Thrifty Japan: Simple Ways to Save Money When in Japan

Simple Ways to Save Money When in Japan

(Tokyo, Japan) With the cost of life getting more and more expensive as time passes by, it is indisputable that everybody wants to save as much money as possible with each transaction involving money—be it getting a canned soda from a vending machine, or getting cheaper clothes in a shopping mall sale. Wanting to save more than spend more is normal nowadays. With that said, it’s not too hard to save money, especially when you’re informed and aware.

Shibuya Crossing by Luis Llerena - When in Japan
Shibuya Crossing by Luis Llerena – When in Japan

Here are some simple things you can do to save more when travelling in Japan.


Subway Station in Tokyo by Israel Sundseth
Subway Station in Tokyo by Israel Sundseth

  • It’s a given that when traveling, one should always avoid the peak seasons as much as possible (unless that’s your purpose in traveling). Peak seasons in Japan come from December 27 to January 4 (Christmas and New Year), April 29 to May 5, and the entire month of August (the Bon festival season).
  • When you get to Japan, avoid taking a taxi. Taxis usually would cost you twice or even thrice as much as compared to taking the bus or the train. Certain bus lines are synchronized with airline arrivals, so watch out for those.
  • Get a Japan Rail Pass. JR Pass is a train pass that can only be availed, foreign tourists. This rail pass offers unlimited rides on all train and bus lines managed by Japan Railways Group. You can get either 7 days or 14 days pass depending on how long are you staying in Japan. You can only get Japan Rail Pass in some of the authorized offices here in the Philippines.


Khaosan Tokyo Guest House Ninja
Khaosan Tokyo Guest House Ninja – More Tokyo Hotels from Agoda

  • Once again, we mention here the golden rule: avoid the peak seasons. Peak seasons mean peak hotel rates, and you don’t want to pay extra high rates. If you can’t avoid the peak seasons, you can try waiting last minute to book your hotel ticket. Some hotels offer cheaper packages last minute, so watch out for those.
  • If a hotel is not one of your options for accommodation, one best way of saving money is by staying in hostels or dormitory-type places. They’re small, but if you’re beat and tired you won’t be able to complain about that, anyway. Plus, the rates are unforgivably cheaper than any place!



  • Konbini or convenience stores in Japan offer cheap food, starting at 100 Yen. The food here would include onigiri and a variety of noodles and pre-cooked packed bento. Convenience stores are found in almost every street corner in the cities.
  • While in Japan, you should try eating in ramen stalls. Ramen stalls or noodle stands are also very abundant, and they would give you a glimpse of Japan’s culture in a bowl. Avoid expensive restaurants. You know it when you see one.


Souvenirs from Japan by Toshihiro Gamo via Flickr
Souvenirs from Japan by Toshihiro Gamo via Flickr

  • Instead of buying every single Japan-made thing you see, try going to Akiba or Akihabara and Shibuya. These places are Japan’s technological center and shopping district, respectively. By simply passing by the streets of these cities you’d be able to fill yourself up with Japan’s culture without even spending a single yen.
  • Walk around and bring your camera phone or camera. Some may think that taking photos is a cheap way of getting souvenirs from a certain place, but photos are much more personal and better (and cost less) souvenirs. One day you’d see a picture you’ve taken from 5 years ago, and be able to brag “hey, I took this picture of Mt. Fuji on a tree 5 years ago!”.

An extra tip: It pays to know a little Japanese! If you can understand/speak Japanese, you’d be able to ask the locals themselves about the cheapest accommodations, restaurants, markets, and more!

Also Read: Japan Budget Travel Guide: Exploring Japan on a Shoestring

Do you have other tips to share on how to save money while traveling in Japan? Feel free to post a comment 🙂

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