Travels to Japan are back in full swing after years of border restrictions and limitations. We’ve got you covered with this budget guide so that you can get the best deals and explore the ins and outs of Tokyo while on a budget!
It’s no surprise that Tokyo is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Singaporeans. With borders opening and restrictions easing, all the pent-up, holiday-deprived travellers are back with a vengeance. Unfortunately, this also means that the costs of travel are shooting up. From increased airfares to rising transport costs and admission fees, you’re bound to feel the pinch of travelling after the Covid-era.
But, it doesn’t mean that travelling to Japan has to break the bank. We’ve got some tips and hacks, and some places for you to explore to make the most bang for your buck because budget doesn’t have to mean boring!
Tokyo On A Budget 101:
1. Maximise On Deals For Bookings
Who doesn’t love a good discount? Be sure to be on the lookout for good seasonal deals and bundles that can help you save more, especially if you’re travelling with a group. Making use of your YouTrip card while planning for your holiday will save you the hassle of scouring the net for good deals. With YouTrip Perks, you’ll get to enjoy discounts and cashback on your flights, accommodations, and activities from popular sites like Agoda, Klook, Trip.com, and more.
2. Plan Out Travels In Advance
Planning is always the first step to making your trip the most cost-effective and enjoyable at the same time. Whether it’s deciding if the Japan Rail Pass is the most suited for your itinerary, or looking for the best accommodations that are both reasonably priced and conveniently located, these additional savings add up! Check out guides online like our guide to the Japan Rail Pass and to some of the must-see things in Japan so that you can make smart financial decisions while planning your travels.
3. Avoid Additional Hidden Costs From Banks
Pesky bank fees can amount to quite a bit especially when you’re making frequent purchases with your card. Get yourself a good travel multi-currency card (like YouTrip of course!) so that you can avoid chalking up additional bank fees, and spend that money on yourself instead!
4. Make The Most of Good Exchange Rates
While you’re doing your best to watch your spending while overseas, you wouldn’t want to spend all your time worrying about these things either! With your YouTrip card, you can make the most of good exchange rates at any time of the day by changing the money into the Japanese yen on the app the moment you find a desirable rate. And based on what we’ve found, the rates are looking up now!
Now that you’ve got some tips, it’s time to start planning! Here are 10 free activities and places for you to check out if you’re travelling to Japan on a budget. There’s something for everyone!
10 Free Activities To Check Out In Tokyo:
1. Sumo Practice – Arashio Beya
Image credits: Klook
Sumo wrestling is both an art and a sport. These wrestlers dedicate their lives to it and spend years training and perfecting their skills. Experience first-hand what training is like for a sumo wrestler, and understand the sport better too. Some sumo stables invite guests to sit in for their training, and Arashio Beya specifically allows you the flexibility of leaving at any time if you don’t want to sit through the whole session. Be sure to check their website prior to your visit so that you’ll be informed of any changes to their training schedule.
Training Hours: 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Address: Arashiobeya 2-47-2 Nihombashihamacho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo-to 103-0007 Japan
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out the Arashio Beya here
2. Louis Vuitton Espace
Image credits: Tokyoisours
Even if luxury items aren’t your thing, Espace Louis Vuitton is definitely worth checking out. The space is a glass box on the top floor of the Louis Vuitton building and it was designed by Japanese architect Jun Aoki. The exhibitions change every few months, and they range from contemporary art pieces to photography, and interactive artworks for you to enjoy.
Opening Hours: From Monday to Sunday, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Address: Louis Vuitton Omotesando Bldg. 7F 5-7-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out the Louis Vuitton Espace Tokyo here.
3. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck
Image credits: Experience Tokyo
For one of the best views of Tokyo, visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building’s Observation deck that’s open to the public. With clear skies, you’d be able to see everything — from the silhouette of Mt Fuji to other buildings like the Tokyo tower, from the same point. If you can, try to visit the observation deck in the evening just as the sun is about to set for a breathtaking view of the city against the backdrop of the setting sun.
Opening Hours: 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Address: 2-8-1 45th floor, TMG No.1 Building, Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku 163-8001 Tokyo Prefecture
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation deck here.
4. Yoyogi Park
Image credits: Japan Guide
Have a picnic, read a book, or just take a stroll through Yoyogi Park to enjoy the beautiful greenery of Tokyo right in the heart of the city. The landscape changes with the seasons, but one thing’s for sure — it’ll definitely be zen and calming. The park comes alive, especially on Sunday evenings — where street performers come out and show off their talents. It’s definitely a great way to enjoy a relaxing evening in nature.
