Japan is fast becoming one of the most popular countries in the world for tourism. With a rich history, culture, amazing food and cities you can get lost in for days it is no wonder Japan is becoming more popular by the day. This article will give you plenty of inspiration on how to save money on travel in Japan.
I am a Japan maniac, having travelled to the country 5 times in the past 5 years. I cannot get enough of this beautiful country. With that many trips to the country, I have learnt a thing or two about how to save money while travelling across Japan.
10 Ways to Save Money on Travel in Japan:
- Get a Japan Rail Pass
- Shop at 100-yen stores
- Travel on night buses
- Walk to your destination
- Eat food from convenience stores
- Stay at a capsule hotel
- Utilise free Wi-Fi
- Eat at Yoshinoya
- Find free attractions
- Fly using ANA’s Experience Japan fare
Get a Japan Rail Pass
A Japan Rail Pass from the Japan Railways Group is a great way to explore the country and save money on the amazing train network. Using the Japan Rail Pass is an budget smart way to get value and save money on the JR rail network, which includes the Shinkansen bullet trains that travels across Japan.
Having a rail pass allows unlimited travel across the JR train and subway network. The pass represents great value for travellers heading across the country as it includes the Shinkansen bullet train as well. However, the Nozomi Shinkansen is not included in the rail pass.
The JR train and subway network is the largest in Japan and incorporates the most popular lines in the major cities. The JR Yamonote line covers the most popular neighbourhoods in Tokyo such as Shinjuku, Shibuya and Akihabara. JR Osaka-Kanjosen line in Osaka covers every major tourist attraction and stations such as Tennoji and Kyobashi.
The rail pass can be purchased before your travel and picked up at the airports upon arrival. JR Rail Passes are only available to foreign visitors who meet the criteria. If you are planning a trip across several cities the rail pass is great value for money and will save money on travel in Japan.
Japan Rail Pass Prices
|7-day||39,600 円||19,800 円||29,650 円||14,820 円|
|14-days||64,120 円||32,060 円||47,250 円||23,620 円|
|21-days||83,390 円||41,690 円||60,450 円||30,220 円|
More information on Japan Rail Pass website.
Shop at 100-yen Stores
100-yen stores represent great value and are a great way to save money when travelling in Japan. These discount stores are perfect for purchasing souvenirs, tableware, snacks, drinks and other knick knacks you will need when in the country.
You can lost for a long time discovering what the 100-yen stores have to offer. There is always something handy or unusual that only the Japanese would ever think of. Not only that, it is the perfect way to get what you need and save money on travel in Japan.
Daiso is the largest 100-yen store chain with over 3,100 stores across Japan. The company is also expanding outside Japan and into other countries such as Australia, United States, Singapore and others.
Travel on Night Buses
Night buses are an insanely cheap way to travel across Japan. The night buses run overnight as the name might suggest and are extremely economical and a great way to travel between cities.
The time it takes to travel to your destination is longer than the Shinkansen bullet train, however the price is much cheaper and makes for a great option for the frugal minded traveller.
The most popular destinations for the night buses include Tokyo to Osaka, Tokyo to Kyoto, Tokyo to Nagoya and Osaka to Hiroshima.
The seats on the buses are quite luxurious for the price, with plenty of space, reclining seats and luggage holding. There is a toilet on most buses and a lot of them have electrical outlet and offer free Wi-Fi to keep you connected on your journey.
Walk to Your Destination
What better way to discover and explore Japan by walking to your destination? Countless times I have been walking and have found amazing temples, parks, landmarks and attractions I didn’t know existed that I would have missed if I had taken the train.
Japan is so well connected, especially in the major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka that you are never too far from a train station if you decide to wander. Walk through quiet streets and discover some amazing sights that Japan has to offer. I regularly get to 35,000 steps on a day exploring in Japan by just getting lost in the cities and finding what the culture has to offer on any given day.
