10 Ways to Save Money in Japan

10 Ways to Save Money in Japan

Sally Chow

As a foreign student, money is essential for paying tuition as well as daily necessities. That’s why I have to think of different ways to save money in Japan. For example, cutting some unnecessary expenses and lessening the frequency of dining out. They do help in the end—they help me save a lot every month!

Some people always compliment Japan on her beautiful scenery and advanced technology. As a developed country, owing to her good quality products, they are usually of high prices. Therefore, I start pondering over 7 money-saving tips for travelers who desire to start their journey in Japan. See if they are suitable for you!

1. Accumulate Point Cards

Have you tried paying a visit to convenience stores or shops in Japan? And when you pay at the cashier, the staff usually asks you whether you have a point card or not. Maybe you don’t understand Japanese, so usually people would just answer “hai” (meaning “yes” in English). About 90% of shops, supermarkets and sometimes even shopping malls in Japan have their own point cards. As a friendly reminder, prepare a card holder when you visit Japan.

2. Make Use of Travel by Night Bus

Suppose you are living in Tokyo and you would like to travel in Osaka for a couple of days, what transportation will you choose? By Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet Train)? By plane? Both of them are expensive! To save money, why not try taking the night bus? For those who live in Tokyo District, you can opt for taking night bus in Tokyo. Compared to Shinkansen and plane, night bus is relatively cheaper but you have to spend much more time for transportation. As its name implies, night bus is a long-distance bus departing from a place at night and arriving at the destination in the morning. For visitors who would like to go from Tokyo to Osaka, it usually takes about 7 to 8 hours. Owing to the fact that you have to stay in the bus for a long time, the seat can be adjusted to a comfortable angle and there’s sometimes a cover for your face as well. The prices for night buses vary and you have to check online beforehand if you want to try. In order to save money, taking the night bus is absolutely worth a try!

3. Go to Supermarkets with Affordable Prices

Have you ever been to some Japanese supermarkets with affordable prices? If no, please visit OK Supermarket! According to my experience, OK Supermarket usually sets the prices much lower than other supermarkets. As its name suggests, “OK – Everyday Low Price” indicates its selling point: low prices.

If you want to have extra discounts, please apply for OK Supermarket’s Point Card. When you pay at the cashier, remember to show your point card to the staff, then you can enjoy an extra 3% discount.

Other supermarkets sell products with incredibly affordable prices include Lawson 100 and AEON Supermarket. Please pay a visit to these supermarkets, buy a few goods, and keep your wallet full!

5. Dine Out in Cheaper Restaurants

It is generally believed that the living standard in Japan is quite high. So, most people eat meals out often. However, if you are a salaryman and you have to work around the clock, do you still have much time left after work every day? To them, dining out is definitely a wise option. To save money, dining out in cheaper restaurants such as Matsuya, Sukiya, or some udon noodle shops may help! Usually, a meal in these restaurants only costs about 400 yen to 500 yen. Dining out in cheaper restaurants can help you save time and money!

6. Big Sales During January and July

Japan is not only famous for her beautiful scenery, but her up-to-date fashion also gains popularity among youngsters and adults. When you are doing window shopping in shopping malls, it is not uncommon that most of the clothes are of high prices. But, if you really desire to buy clothes, wait till January or July! Even the locals are happy during this Big Sales Period and you will find that the prices of clothes are sometimes even 70% off or even 80% off! Don’t miss this great opportunity!

7. Watch Movies During Discounted Days

I’m sure most movie lovers would like to watch movies during their overseas trip, right? Actually, the ticket prices start at 1800 yen but TOHO Cinema offers discounted tickets (1100 yen) to the public on every first and fourteenth day every month. For females, they can enjoy 1100 yen-ticket every Wednesdays (which is called “Ladies’ Day”). Since the tickets are comparatively cheap, in order to make sure that you are guaranteed to purchase a ticket, please reserve online as soon as possible! For further information, please check their website (Japanese only).

8. Withdraw Money During Daytime

For safety purposes, I do not keep much money at home. Therefore, I have to withdraw money from the bank from time to time when necessary. However, most Japanese banks, such as The Bank of Yokohama, charge customers a fee if they withdraw money after 6 p.m. As a result, I usually take cash from the bank during daytime. Just bear in mind if you have to withdraw money next time!

Try the above tips and I hope you can save as much money as I did! Enjoy your trip in Japan!