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Visiting japan on a budget – free Sightseeing, cheap flights and hotels info

japan

Japan is one of the world’s best travel destinations. There are incomparable natural wonders like Mount Fuji and Yaku Shima Island; world-class cities like Tokyo and Osaka; UNESCO World Heritage sites like Himeji castle and Gingaku temple; and a mysterious culture that is sure to both confound and excite you.

 

Unfortunately, most budget travelers don’t visit Japan because they figure it’s too expensive. What they, and perhaps you, don’t know is that a vacation in Japan can be quite affordable. The practical travel tips presented below were assembled by a foreigner who taught English in various parts of Japan for more than 10 years. Please note that prices are given in Japanese yen. 

Flights

The high price of airline tickets to Japan, especially for travelers from North America and Europe, usually scares people off. Japan, after all, is an island nation in the Far East. However, the airfare is going to fluctuate from season to season, so if you shop around and follow these tip, you’ll get a great deal.

  • Avoid peak travel times.  During holiday periods in Japan airfares and hotel rates increase dramatically, so avoid traveling during these periods if possible.There are three distinct holiday periods in Japan: (1) Year-end and during New Year holidays — December 27 to January 4; (2) Golden Week holiday season — April 29 to May 5 and bookend weekends; and (3) Obon festival season — three days centered on August 15.
  • Fly regional or national carriers. Small, regional airlines and certain national carriers frequently offer discounted airfares. All airplane companies must adhere to certain standards and regulations, so you do not need to worry about not flying brand name. Some of the best options include China Airlines, Aeroflot Russian Airlines, and Asiana Airlines.

Local Transportation

While you are in Japan, utilize public transportation. This will save you a lot of money since taxis and renting vehicles can be expensive. Consider buying a bus pass if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing. This will save you money since bus passes typically offer deals when you purchase them. You can also consider renting bicycles, scooters, and any other form of transportation that is not expensive on the wallet but will allow you to get around.

  • Trains. Railway networks are extensive, fast and efficient. Japan Railways (JR) connects all major cities nationwide while private railway companies operate in each region. Large cities also have their fair share of subways and monorails. The Japan Rail Pass is a very economical and convenient method of accessing unlimited travel on JR lines within Japan, including the Shinkansenm (the Bullet Train).
  • Buses.  In big to mid-size cities in Japan, like Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, and Osaka, buses function as a secondary means of public transportation, complementing the train and subway networks. In small cities, as well as in cities with lots of historical sites like Kyoto and Kamakura, buses are the main means of public transportation. Also, buses routes extend far into rural and infrequently accessed areas, so buses can be used to transport you to small villages, hiking trail-heads, and other places not usually visited by tourists.
  • Travel Passes. There are several types of unlimited-ride passes.The Japan Rail Pass is a popular option for tourists because it provides unlimited travel on JR lines, including the Shinkansen. The pass must be purchased outside Japan from overseas offices of well-known Japanese travel agencies like JTB International and the Nippon Travel Agency Co. However, the Japan Rail Pass is expensive,  starting at about ¥30,000, so unless you plan on touring the country by train, you should avoid the Japan Rail Pass. Better options are the Suica and PASMO cards. These are prepaid cards that can be purchased and reloaded at ticket kiosks in train stations. They can be used on most trains, subways and buses in East Japan. They can also be used as electronic money. With a quick swipe of the card, you can pay for goods in many convenience stores, kiosks, restaurants and fast-food shops. Increasingly, many vending machine also accept Suica and PASMO cards.
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