How to Visit Tokyo on a Budget

tokyo feature
Tokyo is a feast for the senses. A walk through the city streets will leave you mesmerized by the vibrant neon lights, overwhelmed by the mouth-watering smells of nearby restaurants, and swept up in the high-energy crowds. Japan’s capital city blends elements of the past, present, and the future like no place else on earth.

Is it possible to visit this high-tech city without going broke? Read on for our best money-saving tips to help you visit Tokyo on a budget.


Tokyo on a budget: Know before you go


The city is much larger than you think

This mega city is technically a “metropolitan prefecture” consisting of 23 special wards that used to be Tokyo City, as well as 26 cities, 5 towns, and 8 villages.


Sneakers are a way of life in Tokyo

You wear them with every outfit, so prior to your trip grab the most versatile pair you can. This travel sneaker not only looks and feels great but also reduces your carbon footprint.


Not everyone speaks English

You’ll find plenty of English speakers in the busier areas of Tokyo but this isn’t always true in the more far-off areas. A Japanese phrasebook or translation app will come in handy.


Trash cans are few and far between

But Tokyo is immaculately clean. It’s not uncommon for locals to carry trash in their pocket or bag for blocks until they find a bin. Consider having a plastic bag handy.




Free and cheap things to do in Tokyo


Visit the Tokyo Imperial Palace

The Tokyo Imperial Palace is still used as the primary palace for the emperor of Japan. The palace itself is beautiful and it’s worth signing up for the free tour of the inner compound (you can’t go inside the palace). However, many people, both tourists and locals alike, actually come daily just to wander through the stunning gardens.




Witness the famous tuna auction at Toyosu Market

It’s no secret that Japan takes its fish seriously and nowhere is that more apparent than at Toyosu Market, the world’s largest fish market. Come early to witness the world-famous tuna auctions, which take place between 5:30 and 6:30 am. Afterward, head over to one of the many sushi restaurants on-site and enjoy the freshest sushi of your life for breakfast.


Sensō-ji Temple

One of Tokyo’s most popular attractions, Sensō-ji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. The temple was built to house a golden statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy in the 7th century, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple. Outside Sensō-ji, you’ll also find Nakamise Dori, a centuries-old shopping street full of vendors selling everything from religious items to trinkets and snacks.




Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Visiting a government building might seem like an odd choice for top things to do in Tokyo, but you’ll quickly see why the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building consistently makes the list. The 45th floors of both the north and south towers have observation decks with incredible panoramic views of Tokyo from above. The best part? The observation decks are completely free to visit.


night view


Stroll through Harajuku

This colorful neighbourhood is home to some of Tokyo’s most luxurious fashion brands and trendiest stores. Take the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station and spend the day exploring on foot. Popular spots include Yoyogi Park, the Meiji Shrine and Omotesando. If you’re into anime or Kawaii culture, you’ll find plenty to see and do here!

For a more budget-friendly fashion fix, head to Takeshita Street. This street is full of quirky and inexpensive stores selling everything from clothing and makeup to anime themed accessories.


spa day


Explore Tokyo’s green spaces

Most people imagine Tokyo to be filled with non-stop action and skyscrapers – but it’s also home to many peaceful parks and gardens. Take a walk through the cherry blossoms and enjoy the peace and quiet. For an escape from the hustle of the city, check out one of the options below:

  • Ueno Park
  • Yoyogi Park
  • The Imperial Palace East Gardens
  • Rikugi-en Gardens
  • Kiyosumi Gardens




Where to stay on a budget in Tokyo


Hostel Bedgasm

Awarded Tokyo’s Most Popular Hostel In 2020 by Hostelworld, Hostel Bedgasm is one of Tokyo’s best budget stays – especially if you’re looking to meet other travelers. The rooms are simple, decorated in rustic, cozy style. But most guests can be found hanging out at the rooftop area atop the 5-story building or at the bar downstairs, where guests receive a free drink every night.


Kaisu Hostel

Before being converted into Kaisu Hostel, this property originally housed a ryōtei, an exclusive and traditional Japanese luxury restaurant with performing geishas. That feeling of elegance and stellar service is still evident in Kaisu. The hostel has a wonderful ambiance throughout, including in the onsite cafe lounge.


Khaosan Tokyo Origami

This is just one of several outposts of Japan’s largest hostel group. Located in the heart of Tokyo’s charming and vibrant Asakusa neighborhood, Khaosan Tokyo Origami offers clean rooms, comfy communal areas, and a shared kitchen and dining area on the 8th floor. Best of all, it’s just a 3-minute walk from Sensō-ji Temple.


street view


Cheap flights to Tokyo

Recently, Dollar Flight Club members have saved between 70-90% on cheap flights to Tokyo. On average, our members spent $$$ on their tickets and saved over $$$ per ticket. Here are a few samples of cheap flight deals that Dollar Flight Club members have received recently.

New York City (JFK) to Tokyo (HND)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price: $$$

Boston (BOS) to Tokyo (HND)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price:$$$

Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (HND)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price: $$$


night life


Where to find cheap eats in Tokyo

Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world, making it all too easy to blow your budget on meals out. Check out some of the fantastic (and affordable) options for eating out in Tokyo on a budget.



Want to experience traditional Japanese sushi at a fraction of the cost? Try Uobei, where dishes start at 100 Yen. You place your order on an electronic board and minutes later it’s delivered to you via conveyor belt.


Sanuki Udon Hanamaru

Sanuki Udon Hanamaru is a chain of udon restaurants and the perfect place to try this Japanese dish on a budget. With locations around the city, it the perfect place to stop for some cheap lunch or dinner.


Hotto Motto

Another chain, Hotto Motto serves “bento boxes” –  single-portion take-out meals, usually consisting of rice, protein and a side. Despite being a takeaway shop, the food is always fresh and served warm. Their menu is incredibly diverse, with plenty of affordable options to choose from.


bike around


Start planning your trip to Tokyo

A trip to this high-tech capital doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re trying to visit Tokyo on a budget, your biggest expense will likely be the flight there. Make sure you sign up to receive cheap flight deals!

And don’t forget to save this budget travel guide, so you can start planning your trip to Tokyo today.

  • Zach Anderson

    Zach was a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helped 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.

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