Saturday, August 11, 2012

Budget Travel in Japan?

Japan is, from everything I have read, one of the most challenging countries in the world for budget travellers. It is an expensive developed country, and one where the language and culture are quite different from those in the West. This makes it hard to get around independently at low cost.
For example, the main airport for Tokyo, Narita, is about 80 km. from the centre of town. There is train and bus service, but after a very long flight from North America it can be awfully tempting to get into a taxi. That, however, can be a costly mistake, with a fare of $300 or more. And staying at a Western style hotel in Tokyo is probably also going to cost $300 per night or more.
True, there are less expensive options, including the coffin-like capsule hotels, and hostels. Capsule hotels are mainly for males, but I did find at least one for females. Business hotels and some Japanese inns called ryokans are relatively inexpensive, at least compared to normal hotels.
Because I was considering a trip to Japan with accumulated miles, I found a Fodor's Guide to that country at my local library. Fodor's is not known for low-cost travel, but this one does include a page of budget travel recommendations from readers. Among them are buying a rail pass from Japan Rail before you go, getting takeout meals from the basement floor of department stores known as departo in Japanese, and buying kimono at vintage shops that Japanese are reluctant to patronize.
Even with all this good advice, though, I still find myself thinking that the trip sounds costly and perhaps not a lot of fun, trying to get around in a place where I know nothing of the language and little about the culture. I would welcome suggestions from readers with ideas about how to make Japanese travel easier. Or perhaps I will just wait until I can find a tour that sounds interesting and not too expensive.

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Blogger CaroleAnnGoldsmith said...

Hi -Japan is not expensive and you may find my blog of use. Also my app on Japan will be out soon.



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