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Japan Budget Travel Guide

Thursday, July 27, 2017 / ,

**GUEST POST



Ah, beautiful Japan. We at GoBear Malaysia have quite a number of articles featuring Japan; check out our handy-dandy travel advisory, for instance (we seriously recommend you read this one, as Japan has some mobile phone and electricity compatibility issues when compared to Malaysia), or when to go flower-watching. But Japan is also very expensive, especially if you stay anywhere in Tokyo, or so most people would think. Is there a way to travel around Japan on a budget? Let GoBear Malaysia guide you through the ins and out of doing Japan on the cheap.

  1. The local konbini (convenience store) is your best friend
Not only do convenience stores sell you lunch sets (bentos) at really reasonable prices (for Japan), but they also in many cases offer free Wi-Fi. Given that your phone is unlikely to work in Japan (unless you have a CDMA phone for some reason), this is a good way to keep in touch with friends and family back home.

  1. Travel by anything other than the Shinkansen
Do use it once just for the novelty. Gasp as your ticket costs can come up to several hundred ringgit per adult (depending on how far you’ve travelled and what class you’re booked on). And then decide that even flying is cheaper than using the bullet train.

Alternatively, if you want to travel throughout Japan over a longer period of time, then buy the Japan Rail Pass, which is only available to non-Japanese-citizen tourists. The pass will allow you access to almost all Shinkansen and other Japan Rail services, and will quickly pay for itself if you do, in fact, use it to travel all across the country. Value-for-money, definitely; budget travel, not so much.

  1. No better time to try out a love hotel
They probably look pretty dodgy on the outside, but you’d better believe that they’re well-appointed on the inside. And for the price you pay, a great way to stay the night without breaking your budget.

Other options to consider include capsule hotels (but not if you’re large sized), or, if you’re the type who will consider Akihabara a must-see destination, even manga cafes.

  1. Use the free tour guide services
Amazingly enough, there are a number of them around. There is an actual national, official organisation called Goodwill Guides who will take you around – they even speak English. The Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe etc.) has a body called Visit Kansai who also have volunteer guides to help you around the place. Free is always good for your budget, and you help the guides practise their English as well – it’s a win-win situation all around. Make sure you ask them to bring you to all the free tourist attractions too!
The one thing you don’t want to do on a budget is your travel insurance, though. The reason for that is because Japanese healthcare is world-class, but also expensive, comparatively speaking – not to mention that most Japanese only speak, well, Japanese. Having an emergency line to call in the case of medical problems is a really good idea. But just because a plan is competitively-priced, that doesn’t make it a ‘cheap’ plan. Tune Protect, for instance, has its annual Travel Easy plan which costs RM155/year, which is pretty reasonable yet still covers all the usual likely incidents that can occur to you during your travel.
And if you’re looking for more options, then check out our comparison services.

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