Best Budget Tips for Traveling in Japan

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Jan 23rd, 2009, 12:20 PM
  #21
 
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To be exact, fried oyster (kaki furai) is a popular dish. It's the "balls" part, I'm not familar with.
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Jan 23rd, 2009, 01:59 PM
  #22
 
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It's like fish-balls and they drizzle a dark sauce. First time I had it was in Kyoto.
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Jan 23rd, 2009, 02:31 PM
  #23
 
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I think they look like this except these have the tako(squid)inside not the oysters

http://japanesefood.about.com/od/sea...r/takoyaki.htm

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Jan 23rd, 2009, 03:42 PM
  #24
 
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I can't say I liked the fried octopus balls myself - way too squishy in texture, but the chicken yakitori sticks are fantastic at street markets.

Check out the local website of towns you are intending to visit for festivals. They are all over the place ranging from very big to small. The provide great atmosphere at no cost.

The flea market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto is held on the 25th of each month. Great to see the locals poking around, plenty of street food and seeing old fashioned sideshow alley games for the kids. Prices for souvenirs are very cheap as it is a market for locals not tourists. The Temple itself is very good as well. All free.

Look into getting a goodwill guide. Many of the larger cities have websites where you make contact to arrange it. (We used the Jellybeans group in Kyoto). They are local residents who will personalise a tour of their town for you at no cost, but you do have to pay for any entrance fees and expected to pay for their lunch. The opportunity to simply be able to converse and get to know a lot more about Japanese life is priceless.

A great cheap hotel chain is the Toyoko Inns with a large number of properies throughout Japan. Expect the rooms to be very small, but exceptionally clean and good standard of furnishings. A Japanese breakfast is thrown in for free, internet and newspapers in the lobby and coin washing machines. Even got a choice of a free gift and toiletries are free, including a face mask.

There is a loyalty scheme giving free nights as well if you become a member. Cost is free and website is available in English. The chain is extremely popular with Japanese businessmen and watching them greet each other (presentaqtion of business cards) is entertainment in itself.

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Jan 23rd, 2009, 04:07 PM
  #25
 
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Go and see a kimono show for free at the Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto.
It is located in central Kyoto and you could take a number of buses such as 9, 51, 59 or 101 to Horikawa and Imadegawa to reach the place. You can also watch craftsman making kimono.

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Jan 23rd, 2009, 05:14 PM
  #26
mjs
 
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Eating takeout from department store basement food halls is a excellent way of saving money. You will save even more if you wait until an hour before closing when many prepared foods are marked down 25% to 50%. Makes for nice inexpensive dinners.
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Jan 23rd, 2009, 06:45 PM
  #27
 
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On the main page of the JNTO website they have a link to a list of events for the month. Festivals are listed, of course, but there also are some performances. Many of these are free.
www.jnto.go.jp
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Jan 23rd, 2009, 07:37 PM
  #28
mdn
 
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I second the suggestion about grabbing foor at the "depa-chika" (food section of department stores, usualy basement floor/ subway of "chikatetsu" level).
For people who're not fans of Japanese food or miss a hotdog or burger, try Mos Burger's Spicy Mos. One of the best fast-food burgers I've had anywhere.
The convenience stores like Lawson, 7-11 etc. sell hotdogs and croquettes for lunch on-the-go. The hotdogs are pretty good but the packaging of the free mustard & ketchup (similar to the ketchup packs at fast food vendors in the US) is simply amazing. For busy salarymen carrying office briefcases in one hand, it's a very practical lunch where just 1 hand can open the pack & spread condiments on to the hotdog & so on.

Also ramen is a great option for cheap meals! I like Jiro... but several others in the Shijuku area are good.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 01:40 AM
  #29
 
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Oops! Apologies, it should have been octopus balls. Thanks Shandy.
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Jan 24th, 2009, 11:53 AM
  #30
 
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The following website was linked to shizuko-san's e-mail from gojapan.about.com It mentioned discounts:
www.yjw2009.jp
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Jan 25th, 2009, 03:46 PM
  #31
 
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> it should have been octopus balls ..

