Where to Stay in Tokyo on a Budget – 7 Yen Saving Options
Where to stay in Tokyo on a budget? Good question but one we've got all the answers to. Read on for budget accommodation options sure to please even the most frugal of travelers.
Tokyo is a big city and finding a place to stay can be difficult, especially if you’re on a budget. However, this shouldn’t stop you visiting. With a bit of old-fashioned research and planning, you’re sure to find something that won’t hit your bank balance too hard. From sleeping for free on a couch to a low-cost room share, options abound. Our guide to where to stay in Tokyo on a budget will run you through all of them.
For more information on where to stay in Tokyo, have a look at our other guides as well:
Hostels are increasingly popular in Tokyo amongst those on a tight budget. Besides the low prices, there are a number of advantages to using hostels. They allow travelers to easily interact with other like-minded people, share experiences and swap tips; they are social as well as functional – a big plus.
Also, most hostels are run by locals, meaning you can pick up the inside track on everything that’s going on in the city and some even offer exclusive vouchers and coupons to guests, something that might save you a few (thousand) yen. Some hostels are also equipped with a fully-equipped communal kitchen or offer cheap prepared meals, again, a good way to save some cash. However, hostels are not for everyone. If the idea of sharing a room with 6 other people frightens you, maybe consider one of the other options.
Sakura Hostel has made a name for itself for providing an international environment, a comfortable nights sleep and a range of room options for all price levels.
2) Manga Cafes
Manga cafes (or Manga Kissa) are essentially internet cafes with thousands of manga books on offer and open 24/7. The popularity of these manga cafes has increased over the years as an economical and novel place to spend a night.
At the reception desk, you will be presented with a number of options. Make sure you make it clear that you want the overnight package rather than by the hour, which works out as more expensive. You will also be required to choose between an internet seat (regular chair), a reclining seat, a flat seat (floor seat) and a sofa. The choice is yours. Depending on the manga cafe, you might also have access to a communal shower or lounge area. You’ll be led to your room and introduced to your home for the night. Try not to be distracted by the manga and internet too much.
Though it can’t be guarenteed there will be English speaking staff on hand to assist you when checking in, with a little sign-language and pointing, non-Japanese speakers should be just fine.
GeraGera Manga Cafe
GeraGera Manga cafe is a large manga cafe chain found all over Tokyo. Prices vary massively, starting at just 750 yen for 3 hours (enough time for a nap).
3) Capsule Hotels
Originating in Osaka, capsule hotels have now become commonplace across the country. Compact, futuristic and importantly, budget friendly, the capsule hotel could be the choice for you. Typically priced at around 2,000 to 4,000 yen, capsules are popular with those who’ve missed the last train and indeed, curious tourists.
Facilities and dorms are typically segregated by gender, something that could be an issue for couples. However, the functional, no frills capsule experience means you’re likely to be doing little else but sleeping when in the hotel. The capsule itself is too small for a suitcase but storage space is provided at reception. You’ll be given a set of keys to your own locker which will contain pajamas, a towel and a pair of slippers. Some even offer a yukata, a traditional Japanese garment. Staying in a capsule hotel is a uniquely Japanese experience and it doesn’t have to break the bank!
Find a rundown of the 10 best capsule hotels in Tokyo right here:
4) Guest Houses
If you’re planning an extended stay in Tokyo, a good option to consider is a guesthouse. There are many to choose from; whether a cheap dormitory, a private room or a whole apartment – the options vary. Prices are dependent mainly on location and unsurprisingly the further from the city center you venture, the lower the prices.
The great thing about guest houses is that they often act as a hub for international travelers wanting a medium-term but cheap place to stay. As such, you’re sure to make some new friends – always welcome in a brand new city.
Oak House is one of the largest guest house companies in Japan, servicing Japanese nationals and international clients both. Oak House holds regular events for guests and is always on hand to assist with problems.
A highly volcanic country, Japan is renowned for its hot springs (onsens). Onsen water is rich in minerals and said to contain powers of healing. Thousands of onsens of various types are scattered around Japan: indoor, outdoor, those with saunas, pools or even massage parlors.
Staying at an onsen can easily be a cheaper alternative to a hostel or a hotel. Have a look at our step by step guide to staying in an onsen and the Japanese etiquette involved.
For those of you on a very tight budget, a free accommodation option might just appeal. If you’re willing to work in exchange for a roof over your head and bed to sleep in, Workaway is there for you.
First, set up a profile detailing your personal information, the purpose of your trip and the type of work you’re willing to do. You can then scroll through the various volunteering options available, which typically include things like working at a guest house, charity or simply teaching English. Once you have made your choice you can contact the hosts and make the necessary arrangements.
A good budget choice for a medium-term stay in the city.
Couchsurfing has proven to be a favorite among budget travelers. The website provides a platform for travelers and hosts to connect for the purposes of cultural exchange and general reciprocal kindheartedness. Registration is free and simply a case of setting up a profile about yourself and sharing it publically. You can browse through the large database of hosts and filter your search according to your preferences.
Couchsurfing allows you to meet locals who can provide you with great budget travel trips and you may even become friends for life. Once you have completed your stay, you and the host can review each other so ensure you don’t overstay your welcome.
A popular choice amongst students, homestay is a great option for those looking for complete cultural and language immersion. Mosts hosts are families so you’ll be put at the heart of family life and everything that comes along with this.
Typically a private bedroom will be provided and you’ll be expected to participate in family activities and share the workload of chores. This is no hotel! Agreements are made with the host family regarding house living rules, costs and curfews beforehand to avoid any confusion.