How to Travel Around Japan for Cheap

There is a misconception that Japan is an expensive travel destination – while it can be expensive, there are also ways to do it on a budget.

One of the most significant costs can be transportation, so let’s look at the best ways to travel around Japan without breaking the bank!

Japan by train

You will likely want to travel by bullet train to experience the speeds of up to 320 km per hour, but keep in mind that they are very expensive. The cheaper alternative are the regular limited express and regional trains. A lot slower, but significantly less expensive. Definitely travel on at least one bullet train though, it’s a great experience to tick off your bucket list.

Train travel is often recommended as the best way to see Japan, and the cheapest way to do that if you plan on only travelling by train where possible, then you’ll need a Japan Rail (JR) pass, which works with both regular trains, as well as the bullet trains, with unlimited rides.

Japan by bus

The two-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo to Osaka would take ten hours on a bus. This is something to keep in mind if you’re wondering why bus travel is such a cheaper option.

An advantage of the bus, however, is the many great stops along the way to break up your journey. Japan Bus Lines have bus passes with unlimited travel, so if you are willing to take a little extra time getting there, you can save on your journey and see sights you otherwise might not have.

Japan by plane

Japan has a lot more budget airline carriers now, so airfares are somewhat comparable to bullet train tickets. Keep in mind however that Japan isn’t a big country, so the plane flights are all very short and a great way to save time if you are trying to stick to a schedule.

You do need to remember that you’ll need to get to and from airports, so factor that into the costs when working out your budget.

Japan by ferry

There is an extensive selection of routes to choose from when travelling on Japan’s ferries, and there are a range of class sections, as well as private rooms if you desire.

Japan’s smaller islands can only be reached by water so the Japan Ferry Pass 21, which gives you six trips on various ferry routes for 21 days could be considered a necessity if you are planning on visiting them.

Travelling Japan doesn’t have to mean allocating a large part of your budget towards your travel; there are ways to be smart and save your money for the fun things!