Here are a few tips for traveling Japan! You must check before coming to Japan!
Welcome to Japan!
Japan is simply chock-full of intriguing attractions, so while the yen has depreciated, you will definitely want to look into ways to stretch your dollar so that you can gain truckloads of experiences under your belt.
I will introduce here tried and tested, yet relatively unknown, ways in which you can cut down on your travelling costs in these four areas: accommodation, transportation, sightseeing and food.
So read on to find out some interesting ideas that you can apply on your next trip to Japan!
#1 Where to stay
Accommodation-wise, instead of the typical hotel or backpackers’ hostel, you may consider quirkier options ranging from capsule hotels to internet cafes and even love hotels. This way, you will be able to immerse yourself in Japanese society and observe how Japanese people interact with one another on a daily basis.
But for a more intimate (and free) experience, try out these websites, Couchsurfing and Warm Showers, both of which comprise passionate travel enthusiasts who will gladly host you for a day or two.
On top of that, they will offer you companionship that warms your soul.
Personally, aside from being able to talk to Japanese people on a deeper level, I also had fun experiencing their varied living arrangements, including college students’ dormitories, loft apartments (also known as double-deck apartments) and traditional cottages. What better way is there to soak up the dynamism of Japan than living with her people?
#2 How to get around
Perhaps your itinerary is packed full with stuff, so you do not really want to “waste” your nights staying at one place when you can be travelling to the next destination.
Overnight buses will be right up your alley as you board them in one of the main four islands in Japan and find yourself waking up the next day on another island!
Such is the convenience of these overnight buses. For starters, you may wish to look into Willer Express as it not only offers more than 20 bus routes that span across 30 prefectures, but also allows for reservations three months in advance, thus making it convenient to plan your trip.
Alternatively, get yourself the Seishun Juhachi Kippu. It is a railway ticket that gives you five full days of unlimited travel on Japan Railway trains all over Japan.
Although you cannot travel on limited express trains and shinkansens with this ticket, it will only set you back 11,850 yen and will encourage you to take in the magnificent natural scenery.
Traipsing across Japan has never been so cathartic.
#3 Getting info from the locals
After utilizing the various transportation options, you have now arrived at your destination and are just raring to create some memories.
But wait! Before you venture anywhere, visit the Visitor Information Centers that are strategically located at all major Japan Railway (JR) stations. Manned by staff personnel who speak pretty decent English, they are a handy resource for you to find out about the hidden nooks and crannies of their city – and the most affordable ways to get there.
Some major cities will even provide free comprehensive guidebooks for tourists like you.
These books often contain enticing discount coupons that will help you visit major sightseeing spots at bargain prices, so be sure to grab a copy of them! Other than discount coupons, Welcome Cards are also a viable option to help you save some bucks. Launched in Tokyo, Kobe, Kitakyushu and the Shoryudo region (Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Mie, Nagano, Shiga, Shizuoka, Toyama), they will enable you to get discounts and special services at sightseeing attractions, museums and shopping areas.
Shopping for souvenirs to give to the loved ones back home will surely ramp up the excitement factor of your sightseeing trip!
#4 At supermarkets
Last but not least, food is definitely an area in which budget-conscious travelers can save a lot.
To maximize the value of your dollar, visit supermarkets around 6:30 to 7 p.m. as employees start to paste discount labels on various foods that are still safe to eat but will expire later during the night.
These labels show the percentages by which the prices are reduced and make the already reasonably priced foods a steal!
In fact, try to remember these two Kanji characters that will save you a lot of money during your travels: 半額 (hangaku). Store employees will paste these “hangaku” stickers one or two hours before closing time, which means that you can buy food at half price! Eating in Japan has never been this light on the wallet.
Hopefully these tips will help you travel cheaply when you visit Japan. Happy traveling!