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Budget Travel in Japan – Ultimate Backpacking Guide [2024]

Budget Travel In Japan

From seeing up close the famous Mt Fuji, exploring the architecture of Japanese castles to slurping down the best bowl of ramen you ever had, all these epic memories to-be-made are possible even with our guide to budget travel in Japan.

Budget Travel In Japan
Torii at the Itsukushima Shrine

Today’s Japan is a fascinating example of blending the ancient traditions and modern day culture.

Throughout the country you’ll witness dynamic mountainscapes in stark contrast to futuristic cities that are inspiring new trends in architecture worldwide.

It’s also thought of to be notoriously expensive but we managed to travel to Japan on a budget, and so can you.

Budget Travel in Japan

Japan has had a reputation as being expensive for a very long time, people paying hundreds of dollars for a piece of Kobe beef or a sliver of the finest blue fin tuna.

Prices of hotels can be among some of the most expensive in the world. Public travel, whilst incredibly reliable, can sometimes be quite expensive.

Well, some of this is true and some of it is a little more than a rumour that we have all perpetuated. Many people are put off traveling around for a long period of time because of the belief that the costs will be astronomical.

This isn’t always the case.

We have just finished 1 month of travel in Japan and it is comfortably cheaper than Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and in some cases is even cheaper than China!

It sounds crazy, but here are a few really simple tips for budget travel in Japan that will save you some dollars on your next trip.

Note – At time of travel $1 USD was equal to about 110 Japanese Yen.

READ MORE: Don’t miss our brand new complete guide to help you travel to Japan!

Inari Shrine Kyoto Budget Travel In JapanInari Shrine Kyoto Budget Travel In Japan
The Inari Shrine in Kyoto.

Get A JR Rail Pass

This is a no-brainer. Anyone travelling between cities in Japan should consider investing in one of these.

However be very careful about which JR pass you choose as you could end up spending more than you need to.

I’ll use our situation as an example.

We spent our first 12 days figuring out an excellent Hokkaido itinerary, which is absolutely incredible and definitely our favourite part of Japan. From Sapporo we flew down to Hiroshima.

From here we planned to go on to Miyajima, Osaka, Himeji, Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo.

A few of these were day trips and a few were for a bit longer, but as you can see we had a lot of travel ahead of us.

A regular JR pass that allows travel across the whole country costs 29,100 yen. This is incredibly…

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