Japan has a reputation for being an expensive country to visit. The most expensive part of the vacation will be your accommodation the price of which can really sky rocket in peak seasons, and even just regular weekends. Short of staying with friends, we can’t really offer any advice for staying for free in Japan, but there are a lot of things that you can get for free or cheap in this amazing, dynamic country. Here are just a few…
Free local English speaking guides
The folks at the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) are committed to helping international visitors have the best possible experience in Japan. One of the best things to do to get familiarized with your new city is with the help of a volunteer guide – JNTO has got you covered. Goodwill Guides are English speaking guides that are available free in many places from the bustling action of Tokyo to the serene ski fields of Hokkaido. Find a local volunteer guide in the area you are staying and then email them directly to make a booking. As they say, the best things in life are free…
Nagomi visit – a home cooked meal with a Japanese family
Want to do something that you won’t find in a guidebook? After a real taste of Japan? A Nagomi Visit is the best way to tick this off your bucket list. Apply online and you will be provided with a list of potential hosts that are available to accommodate you during your visit. You visit the hosts home at either lunch or dinner where you will share a typical Japanese meal and enjoy fun conversation for a two hour period. Your host will collect you from the nearest train station and walk you back to their home. This experience costs just 3,500 yen to cover administration costs of the Nagomi Visit program. Find out more
Japanese Tourist Attractions – free entry
There are many galleries, palaces and castles in Japan that have an admission fee, which quickly add up for a family… But many people don’t realise that a lot of the most spectacular sights are free! Our picks for Tokyo are the crazy Shibuya Crossing, the Imperial Palace East Gardens, and taking in the view of the city from the observation deck of the Tokyo Government Office building. In Kyoto, check out the Fushimi Inari Shrine with its trail of 1000 orange temple gates (torii) through the forest, and at night, the traditional geisha district of Gion, where you might catch site of a maiko (trainee). In Hiroshima, the Peace Park is a fee attraction well worth visiting as is the Mazda Museum for lovers of Japanese cars and automobiles in general.