Japan has a strong economy, which is reflected in the high cost of living in the country. The country has a high standard of living, which is reflected in the prices of its goods and services.
Despite the high cost of living, Japan is still a popular destination for tourists as it has a rich culture, beautiful natural surroundings, and a wide range of attractions, including temples, museums, and parks.
To witness Japan’s rich and fascinating culture, many tourists follow an itinerary listing Japan’s most interesting spots, but forget that they can also visit Japan on a budget. This is why we’re giving some extra tips on being mindful of your spending while still enjoying all Japan has to offer.
Why is Japan’s cost of living so high?
Japan is known as a country with a high cost of living, and the main reason for this is the country’s strong economy, which leads to high wages and thus also a high standard of living. As a result, the prices for goods and services are higher – including housing, transportation, food, and traditional Japanese clothing.
Another reason why the cost is that high is the country’s small size and limited resources, which have led to high import costs and limited competition in specific industries – the rule of demand in effect.
How to travel through Japan on a budget?
It is possible to travel through Japan on a budget, but it requires some effort when you plan your trip to keep costs down. Some ways to save money while traveling in Japan include:
- Choose your destination wisely: Some cities in Japan, like Tokyo and Osaka, are known for their high costs of living, while other cities, like Fukuoka and Sapporo, are more affordable. We wrote guides on the top cities to visit in Japan but also on Japan’s hidden gems, which might help you to choose a more affordable city where you can save money on accommodation, transportation, and other expenses.
- Stay in a hostel or guesthouse: Hotels in Japan can be expensive, especially in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. A cheaper alternative is to stay in a hostel or guesthouse, which are often much more affordable than hotels. These types of accommodations also offer a chance to meet other travelers and can be a more social and authentic experience.
- Use public transportation: Japan has an extensive and efficient public transportation system that is a great way to save money on transportation costs. The Japan Rail Pass is a popular option for travelers, which allows you to use the Shinkansen (bullet train) and other local trains throughout the country at a discounted price.
- Eat local food: Japanese cuisine is known for its high quality and attention to detail, but it can also be expensive. A cheaper option is to eat local food, such as street food or food from convenience stores, which is often much more affordable than dining at restaurants.
- Take advantage of free activities: Japan has many free or low-cost activities to enjoy, such as visiting temples, walking through parks and gardens, or exploring local neighborhoods. By taking advantage of these free activities, you can save money and still experience the best that Japan has to offer.
- Use discounts and coupons: Many tourist attractions in Japan offer discounts or coupons to travelers, so be sure to look for these deals before you visit. Some popular options include the Tokyo City Pass and the Osaka Amazing Pass, which offer various attractions and transportation discounts.
- Plan: The best trip when you’re traveling Japan on a budget is to plan out every detail to reduce travel costs and have a zero-waste footprint, so make sure you plan ahead in order to have the best experience!