Eat Food from Convenience Stores
Consider getting breakfast and lunch at a convenience store over a restaurant to save some cash. The largest 3 convenience companies in Japan are Family Mart, 7-Eleven and Lawson.
The stores have a range of delicious options that won’t break the budget. The fried chicken for less than 200 yen is absolutely to die for. Beautifully made sandwiches are only 200-300 yen. Bottles of water typically start at 90 yen. On top of that the bakery options are amazingly fluffy and soft.
Japan does convenience stores right. My go to routine is to grab a snack for breakfast and lunch on the go to save some money and then head to a restaurant for dinner.
Stay at a Capsule Hotel
A capsule hotel is a great way to save money on accommodation and immerse yourself in a truly unique Japanese experience at the same time. Capsule hotels range from around 2000 to 5000 yen depending on the features and location.
Capsule hotels have been a Japanese concept since the early 80’s. It is only recently that they have been exploding all across the country, and they encompass two key Japanese culture elements, practicality and minimalism.
My favourite capsule hotels in Japan are the 9 Hours chain that have several locations all across Japan. They are great value with first class facilities and provide an authentic experience that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
I had my first experience in a capsule hotel on my last trip to Japan. I absolutely loved the experience and would do it again for sure. Read my complete guide on Japanese capsule hotels from my most recent trip for a better understanding of what to expect and the etiquette inside the hotels.
Utilise Free Wi-Fi
Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries with some of the fastest internet in the world. So, it is only natural that there would be plenty of Wi-Fi hotspots around the country. Why not take advantage of it?
You will be surprised how much free Wi-Fi there is around if you look for it. From the moment you land in Japan, the airports all offer a free connection. Then, when you leave the airport, the train or bus will most likely have a free Wi-Fi service too. When you get to your hotel, they will provide you with your access code. I think you are getting the point.
It is very easy to be connected most of the time while travelling in Japan. An easy way to save money on travel in Japan is to ditch the international SIM card and take advantage of the amazing wireless network the country has.
Eat at Yoshinoya
Yoshinoya is a fast food chain who excel in cheap authentic Japanese meals. Started way back in 1899, the chain has been a staple of the streets of Japan since then. The restaurant is a great way to get a tasty meal while not paying through the nose for it.
The thinly sliced beef gyudon is absolutely delicious and is highly recommended by me. I really enjoy popping into a Yoshinoya as they are basically the McDonald’s of Japan. You know what you are going to get will be cheap, fast and tasty. Definitely worth checking out.
Find Free Attractions
Japan is a land of some of the most amazing free experiences in my opinion. With temples on every corner, parks, lakes and forests, you can do so much in Japan for free.
The countries’ temples are absolutely amazing and beautiful and are often free. You will find them all over the country and make for great photo opportunities.
Japan does parks extremely well, and they are immaculately maintained. The bigger ones feel like you are walking through a paradise sanctuary and are extremely stress relieving and peaceful.
There is so much to explore and experience in Japan, and a lot of it is free. Get walking and discover the real Japan outside of the major neighbourhoods.
Fly Using ANA’s Experience Japan Fare
Explore the more unusual tourist spots of Japan by using ANA’s Experience Japan Fare. The fare is offered to tourists and is an extremely cost-effective way to see and visit the smaller islands and save money on travel in Japan.
There are several different fares that go to different destinations, so grab the ticket that suits you and get exploring.
The routes offered on the ANA Experience Japan Fare are as follows:
| Sapporo to Wakkanai, Memanbetsu, Nemuro Nakashibetsu, Kushiro, Hakodate, Aomori, Akita, Sendai, Niigata, Fukushima |
Tokyo to Odate Noshiro, Akita, Shonai
Osaka to Aomori, Akita, Sendai, Fukushima, Niigata
|Tokyo to Osaka(Itami/Kobe/Kansai)||7,700 円|
|Routes aside from the above||11,000 円|
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