Japan cheap travel

A complete guide to budget travel in Japan

 Street in Gion
 Hitchhiking in Yakushima


Hitchhiking is an excellent way of getting around in Japan. We hitchhiked on short journeys between campsites, towns, tourist sites and to the starts of hikes. We also met people who had hitchhiked successfully on longer journeys across Japan. Hitchhiking in combination with camping is an great way of making the two major expenses of Japanese travel; accommodation and getting around, much cheaper.

Hitchhiking is not a common activity in Japan and you may find you are quite a novelty for the Japanese person who gives you a lift. Hitchhiking is a brilliant way to meet Japanese people. We were often taken on detours to see local places of interest and your host may be keen to practice their English. If you do choose to hitchhike, try to learn a few simple phrases so you can chat a bit in Japanese. 

Our experiences of hitchhiking in Japan were all positive and the generosity and helpfulness of our vehicle hosts was unprecedented. The stories that you might hear of drivers making detours and taking hitchhikers all the way to their destination are absolutely true.

However, as with any country, you should always be aware of potential dangers and take the same precautions as you would elsewhere. We wouldn't recommend hitchhiking for lone female travelers.

More information on hitchhiking in Japan

  • www.digihitch.com Useful tips for backpacking around Japan and personal stories about hitchhiking in Japan can be found on this excellent website.
  • Check out Will Ferguson's books 'The Hitchhikers Guide to Japan' and 'Hokkaido Highway Blues'. Both are excellent, and contain a lot of good advice if you are thinking about hitchhiking. Read more about it in the Books section.