Travel with budget in Japan

December 13, 2011 in ❤︎I LOVE JAPAN❤︎ / Japan

Note: this is an article i wrote for R U Ready campaign, but instead of the general one, today i’m posting one that is specifically for traveling in Japan because many people requested for it! Hope you like it! 😀




One of the most commonly asked question on my blog is, “Cheesieeeee!! How do you afford to travel so often and where do you get all the money?!”

Well, i have traveled to more than 10 countries this year alone, so that part is true. And about the money part, of course it falls from the sky, drop from the trees and spurting out of the fountain in my backyard.

No not really. :X

The only advise i can give you on the money part is work hard, and save hard!! However, there are plenty of tips i can share here about is budget traveling. I’m kind of an expert in that field 😀 I guess that’s the reason why i can afford to travel as often as i wish, if i plan carefully!

Well, let’s take Japan as an example, shall we? Since i will be going there next January and i have been wanting to write a post like this for a long time!! 😀

1. Travel Buddy

Your travel buddy is super important! Make sure that you guys are on the same wavelength on spending, to ensure a happy and argument-free trip! It won’t be very fun if your friend insist taxing taxi to every single attractions and pay for expensive entrance fee, while you just want to wander in between narrow streets taking photos.

Luckily Audrey (whom i’m going to Japan with) and i are both the super kiam type, we’re perfectly happy with budget hotels, convenient store food, walking a lot and just save all the money for shopping 😀

2. Plan early

This is probably the most important tip to budget traveling. Although most of my trips are spontaneous and i’m always very lucky to get good deals, trust me, it will save you ALOT ALOT if you start planning your trip early. Subscribe to airline newsletters, sometimes you might just catch a deal so good it is unbelievable. We bought our upcoming flight to Osaka for RM746. RETURN. Yes i’m serious.

3. Budget Hotels

There are so many options available!! I’m sure you know plenty of online discount hotel booking sites (like, Everyone is intimidated by the hotel prices in Japan and think that they can never ever afford to go there. Not true!

Two years ago i managed to find a decent business hotel in Tokyo for about 5500 yen a night for two person. So that’s only like RM100 per person a night. Not bad, right? The trick is to make advance booking online. When we tried to call the hotel for booking, they actually advised us to make the booking on their website. The price is almost 50% cheaper!

Also, always choose not to have breakfast included in the hotel package, as they can cost alot more!

There are also plenty of good hostels/guest house around, and normally extremely clean. Try searching for 旅館 (Ryokan style hotel), the prices start from 3000 yen.

There’s also another tip that not many people know. Love Hotels are a great choice if you plan to move around alot. It’s the best way to stay in a fancy hotel at an extremely affordable price. The only drawback is that you will have to self-check in everyday since there isn’t a reception.

4. Phone and Internet

Unfortunately Japan is not an extremely wifi friendly place, so the best bet is to rent a local phone. It is still expensive, but i guess it would be better than having a heart attack when you receive your next phone bills. Try to stay in business hotels as they normally provide free wifi or cable internet.

5. Transportation


Probably the heaviest and most inevitable expenses. You can save a lot on stuff like hotel and food, but you still need to move around and see things! Taxi is out of the question. Unless you travel by a group of 4 and share the fares. A single Subway ticket cost around 160-290 yen in Tokyo (up to RM12), so the only way to save is to know where you are going, and plan all your activities in one single area at once to avoid moving back and forth too much.

Also, the stations are normally very close to each other. I normally like to just walk and walk and walk (for example Shibuya to Harajuku is just 15 minutes by foot, so that saves you some money already!)

Go back and rest early, unless you really want to experience the night life, as the last train is normally around midnight. So if you go back after midnight you will have no choice but cry over your credit card bills on taxi fares.

5. Eating and Shopping

If you need to get any personal items, 100 yen shop is always the answer. You will be amazed what kind of things they sell there for just RM4.

I always like to eat at ramen or udon shop on the street as they are usually the cheapest (and taste just AS GOOD). If you want snacks and drinks, get it from 100 yen shop or a supermarket instead of a convenient store.

