Japan cheap travel

A complete guide to budget travel in Japan

 Shigechiyo Izumi
 A child plays at the foot of a statue to
Shigechiyo Izumi, the world's oldest man to have
lived, at 120 years 237 days, on Tokunoshima Island.


The two main expenses for a visitor to Japan are accommodation and travel. These are some things you should think about and plan in advance while you organise your Japanese adventure.

Plan ahead: Travel expenses will be minimized if you take advantage of some of the rail passes and cheap internal flights which are only available to foreigners and often only available for purchase outside of Japan.

Choose the right travel pass: The Japan rail pass is great for visits up to three weeks, but for travelers who want to visit for longer or for those on a very tight budget, there are other excellent options. See our travel section.

Choose the right time to go: Choosing when to visit is important in order to take advantage of these travel and rail passes. For more information on the variety of passes on offer, see our travel section.

Make a list of the things you want to see and do during your trip and then prioritise: For example, you might be keen to be in Japan while the famous cherry blossoms are in bloom or to experience a Japanese Festival. The weather will be determined by where you are and the time of year, so check out the average temperatures and forecasts. The Japan Meteorological Agency.

Research your accommodation options in advance: There is a wide choice of accommodation types in Japan and these include some less well known ways to spend cheap, very cheap and even free nights there. We've detailed some of these budget options in our accommodation section.

Volunteer: Volunteering in Japan is an excellent way to get to know the Japanese way of life and culture. It also costs virtually no money. Probably the easiest way to do this is by 'WWOOFing'. This is a scheme whereby, in return for a few hours environmentally sound work per day, you receive food and board. For more information on this scheme and our own personal experiences see our WWOOFing section.