Tokyo is an expensive city, but never think you can’t afford a trip to one of the best cities in the world! If you’re smart with planning your budget, you will learn that you don’t always have to pay the full price to enjoy the best quality ?
Want to know how you can spend 5D4N in Tokyo with a budget under SGD1300? Read on!
Since Tokyo is a popular tourist destination, most airlines always offer great deals. Look out for promotions to score the cheapest fares you can get. Or, you can opt for Skyscanner, a site helps you get the best deal by comparing prices, times and even stops of different airlines.
*The fares shown are based on a search from 11 Jan-15 Jan 2018
Just input your destination, where you’re flying from, and the travel dates. Various flights by different airlines will then be listed, and you can choose to have them sorted by the cheapest price, fastest time or the best deal. Remember to book your tickets early before the prices begin to inflate!
Cost: SGD 382/pax
Some people may laugh at the idea of staying at a capsule hotel, but think about it, where else can you experience staying at such a place if not in Japan? Contrary to popular belief, capsule hotels can actually be quite comfy!
Option 1 - Capsule Hotel: Asakusa Riverside Hotel
Credit: @porcelainveins_ on Instagram
Some capsule hotels don’t allow women to stay there, but Asakusa Riverside Capsule Hotel is one of very few female-friendly capsule hotels in Tokyo. Just a stone's throw away from Asakusa station, this hotel has separate floors and communal baths for both men and women.
Cost: SGD25/per night
Option 2 - Hostel: Space Hostel Tokyo
If you don’t mind sharing space with strangers, opt for hostels! Most hostels come with fully equipped kitchens, lounges and Wi-Fi, and are strategically located near train stations. It’s a good way to meet other travellers, mostly backpackers, and share travel tips too ?
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At Space Hostel Tokyo, you can choose to stay in 4, 8 or 10-people mixed dormitories, priced at SGD28, 24 and 21 respectively. There are curtains for every bed, so you have a bit of privacy. If you're travelling in a group, you can also request for the whole dorm room.
Cost: SGD24/per night
Option 3 - Airbnb - Apartment in Itabashi-ku
For budget travellers are looking for a more comfortable stay, Airbnb is a great alternative! Be it a private room or an entire apartment, you will be able to find a place that caters to your needs, and more importantly, budget. Besides, since you’re practically renting a house, it means you can cook and do laundry as well in your own space - more ways to save money! Bonus point: Airbnb hosts usually provide either Wi-Fi or pocket wifi (sometimes both)!
5 minutes away from the train station, this cozy little apartment in Itabashi-kuaccommodates up to 3 people and comes with a small kitchen, bathroom, iron and pocket Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, washing machines aren't available here but there’s a coin laundry nearby, as well as a supermarket and a konbini (vending machine).
Cost: SGD51/per night
Option 4 - Ryokan - Taito Ryokan
Some people have the impression that ryokan, or a Japanese traditional inn, are expensive. In several areas in Tokyo, ryokan is actually referred to as “a very cheap place to stay”. Well, minus the kimono-clad staff and traditional kaiseki cuisine, but you'll still have an authentic, traditional experience!
Credit: TAITO RYOKANon Facebook
Depending on the room you choose, a ryokan room can be less than SGD40 per night. For example, the rooms at Taito Ryokan, located at the heart of Asakusa, starts at SGD37 per night and it gets cheaper the longer you stay. The building is an old wooden house built in 1950s (but was renovated in 2011) with tatami floors and futons. The toilets and showers are shared, plus it has a common room with a refrigerator, microwave oven, cable TV, books and magazines, Wi-Fi, and even a kotatsu!
Cost: SGD37/per night
3. Getting around
To conquer Japan, first you must master public transportation, particularly trains. Don’t waste time and money purchasing tickets every time you need to travel (because trust me, you’ll be riding a lot of trains), and get yourself these must-have items!
Make the most out of your trip by purchasing the Tokyo Subway Ticket. Valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, this ticket gives you unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines. The ticket is valid from the first time it’s used, as long as it’s within the expiry date stated on the back of the ticket.
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The best place to purchase this pass is upon your arrival at the airport. Just ask the concierge and they’ll direct you to the counter. The ticket is only for tourists so you need to produce your passport when purchasing.
- 24-hour: SGD11 (adult), SGD6 (child)
- 48-hour: SGD15 (adult), SGD9 (child)
- 72-hour: SGD19 (adult), SGD10 (child)
Japan Rail Pass
If you’re planning to travel outside of Tokyo, make use of the Japan Rail Pass (commonly known as JR Pass). It allows you to get on the shinkansen (except “Nozomi” and “Mizuho” trains) without any extra cost! You can also flash the pass when you’re riding any JR Yamanote Line within Tokyo, so there’s no need to scan your Suica card.
