How to save money while enjoying your trip to Tokyo

how to save money while enjoying your trip to Tokyo Tips

The cost of living in Japan, especially in Tokyo, has long been considered by foreigners to be high. In fact, as a Tokyo resident, I find the cost of living in Tokyo to be lower than in other cities around the world. It is cheaper than New York City, London, or Singapore. But it would be better to spend less if you can, wouldn’t it? I understand that feeling. If you are going to the trouble, why don’t you enjoy saving money in a Japanese way?

How to Save on Accommodations

I think everyone has their own minimums when it comes to lodging. You just need to be able to sleep, you want the bare minimum of facilities, and so on. There are several options, so choose the accommodation that suits you best!

Business Hotel

10,000 to 15,000 yen (depending on location and time of year)

Even inexpensive business hotels have bathrooms in the rooms. In Tokyo, the cheapest rate would be 7,000 yen per person per night. If you are good friends or a couple, you can stay in a room with a semi-double bed for two people. That would be at least 1,000 yen cheaper. But the room will be smaller!

Capsule Hotel

5,000-7,000 yen (depending on location, facilities and time of year)

capsule hotel

The famous capsule hotel in Japan, where some people stay not for the purpose of saving money, but out of curiosity. Capsule means that there is a hole just big enough to fit one person! Shower and toilet facilities are shared. Recommended for those who can sleep soundly, as you may hear someone snoring at night. Just to be safe, women should choose a hotel that has a dedicated place for them.

Internet cafes / manga cafes

3,000 to 5,000 yen (depending on facilities and time of use)

room of internet cafe

Even cheaper than capsule hotels are facilities called “Nekafe (Internet cafes)” and “Mankitsu (manga cafes)”. During your stay, you can read as many manga as you like. The rest depends on the facility, but some offer unlimited beverages, PCs and TVs, and DVDs for rent. Most are private rooms, but some are open-plan, so check before you enter. Many facilities are equipped with showers. (There may be an additional charge for using the shower.) Even though they are called private rooms, they are not completely private rooms, but rather a style similar to a private toilet room. Conversation is basically prohibited. You may hear someone snoring.

Karaoke room

3,000 – 4,000 yen (price increases on weekends)

karaoke room

Karaoke is one of the Japanese words used in many countries. In Japan, karaoke is usually enjoyed by a group of several people in a private room, singing together. Many karaoke rooms are open all night long. Since it is not a place to stay overnight, there are no facilities such as showers, and of course, no beds. You can lie down on the sofa, but the person in the next room may be singing all night long. It would be wise to make a day of enjoying karaoke all night long rather than using it as a place to stay overnight.

How to save money on transportation

Suica / PASMO

When taking a train in Tokyo, it is actually cheaper to use a transit system IC card than to buy a ticket, although the cost is only a few yen. In Tokyo, there are two types of cards, but in other regions, there are cards with the same functions but with different names. They all differ only in name and appearance. Both require a deposit, and the deposit is returned when the card is returned, but it must be returned to the same company from which it was purchased.

The WELCOME SUICA, which can be purchased at some JR East stations, has no deposit and does not need to be returned.

Welcome Suica | JR-EAST
JR-EAST: Welcome Suica

Suica situation as of 2024, see this article.

Take advantage of a one-day train pass!

JR Metropolitan Area Pass

This pass allows unlimited rides on JR lines in Tokyo for one day. Depending on the section, if you get on and off 4 to 6 times in a day, it is more economical to buy this pass. It can only be used for one day regardless of the time you start using it, so it is better to start using it on the morning of the day.

Tokyo Metro 24-hour Pass

A pass that allows unlimited rides on Tokyo Metro lines for 24 hours. This one is beneficial if you get on and off more than 4 times. What is different from the JR Tokyo Metropolitan Area Pass is that it can be used for 24 hours from the start of use. If you use it properly, you can use it for 2 days.


The bigger the city, the shorter the distance between stations and bus stops in Japan. If you have the chance, try walking! For example, it takes about 15 minutes to walk from Shibuya to Harajuku. (It takes 2 minutes by train.) If you make good use of walking, you can minimize your transportation costs.

Book quality hotels and ryokans in Japan at Rakuten Travel

How to Save Money on Food

When it comes to food, saving money is easy. This is because there are many surprisingly inexpensive yet delicious restaurants in Japan! If you take advantage of the places listed below, you should be satisfied with just 1,000 yen!

Gyudon Chain


Gyudon is one of Japan’s most popular fast foods. Gyu-don is a bowl of rice topped with cooked beef and onions. In addition to Yoshinoya, which operates globally, Matsuya and Sukiya are the three major chains. All of these chains offer a wide variety of menu items other than gyudon. You can compare their gyudon or try out their various menus.

Udon Chain


Udon is another inexpensive and quick fast food. At the two major chains, Marugame Udon and Hanamaru Udon, you order at the counter and pay after receiving your order. If you want to add tempura or onigiri (rice balls), you just take what you want. There are many variations of udon, including those dipped in tsuyu (dipping sauce), udon in soup, and udon with soy sauce.

Try standing-style soba (buckwheat noodles)

Standing noodle stores can be found in small spaces in train stations. They are crowded with businessmen and other people who want to eat in a short time while changing trains. The smell of the soba sauce in the air invites you to try it. After choosing a menu item, you buy a meal ticket from a ticket vending machine and hand it to the staff inside. If you are not afraid of this style of eating standing up, why not give it a try?

Have fun and save money in Tokyo!