You are here
Home > Travel Tips > Top 10 Tips for saving money IN JAPAN

Top 10 Tips for saving money IN JAPAN

Hey guys! Today I’m here with Andrew Marston. Hey~ Yay! And we are both kinda cheapy people so we have a lot of experience with trying to live in Japan as cheaply as possible. So today we are going to combine all of our experience and give you the ten best tips for saving money in Japan. Are you ready? I’m ready. Yes! Tip number one is getting cheap stuff. If you move to Japan and you need to furnish your apartment furniture stores can be kinda expensive but there are a lot of foreigners who are always leaving Japan because their work contracts are up and you can get their stuff for super cheap.

There are a lot of “Sayonara Sales”, that’s what they’re called. So people who are leaving Japan, sayonara. They sell their stuff really cheaply on facebook or Gaijinpot has classifieds. Sometimes you can just find them on random websites. But check the city that you move to. In Nagoya, we have a facebook group called Treasure Trove. Yes. And that’s where you can get cheap stuff from foreigners. I think Tokyo has one… Tokyo Garage Sale. Yeah. On facebook group. You could also go to thrift stores. That’s where Jun and I got a lot of our furniture from.

Same here. Like our island here, this did not come with the apartment. We got this at the thrift store. Sometimes those are called “recycle shops”. Right. And if you want to get cheap clothes, thrift store also have those very frequently. There are two different types of thrift stores in Japan. There are the high-end resale places that sell clothes, brand names… Still kinda expensive. And then there are ones that lower the price every single week and so the stuff is really cheap.

Those are the ones that I go to. Sometimes they are called like ‘maishyuusagaru’ Which means “every week the price falls”. There are some really common thrift store chains. Yep. The “Off” series, so Book-off sells books really cheaply. Often they have a clothes section as well. There’s Mode Off. I believe they sells clothes and discounted furniture. Like small furniture items. Oh, okay. And then there’s Hard Off. (giggles) Hard Off which sells electronics. Save that one for last. Hardware. It sells hardware at off prices. Yeah. (laughs) Why are you laughing? You can get that at Hard Off~ Tip number two: A lot of shops around Japan have a sign that says Tax-free Shop and if you have a non-Japanese passport and if you spend over five thousand yen on a purchase then you can get that without any consumption tax added on. Right. You have to be on a visa that’s less than six months in Japan. So if you are on a student visa it probably won’t work.

You also… Sometimes they won’t give you the tax off right away. Some times there’s a tax refund counter where you have to fill out paperwork there. But, yeah, you can get your tax back for a lot of things. Three is food. Everyone knows about this. You’ve probably heard it before but if you go to a supermarket right before they close they will often mark down set meals or meats and fish. Or you know, twenty percent off, thirty percent off, sometimes half off.

Yep. It’s like the sushi plates, the bentos, all the pre-prepared stuff that they have to throw away if it doesn’t sell by the end of the day. Number four is how to get free accommodation. Who doesn’t like that? There’s a website called Couchsurfing.com which is basically a social network where you can request to stay with people who have volunteered to host other people on their couches Often it’s better than just their couch. Maybe they’ll have a spare room, sometimes it’s worse than the couch, it will be the floor. I have couch surfed probably over a whole month if you added it all together, in Japan. I met a lot of great people. People that I’m still friends with today. it’s very safe. It’s very reliable. I highly recommend it and it’s free. That is the most important part. Also if you are desperate and you find a twenty four hour fasfood place like McDonald’s or a Loteria then they probably won’t kick you out. In fact, I tried it and they didn’t kick me out.

If you just buy a big meal, sit at the table, kinda fall asleep there and stay there until the first train the next morning. So another option that I’ve actually just discovered was a website called WWOOF or W-W-O-O-F and I’ll post more information about this in the description, well it’s your description. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m taking over her desciption It’s okay, I’ll share. If you want to volunteer to work on… There’s a lot of farms post on there, there’s some inn, there’s some cafes. If you want to volunteer to work six hours a day six days a week then in exchange you can get free room and board.

It’s actually a really great way to kinda have a home-stay experience and have free room and board in Japan. And the last free option would be camping. And there are camp grounds all throughout Japan that you can pay money to stay at but if you’re feeling adventurous usually if you pick a place that’s out of the way and you’re not bothering anybody then you can usually pitch a tent kinda… almost anywhere. Number five is transportation. And one of these actually kinda leads into accommodation as well, the night bus or even day bus can be one of the cheapest ways to travel in Japan if you have the time to sit on a bus.

And if you take the night bus then you can try to sleep on the bus while you’re getting from city to city so you don’t have to pay for a hotel that day either. So it’s kind of a trick. And the longer the bus route, usually the more comfortable the seats are. Right. Some of them are not that bad actually but some of them are… not fun. Nagoya – Tokyo, Tokyo – Nagoya That bus is pretty uncomfortable. We have taken that bus many many times. We mentioned rail pass recently on a previous video, if you’re a foreigner coming to Japan before you get to Japan you can apply for a rail pass which gives you JR trains for free for a certain number of days.

After you pay for the rail pass which is pretty expensive itself. If you want details they will be down in the description box. Another cheap way to travel if you are hitting a lot of stops in one day is an ‘ichinichiken’ which we also talked about recently on our channel. It’s an all-day pass for certain cities taking certain train lines and maybe metro buses, city buses, as well. Just keep in mind which rail company you bought that ‘ichinichiken’ for because you’ll only get access to those lines. Like if you buy JR you can only go on JR Rails but not Tokyo Metro so keep that in mind. One of my favorite ways to travel on trains cheaply is using what’s called the ‘seishun jyuhachi kippu” or like, ‘seishun eighteen tickets.

And what that is is you pay a little over a hundred US dollars and you get a pack of five tickets that let’s you ride as much as you want on JR lines but only the two slowest train lines. Like local trains. So no shinkansen. You are not getting anywhere quickly. You could travel from northern Japan to southern Japan but it’s going to take you all day. One cool thing about this ticket pack is that you can split them up among friends. So if you have five friends who want to take a one day train trip together for cheap then you buy the ‘seishun jyuhachi kippu”. Everybody can take a day and you all take this one day massive day trip together. Or you could just you yourself use it for five days in a row. But keep in mind that this deal is only available seasonally so make sure you’re going to be in Japan while it’s valid. Right. Number six is ETC cards. So if you rent a car here in Japan or if you live here and you own a car and you want to take the express ways, they are tolled which are pretty expensive, the tolls.

But you can get a discount if you use an ETC card and it’s easier to go through the toll booths because you can just drive slowly instead of stopping at a window. You normally, if you live in Japan, you have to apply through a credit card company but if you are visiting and renting a car a lot of rental shops will let you rent an ETC card. The list of how you get discounts with it is very long and complicated so I’ll link the PDF down in the description box. It’s like six pages. And if you’re travelling with multiple people it’s almost always cheaper. Right to rent a car. and then you have full control over what time you leave, you can take your luggage and just leave it in the car which is so useful.

It is not fun travelling on the trains with luggage, trust me. Number seven is talking about airfare which is notoriously. My biggest and best tip for finding cheap airfare to and from Japan from where ever you are in the world, is to just sign up for the promotional newsletters from the major air carriers that would take you from your nearest airport to Japan. Sometimes throughout the year they’ll be promotions which you can get discounted tickets. You said one of your friends got tickets from Atlanta, Georgia to Tokyo for four hundred and fifteen dollars for a round-trip. Yeah, a round-trip. That’s crazy. Yeah, well it did that just because they monitor those promotional newsletters and the latest deals and it just happened to come up. And traveling domestically within Japan, especially if you are going between two cities that are quite far apart it can be cheaper if you get one of these good deals by flying, as well.

Yeah, a lot of people don’t know this but there is a lot of budget airlines that operate only domestically within Japan. A couple of examples would be Peach Air, Jetstar, Skymark, Spring Japan. So instead of taking a shinkansen from Tokyo to Sapporo, Hokkaido, for example sometimes it’s cheaper to fly. So just check the deals when you’re going to be in Japan.

Number eight. This isn’t unique to Japan but just so you know that they do do this here. When you sign up for big contract purchases, not always but sometimes like internet, they will let you pick out a free or heavily discounted appliance from a certain website. So when we signed up for internet at our apartment we got a choice to pick between fridges that had hundreds of dollars off or all kinds of different appliances. We got a three hundred dollar vacuum for free. just because we did a one or two year contract with our internet provider. So that was pretty awesome. Yeah. So they have similar deals sometimes if you sign up for credit cards or bank or cellphones so just see if they are offering a campaign promotion when you’re signing up for something. Jun’s dad got a free tablet when he got his cellphone. Really? So he got a smartphone and a tablet at the same time. Which is pretty cool. Japan loves it’s promotions. Number nine deals with how to sight see for cheap.

Japan has osme very notoriously expensive seasons to travel. Sakura season, the cherry blossoms, Obon, Golden week, Silver week is now a thing, sort of, during the New Years holidays as well. Rates for hotels will often be a lot more expensive during those times. So if you want to travel cheaply then maybe travel off season, a little bit. The trade off though is that the reason those are prime seasons is that there is a lot of cool stuff to see here. On the flipside there’s almost always a lot of free stuff to see and do in Japan. A lot of local, seasonal matsuris, festivals.

There’s a lot of temples and shrines like Meiji Jingu in Tokyo, parks like Yoyogi. So a lot of these sort of government run facilities are almost always free and are some of the hot spots that you would come to see anyway. Right. So make sure you take advantage of those types of locations when you’re visiting Japan. Number 10 . If you want to take home souvenirs to your family make sure you check at the hyaku-en stores.

I know that sounds really cheesy but actually hyaku-en stores like Daiso and Seria have a lot of really cool things and I swear the foreigners who first come here and shop at Daiso, of which I know that some of you have in your own country now but not you people who haven’t been to Daiso before, they’re amazed. I was amazed. Oh yeah. All the foreigners they love it. And there’s always a lot of really cool things. Daiso is the largest collection of things you never knew you needed and you can’t live without. Yes. So cheap souvenirs, I mean you can get more expensive stuff, too, if you want for your family. But it’s worth it to check first. So these were our ten super cheap tips for coming to Japan. Thank you, Andrew for helping out. If you haven’t seen Andrew’s channel Happy In Japan before, you should! He makes really amazing travel videos. Seriously if you haven’t seen them you will be impressed.

So make sure you check out his channel and thank you for watching. See you later. Bye! We get… yeah… a tax… duty… back… Number six. I think I almost hit you in the face. Oh god. I could put up five and you could put up five. Jazz hands. Okay. We’ll try. We can do it together. It may not…. (laughing) We’ll say one, two, three and then we do number ten.

Are you ready? Yeah. Jazz hands. Okay. The best part of the video here. Okay, one, two, three. Number ten… No, you have to say it with me. Oh, we’re saying it at the same time?! I’m so embarrassed. Okay. One, two, three. Number 10! Jazz hands..

As found on Youtube

Wanna Go?

Top