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Do note that this pass must be purchased before you arrive in Japan!
#HHWT Tip: Skip the JR Pass if you’re not making any trips out of Tokyo since it is quite pricey!
Price: 7-day pass: SGD361 (adult), SGD182 (child)
Undeniably, food is expensive in Japan but let’s face it, food is important. Just like how you’re not supposed to go to war on an empty stomach, it’s not advisable to explore a city without fueling up! While a konbini (convenience store) is the biggest lifesaver, being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to live on only konbini food. You just need to know where to go!
Disclaimer: Do note that the items sold at a konbini are not halal certified. We advise that you check the list of ingredients before consuming at your own discretion.
Credit: @dominolikes on Instagram
Grab some bread, sandwiches or onigiri from your nearest konbini on your way out, they're usually priced between SGD1.40-4. If you want to save more, a regular loaf of white bread (usually sold in 4 to 6-slice packages) is around SGD2.70, so pack along travel-size butter (or Nutella if you prefer) in your luggage.
Food is generally cheaper during lunchtime compared to dinner even though the menu is pretty much the same, so make sure to fill your stomach then! Drinks from vending machines are usually priced less than SGD2.70, while coffee from a regular cafe is between SGD2.70-6.80.
For a more authentic Japanese cuisine experience, head over to Honolu Ebisu! Made with ingredients certified by the MHC (Malaysia Halal Corporation), you can slurp up your favourite ramen without any worries.
Credit: @tsurumon on Instagram
We'd recommend the karaage ramen, a dish topped with fried chicken (pan-fried instead of deep-fried). If you’re looking for something spicier and even more unique, go for their tom yum ramen!
Credit: @watanavar o5 on Instagram
While you’re there, don’t forget to try their halal-certified Nikkoken gyoza which is made with chicken and tofu! Ramen is priced between SGD11 to SGD14, while the gyoza is SGD8 per plate.
Note: Honolu has several branches across Japan, but only the ones in Ebisu, Nihonbashi and Osaka serve halal menus.
Address: ABC Americabashi Bldg 1F, 1-23-1 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 11.30 am - 2.30 pm, 5 pm - 9.30 pm daily (closed on public holidays)
Price range: $-$$
Getting there: Ebisu Station (Yamanote, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku, Hibiya lines), east exit
Sekai Cafe Oshiage
Sekai Cafe aims to serve people from all over the world regardless of dietary restrictions (eg. allergies, religion or ideology). Their cafe-style menu includes curry rice with soy cutlet, veggie kara don and soymilk pudding.
Credit: @shafeek on Instagram
Muslims customers craving for meat will be pleased to know that the cafe serves halal-certified meat, and none of the meals contain pork and alcohol. Lunch sets go for around SGD14, and all the staff there speak English so you’ll be able to inquire more about the menu.
[ P.S. Check out our ultimate guide to halal food in Tokyo! ]
Address: 2-16-8 Narihira, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 10 am - 9 pm (last orders 8.30 pm) daily
Price range: $-$$
Getting there: 2-minute walk from Oshiage Station (Asakusa, Keisei Oshiage lines); Tokyo Skytree Station (Tobu Skytree line)
Below is the approximate breakdown of food prices:
Snacks and drinks: Around SGD8
Food per day: < SGD50
Food for 5 days: Approximately SGD250
5. Must-visit places
No trip to Tokyo is complete without a visit to the iconic Tokyo Tower!
Credit: Wilhelm Joys Andersen on Flickr
Access to the main observatory deck isn’t cheap, but it’s one of those things you need to do at least once in your life.
Address: 4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo
Opening hours: 9 am to 11 pm daily
Price: SGD12 (adult), SGD7 (children aged 7-15), SGD6 (children aged 4-6)
Getting there: 15 minutes walk from JR Hamamatsucho Station (north exit)
Founded in 628, Senso-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo. Known as the temple of the Asakusa Kannon to the people all over Japan, it attracts approximately 30 million visitors every year.
Credit: Bob Owen on Flickr
Look out for the iconic Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) near the entrance! First built in 942, the gate has been destroyed numerous times and the current dates to only 1950.
Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
Opening hours: Main hall: 6am – 5pm (Opens at 6:30am from October to March), Temple grounds: Always open
Getting there: Asakusa Station (Tobu Skytree/ Tokyo Metro Ginza/ Tsukuba Express line) – a 5 min walk from Asakusa Station/ Asakusa Station (Toei Subway Asakusa Line) – a 7 min walk
If Harajuku is a little too mainstream for you, head over to Shimokitazawa, or Shimokita for short, a bohemian neighbourhood in Setagaya district. While it shares Harajuku’s eccentric charms, it’s more laid back and organic with unpretentious boutiques and cafes lining up the small alleys.
