Best Tips for A Budget Travel in Japan

  • UPDATED Apr 10, 2018

Japan is a beautiful and culturally-rich country. More and more travellers are taking notice too. In 2016, more people visited Japan than ever before – 24.04 million, in total. All of these people will have enjoyed spectacular scenery, delicious food, friendly locals and much more. The country has an abundance of delights to impress you with – but it does have a reputation, especially in the cities, as being an expensive place to travel to. 

It’s possible to visit Japan and enjoy all that it offers on a budget. To convince you, we’ve come up with six things you can get involved with without worrying about what’ll cost. Of course, there’s much more to explore. But it’ll inspire you to start your journey. 

1. Appreciate the level of service

One of the first things you’ll notice in Japan is how welcoming people are. The level of service stands out as one of the best in the world. Everyone is polite and helpful and their hospitality is second-to-none. This goes for hotels, bars, restaurants, on transport and people you bump into. 

What’s more, there’s no tipping in Japan. This level of service is something you’ll get whether you’re dining in a fast food diner or an upmarket restaurant. Your budget doesn’t matter. You can still enjoy service which many countries – including America – could learn a few things from. 

2. Enjoy the art 

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Museums and art galleries regularly make budget travel lists – and for good reason, they tend to be low cost activities where you can immerse yourself in a country’s culture and history.

Japan offers something truly special when it comes to art. The tiny fishing island of Naoshima – which you can reach via either Takamatsu Port or Uno Port – is home to an impressive contemporary art haul, including museums, architecture and sculptures. Of course, you’ll want to head to the iconic giant pumpkin by avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama, as it’s listed by the Lonely Planet as a reason in itself to visit the island.

3. Have your coffee with additional entertainment 

Tokyo, Japan’s capital city, is home to an ever-increasing number of cafes with a difference. What makes them so special you might ask? You’ve probably heard about many in the news – there are cafes home to cats, bunnies, owls and many more animals. Some will charge an entrance fee, but others allow you to just bask in their company. You can even pay and take dogs to the local park if you fancy. 

4. Travel around in style

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To travel around Japan’s most amazing sights, it’s a good idea to get a rail pass. It’s a cost-effective way to travel around in super-fast and comfortable style. On one of Japan’s iconic bullet trains, the scenery will flash past. Japan Railways Group’s Rail Pass includes bullet train routes as well as much of the country’s rail network.

They’re available for 7, 14 or 21 days, and are incredibly economic. As Audley say, take a round trip on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto and the pass has paid for itself. You can then head to all the surrounding towns and villages as you wish. 

5. Lap up the technology luxuries

Even the smallest – and most unexpected – experiences can make your holiday memorable. You might have heard about Japan’s high-tech toilets before, but using one is something you’ve got to do, even if the dazzling number of buttons and combination of sprays, spritzes and blow drys is daunting. It’s best described as refreshing.

6. Enjoy great food

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Food will be one of your main expenses – but you can get a lot for your money in Japan. Of course, it’s the birthplace of sushi so that’s something you’ve got to try. You won’t need to spend a fortune, though, as Nomadic Matt says, even the worst sushi he had was still as good as the average sushi elsewhere in the world. Food is just one of the reasons this well-travelled blogger fell in love with Japan – we reckon it’ll be the same for you. 

Have you visited Japan? Share your experiences with us.