It’s true that it’s possible to spend a lot of money quickly while visiting Tokyo (some of us know from personal experience). However, this shouldn’t deter budget travelers from visiting. There are plenty of ways to have an incredible experience in this vibrant city on a budget of $100 per day. Here are some suggestions for how to stretch your dollar- or yen – on accommodations, transportation, food & drink, and attractions in Japan’s capital city.
With a bit of internet scouring, you’ll be able to find a variety of no-frills (yet clean and comfortable) hotels in Tokyo for under $60 USD per night (be sure to read the reviews before booking). Airbnb also has affordable one and two-bedroom apartment options in desirable neighborhoods. If you’re traveling with others, try to find accommodations you can share to bring the cost down even more.
Tokyo has a robust public transportation system that makes it very affordable to get where you need to go. The subway system is relatively easy to navigate (even for non-Japanese speakers) and at 800 yen (approximately $7) for a 24-hr ticket, it’s by far your cheapest option. Most of Tokyo’s interesting neighborhoods are pedestrian friendly, which means you’ll be saving money as you soak in the amazing sights, sounds, and smells on your own time. Sharing the cost of a cab with other travelers is also relatively inexpensive if you can’t take public transportation or walk.
Food & Drink
If you’re looking for a city teeming with culinary bliss, you’ve chosen the right city to travel to! Tokyo is known for its street food stalls that serve up hot soba and ramen (noodles), fresh sushi, and bean curd sweets (among other delectable options). Not only is this definitely the cheapest way to eat, but you’ll also fit right in with the locals who frequent these spots during the work week. Affordable sit-down dinner options include shabu-shabu (boiled meat and vegetables), sushi counters (fresh and fantastic!), and tempura (lightly battered and fried meat, seafood, and vegetables). Local beers like Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo tend to be the cheapest alcoholic drink options (and pair well with savory Japanese dishes). Be sure to try a bubble tea/boba (flavored, sweetened tea with tapioca pearls) as an inexpensive pick-me-up while you’re out and about, sightseeing.
Speaking of sightseeing, there are plenty of free or very affordable. There are walking and biking paths that surround the impeccably landscaped Imperial Palace. No bike? No problem. Every Sunday the Palace provides 150 free bikes for pedaling along the Palace’s cycling course. Senso-ji, one of Tokyo’s famous Buddhist temples, is free to visit and offers quite the experience – be sure to take your time and browse souvenirs in the countless stalls leading up to the temple itself. Another great way to experience the local culture without breaking the bank is to attend a matsuri (festival). These happen frequently in and around Tokyo. Check out gotokyo.org for more information about festivals and cultural events that will be happening when you’re in town.
Have you traveled to Japan? Do you have any other suggestions for how to save money while having an unforgettable experience in Tokyo? Let us know in the comments section.