If you’ve been dreaming about a trip to Japan but you’re worried you can’t afford it, think again. A short-term vacation does not have to break the bank. While it isn’t as budget-friendly as destinations like Vietnam, Thailand or Indonesia, there are some measures you can take to avoid dropping the big bucks. It only requires a little planning ahead of time. Check out our cheap travel tips below to help you on your next trip to Japan!
Hyperdia is a travel planner website that will give you precise times and prices for train routes in Japan. If you’re debating whether or not you should purchase a JR pass, use it to compare the costs of individual train rides vs. the cost of the pass itself. Make sure you uncheck the “Nozumo/Mizuho” box under “Search Options” before you click “Search” since those trains aren’t included in the unlimited JR pass travel.
Travel outside of peak season
Peak season in Japan is mid-March to mid-April (Cherry Blossom season), end of April to the beginning of May (Golden Week) , mid-July to mid-August, mid-October to end of November, Christmastime and New Years. Therefore, the cheapest time to visit Japan is anytime outside of peak season. Not only will you save on hotel and airfare, but you won’t be fighting through crowds on public transportation or waiting in lines during your vacation.
Stay in a capsule hotel
Stereotypically frequented by businessmen who live far from their workplace, a capsule hotel is a quick and affordable option if all you need to do is sleep and bathe. Each capsule has all the amenities you need and is large enough for you to sit up in. Areas are gender-separated and shared bathrooms are on-site. Because they’re made for short-term stays, you might have to check-out and check-in each day if you plan on staying longer. It’s definitely a unique cultural experience since this type of accommodation is harder to find outside Japan.
Use budget airlines and flight deal websites
Some budget airlines that either fly to or within Japan are Peach Air, Air Asia, Jet Star, Jeju Air or Air Busan. If you’re flying from the United States, subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights for e-mail newsletters with flight deals or error fares. If you’re based in the United Kingdom or Europe, we recommend checking out Jack’s Flight Club. Secret Flying is another website with flight deals all over the world.
Shop at Japanese discount stores.
Daiso and Don Quijote (also known affectionately as Donki) are two stores you must visit when in Japan. They’re located all over the country and have a huge variety of Japanese knick-knacks, household items, cosmetics, snacks and all kinds of gadgets. Popular with locals and tourists alike, you can spend hours in there exploring and buying things you never knew you needed. A one-stop shop for souvenirs!
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