Tokyo is chic, modern, and vibrant. It is also one of the most expensive cities in the world. This is a city with one of the (if not the most) expensive meals in the world as well as the most pricey hotel rooms. While you can live in the lap of luxury and splurge on 35,000 Yen Kobe beef meals, not everyone has the means to spend on an extravagant lifestyle. If you are interested in touring around Tokyo on a budget, then this is the article for you. Use this guide to make sure that you spend the most on your plane ticket, not on your trip.
Tokyo at a Glance
Domestic Population: 37.2 Million People
Trivia: One of Tokyo’s most haunted areas is the Komine Tunnel. Look out for a girl in a red dress and be careful about traffic accidents.
Where to Stay
Tokyo is home to one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world, $25,000 per night for the top suite at the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, but you can get by with spending nothing or around $20 per night for a room. The key to saving money in Tokyo on a place to stay is just not caring about personal space. You can find hostels where dorm beds will run you anywhere from $20-$30. Some hostels will allow you to stay for free in exchange for you volunteering with them. Tasks include anything from light cleaning to other small chores.
You can also find capsule hotels that are short on room but not much on your wallet. Some of these establishments do not allow women, so check ahead of time. If you are really desperate for a place to crash, then you can try to locate an internet café that will provide you with a private cubicle. You can try couchsurfing.com, a free service which allows you to meet locals while saving money.
What to Eat
Never turn your nose up at the snacks provided in convenience stores. These snacks are delicious and very cheap. Also, while you are going in for cheap bites, look out for the diversity of food offered in vending machines. Tokyo citizens have turned vending machine food into an art, so take advantage. Quick street side bowls of ramen will run you around $6-$8, if you are looking for something piping hot and fresh. The same go for hole-in-the-wall restaurants that offer skewers of meat. Look out for other street stands that sell really inexpensive snacks that are tasty and only go for around $1-$2.
The biggest tip is to stay in for dinner and eat out for lunch. There are many lunch deals offered around the city that will have you eating delicious Japanese food at a serious discount. Prices rise dramatically for dinner, so jump in while the food is hot and the prices are low.
When it comes to transportation, there are many options in Tokyo. The Tokyo metro is efficient, extensive, and not too pricey. Metro tickets cost differently depending on where you are going and you might want to consider getting a PASMO card. Just preload money onto it and use this card on the metro and on buses.
While in Tokyo, you might want to consider renting a bicycle or even an electric bicycle. This will allow you more freedom and flexibility in your travels around the city while going easy on your wallet.
Activities and Sights to See
There are many free and inexpensive activities to do and sights to see in Tokyo. Go to the Harajuku District and people watch. Whip out your camera and enjoy all the colorful and fascinating fashion styles of the trendsetters that wander around the area. Visit Yoyogi Park and enjoy the greenery or even participate in a yoga class. Enjoy the Big Buddha at Taisoji Temple and soak in some peaceful culture. Visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for only $2 and admire the serenity and history of the various gardens. Visit the Tsukiji Market which is one of the world’s largest fish markets and a great place to explore the exciting world of seafood in Tokyo.
Tokyo is one of the most diverse and scintillating cities in the world. The sheer mixture of history, modernity, high fashion, green spaces, and the variety of restaurants will have you spinning with excitement as you plan your next trip back. Do not let the stereotype of high expense deter you. Tokyo has some great deals and can make for a budget-friendly but jam-packed trip.