Yes, that's called "tako-yaki". I actually thought you might have mixed up octopus with oyster but you never know, you actually might have had fried-oyster balls. Anyway I just wanted to be sure that Stephanie B would get a correct info.
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Jan 25th, 2009, 11:56 PM
  #32
 
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AlexisK asks: " Is a Japan Rail Pass really a cheap way to travel?"
Twice in my copy of Fodor's Japan, and on the JR website as well (which might be the source of the Fodor's statement), it says that a return trip from Tokyo to Kyoto pays for the cost of a one-week JR Rail Pass (priced at ¥2,830).
This week I travelled from ShinOsaka (i.e.,beyond Kyoto) to Tokyo return for ¥2,650. We went on the Nozomi, the fastest Shinkansen--a train that's not permitted with the JP Pass. The only catch I can see is that we reserved and paid for our ticket 48 hours in advance of the trip. Otherwise, what gives? It looks like any savings on the JR Pass only kick in once you go beyond the Tokyo-Kyoto route.
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Jan 26th, 2009, 04:26 AM
  #33
 
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> one-week JR Rail Pass (priced at ¥2,830).
> .. ShinOsaka (i.e.,beyond Kyoto) to Tokyo return for ¥2,650.

It looks like a 0 is missing on each number.

28'300 yen & 26'500 yen would be more like it.
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Jan 26th, 2009, 04:58 AM
  #34
 
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Yes, of course: thanks, Kappa1. You had your zeroes going in the right direction when I didn't!
It should be ¥28,300 for the JR Rail Pass and ¥26,500 for the ticket I bought. (And I'll stand by those numbers....)
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Jan 27th, 2009, 01:27 AM
  #35
 
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I assume that price included reserved seats. Just add on a one-way airport transfer (KIX or NRT) to your itin and the JR Pass gives you a savings. Or add a roundtrip to Nara and a couple of JR rides in Osaka or Tokyo and the Pass saves. Assuming you do it all in 7-days, of course.
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Jan 27th, 2009, 02:50 AM
  #36
 
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Yes, reserved seats included, MrW.
And, I agree, the add-on sidetrips would make the JR Pass pay, but the JR website and Fodor's are both exaggerating, however slightly, the benefits.
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Feb 12th, 2009, 07:45 PM
  #37
 
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1)Instead of taking the Shinkansen, Highway buses are good and cheap ways to get to another City. Plus for overnight buses, you get to save 1 night's accomodation fee.
You can get a comfortable ride on the 3-seater bus which can incline the seat to almost 180degrees

2) Buy drinks in the large volumes from Conbinis (convenience stores) and just aliquot out into smaller bottles before you go out for your sightseeing trips.

3)If you really want to try Kaiseki, try going for the lunch sets in Kaiseki restaurants which are almost 1/3 the price.

4) Book accomodations in advance as you'll be able to take advantage of promotional plans.

5) Eat breakfast on your own outside instead of the Hotel's, you can usually save up to 700yen per day per person.

6)Food in bakeries, departmental stores, sushi takeaways are on discount usually after 8:30pm. Good places to get your dinner cheap.

7) some places have upgrade in meal sizes, do so and share with your travelling companion

I'm usually able to keep my lunch and dinner costs below 700yen, and my breakfasts at about 500yen.
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Feb 14th, 2009, 05:51 AM
  #38
 
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If something sounds to cheap to be good, don't worry! We stayed at the Route Inn Ekimae in Kumamoto for US $80 a night and it was phenomenal and included a free, awesome, breakfast!

Our railpass was totally worth it but we used it to go from Tokyo to Kagoshima to Kumamoto to Hiroshima/Miyajima, to Himeji, to Kyoto, and back to Tokyo.

Found great deals in Kyushu - especially if you want to splurge on a ryokan, I highly recommend Furusato Kanko on Sakurajima island - for %150 per person you get a gorgeous room, your own rotemburo tub outside your room, access to the rotemburo overlooking the China Sea, plus fantastic breakfast and dinner.
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Feb 14th, 2009, 06:02 AM
  #39
 
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Also, I recommend the Villa Fontaine Hotel Chain in Tokyo - we stayed at Villa Fontaine Mita, which was right by the station, cost $120 night and included a fantastic breakfast!

I second eating at Department Stores. Also, you can't go wrong with a steaming bowl of udon noodles anywhere.

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Feb 14th, 2009, 10:22 AM
  #40
 
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We spent 3 weeks in Japan as part of our RTW trip last year and two budget places to stay spring to mind that come highly recommended. The first is in Tokyo near Minowa station Andon Ryokan http://www.andon.co.jp/index.html

Small rooms and shared bathrooms yes, but very hip place to stay with great breakfasts, the staff speak excellent English and are extremely helpful. Not a bad location either with lots of local restaurants nearby for cheap eats.

The second place is in Oji about 15 mins outside of Nara. Situated close to the station this is a traditional Minshuku restored to its former glory by an English guy and his Japanese wife. Great rooms (quite spacious) good breakfasts and friendly staff. There is the added benefit of a bar serving very good food and drinks on the premises. It is out of Nara but a really easy train ride into town and very convenient for train travel elsewhere in Kansai. The website and staff blogs are a mine of information about travel in the region.
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