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
Address: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0052, Japan
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out Yoyogi Park’s website here.
5. Jimbocho Book Town
Image credits: Tohoku & Tokyo
What do books and curry have in common? At the Jimbocho Book Town, you’ll find over 200 bookstores and Japanese curry stores along the same street. The bookshops mainly carry second-hand books, with all kinds of genres available. There are traditional books that date back to the Edo period, and modern books in English too. But if you’re not into books, just pop into one of the curry restaurants for a taste of traditional Japanese curry that will warm you up as much as a good book does.
Opening Hours: Varies from store to store
Address: Kanda-jimbo-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out Jimbocho Book Town’s website here.
6. Ameya-Yokocho Street
Image credits: MyWoWo
Ame or candy in Japanese is where this street derived its name from, as it was known as the place to go to for candy in the post-war era. Interestingly enough, it later became a black market for imported American goods, and hence Ame (for American) still stuck as the street’s name. There’s no longer a need for the black market, but now you can find the most interesting and random knick-knacks, from running shoes to toys and beauty products, you’re bound to find something you never even knew you needed.
Opening Hours: Varies from store to store, but the street is accessible 24/7
Address: 4 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo (In between the Ueno and Okachimachi Station)
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out Ameya-yokocho’s website here.
7. Tokyo Polytechnic University Suginami Anime Museum
Image credits: Japan Travel
Before Akihabara, was Suginami. Out of the 542 anime studios in Tokyo, only about three of them can be found in Akihabara, but a whopping 138 of them are located in Suginami. The Suginami Animation Museum has all you need to know about the history of Japanese animation dating back to the year 1917. Beyond just taking a look at the displays, you can also try your hand at adding voice-overs to popular clips, or try sketching designs on your own. Whether you’re a die-hard anime fan, or just interested in anime culture, this is the place to go.
Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (closed on Mondays and national holidays)
Address: 3/F Suginami Hall, 3-29-5 Kamiogi, Suginami 167-0043 (20 minutes from Ogikubo Station)
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out Suginami Animation Museum’s website here.
8. Tokyo Localised Free Walking Tour
Image credits: Tokyo Cheapo
Get to know Tokyo on this all-in-one tour of the city. Starting at a little coffee shop in Akihabara, and ending at Ueno Park, your guide will take you on a journey to understand the roots of Tokyo, and its journey into the metropolitan city it is today. Learn more about the food, religion and culture in this three-hour walking tour. Reservations should be made 10-14 days before the tour, so be sure to book your slot!
Opening Hours: Varies depending on the tour schedule
Meeting Point: In front of Beck’s Coffee Shop, Akihabara
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out Tokyo Localized’s website here.
9. Asakusa Free Walking Tour
Image credits: Japan Guide
Understand the history and culture of Japan better with a different kind of tour around Asakusa. Away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, this tour takes you deeper into the culture and religion of Japan. One of the main attractions is the Senso-ji Shrine — one of the top must-visit places in Tokyo. Let your guide take you on a journey to learn about Tokyo, and let history come to life on the free walking tour.
Opening Hours: Varies depending on the tour schedule (lasts around 1.5 hours)
Meeting Point: Beside the police box by the Kaminarimon Gate of the Senso-ji Temple
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out Tokyo Free Walking Tour’s website here.
10. Check Out A Festival In Tokyo
Image credits: Japan Guide
What better way to experience the richness of Japanese culture, than attending a festival with the locals? There are different festivals all year round, depending on when you decide to make your trip. From more traditional festivals held at places of worship to the firework festivals in July, and even the cosplay festivals in October, there’s definitely something worth checking out. Be sure to check out the calendar for the festivals while you plan your trip to get that authentic Japanese experience.
Opening Hours: Depends on each festival
Location: All around Tokyo
YouTrip’s Budget Guide: Free Things To Do In Tokyo 2023: For more information, check out the calendar of events for 2023 here.
Budget Doesn’t Have To Mean Boring!
Don’t stress out about going to Japan on a budget — there are plenty of things to do and see. And there are ways to maximise on the great deals available too! Be sure to use your YouTrip card to avoid additional hidden fees, and to enjoy the wholesale exchange rates.
As Singapore’s favourite multi-currency wallet, we aim to get those pesky fees out of the way and help you save on your travels. With the best foreign exchange rates, no longer will you have to deal with those long queues at money changers! So if you’re looking for a go-to travel card, sign up for your complimentary YouTrip card today with <YTBLOG5> and get FREE S$5 in your account! For more great tips and articles like this, join our Telegram (@YouTripSG) and subscribe to our free weekly newsletter here or down below.
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