Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities to live in but it doesn’t mean that we can’t eat, sleep, and shop on a budget when we’re there! In order to travel around Tokyo on a low budget, a little research and discipline is definitely needed. Lucky for us, the Japanese have always been particular about meeting the standards of perfection, so travelling cheap is completely safe. We’ve done the research for you so here’s how you can scrimp and still enjoy an amazing holiday in Tokyo!
P.S. Been to Tokyo? Leave a review on our website share your experiences with other Muslim travellers!
1. Forget about expensive hotels, stay in these instead!
Credit: JLL on Facebook
First developed in Japan, capsule hotels are great accommodation alternatives for travellers who are out and about from day to night and only need a place to sleep. A room in a capsule hotel will cost you about ¥2,500 to ¥6,900 per night.
The cubicles are air-conditioned, and they have facilities such as a sauna and a cafeteria.
Credit: Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya on Facebook
However, a capsule hotel may not suit you if you are significantly taller than 1.8 metres because one cubicle measures about 2 metres in length! Some capsule hotels do not accommodate female guests, so it’s better to check before making your reservation.
Some of Tokyo’s capsule hotels are even Muslimah-friendly, like the women’s only Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya!
Credit: Samurai Japan on Airbnb
If you haven’t visited the Airbnb site to hunt for affordable and beautiful accommodation in Tokyo, what are you waiting for? The Tokyo apartments listed on Airbnb are mostly pleasing and have mostly positive reviews from past users. Besides, the Japanese are generally polite people who value good housekeeping, so you would likely meet a pleasant host!
Credit: Interior Design Magazine on Facebook
There are a number of traditional Japanese guesthouses (Ryokans) in Tokyo and the best thing is that it doesn’t cost much to stay in these traditional Japanese inns at all. Ryokans can go as low as ¥7,000 per night, depending on the type of room you choose.
#HHWT Tip: Some Ryokans also offer vegetarian/seafood meals and are able to cater to special dietary requests.
2. Strategise your mealtimes
Have a heavy lunch
Credit: @kelilingjepang on Instagram
Lunchtime is literally the time of the day to feast as food is generally cheaper. Stuff yourself with food that will cost almost double during dinner-time! Many restaurants in Tokyo also offer reasonably priced set-lunches that allow you to eat to your heart’s content.
Not sure where you can dine? We have a list of 17 halal Japanese restaurants where you can get authentic Japanese food in Tokyo!
3. Plan your route and transport
It is important to plan your route so you don’t make unnecessary detours and spend more on transport. On top of that, prepaid travel cards are popular in Tokyo for a ticketless travel experience onboard Tokyo’s transport systems and we recommend that you get a Suica card!
P.S. The train tickets in Tokyo are tiny and if you lose yours, you’ll have to purchase another ticket before you can exit at your destination!
Credit: @nancybailon on Instagram
Think of the Suica card as a pre-loaded card (with cash) for public transport in Tokyo, specifically for subways, buses, and the Tokyo Monorail that connects Tokyo city to Haneda Airport. The Suica card can also be used to purchase things onboard trains, at convenience stores and even rent coin lockers! Do note that the Suica card can’t be used for the Shinkansen (Bullet Train).
In Tokyo, there are other cards like the Pasmo card that functions exactly like the Suica card. The difference in names is due to the different companies that own the card.
The Suica card can also be used on Japan Rail (JR) routes in Hokkaido, Tokai, West Japan and Kyushu. A minimum top-up of ¥1,000 and a ¥500 deposit is needed for a Suica card.
Day passes are also a good option for those who plan to take the metro many times in a day. You can purchase these tickets at the ticket vending machines or Tokyo metro pass offices, and a common one-day ticket costs about ¥1,000 for an Adult.
Tokyo Subway Ticket/ JR Pass
If you’re travelling extensively by rail throughout your Tokyo trip, it’s best to get a Tokyo Subway Ticket! Valid for 1, 2 or 3 days, the Tokyo Subway Ticket allows you to enjoy unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines 😆
Credit: Tokyo starting from Haneda, KEIKYU on Facebook
Planning to travel out of Tokyo? Get a Japan Rail Pass (which has to be purchased online), also known as JR Pass!
