As a result of my travel-envy, I recently came across an excellent website, Tokyo Cheapo, which claims to be 'dedicated to giving the best advice for making your yen go further when visiting or living in Tokyo.' The guides cover an almost endless range of topics for enjoying Japan's notoriously expensive capital on the cheap, from where to eat the best ramen to where to have the cheapest sex, if that's what you're, uh, into.
One article that blew my mind was How to Spend 3 Nights in Tokyo All Included on 10,000 yen, or just over 150 NZ dollars. The author gives a complete itinerary of where to stay, eat, go and even what souvenirs you can buy on a budget of just 3000 yen per day. Obviously, a traveler following this itinerary needs to be prepared to 'rough it' a bit for 3 nights - the author's accommodation of choice is a 24 hour manga cafe - but what a cool experience, right?! And sometimes you can pick up grabaseat flights from Auckland to Tokyo for around $800... so following the Tokyo Cheapo guide would mean experiencing a few nights in Japan for LESS than $1000. This is now on my travel must-do list.
Thinking back to my time in Osaka, almost everything we did was with a budget in mind. To save money on food, we spent a lot of time at the Lawson 100 yen store, buying things like onigiri (rice balls), cup noodles, and breads for lunches. When we ate out for dinner, we often went to meal-ticket restaurants like Matsuya and Sukiya, where you can get a decent-sized bowl of gyudon or curry rice for under 500 yen. Instead of going to bars, a lot of the time we'd all go to convenience stores to buy alcohol and drink it on campus, with someone's iPod standing in for karaoke (naughty, but undeniably cheap). As for activities, sometimes the most interesting days were spent just walking around random neighborhoods, for a grand total of the 300 yen it cost for the train trip. Also, window shopping in crazy shops and fancy department stores (recommended for those with a certain degree of self control).
|Trying on lobster hats will cost you nothing but your dignity!|