Japan has a reputation for being an expensive place to travel, but this image, if you look closely, does not correspond to reality.
With a little skill, visiting Japan can be very budget-friendly. So, many of the main attractions of the country are actually worthless, and free festivals are held all year round.
First tip: you need to stay at a business hotel. These budget hotels offer the best prices: you can find double rooms for only 8,000 yen (4,600 rubles), and single rooms for 6,000 yen (3,400 rubles) per day. In some cities — Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, for example — they will be a little more expensive. Of course, choose a hotel with an included breakfast buffet.
Another accommodation option is guest house or hostel. There are fantastic guest houses and hostels in Japan. All over the country, they are usually not only clean and well maintained, but also with friendly English-speaking staff. The rooms are comparable in price to a business hotel, but usually have common amenities. Beds in a shared room cost about 3,000 yen (1,700 rubles).
In some places, there is an additional charge for using towels, so you can save a few yen by bringing your own. Prices are often cheaper if you book directly rather than through the aggregator’s website.
Finally, take a closer look at capsule hotels in cities. Capsule hotels with only enough space for a bed are an inexpensive option for overnight stays. A sleeping place in a capsule costs a little more than a shared bed in a hostel — about 4,000 yen (2,300 rubles) per night, but it is guaranteed without a neighbor or roommate. Staying in a capsule every night is not a good idea, but they are really good for saving money in cities where hotels are more expensive.
Camping in the summer months. Japan has a very well-developed network of well-maintained campsites in rural and resort areas. Prices range from 500 to 1000 yen per person or tent (600-1, 200 rubles). Please note that many facilities are only open in summer.
Japan Rail Pass for travel and economy.
JR Pass is one of the most profitable travel deals in the world and the best way to see the whole of Japan on a limited budget. The pass allows you to travel without restrictions on the magnificent national railway system of Japan, including the Shinkansen high-speed train.
There are cheaper train tickets, different for each region, so carefully study your route before making a decision.
Save on local trains with a ticket Seishun 18
Seishun 18 is another type of travel card, but with very specific conditions: for 12,050 yen (6,900 rubles) You get a five—day ticket that is valid for travel on any regular Japan Railways train — not shinkansen or express trains – for a limited period of several weeks. The Seishun 18 ticket is only available at certain times throughout the year – during school holidays. Initially, the ticket was intended for students, but there are no age restrictions. It can only be purchased at JR box offices in Japan. If the time is chosen well, fans of leisurely travel will receive a unique, ultra-cheap way to travel around the country.
Overnight bus ride instead of a hotel.
Long-distance buses, such as the Willer Express, are the cheapest way to travel. There are night buses on longer routes, which allows you to save a night on accommodation. There are also bus passes that can make this option even cheaper.
Local flights by budget airlines.
There are several low-cost airlines in Japan, such as Peach, Jetstar and Air Do, which offer prices similar to bus fares on some routes. Here, however, the cost of a trip from the city to the airport is added.
Shrines and temples in Japan are free to visit.
Entry to the vast majority of Shinto shrines in Japan costs nothing. Similarly, the territory of many temples can be viewed for free. Often you have to pay only for the entrance to individual halls or an enclosed garden.
Cheap food at traditional festivals.
Throughout the year, festivals take place in sanctuaries and temples, as well as on city streets. They are free, they are a great way to see traditional culture come to life, and they are often visited by sellers of cheap food.
Hiking and walking tours.
A free hiking trip can be the most useful part of a trip: you can explore urban areas, walk along old pilgrimage trails or climb mountains in one of Japan’s national parks. In cities, especially in Tokyo, there are several fantastic buildings designed by famous architects, and you can plan your route so that you get your own architectural tour. The tourist information center or the hotel reception can help.
City parks are generally free to visit, as are some gardens. They are popular with locals on weekends. Have a small picnic and watch the locals. If you calculate the time of your visit correctly, you can enjoy the beauty of the blooming Japanese sakura.
Cheap products on the local market.
Many seaside towns have fish markets, rural areas have morning markets, and in some places old—fashioned open-air markets have been preserved. Visiting such places is a great way to get to know the local culture and buy cheap fresh food.
The right dishes in the right places.
For less than 1,000 yen (600 rubles), you can order a delicious dish at shokudo. A bowl of delicious steamed ramen costs only 600 yen (350 rubles) in many places. In tachigui, soba — buckwheat noodles and udon — thick white wheat noodles are sold even cheaper — from only 350 yen (200 rubles) per plate.
Many upscale restaurants in Japan organize business lunches at lunchtime. The same dishes are much cheaper than dinner, so eat more! In all restaurants in Japan, tea and water are poured for free, and tips are not required.
Bento — dinner at home.
These packaged, wide variety of dishes can be purchased in supermarkets for less than 1,000 yen (600 rubles). In the grocery halls of department stores, delicacies are sold a little more expensive; stop by shortly before closing time to buy them on sale.
Convenience stores are the best friend for all budget travelers. It serves sandwiches, rice balls, hot dishes and beer. There is always a kettle in the rooms, so noodles in cups are always an affordable option.
So, daily expenses in Japan:
Capsule hotel room: 4,000 yen (2,300 rubles);
Basic room for two: 8,000 yen (4,600 rubles);
Self-catering apartments: 6,000 yen (3,400 rubles);
Coffee: 400 yen (230 rubles);
Sandwich: 300 yen (170 rubles);
Pint of beer at the bar: 600 yen (340 rubles);
Dinner for two: 5,000 yen (3,000 rubles);
Karaoke hour for two: 2,000 yen (1,150 rubles).