What Things Are Cheaper In Japan

What Things Are Cheaper In Japan

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As a digital nomad, I’m always on the lookout for countries where my hard-earned dollars can stretch further. And Japan might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of affordable destinations, but there are definitely some things that are cheaper in Japan than other parts of the world.

Now, before you start thinking this is going to be a list of outdated stereotypes about Japanese culture (like how everyone eats sushi every day), let me assure you that these insights come from personal experience and research.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Japan or just curious about the cost of living in different parts of the world, read on to discover what things are cheaper in Japan.

Overview of Japan’s Cost of Living

You’ll get an idea of how affordable it is to live in Japan by taking a look at the overall cost of living. While Tokyo may be known as one of the most expensive cities in the world, the reality is that Japan’s cost of living can vary greatly depending on where you live and your lifestyle choices. For example, if you choose to live outside major metropolitan areas like Tokyo or Osaka, you can save significantly on housing costs.

In terms of transportation, while trains and buses may seem pricey compared to other countries, they’re incredibly efficient and reliable. Additionally, healthcare costs are generally quite low with an average doctor visit costing around 5,000 yen ($45 USD).

Overall, while certain expenses such as rent and dining out can be expensive in certain areas, there are also many ways to cut costs and make living in Japan more affordable. Speaking of dining out, let’s talk about food and drinks!

Food and Drinks

If you’re a foodie, Japan is the ultimate destination as its culinary delights are not only delicious but also affordable. One of the most famous Japanese dishes is sushi, and it’s surprisingly cheap in Japan compared to other countries. You can easily find a plate of fresh and high-quality sushi for less than 1000 yen (around $10) at many local restaurants.

Other popular Japanese foods like ramen, udon, and soba noodles are also reasonably priced and can be found at small eateries all over the country.

Japanese convenience stores or ‘konbini’ offer an excellent variety of snacks and drinks that are both tasty and inexpensive. A bottle of green tea or a cup of coffee will set you back less than 200 yen ($2), while a wide range of onigiri (rice balls filled with different ingredients) cost around 100-150 yen each.

Plus, if you’re on a budget but still want to try out some fancy restaurants, lunch sets usually offer great value for money with prices ranging from 800-1500 yen per set.

When it comes to transportation in Japan, there are several options available that won’t break the bank.


Ready to explore Japan? Getting around won’t be a problem as there are affordable transportation options available for you.

For starters, the train system in Japan is extensive and efficient. With over 27,000 kilometers of railway tracks covering the country, you can easily get from one place to another without breaking the bank. The most popular option is the Japan Rail Pass, which allows unlimited travel on JR trains across the country for a fixed period. You can choose between a 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day pass depending on your itinerary.

Another economical way to get around is by bus, with many routes connecting major cities and tourist destinations at reasonable prices. Taxis are also readily available but can be quite expensive compared to other modes of transportation.

Overall, getting around Japan doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if you plan ahead and research your options carefully.

Looking for affordable accommodation options? You’re in luck because there are plenty of budget-friendly choices available in Japan.


As a budget-conscious traveler, finding affordable accommodation can be a challenge. However, there are several options in Japan that won’t break the bank.

Capsule hotels and hostels are popular choices for those looking to save money on lodging. Discounted ryokans and minshukus offer a traditional Japanese experience at a lower cost.

Additionally, Airbnb has become increasingly popular in Japan. It offers a variety of affordable options for all types of travelers.

Budget-Friendly Capsule Hotels and Hostels

Looking for affordable accommodation in Japan? Check out these budget-friendly capsule hotels and hostels. These types of accommodations offer a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Capsule hotels are small, individual sleeping compartments stacked on top of each other, while hostels provide shared rooms with bunk beds.

Here are some budget-friendly options to consider when booking your stay in Japan:

  • Nine Hours Capsule Hotel: This hotel offers sleek and modern capsules with comfortable bedding and amenities such as Wi-Fi and lockers.

  • Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki: Located in Asakusa, this hostel has a traditional Japanese style interior with tatami mats and futons. They also offer free breakfast.

  • Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya: This capsule hotel is exclusively for female guests and provides a cozy atmosphere with soft lighting, comfortable bedding, and amenities such as hair dryers and cosmetics.

  • Piece Hostel Sanjo: Located in Kyoto, this hostel has a modern design with clean facilities and friendly staff. They even have a rooftop terrace with views of the city.

  • Bunka Hostel Tokyo: This hostel is located in the trendy neighborhood of Asakusa and offers both private rooms and dorms with comfortable beds and modern amenities.

If you’re looking for more traditional accommodation options, consider discounted ryokans or minshukus which offer a unique cultural experience without breaking the bank.

Discounted Ryokans and Minshukus

As I was exploring budget-friendly accommodations in Japan, I stumbled upon an interesting option that I had never heard of before – ryokans and minshukus. These are traditional Japanese inns that offer a unique cultural experience to travelers while also being more affordable than some other options.

Ryokans are typically more upscale and luxurious, with private hot springs and meals included in the price. Minshukus, on the other hand, are simpler and more homely, offering a glimpse into daily life in Japan. Both options provide a comfortable stay with communal areas for socializing and meeting fellow travelers.

Plus, staying at a ryokan or minshuku can give you an opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture without breaking the bank. But if you’re looking for even more affordable options, there are plenty of Airbnb rentals available throughout Japan that won’t break the bank. From cozy apartments to shared spaces with locals, there’s something for every budget and travel style.

So why not try out these cheaper alternatives during your next trip to Japan? You might just find yourself pleasantly surprised by all the money-saving opportunities waiting for you!

Affordable Airbnb Options

Experience Japan on a budget with affordable Airbnb options that provide unique stays and cultural immersion opportunities. From traditional Japanese houses to modern apartments, there are plenty of options available for travelers looking to save money while still experiencing authentic Japanese living.

Staying in an Airbnb allows you to live like a local and experience Japan beyond the typical tourist attractions. You can find accommodations in neighborhoods where locals live, try out local eateries, and even attend community events. Plus, many hosts offer helpful tips and recommendations for exploring the area.

With affordable prices and cultural experiences, Airbnb is a great option for budget-conscious travelers who want to experience Japan beyond just the surface level.

Now let’s move on to another aspect of what things are cheaper in Japan – shopping!


When shopping in Japan, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the affordable prices of various goods and souvenirs. Japan offers a wide range of products at reasonable prices, from cute kawaii merchandise to high-quality electronics. The country is also known for its unique fashion sense, making it a great place to shop for stylish clothing and accessories.

One thing to keep in mind when shopping in Japan is that many stores offer tax-free shopping for tourists. This can save you quite a bit of money, especially if you’re making larger purchases like expensive electronics or designer items. Additionally, many department stores have sales throughout the year where you can get even better deals on already affordable products.

Overall, shopping in Japan is a fun and budget-friendly experience that should definitely be on your itinerary. However, there’s more to this country than just retail therapy. When you’re ready for some entertainment, there are plenty of options available to suit all interests and budgets.


Looking for some fun in Japan? There’s a wide variety of entertainment options available, so why not try something new and step out of your comfort zone?

Here are four affordable entertainment options that you should consider adding to your itinerary:

  1. Karaoke: Singing your heart out at a karaoke bar is a quintessential Japanese experience. With private rooms equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems, you can belt out your favorite tunes without any fear of embarrassment.

  2. Game Centers: Japan has an extensive network of game centers where you can enjoy arcade games, claw machines, and even virtual reality experiences. These centers are perfect for those who want to relive their childhood memories or simply want to challenge themselves.

  3. Sumo Wrestling: Watching sumo wrestling matches is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and witness the country’s national sport firsthand. While tickets for professional tournaments may be expensive, there are also smaller amateur matches that are much more affordable.

