Friday, September 15, 2017

13 Budget Tips to Save Money While Traveling in Japan

       Japan is indeed more expensive if compared to other Asian countries. When I first set foot in the country (2009), everything seemed to be made of gold (pricey) and I remembered counting every Yen I had every day before bed just to make sure that I have money to last the whole trip…. well you couldn’t blame me for not knowing any tips and tricks to save, travel blogs then wasn’t as many as now.
Japanese Yen
       Fast forward to today, in this E-era, you can get any information online. Traveling to Japan doesn't sound so intimidating to your wallet anymore. Here is how you can fully enjoy Japan on a Budget:

1. Flight tickets for “free”. 

Grab free seats! I believe you already know that AirAsia offers “Free Seats” once in a while, so as long as you have fast internet and fast fingers, grabbing these free seats are as easy as 1,2,3. Unless you have this snail speed internet that keeps showing you a rotating circle… then I’m sorry for you.

Free seat means you only pay the airport service charge. During free seat period, a round-trip ticket from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to Kansai Airport cost less than RM400!

Air Asia

2. Avoid high season.  

If neither Hanami (Cherry blossom viewing) and Momijigari (Autumn Foliage viewing) are super high on your bucket list, try to avoid visiting Japan during these peak seasons. Other than that, things tend to become more expensive in Christmas and New Year week. During these times, not only that hotel prices will spike up, transportation tickets to popular attractions should be bought way beforehand of they’ll easily get “sold out”.

3.  Enjoy Japanese Bento. 

       If you are like me, taking food as the priority of a trip, refuse to “traffic” Mee Sedap in but still short of Yen, Bento box from the “conbini" department store is the answer. Since they are so convenient, you can easily keep them overnight (preferably in the hostel fridge) and bring them out as picnic lunch.
       I also urge you to try their cup noodles. I love the Maruchan Midori No Tanuki Instant Soba Bowl, comes along with Tempura… but others might have different taste. So tell me, what is your favorite?

4. Business Lunch.  

       If you insist on eating out, try to plan your cafe/restaurant meal at lunch time. You can have a well-balanced meal set (meat, rice, soup, vegetable included) starting at 500 Yen. (Let me know if you found a cheaper place to eat.) You can also get a bowl of noodles as low as 350 Yen.  
1. Just follow the local Japanese office workers, they know where to get the most worthwhile meals.
2. Go to a chain restaurant.
3. Look near metro stations.  

5. Quick bites. 

       Japanese street food maybe can’t fill your stomach (especially if you are a big eater), but they sure are delicious ( and cheap)! So keep a place in your stomach (and maybe heart) for them. Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers// I would like to call it Japanese Satay) is one of the most popular street food. Or, you can get a Shioyaki (Fish Satay) for less than ¥300.

       I’ve tried dango during a festival market. Even though you might not like mochiko (rice flour), you might not be able to resist… Some are really cute and instagrammable!

6. Self Catering. 

       Oldest trick in the book to save money. Cook it yourself. If you are short of ideas, here are a few easy hostel recipes you can follow. Usually, supermarkets in Japan offer up to 50% discount on Fresh ingredients at night. I forget exactly when they start to discount stuff, but be there 30 minutes before closing. That will give you a good chance to grab some food. I once got a filling Sushi set for only ¥300! Oh glory to God!

7. Budget Accommodation.  

       Nice accommodation in Japan isn’t necessarily expensive. Staying in a Capsule hostel is a uniquely Japanese experience. Although there are a lot of capsule hostel budding out all around the world, come try the original!
       How did this Capsule concept even started? According to one of the Japanese friends, the idea started when office workers missed the last train home, and thus these basic place just to spend a night were in demand.
       Are there other options? Yes, there are tons! Read further for more information: (COMING SOON)
       Traveling in a group? Use Airbnb! Here is a $35 discount for your future stay in Japan!

8. Yes or No to JR Pass? 

This depends on your travel plan. Ask yourselves:
a) Are you going from cities to cities? No? Only Tokyo? Then JR Pass is not for you. 
b) How long are you going to stay in one city? Are you doing day trips to all neighboring cities from Tokyo? Then Maybe you can consider buying a pass. 
c) Are you traveling often? Only taking the train once in your trip? Then save your money, you do not need a pass. 
d) Are these cities accessible by overnight bus? Normally if a city is reachable by bus, I’ll take the bus. Why? I’ll state the reason in the next point. 

       However, if you are traveling for a longer period of time (more than a week), the JR Pass is definitely a good investment. A JR pass gives you unlimited travel on train, buses, and ferries for a set number of days (7, 14 or 21). I believe most visitors would like to experience the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) at least once. With a JR Pass, you can.
A post shared by Vivian Dominique Lee (@littlemisshappyfeet) on

9. Highway Bus. 

       Most of my friends love the Japanese buses, especially the Night intercity buses. Not only that this is the cheapest ways to get around Japan, taking a night bus enable tourists to save big on accommodation.
There aren't many websites that provide information in English, but here are some:
VIP Liner
Highway buses
Japan Bus line 

10. Buy discounted tickets at Kinken. 

       The kinken store is where visitors can buy rail and bus tickets at a heavily discounted price. These stores normally are located near the metro stations. "Daikokuya" is one of the best known. They also do currency exchange.

11. Buy a day pass.

Most cities offer one-day passes for attractions or/and transportation (within the city). Last spring, we held a giveaway on our Facebook page and the winner of the 3-Days Tokyo Metro Pass later informed us that the day-pass that allows unlimited metro rides really comes in handy.

12. Free attractions. 

Cities in Japan offers endless opportunities for tourists who want to travel on the cheap. Free attractions in Tokyo, for example, include Shibuya crossing, Harajuku, Ueno Park, Meiji Shrine, and so much more! Remember to do some homework prior to the trip!
A post shared by Vivian Dominique Lee (@littlemisshappyfeet) on

13. 100 Yen shops.  

       I bet you shopped at Daiso before. In Japan, there are more: Seria and Can Do…. These 100 yen shops sell all their product at 100 yen, so it's up to you to decide whether or not the purchase is worth it. There are snacks, plastic containers, cosmetics, stationery and much more. It’s a good place to pick up some things you had forgotten to pack.
       They also sell small decorative stuff like phone cases and cute magnets, so if you (and your friends) don’t mind, you can even pick some souvenirs here.
Japanese Cat

Want some tips to Kansai? Read more: 
Traveling to Japan soon? Don't forget your manners:
Wanna know about Japan Hidden Gems? Read more: 

Follow me on Instagram if you would like to see more photos! 
📌For more travel tips, like Eat Love Travel Breathe with Miss HappyFeet. 
📌Subscribe to the monthly newsletter for exclusive travel deals, tips, free E-books, monthly giveaway and travel coupons! 
Thank You for Reading! This post is based solely on my personal experience. If you have more tips,  feel free to share your knowledge with us by commenting below!

No comments: