3 Must-Dos Experiences for those Visiting Japan on a Smaller Budget

Tokyo Japan – a country highly regarded by many for its preserved beauty, peculiarly fascinating culture, and not forgetting – its premium products at high costs.
Most commonly visited by tourists during the cherry blossoms period or skiing season where air ticket prices soar to a sky-high, let us find out how to enjoy this amazing Asian destination and come to realise it is actually more affordable than you think. One can cap your spending at maximum an amount of $2,000 for 7 days here in Tokyo city.

3 Must-Dos Experiences for those Visiting Japan on a Tight Budget

1. Find Amazing Japanese Food at Affordable prices

Food in japan | Local japanese raw dishes and meals
Local Japanese raw dishes and meals

Japanese food are good for the eyes and pleasing for the belly

The best things to do in Tokyo is..to indulge in local cuisine! In terms of presentation and balance, nobody beats Japan in terms of display. Their food is always nicely portrayed and photo-worthy, which might explain the costly ticket that comes with it. Bonus points and prices for display!
But don’t fret! If you don’t want to splurge on the premium expensive restaurants located along Shinjuku and Ginza, go for the slightly cheaper options like smaller cluster restaurants within departmental stores or streets/ alleys at night selling street food.

Slashed food prices at the Tokyo Departmental Stores

Departmental store food levels usually slash their food prices by a certain time every night, so you can head there for a 2nd round if you feel like it.
A bento meal before the discount can cost about US$10 -12, but gets reduced by 50% after certain hours.

Piss Alley sells amazing Yakitori barbequed right in front of you. Come here for a snack and beer after your dinner to well up your taste buds again. Each stick can range between USD$2 - $5.
Piss Alley sells amazing Yakitori barbequed right in front of you. Come here for a snack and beer after your dinner to well up your taste buds again. Each stick can range between USD$2 – $5.

Supper food at Piss Alley in Tokyo

Piss Alley was an awesome place we discovered and sells amazing Yakitori – barbequed right in front of you over a bed of charcoal. Come here for a snack and beer after your dinner to well up your taste buds again. Each stick can range between USD$2 – $5.

Barbequed Clam and Fish done right in front of you!
Barbequed Clam and Fish cooked right in front of you!
Brought by my friendly couchsurfing host all you can eat BBQ restaurant located in a hidden corner of Shinagawa. Tip: Always ask the locals and make friends to know the best places that will not be a tourist rip off.
Brought by my friendly Couchsurfing host all you can eat BBQ restaurant located in a hidden corner of Shinagawa. Tip: Always ask the locals and make friends to know the best places that will not be a tourist rip off.

Costs of this BBQ buffet place per person – with a beer: USD$16

Sashimi Bowl at Tsukiji Fish Market served with the infamous sea urchin. Fresh and good!
Sashimi Bowl at Tsukiji Fish Market served with the infamous sea urchin. Fresh and good!

The best raw fish in Tokyo fish market

If you are a fan of raw fish and sashimi, always pay a visit to the fish market to get them straight from the source. Some of the shops there can be on the higher side, but don’t just walk into any shop, but hunt about longer for a more reasonably priced fish shop.
Costs for this delicacy: USD$25

Yummy Green Tea ice-cream at the fish market. This one wasn't a cheap indulgence though. Costs : USD$3
Yummy Green Tea ice-cream at the Tsukiji fish market. This one wasn’t a cheap indulgence though. Costs: USD$3

Satisfy your sweet cravings in Tokyo

Have a sweet tooth? Opt for some amazing matcha treats on the streets of Tokyo. From matcha ice cream to matcha latte to matcha flour cake snacks, there is always something available in this distinct green tea flavour (popular and iconic to Japan). Just the talk about this makes my mouth water.

2. Free Culture/ Traditional Heritage Sites

Visiting Japan on Budget

Shrines/ Temples are popular destinations in Japan, so make time to pop by some of the iconic ones in Tokyo City such as Sensoji Temple located at Asakua and Meji Shrine at Harajuku. Most of these shrines/ temples have free entry, but you may make a donation if you would like to. If no, just walk in and be captivated by the lovely structures, swaying trees and beautifully painted lanterns.

Fountain of good luck, with carved dragons sprouting water of blessings.
Fountain of good luck, with carved dragons sprouting water of blessings.
Little boy playing by the fountain
Little boy playing by the fountain

The streets were quite crowded so watch your valuables a bit more even as you snap furiously on your cameras or get attracted by the souvenir shops along the way. Japan is generally a rather safe country, but always good to be more mindful in crowded places.

Big old trees in the center of the Meiji shrine courtyard, catching the golden setting sun rays.
Big old trees in the center of the Meiji shrine courtyard, catching the golden setting sun rays.

Season of skiing? Find out more about skiing at Shiga Kogen, just a few hours away by bullet train from Tokyo

3. Walk and feast your eyes on the Skyscrapers and Nightlife

Bustling Tokyo street lights with boutique hotels in Tokyo, fancy brands and incomprehensible Japanese words and cartoons, no wonder ‘Lost in Translation’ chose this country to set its movie scene, you get literally overwhelmed and lost in amazement.

Flashy Billboards in the heart of Shinjuku.
Flashy Billboards in the heart of Shinjuku.
Pretty Display of sweet crepes along Harajuku, the place where the young and hip hang out
Pretty Display of sweet crepes along Harajuku, the place where the young and hip hang out

Explore Harajuku street

Harajuku is the happening hot spot for young people to hang out to shop and feast. Its full of energy, waffle smells, colourful gadgets. And the best bit, the fashion parades you can see here. A great place to people watch.

The bustling streets and traffic lights
The bustling streets and traffic lights
Piss Alley entrance, to the narrow alley of sweet smelling Yakitori
Piss Alley entrance, to the narrow alley of sweet-smelling Yakitori

The fragrant smells of the food streets like Piss Alley already attract you to it and your mouth starts watering the minute you whiff in the barbequed meats with their distinct Japanese sweet and savoury sauce. This alley is honestly one of the coolest in Tokyo.

Stores line the side of the narrow path, but it adds to the rustic feel of the street
Stores line the side of the narrow path, but it adds to the rustic feel of the street

More photos of the daily lives of traveller in Tokyo

4 ladies posing for a happy shot in Ginza
4 ladies posing for a happy shot in Ginza
Bright colored billboards, a feast for the eyes
Bright coloured billboards, a feast for the eyes
Shinjuku's illuminated city lights
Shinjuku’s illuminated city lights

Other tours and activities to do in Tokyo:

If you have a bit more time in the city, go check out these extra activities.

  1. Helicopter Night Cruising in Tokyo
  2. Go-Kart around Akibahara
  3. Tea Ceremony at Bonsai Museum
  4. The famous Mount Fiji – Day Tour

In conclusion, Tokyo isn’t that expensive to cover, as there is so much one can do and feast their eyes on, without hurting the wallet too much. You just need your 2 feet, a good camera and lots of energy to visit Japan on Budget.

3 Must-Dos in Tokyo Japan on a Tight Budget | A Day like a Local Japanese
View of Tokyo Skytree from the bottom! - Japan on budget
View of Tokyo Skytree from the bottom!

Convinced to pay Tokyo a visit now?

What else have I missed out about this incredible bustling city of Tokyo?

SKI-ERS ALART: For those who like skiing in Japan, get some inspiration with this ski at Shiga Kogen experience.

3 Must-Dos for those Visiting Japan on Budget

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