Also i like to carry an empty bottle and fill it up (tab water is safe for drinking, of course), because canned drinks are extremely expensive too. Sometimes without knowing i could spend 1000 yen a day just on drinks from auto-vending machines.


I can’t help much on shopping since i myself am a prey for all the nice Japanese things, which are generally pricy. And Japan rarely have sales of discount. So if you want good bargain maybe you can try out a second hand clothing store. Or just go during Japanese new year where they have Fukubukuro (lucky bags) that have items worth usually 3-5 times the selling price.

6. Entrance tickets

Please be alerted that for some amusement parks/attactions, you can only pre-purchase the tickets over a ticket machine (which you can find in convenient stores like Lawson). An example would be the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Find out early and it will save you from a wasted trip!

I guess that’s all for now! If you would like to have a whole new traveling experience in Japan, maybe you can also consider trying out homestay programs (example, from I have done it three times in three different places in Japan, and i must say it’s one of the best travel memories i’ve ever had.




Have fun and save on the kaching kaching!!!




Cheesie’s Slumber Party!

I will be hosting a slumber party some time in mid January, and i’m opening the party to all my readers! Exclusive invites are given out for Cheeserland’s readers! There will be lots of games, prizes and a chance to meet a hunky celeb!

So please leave a comment with your email and tell me if you would like to join 😀

102 responses to “Travel with budget in Japan”

  1. Glo-w says:

    Ooo can you tell more about love hotel? coz the 1st impression i got was erm…by the hour kinda thing *blush*

  2. franstormer says:

    btw, do u mind telling us the total spending on the trip excluding shoppings? 🙂 thanks in advance. 😉

  3. Rai says:

    😆 Thanks for posting!! I want to go back to Japan again really soon <3

  4. Jessie says:

    Homestay parts are so sweet 😉

  5. NewYorker says:

    Hi Cheese,

    If you visit different cities within Hokkaido state e.g. Otaru, Wakkaya, Hakadate and Sapporo, is it advisable to purchase JR Hokkaido Pass or normal-single train/bus ticket?

  6. AnnHui says:

    Hi cheese,

    I was so happy to read your this post, and i’ve got a lot of question to ask. lol
    if u dun mind to answer me 😀 lol
    Bout the homestay program part, is there any requirement that you must know Japanese language?
    and register for homestay izit merely for study there or allow you to work there as well with the homestay program?
    …. etc ~

    SOrry nehx, if this bothered you 😳


  7. huixian says:

    Hey, I’d like to ask in the end, how much did you spend (approx) on the trip to japan? Like, without the shopping, how much will it end up to? Also, the tix to museums etc which are needed to be bought at Lawson stores, does the tix machine come in english or do we somehow have to figure it out?

  8. Jinny says:

    What if there’s no travel buddy? :blush: Is it less economical, less safe? I’m planning on going next December

  9. Treecia says:


  10. Jacquelyn says:

    I’m interested to join the slumber party! 😀

  11. Rebecca says:

    I feel like joining but then I don’t even know if I can go if I am that lucky to join. Haha. But still trying my luck!!

  12. I want to join this party!

  13. I want to party with you!

  14. Allycia Chew says:

    I would like to join the slumber party! 😆 *pray hard*

  15. Rac says:

    Hey cheesie, I have a brief question that I hope you’d answer 😉 Usually for trips, how long before do you buy your flights. What is the latest I can buy without missing out on promo prices etc? Thanks~! 🙂

  16. Teresa says:

    Would love to be at the slumber party teehee!! : ))

  17. Sandra says:

    Omg slumber party i want! Lol

  18. eleng says:

    i would love to join! :DD

  19. Ally says:

    Love this post. *bookmarked*
    Would like to know more bout the slumber party too! 😉

  20. Addy says:

    slumber party!!!!

