Japan on a Budget
There is an interesting story on a Phillipine Website called www.rappler.com about how to visit Japan, a notoriously expensive country, at moderate cost. The complete reference is www.rappler.com/life-and-style/travel/59518-budget-guide-osaka-kyoto-japan.
It includes advice on how to get a cheap air fare from the Phillipines by booking far ahead when a promotion is announced, but also good ideas that can apply to all visitors. The author prefers staying at hostels or guest houses rather than hotels, and says that by booking ahead and avoiding major holidays you can get a traditional style room for about $35 per night. It will have air-conditioning, hot baths, WiFi, and be clean, apparently.
Kyoto and Osaka are known for their abundance of traditional architecture and temples, and are the cities to visit if you want to get a hint of the old Japan. Most temples and shrines are free, or charge admission of $4 or so at most. The best way to get around to see them is by using an all day bus pass which also costs $4.
Food can be expensive in Japan, but not if you stick to dishes like curry rice. A meal with a very large serving of curry rice, meat and tea goes for about $7, or try converyor belt sushi which costs $1 a piece. Sukiyaki is a fast food chain the writer likes.
Shopping is not a great bargain in Japan, but is an interesting experience. The international chains like Zara (www.zara.com) are among the less expensive places to find clothes if you need them.
I have observed how prices at shops like Zara vary from country to country. Here is Canada Zara is a low- to medium-price chain, but in Russia it is considerably more costly. A cotton shirt that cost about $70 in St. Petersburg would, I suspect, go for less than half that in Montreal.