Japan on a Budget: Transportation

August 20th, 2013By Category: Travel


“Finally, we are in Japan…” is what you might think! But before we board the plane I have some more hints for you. There already has been an article about what to bring to Japan. Let us look at that topic again under the light of our small budget.

When people go somewhere for vacation, they usually bring all their hygene products with them. Though, if they stay longer than a few weeks, they might not. I would advise you to bring everything you need for your journey, even though it might add to your weight on the flight. Especially creams and deodorants carry a hefty price tag, even in the more cheaper stores. Imagine my shock when I realized that the deodorant I used was not only double the prize, but also half the size. Bring every hygene product that you need for the time you stay.

Bring a small set of medicine. Even though you can get the most important stuff at the drug store, I found that Japanese painkillers (for example) are too weak for me. And they are also pretty expensive. Bring what your body is used to and what you are comfortable with.

If you have it, bring a thermos bottle or something comparable. If you want to save money on drinks, you can go to the supermarket and buy Japanese tea in small bags. They can be made with cold water and only cost two dollars for a big pack.

A lot of places do not offer free Wi-Fi so if you must access the internet, you might want to bring a netbook that can access the Internet using a cable. Some hostels have a PC available for use, though. You might want to inquire about that before.

Finally, off to Japan!


We already covered the big routes during our planning. But of course, once we are in Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima, we do not want to walk everywhere on foot! Though I would advise you to check out areas by walking, this is not always an option. If you can, go to a tourist information and find out whether they have any special tickets worth mentioning. For example, in Hiroshima they had a special one day ticket that you could use throughout town.

If you are visiting Tokyo then chances are you will be spending a lot of time riding the Yamanote line. This is the green train line that runs in a circle around Tokyo. A good tip for saving money on the Yamanote Line is to buy an all day pass, called the Tokunai Pass on the ticket machine. Check out the video below for more details about exploring Tokyo on the Yamanote line.

Make sure you compare the prices and make an estimate on how often you want to use the train. Buses are usually much more expensive, so I would advise against it, even though there are exceptions. You can use websites like Hyperdia or Jorudan to check the connections and fees before to see how much money you might need. Both of these websites also have apps in the Play Store that you can download for free. In general, I would not say it is unusual to spend more than ten dollars a day just taking a train somewhere. You will probably get much closer to 15 or 20 if you want to see a lot, depending on what you are planning. Especially travelling a lot inside Tokyo can make you poor pretty fast if you do not pay attention.

Author of this article

Michael Werker

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