, eating street food is another way to keep costs low. Although the price of street food is lower it is equally delicious and worth tasting regardless of the budget.

vending machine in Japan

Stay in a hostel or capsule hotel

Another great way to cut costs without cutting comfort is to stay in a hostel or a capsule hotel. Many of the hostels offer excellent accommodation including private or shared rooms. Additionally, staying in a capsule hotel is a unique and memorable experience while traveling in the country and an excellent way to enjoy a comfortable stay in Japan on a budget.

Convenience stores

Japan has many convenience stores selling inexpensive, pre-packaged foods and other grocery and home items. The three most common include 7-Eleven, Lawson, and FamilyMart while there are many other smaller chains such as Ministop and Circle K Sunkus. A great place to stock up on inexpensive snacks, meals or toiletries, or basically anything that you may need, as the name says, these stores are convenient.

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