Be flexible and plan ahead!

Rule number one: plan ahead. It's possible to do Tokyo affordably, but cheap accommodation gets booked up fast. If you want a super-cheap place, be prepared for tiny spaces and locations that are less than ideal.

If you're REALLY strapped for cash, you'll either need to stay overnight in a manga cafe (around 1500 yen for a small cubicle with a mattress in a large room full of other patrons), or camp covertly in one of the larger parks (not really an option in winter). Couchsurfing.com is another option for free (for members) roomshares.

If you want to spend around 3000 yen per night or less, Airbnb.com has a few options in Tokyo--check them out for affordable roomshares in the 3000 yen per night range, and a smaller number of beds for 1500-2000 yen per night. As always, use services like Airbnb and couchsurfing at your own risk, though both have good reputations and means of vetting and verifying hosts and guests.

Sakura House has been around for a long time. They operate multiple hostels and guesthouses all over Tokyo. Rooms vary in price and quality (at guesthouses your housemates make a big difference), but rates are reasonable, rooms are easy to book, and staff are helpful. Dorm beds are around 3000 yen, single rooms around 7000. (www.sakura-hotel.co.jp)

Capsule hotels are more of an "I can say I did it" sleeping experience than a comfortable hotel option, and they're frequently not much cheaper than business hotels (around 6000 yen per night). Most only accept men. And if you're over 6 feet tall, you're not going to get much sleep.

For a quasi-capsule experience that's a lot more comfortable (and cheaper at 3500 yen per night), check out the Capsule Ryokan in Kyoto, a friendly place that also offers very nice hostel rooms with space-age showers (http://www.capsule-ryokan-kyoto.com/). The capsule beds are a lot more spacious, and the capsule room doesn't reek of alcohol or cigarette smoke.

lrnelson image


United States

lrnelson's other advice

Green tea mixed with incense images

Green tea mixed with incense

This is a smell that I will always associate with Kyoto, in particular the little alleyways around Kiyomizu-dera and Kodai-ji, where there are dozens of tiny shops selling trinkets and snacks. The sl…

Spread-out sights images

Spread-out sights

Tokyo's best examples of modern architecture tend to be fairly spread out over the city, so you're better off checking out a building here and there instead of trying to take them all in in a single …

You might also like

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette images

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette

Attending a Japanese funeral can be stressful, even shocking, if you don't know what to do. The more you know beforehand the better, as you'll be able to comfort and support mutual friends and their …

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes images

Ningyo-yaki: Little Baked Doll Cakes

Ningyo-yaki (人形焼) is very popular in Tokyo Asakusa where you can watch them being baked. This is one of my favorite Japanese sweets and a very good omiyage gift. Ningyo is the Japanese word …

David image


Yurei, Yokai and Obake: Japan's Very Busy Ghost Scene images

Yurei, Yokai and Obake: Japan's Very Busy Ghost Scene

Ghosts and spirits hold a place in the folklore of many cultures around the world. In the western world, Halloween, observed on October 31st, is a time for scary, spooky tales, while Latin America w…

jdlawrence image


5 Traditional Japanese Villages to Explore images

5 Traditional Japanese Villages to Explore

The rural area of Japan is quite worth an exploration. Many villages in Japan have typical Japanese styles. Although they are quite far away from big cities, you can enjoy enchanting natural views an…

Alexlovetravel image


Japanese Massage Etiquette to Enjoy a Relaxing, Stress Relieving Moment images

Japanese Massage Etiquette to Enjoy a Relaxing, Stress Relieving Moment

Just last week, I’ve experienced another massage establishment called “Minnanotemomi”. Minnanotemomi mean’s roughly everyone’s massage and the massage they did for me was excellent caliber, yet one o…

AustinA image


Enjoy bath, Japanese style images

Enjoy bath, Japanese style

Enjoy taking bath with Babu(Bub), a popular Japanese bath tablet to Relax after Exploring Japan on Foot.All travelers know how sight seeing can be exhausting. Especially walking around on foot, t…

mimichan image