Credit: Shibuya246on Flickr
Expect to find lots of vintage shops, bookstores, art galleries and old records stores.
Credit: SAE FUJIMURA on Flickr
[ P.S. Running out of cash? Check out 12 free things to do in Tokyo that you can add to your itinerary! ]
Getting there: The neighbourhood is right next to Shimokitazawa Station (Keio-Inokashira Line or Odakyu Line)
Kanda Myojin Temple
Receive blessings for not just yourselves, but also your gadgets at this unique shrine located near Akihabara. Apparently, Kanda Myojin Temple is often visited by the geeks to receive blessings and protections for their electronics.
Credit: Manish Prabhune on Flickr
For a small donation, visitors can take home talisman elaborately designed to look like a circuit board which guards their gadgets against calamities such hard drive failures and virus attacks.
Credit: @orangerafi on Instagram
Address: 2 Chome-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan
Getting there: 8 minutes walk north from Akihabara Station (Chuo Sobu Line)
6. Must-do activities
Watch a rakugo show at Suehirotei
Rakugo, which literally means “fallen words”, is Japan’s traditional comic storytelling and often referred to as “a sitcom which one person plays all parts”. The rakugoka (storyteller) will sit on the stage alone and relay a long, complicated story without standing up from the seiza sitting position and with only a paper fan and a small cloth as props.
Credit: @uski_nak on Instagram
It’s a great way to learn about the Japanese culture and humour, if you understand the language.
Address: Suehirotei, 3-6-12 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Ticket price: SGD7 for the Saturday night show
Getting there: Shinjuku-Sanchome station (Marunouchi, Shinjuku, Fukutoshin lines), exits B2, C4
Learn Japan’s history at Edo-Tokyo Museum
From the feudal era to modern times, you will be able to see Tokyo’s transformation in the form of models, replicas and miniatures of real buildings, and reproductions of old maps and ukiyoe (wooden prints). Have a peek at how people lived in the Edo period, the culture and arts.
Credit: Seungbong Leeon Flicker
English signage is available throughout the museum, and a free audio guide is available for visitors (USD 10 yen deposit is required).
#HHWT Tip: Take note that the museum will be closed for renovation from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018!
Address: 1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0015
Opening hours: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (Tuesday-Friday and Sunday), 9.30 am to 7.30 pm (Saturday), closed on Monday
Admission fee: SGD8 (adult), SGD4 (senior citizens aged over 65, high school students and primary school students outside Tokyo), SGD7 (university students)
Getting there: 3-minute walk from West Exit of Ryogoku Station, JR Sobu Line
Get souvenirs from a souvenir vending machine
When people say Japan have vending machines for everything, they really do mean everything.When you make a trip to Shibuya, don’t forget to stop by Maruara Watanabe, a souvenir store run by the same family for three generations!
Credit: Dream! Go! Live!
The quirkiest attraction that this store has to offer is the pair of vending machines that dispenses tourist trinkets! Souvenirs include tenugui (a small cloth, often used as handkerchief), ornamental hairpins and sushi magnets, ranging from SGD7 to SGD17.50 each.
Address: 16-8 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Getting there: 4-minute walk from Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin lines) Hachiko exit
Don’t let being on a budget keep you from going on a shopping spree! If you’re looking for trendy yet affordable fashion items, head over to Don Quijote and ABC-Mart! From groceries, clothes to electronics, Don Quijote, or Donki for short, has almost everything. There’s also a Muslim-friendly souvenir section at the Asakusa outlet!
Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson on Flickr
Meanwhile, ABC-Mart is heaven for footwear lovers. This is where you can get branded and limited edition shoes at discounted prices!
Credit: Rog01 on Flickr
If you have some time and money to spare, why not get out of Tokyo? Among the places you should check out are Yokohama and Kawagoe, just half an hour away from Tokyo. Yokohama is Tokyo’s neighboring city, famous for the seaside Minato Mirai district, with some iconic landmarks such as Red Brick Warehouse and Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel.
On the other hand, Kawagoe is an Edo period castle town known its old clay warehouses and merchant homes called Kurazukuri.
[ P.S. Explored enough of the city? Check out these 10 charming destinations perfect for a day trip from Tokyo! ]
Total cost breakdown
|ACCOMMODATION (5 days, 4 nights)||SGD150|
|SHOPPING + SOUVENIRS||SGD300|
So there you have it,5D4N in Tokyo under SGD1300 with more to spare! Note that this calculation is based on an approximate value. The prices may differ depending on currency, time and promotions, but at least you get the idea of how to have a time in Tokyo while still keeping your budget!