  4. Maid Cafes: For a unique dining experience, head over to one of Tokyo’s many maid cafes where waitresses dressed as maids serve you food and drinks with cutesy anime-inspired performances.

As much as I love exploring Japan’s entertainment scene, sometimes it’s great to get outside and connect with nature. Speaking of which, let’s move on to the next topic about outdoor activities!

Outdoor Activities

I absolutely love spending time outdoors, and Japan has so many amazing options for outdoor activities that won’t break the bank.

One of my favorite things to do is visit the free parks and gardens. They are not only beautiful but also a great way to relax and enjoy nature.

For those who love winter sports, skiing and snowboarding in Japan is surprisingly affordable compared to other countries. Many resorts offer low-cost lift tickets and accommodations.

And if you’re a fan of beaches and water sports, there are plenty of affordable options throughout Japan. You can swim, surf, or just soak up the sun without breaking your budget.

Free Parks and Gardens

Visiting Japan’s free parks and gardens is a budget-friendly way to experience the country’s natural beauty. There are plenty of options for nature lovers, from the famous Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo to the serene Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. Here are three reasons why exploring these green spaces should be on your itinerary:

  1. Cultural immersion: Many of these parks and gardens have historical significance and offer a glimpse into Japan’s rich culture. For example, Kairakuen Park in Mito is known for its plum blossoms, which locals have celebrated for centuries.

  2. Relaxation: These parks provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life with their tranquil atmosphere and picturesque scenery. Take a stroll through Yoyogi Park in Tokyo or Hama Rikyu Gardens in Osaka to unwind and recharge.

  3. Photography opportunities: These parks offer endless possibilities for capturing stunning shots of nature, whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer. The cherry blossom season, in particular, draws crowds of visitors who come to witness the breathtaking pink blooms.

Exploring Japan’s free parks and gardens is just one way to save money while traveling in this beautiful country. Another option is low-cost skiing and snowboarding, which I’ll discuss next.

Low-Cost Skiing and Snowboarding

One of the best ways to enjoy Japan’s snowy landscapes without breaking the bank is by taking advantage of low-cost skiing and snowboarding options. Japan is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world, with powder snow that attracts skiers and snowboarders from all over.

One option for budget-friendly winter sports is to visit smaller, local ski hills rather than large tourist destinations. These smaller resorts often offer cheaper lift tickets and equipment rentals, making them a great choice for those on a tight budget. Another way to save money while skiing or snowboarding in Japan is by taking advantage of package deals offered by resorts.

Many ski areas offer discounts on lift passes when booked together with accommodation, which can save you a considerable amount of money. Additionally, if you’re willing to stay further away from the slopes, you can find even more affordable lodging options in nearby towns or cities.

With these tips in mind, you can hit the slopes without breaking your wallet before heading off to explore affordable beaches and water sports next!

Affordable Beaches and Water Sports

Just like how a refreshing wave washes away your stress, the current section on affordable beaches and water sports will make you forget about your budget worries. Japan’s coastline stretches for over 29,000 kilometers, providing ample opportunities to bask in the sun or ride the waves without breaking the bank.

Here are some of the best affordable beach destinations and water sports activities that Japan has to offer:

  • Shimoda Beach: Located in Shizuoka prefecture and accessible by train from Tokyo, this beach is known for its clear waters and white sand. It also offers various water activities such as snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding at reasonable prices.

  • Surfing in Chiba: Just an hour away from Tokyo by train lies Chiba prefecture, home to some of Japan’s most popular surfing spots. The area offers reasonably priced surf lessons and board rentals for beginners who want to catch their first wave.

  • Sea Kayaking in Okinawa: With crystal-clear blue waters, Okinawa is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Sea kayaking tours are one of the best ways to explore its hidden coves and untouched beaches while getting some exercise along the way.

