Japan is one of the most desired travel destinations in Asia, mainly due to the culture and the beauty of the country on the whole. If you’re planning to visit the Land of the Rising Sun, you probably have had ideas on where to go and how long you want to stay. How about the expenses, have you ever considered how much budget to take with you on your trip?

Japan is known as one of the most expensive countries to travel, that’s a fact. However, there are ways to travel this beautiful country on a budget. In this article, I listed the four most effective ways you can save money when traveling in Japan. These techniques personally helped me to stay in Japan longer than I originally planned.  Here are my 4 ultimate keys to traveling Japan on a budget:

Traveling Japan on a Budget

#1: Time to Visit

Know the Right Time to Visit

One of the keys to traveling Japan on a budget is to know what the perfect season for you to go. There are particular seasons of the year when it’s cheaper to go. On top of cheaper hotel rates and better airfare tickets, if you visit Japan while it is the low season, you can enjoy delight in less crowded attractions.

To help you further, here are some more tips to know the best time to visit:

  • Late Fall or Early Winter

One of the things I discovered when traveling to Japan is that the best way to keep your expenses down is to schedule your trip during the time of the year when not many Japanese are traveling. This is when Japanese kids are in school. That period is from the month of September to the month of November. This is when the rates of the hotels and attractions are lower than the other times of the year.

  • Late Winter or Early Spring

The months of February through March are another good season to travel to Japan. Just like the months of September to November, this season is also low season so you can expect to not deal with such a huge crowd when going to places frequently visited by tourists.

Time to Avoid

  • New Year and Golden Week

Oppositely, there are also times of the year better be avoided. New Year or last week of December and the first week in January, and Golden Week, which is a series of celebrations that take place by the end of April and the first week of May are two of the peak seasons in Japan. Throughout these two big holiday periods, you can expect to see big flows of people both locals and foreigners, trying to make the most out of these Japanese seasons, which causes for establishments to drive up their rates and airlines increase their ticket fares.

Traveling Japan on a Budget

#2: Know Where to Stay

Contrary to popular belief, finding an affordable place to stay in Japan is not difficult at all if you’re traveling Japan on a budget. As long as you know where to stay, you can save a lot of money on accommodation on your trip. What more is that many of these affordable accommodations are located in the city centers where all exciting things happen, which makes is it easier for you to do your shopping, find a place to eat, and go for a walk.

No matter which Japanese city you choose to go, finding an affordable place to stay shouldn’t be a problem. All in all, there are four types of accommodations you can find in Japan:

  • Dorms and Hostels (¥1500-¥3000 per person)
  • Capsule Hotels (¥2500-¥5000 per person)
  • Ryokan, Minshuku, and Pensions (¥3000-¥10000 per person)
  • Business Hotels (¥5000-¥7000 per person / ¥8000-¥10000 per double room)

What mentioned above are the standard and traditional accommodations in the country. You can easily check rates and book online here. Personally, my favorite place to find a place to stay that offers what mentioned above is Airbnb, which offers an easier way to compare prices. If you’re not already an Airbnb member, you can sign up here and get a credit off your first stay.

Traveling Japan on a Budget

#3: Use Japan Rail Pass

When in Japan, you’re likely to use the public transportation to get you from a place to another. In order for you to save money on transportation, it will be a smart idea to have Japan Rail Pass. This is absolutely the most affordable way to travel the country if your plan is to visit different cities as it provides you with access to most Japan Rail trains along with high-speed bullet trains, buses, as well as ferries. You have to know, however, that Japan Rail Pass is only available to those who are planning to stay in the country less than three months. You can get these discount passes online before your planned trip; you cannot possibly buy the pass anywhere in the country even at train stations, airport, or travel agencies. The moment you booked your pass, you will receive a voucher which you can exchange for the pass at any JR ticket office when you arrive.

There are three types of passes for you to choose from, in both first class and coach class and: the 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day rail pass, which costs between ¥29,110 and ¥59,350 for coach class, and ¥38,888 and ¥81,870 for first class. Considering that the average price of a one-way ticket for Shinkansen ranges approximately ¥15,000 yen, you will be able to save a lot if you’re planning to use the bullet train. The Japan Rail Pass is definitely an outstanding deal, so, if you are traveling Japan on a budget and planning to travel for less than 90 days, you shouldn’t miss your chance of using it.

Traveling Japan on a Budget

#4: Check out Discount Ticket Shops

Many foreign travelers generally overlook discount ticket shops. Also known as kinken shops in Japanese, these discount shops offer great resources for those who are traveling in Japan on a budget. What you could buy from a kinshen shop are bullet train tickets, train tickets, gift certificates, attractions tickets, and many different kinds of vouchers and tickets you can use during your trip, which is comparatively cheaper than buying them from specific ticket kiosks. There are kinshen shops that are selling tickets for other rail companies, although the most common you will find is for JR train since it is the rail network that operates on most of the country. It is worth noting that not all kinshen shops have similar prices and rates, which change derived from the demand and supply. These shops are normally situated near train stations.

Again, traveling Japan on a budget isn’t impossible.  Hopefully, this guide will help you save a ton of money on your next trip to Japan.

Do you plan on traveling Japan on a budget? What ways would you recommend other travelers save money?

This guest post was penned by Alice of ForTravelista: Hi, I’m Alice. A travel blogger, world adventurer, and life lover. Traveling the world at slow phase to immerse myself into what this wonderful world has to offer. Join me in my daily adventures at Fortravelista.com  or on Twitter and learn tricks and tips for a cheaper, less hassle travel journey. If you like this article, make sure to visit www.fortravelista.com for more useful tips to make the most of your travels without breaking your bank.

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cc images from Flickr: Japan by mariusz kluzniak,  Osaka, Japan by Pedro Szekely & same title/artist, Kyoto, Japan by Alejandro