According to a YouGov survey, 49 per cent of Singaporeans want to travel to Japan, making it the top holiday destination. With cherry blossoms forecasted to bloom in the middle of March, you may have the itch to travel.
Do not worry, you can enjoy your trip without fretting over money, as there are ways to save while still getting the best experience in Japan.
Here are four tips you can deploy to enjoy your trip without breaking the bank.
#1: Rail passes
Consider investing in a Japan Rail Pass when travelling around Japan. 70 per cent of Japan's train network is owned by Japan Railways Group (JR), and with a JR pass, you will be able to travel around the island without buying a ticket for each trip.
The JR pass provides unlimited travel on the entire national JR network, including the high-speed bullet trains (Shinkansen), so you have the freedom to explore Japan at your own pace.
The price of the JR pass ranges from 29,650 yen to 60,450 yen (S$298.34 to S$608.26) when purchased outside of Japan, depending on whether you need it for seven, 14, or 21 days.
The JR pass is only valid for visitors travelling to Japan for a holiday. You can read more about the JR passes here.
Do note that not all train networks are under the JR group. For example, the JR pass does not cover the subway, Tokyo metro and other company lines. Hence, the JR pass is great for train travels out of the city centre.
For travel around Tokyo, Tokyo Subway Tickets can give you unlimited travel along the metro and subway lines for 24, 48 or 72 hours, which is great for short trips within the city.
You can use these tickets to get around the city of Tokyo through Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines. It gives you unlimited access to 13 different routes with over 250 metro stops that cover most of the city.
There are also numerous options for transport passes that cover other rail systems not under the JR group for other parts of Japan like Nikko and Kansai.
#2: Convenience store food
While you should definitely sample some local cuisines and dine in some restaurants, eating out can burn a hole in your pocket.
You can reduce your food expenses by heading to one of Japan’s ubiquitous convenience stores, which offer a wide variety of food.
Common convenience stores offer an extensive range of food beyond snacks and drinks. These stores often have an extensive selection of ready-to-eat food that can satisfy cravings.
There are numerous different flavours of instant ramen, fresh sandwiches, onigiri, gyoza, sushi, and hot food like sausages and fried chicken. You can also purchase drinks that are uniquely Japanese to enhance your food experience.
You do not need to spend a lot to get a taste of Japan.
#3: Bundle up with attraction passes
Japan is full of different sights with numerous museums, gardens and attractions, making it hard to choose one. Getting an attraction pass that allows entry into multiple attractions can be a great way to save money.
If you plan to travel to Osaka, consider the Osaka Amazing Pass. The pass offers unlimited travel on the Osaka Metro and Osaka City Bus, as well as discounted entry into many tourist sights and attractions.
With the Osaka Amazing Pass, you can enjoy some of Osaka’s major sightseeing spots (like the Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory and the HEP Five Ferris wheel) for free and get discounted tour prices in Osaka.
Prices for Osaka Amazing Pass start at 2,700 yen (S$27.17) for one day, and you can pay more for different types of passes depending on your needs.
If you are travelling to Hakone, you can purchase a Hakone Freepass that allows unlimited rides on eight transportation networks within Hakone and special perks at local establishments.
With the Hakone Freepass, you can get discounted entries to local museums, shrines and hot springs. You can also brave the Mishima Skywalk, where you can see Mount Fuji from a suspension bridge.
#4: Save on hotels and activities with Link Travel Deals
A great way to save on your travels is by booking a great deal for accommodation.
Link Travel Deals is a travel booking website exclusively for Link members who will have access to up to 60 per cent off over 600,000 hotels worldwide. Discover weekly resort stays from $499/week, and hire a car for your personal use to help you explore the places you wish to travel.
If you want to catch the sakura blossoming, Japan’s famed cherry blossoms are forecasted to bloom from around March 20, 2023, in Tokyo. Link members can browse through numerous hotels and find a great place to stay in the heart of Tokyo and visit popular places like Ueno Park to view the sakura.
If you are still deciding what activities to do in Japan, there are numerous to explore on Link Travel Deals. There are over 345,000 excursions and attractions offered to cater to a diverse range of interests.
In addition, there are guided private and shared tours you can book to learn more about the history and sights of Japan.
For S$85.12, you can experience a unique Japanese art known as Kintsugi, where you repair broken pottery pieces with lacquer mixed with gold in a one-hour lesson. It is a unique experience of Japanese culture, and you can wear a 'samue', a traditional craftsman’s garb, and bring home your finished piece after the lesson.
Earn Linkpoints on bookings
When booking with Link Travel Deals, you can earn Linkpoints on your bookings for every dollar spent on hotels and resort stays.
For a limited time, you can earn 0.50 Linkpoints for every S$1 spent. This is limited to the first 1,000 hotel/resort bookings made using Link Travel Deals. In addition, new members get a free 90-day premium membership when they sign up during this promotion period.
This promotion ends on Jan. 31, 2023.
If you have expiring Linkpoints and are still figuring out what to do with them, you can convert your points into miles, such as KrisFlyer Miles, airasia rewards or Asia Miles, and use them to offset the cost of your plane tickets.
This sponsored article by Link Rewards Programme made the writer want to go to Japan as soon as possible.
Top photos from Canva.