Japan cheap travel

A complete guide to budget travel in Japan

 Boat to Kagoshima
 Catching up on sleep on the boat to Kagoshima

Internet cafes

Spending the night in an internet cafe in Japan is not as uncomfortable as it sounds! Most Japanese internet cafes are lined with rows of semi-enclosed cubicles that are very private and come complete with a computer, TV, DVD player and fairly comfortable reclining chairs.

There are cheap overnight rates for these cubicles making them a great budget option.

It is not unusual for young Japanese to take advantage of these cheap rates after a night's clubbing in order to catch a few hours sleep before the first train home. What's more; Internet cafes nearly always serve cheap food and drink. So you can eat, sleep and email under one roof!

Couch surfing

Couch Surfing is totally free and a great way to meet the locals.

This excellent scheme began in 1993 to enable to people to stay for free in each others homes. People who have a spare couch (or a room or bed) they don't mind visitors using can be contacted through the couch surfing website www.couchsurfing.com. The network of couchsurfers and couchsurfing hosts has spread worldwide. During our trip we met travelers who were couchsurfing their way around Japan very successfully.

If couchsurfing appeals to you, check if there are any couchsurfing hosts in the cities you plan to visit in advance. You will need to create your own profile online on the couchsurfing.com website and then search for available 'couches' in the areas that you are traveling to. Make sure you confirm your stay with your hosts in plenty of time.

Nojuku 'sleeping outside'

Nojuku is Japanese for "sleeping outside", and is surprisingly common amongst young Japanese travelers. It is more usual to do this in the summertime and the most accepted places are in train stations, or similar places where there is shelter and public toilets nearby.

There are cheap public facilities all over Japan, particularly public baths (sento) and hot springs (onsen). Although this is one of the more challenging budget options available to travelers, it is a realistic option considering Japan's low crime rate and good climate.

For information on 'free' camping see our camping section.