When one thinks of budget travel destinations, Tokyo seldom jumps to the top of the list. But while Japan’s frenetic capital can have seriously deleterious effects on your bank account, it also offers yen-counting alternatives that don’t necessarily require a dip in quality.
Michelin-star cuisine for less than $10 per meal, nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink) and tabehoudai (all-you-can eat) options at izakaya (gastropubs), capsule hotels that marry quintessentially Japanese living quirks with cheap prices, and affordable low-season flight fares mean you can make the best out Tokyo without having to max out your credit cards.
So, for all the need-to-know insider tips, check out our guide to traveling Tokyo on a budget.
Fly in low season or take a connecting flight to save on air fares
Tokyo experiences tourism high-season for large stretches of the year, particularly during the spring sakura (cherry blossom) and fall koyo (autumn foliage) seasons, during which flight fares come at a premium in line with the soaring demand. This is especially true when flying direct from the US or UK. Traveling to Tokyo in winter or during the mid-June to mid-July rainy season will save you a few bucks, while frugal travelers from the UK should look at connecting through the Middle East or central Europe for lower-cost fares.
Low-season travelers benefit from cheaper accommodations
The aforementioned low seasons also bring about much cheaper accommodations. Though beware, Tokyo is comparatively dead during Shogatsu, the beginning of the New Year, when many businesses close for employees to spend time with family and give votive offerings to their hometown shrines.