  21. Tiffany says:

    I would love to come the slumber party 😀 and I like the idea of a home stay. Sounds like you’ll get a better overall experience from it 😀

  22. ahlost says:

    slumber party in mid jan?? O.O

    I want I want I want.. I’ll be flying from Kuching for the weekend in mid jan.. hohoho.. 😀

    Love your tips on budget travel .. thanks for sharing 🙂

  23. zen says:

    hi cheesie! another one of your avid readers here. was wondering if you have the time to reply my queries. so BASICALLY, i’m gonna be spending about 10 days in japan, end of february to early march (so short wtf). and i was wondering if you could advise me what i should wear (sorry i’m damn vain -.-v) and what are the places in tokyo, osaka and [maybe] kyoto i should visit.

    the minute i heard i was going to japan with my family, i immediately thought of you and your insane amount of trips to japan and SOUGHT YOUR ADVICE. (ok i lied i went bonkers with excitement first then decided to leave a comment)

    i’m already damn excited for things like the ghibli studio and stuff. SO. FREAKING. EXCITED.

    so i’d reaaaalllllyyyyy appreciate it if you could email me [[email protected]] or maybe just reply my comment.


    lub lub, a malaysian reader.

  24. Dealy says:

    I really would like to go . . . but I’m from Germany -.-


  25. Bexi says:

    Id looove to join the slumberparty~! where will it be held? Japan? if so i really wanna go, im staying in Yokohama right now 😀

  26. EQNex says:

    Me wanna go slumber party!

  27. Simon Seow says:

    I want to join Slumber Party. My email is yyseow[at]gmail[dot]com

  28. Michelle Y says:

    Slumber party after CNY pleaseeee? Rarely come back to Malaysia so that’s my only chance 😳


  29. mel says:

    ur just awesome.thanks for the tips 🙂

  30. cheesie says:

    WILL PICK 5 PEOPLE TO JOIN! You will receive an email from Nuffnang if you are selected 😀 😀 😀

  31. Some great advise and tips. Japan is a trip that can be done on a budget. We usually stay at budget business hotels like the Toyoko Inn, with prices around USD$70 for a single room and USD$100 for a double. These are comfortable business hotels, very clean and well run with free breakfast, TV, internet connection in room, computers in foyer and very easy to book Toyoko Inn hotels around Japan.

    You can also eat cheaply if you visit Japanese restaurants like Yoshinoya, Sukiya, and CoCo Ichiban Curry House. They will cost you about USD$5-8 a meal.

  32. Michelle says:

    Great tips on Japan! I’ve visited a few times myself and I usually live with friends (I’m lucky I guess!). But I’ve never considered Love Hotels cos it seemed kinda dodgy…


  33. maykuan says:

    I bought the same cheap flight ticket too . Going in May just wanna ask how’s the weather and what should i wear?

  34. cheeho0625 says:

    I’m going next march yo Osaka. Can you give me some information on cheap hotels? Because I can’t find much information on hotels.

  35. charmaine says:

    i would like to join..

  36. Suk Voon says:

    i wanna join the slumber party!! XDD whre is it where is it??

  37. Karen says:

    How about the visa part???

  38. Pick me pick me *shy* wanna meet and join your party !!

  39. sarah says:

    u’re lucky u hv a travel buddy, as for me erghh…so hard to find..everyone wants to save money ~.~

  40. Way says:

    sounds cool ! 🙂

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  42. Anonymous says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the website is also very good.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous
    blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  44. […] is a fashionable Malaysian blogger that also posted about traveling in Japan on a budget.  Her article may be useful, as it considers other expenses such as hotel and entrance tickets to attractions, […]

  45. ahlost says:

    hehehehe.. reading this again 😉

  46. Iman Azma says:

    Hey Cheesie. Thank you so much for all these tips! As we all know, Japan is quite an expensive place to go for a holiday. I’ve only been there once and i fell inlove with the place! I’m really looking forward to going there again so this blog post really helps a lot to plan for my trip in the future to Japan. Yes I do agree with you that it is important to go on a holiday with a travel buddy with the same wavelength of spending! Thanks for all the tips! Great blog btw!

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