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7 ways to budget your money in Tokyo

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the Tokyo experience.  This spectacular, international city has many affordable things to do, food to try, and places to visit. Make the most of your time interning in Japan with these tips on how to budget your money in Tokyo.


1. Use the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway

One of the perks of living in Tokyo is that the public transit is among the world’s best. Highly efficient, fast, clean and on-time, it’s easy to save money getting around the city by using the affordable metro system. You can save even more yen by using a prepaid train pass.


2. Shop at Tokyo’s dollar stores

Get just about anything for ¥100 (about a dollar) at Tokyo’s discount hyaku-en stores. You can buy something to munch on, toothpaste, products for your apartment and more. It’s the cheapest way to stock up on supplies while in Tokyo.


3. Eat on the go

Who can say no to more yum for your yen? For under $4, you can get a steaming and delicious bowl of noodles at Tokyo’s tachigui. These are noodle bars where you can stand and eat for a quick, tasty meal that’s authentic and doesn’t break the bank. Or, for some sushi on the run, Tokyo also offers kaiten-zushi, which is “conveyer belt sushi” sold on a sushi-go-round for less than $5.


budget your money in Tokyo


4. Get a Grutto Pass

If you’re planning on seeing Tokyo’s best museums and attractions, you can cut costs by purchasing a city pass ahead of time. The Grutto pass is valid for two months and costs less than $20. The pass offers discounts on over 80 attractions in the city, including museums, parks, gardens, zoos, and more.


5. Take advantage of free attractions and events

Tokyo has a long list of local entertainment that won’t cost a dime. For free, you can visit Tokyo’s most popular Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji. Or you can explore Odaiba, an artificial island on Tokyo Bay. A unique local museum, Advertising Museum Tokyo, also allows entrance at no cost. The museum features Japanese ads throughout the last century.


6. Bring your lunch to work

If you’re looking to budget your money in Tokyo, look no further than your grocery store. Buy your produce, bread, etc so you can prepare your lunches at home and bring them to your internship. If you put in the effort to cut costs on lunch each day, you’ll save a lot of money. Plus, you won’t waste any of your lunchtime on the hunt for a meal.


budget your money in Tokyo


7. Plan weekend trips ahead of time

Last-minute flights, accommodations and reservations always end up costing more money. Try to book your weekend trips as early in advance as possible in order to save some yen.


Now that you know how to budget your money in Tokyo, apply now to boost your career!






1. based on Aerial View from Tokyo Skytree, by Marco Verch, CC-by-2.0

2. based on JR 山手線 Tokyo, Japan / KODAK 500T 5219 / Lomo LC-A+, by Toomore Chiang, CC-by-2.0

3. based on 鬼子母神社 Tokyo, Japan / KODAK 500T 5219 / Lomo LC-A+, by Toomore Chiang, CC-by-2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!