  • Scuba Diving in Ishigaki: Located in southern Okinawa, Ishigaki boasts some of Japan’s best coral reefs. Scuba diving tours are affordable here, allowing you to experience the vibrant marine life up close.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or an adrenaline-packed adventure on the water, Japan has something for everyone without breaking your budget. As much as I enjoyed my time by these beautiful coastlines, I couldn’t help but feel intrigued by what cultural experiences awaited me next.

Cultural Experiences

I found that exploring cultural experiences in Japan can be budget-friendly and rewarding. Discounted museum and gallery admission allowed me to learn about Japanese history and art without breaking the bank.

Attending traditional festivals was a fun way to immerse myself in the local culture while staying within my budget. And participating in affordable tea ceremonies and calligraphy classes provided a unique opportunity to learn about traditional Japanese arts firsthand.

Discounted Museum and Gallery Admission

Save money on museum and gallery admission in Japan with discounted tickets available to you. Many museums and galleries offer special deals for students, seniors, or those who purchase tickets online in advance.

Here are some of the discounts you can take advantage of:

  • Student discounts: If you have a valid student ID card, you can usually get a discount on admission fees at most museums and galleries.

  • Online booking discounts: Some museums offer a discount if you purchase your ticket online in advance.

  • Multi-entry tickets: If you plan to visit multiple museums or galleries, buying a multi-entry ticket may save you money compared to purchasing individual tickets.

  • Annual passes: Many museums and galleries offer annual passes that allow unlimited entry for a set fee. This is particularly useful if there are several museums or galleries that you want to visit over an extended period of time.

  • Free admission days: Some museums and galleries have free admission days once a month or on certain holidays.

By taking advantage of these discounts, you can save money while still enjoying the rich cultural experiences that Japan has to offer. Speaking of which, another way to experience Japanese culture without breaking the bank is by attending budget-friendly traditional festivals.

Budget-Friendly Traditional Festivals

Experience the vibrant and lively atmosphere of traditional Japanese festivals without spending too much by attending budget-friendly options. These festivals showcase various aspects of Japan’s rich culture, from food to music to performances.

One such festival is the Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo, which takes place in May and attracts millions of visitors each year. During the Sanja Matsuri, you can witness a parade of portable shrines known as mikoshi being carried through the streets, as well as traditional dances and musical performances.

Other budget-friendly festivals worth checking out include Gion Matsuri in Kyoto and Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori. These festivals offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture while keeping your expenses low.

As you explore these festivals, you may also want to consider participating in other affordable cultural experiences such as tea ceremonies or calligraphy classes. These activities allow you to further engage with Japan’s thriving traditions without breaking the bank.

Affordable Tea Ceremonies and Calligraphy Classes

I absolutely enjoyed learning about the budget-friendly traditional festivals in Japan. It’s amazing how they’re able to uphold their cultural values while keeping everything affordable for everyone, including tourists like me. But there’s more to Japanese culture than just festivals, and I was eager to explore other activities that wouldn’t break the bank.

One thing that caught my attention was the opportunity to attend an affordable tea ceremony or calligraphy class. These are two quintessential Japanese experiences that I didn’t want to miss out on but thought would be too expensive for me. Luckily, I found out that there are many places where you can do these activities without having to spend a fortune. Not only did I learn a lot about Japanese culture through these classes, but they also allowed me to tap into my creative side and have fun at the same time.

Here are some other things that I discovered were cheaper in Japan:

  • Local transportation
  • Food from convenience stores
  • Souvenirs from 100 yen shops
  • Karaoke rooms
  • Onsen (hot springs)

With all of these budget-friendly options available, it’s easy to enjoy everything Japan has to offer without worrying too much about spending too much money.

However, if you want even more tips on saving money during your trip, keep reading!

Money-Saving Tips

I’ve found that Japan can be an expensive country to travel in, but there are ways to save money. One way is to take advantage of discount coupons. Many attractions and restaurants offer discounts if you have a coupon or show a certain card, such as the Japan Rail Pass.