Credit: @failintan on Instagram
Within Tokyo, the JR Pass can also be used for the JR Yamanote Line (the green circle). However, if you’re only travelling around Tokyo, stay away from the pass as it costs around ¥ 29,110 for a 7-day period.
#HHWT Tip: The JR Pass can only be issued to temporary visitors of Japan and you have to purchase it before travelling to Japan!
Credit: JR East
4. Tap on FREE WIFI
If you prefer not to rent a pocket Wi-Fi device, there are ways for you to get connected for free!
Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi app
Credit: Yayoi Japanese Restaurant | ร้านอาหารญี่ปุ่น ยาโยอิ on Facebook
Download the Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi app before you travel to Japan and simply access the app to connect to the Wi-Fi hotspots for free! The areas with these Wi-Fi hotspots include airports, train stations, commercial facilities, convenience stores and more! You’ll be able to find the addresses and maps of all coverage areas with this app. Don’t forget to complete the membership registration form on the app before your trip!
Free Wi-Fi cards
Credit: Welcome City
There are several places in Tokyo that distribute free Wi-Fi cards for tourists, which contains an ID for access to Wi-Fi hotspots around Tokyo. Here’s a list of places where you can collect the card from, but do note that they are not open around the clock 😊 Remember to bring your passport along with you when you go down to collect the card!
Travelling with your buddies? Why not rent a pocket 4G WiFi router to share among your travelling party- you can enjoy smoother Internet connection, and the cost of rental per person is cheaper too!
- Book a pocket 4G WiFi router and collect it when you arrive at any Japan airport
- Book a pocket 4G WiFi router and collect it at Changi Airport in Singapore
- Book a pocket 4G WiFi router and collect it at KLIA in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5. Budget shopping is your best friend
You can’t visit Tokyo without shopping! To travel on a budget, you have to shop at the right places for great deals 😉 Here are a few places that we recommend!
Credit: antonio tajuelo on Flickr
At Don Quijote (also known as Donki), you’ll be able to find almost everything and anything! This discount chain store carries a wide range of products ranging from basic groceries to electronics, and even clothing and other quirky items.
#HHWT Tip: We found out that the Asakusa outlet has recently added a Muslim-friendly souvenir sales section on the second floor. This would make perfect gifts for your family and friends back home!
Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson on Flickr
If you are a footwear lover, you’re in luck! ABC Mart is just one of the many places where you can find branded footwear (Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Timberland, etc) sold at discounted prices. You can also get limited edition footwear, exclusive to Japan!
Credit: Tasayu Tasnaphun on Flickr
Shibuya 109 is where you can find trendy clothes at affordable prices! If you’re a fan of Japan’s renowned clothing chain, Uniqlo, you’ll be glad to find a huge store just around the corner as well. The prices of Uniqlo products are definitely cheaper in Japan!
While you’re in the neighbourhood, don’t forget to visit Gyumon for halal yakiniku!
#HHWT Tip: It’s rumoured that Shibuya crossing is one of the busiest intersections in the world so you have to experience the famous Shibuya crossing for yourself!
6. Conquer all the free activities and sights
Being on a budget holiday doesn’t mean you have to skip all the sightseeing! There are so many things to do in Tokyo that won’t cost a cent and here are a few that you can include in your itinerary.
Credit: Just Love Japan on Facebook
Ueno park is a beautiful place to visit, especially when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom! Take a stroll and admire the scenery or have a picnic if you’re up for a meal with a breathtaking view! What better way to spend your holiday in Tokyo than to experience the city like a local 🙂
Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine
Explore the beautiful forested Yoyogi Park and don’t forget to visit the famed Meiji Shrine! Weekends are when the atmosphere is livelier, as there will be buskers and Lolita fashionistas around. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of a Japanese wedding procession at Meiji Shrine too!
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Credit: IQRemix on Flickr
If you’ve got nothing planned after dinner, go up to the observation decks for free at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to get an unobstructed and beautiful view of Tokyo city.
The North Observatory opens from 9:30am to 11:00pm and the South Observatory opens from 9:30pm to 5:30pm, but opens till 11:00pm when the North Observatory is closed.
P.S. A HHWT reader shared with us that the view here is as good as or even better than the view at Tokyo Skytree!
Credit: michael Su on Flickr
Do you have any travel hacks or budget travel tips when it comes to travelling in Japan? Let us know in the comments! We would love to hear from you 😊