Is Japan Really as Expensive as People Think it is.
Japan is not as expensive place to visit as most people would think. Some elements of your travel can be done cheaply while others are a bit pricey. You might have to make an adjustment on what you usually do on your holiday.
What will surprise you is how expensive the bullet train is in Japan. Often it is less expensive to take a flight which is true for many countries including the UK. A trip from Tokyo to Kyoto which is about a 2 hour journey will cost you a whopping £70 one way. Luckily there are alternatives. Firstly you can take the bus. The biggest bus company in Japan is willerexpress.com and they have an English website. A trip from Kyoto to Tokyo will only cost 3600 yen or more. Journey time is significantly longer and most people will go on an overnight bus so they can sleep while they travel.
Regional trains are also a good alternative, although they are a lot slower. Some journeys are simply not worth taking as there will be too many changes and the bus will be quicker and cheaper. A good example is Kyoto to Osaka where a journey will cost 500 yen on the regional train but will cost 1200 yen using the bullet train. But the difference in journey time is only about 10 minutes.
You can also buy a Japan Rail Pass before you go. These passes are only available to tourists and must be purchased before you travel into Japan. You can choose to get a 1 week, 2 week or 3 week pass. These passes will allow you to travel on most trains including the bullet trains unlimited amount of times for the duration of the pass’s validity. If you plan and travelling on the bullet train it is a must as just one journey with out the pass could be the same value as the weekly Japan Rail Pass.
Regular hotels can be very expensive as well. Property is very expensive in Japan which clearly translates to accommodation. Hotel rooms also tend to very small so if you are American you might be disappointed if you are not ready for it. Thank fully Japan has come up with an alternative in the form a something called a capsule hotel. It’s basically like a hostel but beds are fully enclosed and come with their own TV and air conditioning. These hotels are often better suited for single travellers and couples need to be aware that they are segregated.
Using a Ebookers discount code when booking either a flight, bus or hotel will also give an additional saving on top of the money saving travel hack in this article. Take a look at our flight discount codes section for your return flight to Japan. Hotels.com also has a strong presence in Asia with many budget hotels listed.
Sim cards can be a bit tricky to get hold of compared to most western countries. There are many free wifi hotspots in Japan particularly around stations so you could just rely on them. Alternatively Yodobashi department store does sell a tourist sim card with some data included
Believe it or not but the metro in Tokyo and Osaka are not as expensive as some European cities like London. Expect to pay only about 150 Yen for a short journey or 220 Yen for a medium length journey.
Another item of good value are the meals and snacks sold in convenience stores like Family Mart or Seven Eleven. You care eat almost all your meals here if you choose and will only cost you 500 yen on average. These stores are on almost every corner so you won’t have a problem finding them.
You’ll also be pleasantly surprised that museums and tourist attractions are typically only 500 Yen. Some of the more popular sights might go as high as 1500 yen but that is rare.
If you are a fan of the clothing line Uniqlo, a Japanese company offering high quality items, you’ll find them to be less expensive in Japan than in your home country so feel free to stock up. You will also be able to shop tax free if you spend over 5000 yen in one go. So make sure to take your passport with you as this is required.