Another money-saving tip is to take advantage of tax-free shopping. If you’re a foreign visitor, you can receive a refund on the consumption tax when you purchase items at certain stores. This can add up to significant savings, especially if you plan on buying souvenirs or electronics.

Finally, avoiding peak travel seasons can also help save money. Flights and accommodations tend to be more expensive during holidays and festivals, so it may be worth considering traveling during off-peak times.

Overall, by using these tips and being mindful of your spending habits, it’s possible to experience all that Japan has to offer without breaking the bank.

Using Discount Coupons

You can save money on purchases in Japan by using discount coupons, which are widely available for various products and services. For example, you can find coupons for restaurants, theme parks, beauty salons, and even transportation. These coupons usually offer a percentage off the original price or a free item with purchase.

One of my favorite ways to use discount coupons is when shopping for electronics. Many stores offer special promotions and discounts on certain items if you present a coupon at checkout. I once got 20% off on a new laptop just by using a coupon I found online! It’s always worth checking websites like Groupon or Rakuten for current deals before making any major purchases.

By taking advantage of these discounts, I was able to stretch my budget further and enjoy more experiences during my time in Japan. If you’re looking to maximize your savings while shopping in Japan, don’t forget about tax-free shopping!

Taking Advantage of Tax-Free Shopping

Take advantage of tax-free shopping in Japan to save money on purchases and enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience. As a foreign visitor, you can claim back the consumption tax or VAT when you buy goods from certain stores that participate in the program.

To be eligible for this tax exemption, your purchase must be at least 5,000 yen (approximately $50), and you need to present your passport at the time of payment. Some popular retail chains that offer tax-free shopping include electronics stores such as Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera, department stores like Mitsukoshi and Isetan, as well as drugstores such as Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Don Quijote.

By taking advantage of this system, you could save up to 8% on your purchases. However, do note that not all items are eligible for tax exemption, so it’s best to check with the store staff beforehand. By saving money through tax-free shopping in Japan, you’ll have more funds available to explore other parts of the country during your trip.

One way to stretch your budget even further is by avoiding peak travel seasons when prices tend to spike due to high demand. Instead, consider traveling during shoulder or off-peak periods where there are fewer crowds and lower prices on accommodations and activities. With these tips in mind, get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Japan!

Avoiding Peak Travel Seasons

If you want to avoid the crowds and save money on your trip to Japan, consider traveling during shoulder or off-peak seasons when prices tend to be lower. According to a recent report, hotel rates in Tokyo drop by an average of 30% during the low season.

Not only will you save money on accommodations, but you’ll also have a better chance of finding deals on flights and attractions. The peak travel season in Japan is typically during cherry blossom season in late March and early April, as well as during the summer months when school is out.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly trip, try visiting in the fall or winter when there are fewer tourists and prices are lower. Plus, you’ll get to experience unique seasonal activities such as viewing autumn foliage or soaking in hot springs.

By traveling during off-peak times, you can enjoy all that Japan has to offer while saving money at the same time. In conclusion, taking advantage of shoulder or off-peak seasons can help you save money on your trip to Japan. From hotel rates to flight prices and attraction deals, avoiding peak travel times can make a big difference in your overall expenses. So why not plan your next Japanese adventure for the quieter times of year?

Conclusion and Recap

It’s clear that Japan offers incredible value for money, making it an ideal destination for those looking to stretch their budget without compromising on quality or experience. From affordable transportation options to delicious and inexpensive food, there are many things that make traveling in Japan more affordable than you might think.

Here are five things that are cheaper in Japan:

  • Public transportation: Whether you’re taking the train, bus, or subway, public transportation is incredibly affordable in Japan.

  • Food: From ramen shops to sushi restaurants to convenience store snacks, food in Japan is both delicious and reasonably priced.

  • Accommodations: While some hotels can be pricey, there are plenty of budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels throughout the country.

