10 Ways to Save Money While Traveling Japan13 October 2015
Japan is one of the most expensive countries in East Asia and after a week of traveling in Taiwan (where the American dollar does very well) I felt the weight of the yen even more once I arrived in Tokyo. Talk about sticker shock!
From hanging out with locals and by my own ingenuity I found a few ways to cut down on the cost of traveling Japan for two weeks. Here's the techniques I employed:
1 | Use couch surfing
|My host, Yuki, showing me Osaka|
2 | Sleep in unconventional places
Some nights I purposefully stayed in the airport and slept there. As I see it, if my flight arrive at 12 am in a foreign city, I might as well just find a comfy chair and rest until day light. Another option in most major cities through Japan are internet cafes which are open 24/7. In Kyoto I used Tops Cafe which offered my own cubicle, wifi, and unlimited drinks and ice cream. It only cost me 30 USD for the night! You can typically find internet cafes around major train stations.
Convenience stores (konbini) in Japan are so next level. You can get good, warm meals from 7/11 that are perfect for enjoying in a park on a cool Autumn day. Plus you don't even have to pull out cash, just use your Pasmo (Tokyo subway and bus pass) to pay. My favorite konbini snack was hot, salted lemon-lychee water and pickled plum rice balls.
Street food, like most Asian countries, is also abundant in Japan. Make a meal by picking up a few cheap things here and there.
4| Follow the free samples!
Want a mug of hot, authentic green tea? Kyoto has got you covered. Many of the shops in the tourist areas offer free samples of their wares. Kyoto is also known for yatsuhashi (glutinous rice wrapped around a sweet center). Black sesame is a traditional flavor but there are many other flavors in the shops of Ginza that one can try for free.
5 | Take in some eccentric culture
People watching is completely free and there's nowhere better to do that in Tokyo, Japan. Rockabillies in Meiji Park, lolitas in Harajuku, and cosplayers in Sunshine City are just some things you can spy. If you'd prefer to be inside, passing some time in a manga shop reading "boy love" comics can be fairly entertaining. If that's not your thing, it only cost a couple yen to play vintage video games in Akihabara.
|Mt Fuji from the bullet train|
7 | Enjoy local festivals
|Good fortune rakes|
8 | Take your beers and head to the park
In Japan it's perfectly legal to drink and be drunk in public as long as you're not being disorderly. That's why many locals will go the cheap route and skip the bars, opting instead to buy a pack of beers with friends and taking them to the park. Japan is such a safe country so no one has any reserves about going to the park at night.
9 | Collect free souvenirs
I personally I am not much of a souvenir person. Even when I am in a shop, it's hard to come by something that will pique my interest enough to purchase it. I do, however, have a penchant for collecting things. Vibrant fall leaves, curvy liquor bottles, and seashells can all be found on the ground for free and make beautiful souvenirs.
10 | Skip the temples with an entrance fee
What are your money saving tips for travel?