Who said that you can’t spend an awesome, eventful weekend in the most populous metropolitan area in the world on a budget? Sure wasn’t us. No, we firmly believe that not only can any place be inexpensive, but also that you shouldn’t waste your weekends doing nothing – so, we want to share how you can go to Tokyo for a weekend for $100!
Not that a weekend is even close to enough time to see this clean, friendly, and oh-so-busy city, but it’s a start! Did you know that there are islands over 500 miles from the mainland that are part of the Tokyo Metropolis? I had no idea, but I really want to go now! Anyhow, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to show you how you can have cheap accommodation, food, and fun in one of the most exciting cities in the world!
Pro Tip: Tokyo has earthquakes. Many, many earthquakes – over 100 a year! The vast majority are small and harmless but can seem scary if you don’t know what’s up.
Tokyo is a lot of everything, and the hostels aren’t any different: at Sakura Hostel Asakusa you’ll get all the standard goodies, like free WiFi, 24-hour reception, and a great location. But, listen to this: there are also geisha night shows, visits from a sumo stable, and private lessons in calligraphy or sushi rolling! I could spend days and days in this fantastic place. Oh, and there’s no curfew, either. It just keeps on giving! You can even store your luggage for free if you arrive early or leave late. Splendid.
If you want a cozy, friendly, homely place to spend a couple of nights in Tokyo, but you also want to be close to the art, culture, shopping, and theater, then give Imano Tokyo Ginza Hostel a go! It’s authentic, like staying at a friend’s place, and Ginza is one of the most famous and exciting areas. And, you can check out quite late, perfect for if you stayed up late the night before.
Sushi. If you eat nothing but sushi during your stay, we wouldn’t have a problem with that. Not at all. That’s how much we love the sticky rice, the soy sauce, and the wasabi. And, let’s not forget about the seaweed! I’ve heard not everyone like it, but I’m sure that’s just a myth. It doesn’t sound very accurate at all.
Plant-based food is not all that easy to come by, and it can be a bit pricey – but don’t sweat it, we’ve found some neat little places that won’t break the bank! Like Falafel Brothers, that serves the most delicious falafel, hummus, and pita bread; or how about Veganic To Go, with their tasty burgers!
If you want a burger, but you’re a bit sick of how ordinary they look, what do you do? You go to Fabius Café and order one with a blue bun. Or a pink one. Or why not a minty green? The colors come from fruit and vegetables, so they are almost definitely not as poisonous as they seem. If you want to keep up the plant-based consumption, Nagi Shokudo has all sorts of dishes, such as fried tofu and mushrooms, and a green papaya salad. It’s all very clean and fresh. And delicious, I might add!
As is the ice cream, cakes, and cookies at Brown Sugar 1st, and the fast food Japanese curry you can get when you visit CoCo Ichibanya! There are also enough doughnuts to satisfy your cravings for a long time. Oh, and you can also get free food samples at Depachika (a mix between department store and basement, so that’s where you’ll find it)!
Tokyo is no different than most cities when it comes to getting around: the subway’s the best, along with trains and buses. There are different day passes for different means of transportation, so have a little think and decide what will work for you. Getting a 24-hour metro pass is always recommended, though (you can also get 48- and 72-hours). And the fact that it’s incredibly busy, that goes without saying, right?
Alright, hold on tight, because this is gonna be a messy one! Tokyo is so big, so busy, and so full of fantastic sights and amazing things to do that we’re just gonna tell you about our (cheap) favorites; no rhyme and no reason! Think you can handle that? Good. We aren’t that messy.
Let’s start with the classics: museums, galleries, and temples. There is a fair amount of truly unique and outstanding ones, and many are free of charge. You can also walk around the Imperial Palace (at least outside), and there’s always sumo practice to visit in Arashio-beya! You can also inspect and admire the art of washi (the paper used for origami) making. It’s really cool. Do not miss.
Well, obviously, there are too many fab areas to count in the gigantic city of Tokyo. But Harajuku is kind of awesome, mainly because of the fashion: you’ll see more color, pattern, and fabric combinations than you thought possible within minutes!
You also want to walk over the iconic suspension bridge to the island of Odaiba, and for a taste of pre-WWII Tokyo, take the subway to Yanesen. And while you’re at it, pop into Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for a stunning view from above, and don’t forget the Shibuya crossing – you know which one!
There are many festivals in Tokyo. So many that you’ll probably be able to catch one, almost whenever you go (although summer is the busiest festival season). There are various flower festivals and a sunrise festival; you can see dancing, parades, fireworks, and cherry blossoms. And that’s barely scraping the surface. You can also celebrate spring, as well as NYE, as well as the history of Tokyo!
If you don’t mind a high pace and so incredibly many things to do, see, taste, and smell, then I say go for it. You don’t have to spend much, so money isn’t an issue. Besides, the memories you’ll get will be invaluable!