  • Shopping: Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or everyday items, shopping in Japan can be surprisingly affordable – especially if you stick to secondhand stores or discount chains like Don Quijote.

  • Attractions: Many museums and cultural sites offer discounted admission for students and seniors, while some attractions (like parks and temples) are free to enter altogether.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average salary in Japan?

As someone who’s lived and worked in Japan, I can tell you that the average salary varies depending on your profession and experience level. According to recent data, the average annual salary for a full-time employee in Japan is around 4.14 million yen (approximately $38,000 USD). However, this number can be higher or lower depending on factors such as industry, location, and company size.

It’s important to note that while salaries may seem lower compared to other countries, the cost of living in Japan is also relatively low in certain areas. Additionally, there are many benefits to working in Japan such as job security and excellent healthcare coverage.

Overall, it’s important to do your research and consider all factors before making any decisions about working or living in Japan.

How much does healthcare cost in Japan?

As someone who has experienced the healthcare system in Japan firsthand, I can confidently say that it’s one of the most efficient and affordable systems in the world. The cost for medical treatment and procedures are significantly lower than what you’d expect to pay in other countries, even with insurance coverage.

In fact, the Japanese government ensures that everyone has access to affordable healthcare through their national health insurance program. This means that you won’t have to worry about exorbitant medical bills or being turned away from hospitals due to financial constraints.

As someone who values freedom and security, having access to affordable healthcare without any worries is a huge relief and a testament to how Japan prioritizes its citizens’ well-being.

What is the cost of education in Japan?

As someone who’s lived and studied in Japan, I can say that the cost of education varies depending on the level of schooling.

Public elementary and junior high schools are free, while high school tuition can range from around 200,000 to 400,000 yen per year (approximately $1,800 to $3,600 USD).

Private schools tend to be pricier, with some charging over a million yen per year (around $9,000 USD).

Higher education also comes with a price tag. University tuition ranges from around 500,000 to 1 million yen per year (approximately $4,500 to $9,000 USD) for undergraduate programs.

However, there are many scholarships and financial aid options available for both Japanese and international students.

Overall, the cost of education in Japan may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s important to consider the quality of education and resources available at these institutions.

Is it cheaper to buy electronics in Japan?

As a tech enthusiast, I can confidently say that buying electronics in Japan is an absolute steal.

From top-of-the-line cameras to the latest smartphones, you can find it all at reasonable prices.

With brands like Sony and Panasonic being based in Japan, you can be sure to get the latest technology before it’s even available in other countries.

Not only are the prices affordable, but the quality of electronics sold there is also exceptional.

Whether you’re looking for a new laptop or a gaming console, you won’t be disappointed with what Japan has to offer.

So if you’re planning on upgrading your tech anytime soon, add Japan to your list of places to visit!

How much does it cost to hire a personal tour guide in Japan?

I recently hired a personal tour guide in Japan and it was an incredible experience. The cost varied depending on the length of the tour, but I found that it was worth every penny.

Having a local guide allowed me to explore areas that I never would have discovered on my own and gave me insight into Japan’s rich culture and history. Plus, having someone who could speak Japanese made navigating the country much easier.

If you’re looking for a unique and personalized travel experience, I highly recommend hiring a personal tour guide in Japan.


In conclusion, Japan can be an expensive country to visit, but there are definitely ways to save money and experience the culture without breaking the bank. It’s all about prioritizing what you want to do and see, and finding creative solutions for saving money where you can.

As I reflect on my own experiences in Japan, I’m reminded of the beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom each spring. These delicate pink flowers symbolize both the fleeting nature of life and the hope of new beginnings.

Like the cherry blossoms, a trip to Japan may be short-lived, but it can leave a lasting impression on your heart and mind. So don’t let cost deter you from exploring this vibrant and unique country – with a little bit of planning and resourcefulness, your journey to Japan can be one filled with unforgettable memories that’ll stay with you long after your return home.

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