As students abroad, we all struggle to balance our monthly expenses, especially when it comes to entertainments. Money problems are even more familiar to abroad students in Tokyo since it is one of the world’s most developed and costly cities.
But no need to freak out! There are solutions to cut down on spendings when you are out having fun in Tokyo. Check out these tips for an economical day-out:
PARKS – FREE TO THE PUBLIC
Parks in Japan is known for their spaciousness and breath-taking views. The best thing is – parks are FREE of charge to enter! That’s right, most parks are open to the public 24/7. Although some special gardens will require you to purchase entrance tickets, these usually will only range from 300-600JPY!
Thanks to the changing weather in 4 seasons, these parks can appear different whenever a season passes. In each quarter of the year, we can see and enjoy diferent activities in Tokyo parks.
Spring is the flourishing time of the Japanese national flower – sakura! No matter how popular or local the parks are, there are always some cherry blossom trees. In Japan, trees can certainly be pink, too! Engaging in hanami activity in parks is a great Japanese traditional way to enjoy spring.
In the summer, these parks are turnt back to their green shade. Sports like jogging, running, or baseball are common to play in parks. But remember, staying hydrated is very important during day outs in Japan’s scorching hot summers.
For autumn, momiji (red autumnn leaves) is another sight that only Japan can provide. To have a great experience when viewing autumn leaves, you must look for specific parks at specific periods of time because not all trees change colors when fall comes. Some famous spots in Tokyo for seeing momiji are: Yoyogi Park, Ueno Park, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, Rikugien Garden, Meguro River.
When winter comes, all trees lose their leaves. Japanese people at that time will decorate the trees with lightings which create a wonderful look for the city of Tokyo. Strolling in the cold with your friends to watch illuminating parks sounds not bad at all, isn’t it?
Having a good time at karaoke shops is no strange things to residents of Japan! But some might not approve of this entertainment, since the hourly charge of the karaoke shops might be a bit high for students’ budgets! However, if you and your friends are in a summer or winter break, why not spend a whole night singing?
For night time, Karaoke shops in Japan often do not charge like the day-time system. Instead of hourly charges, the night shift (about 11:00PM – 5:00AM) in total only cost as much as 2 hours of day-time karaoke-ing. That is why many students or groups of people usually choose to go karaoke-ing at the later times in the day. The Karaoke shops usually have a nomihoudai (drink all you can) bar with soft drinks and coffee or tea for guests as well! So singing your throat out through the night is a great idea for a night-out on a budget.
SHOPPING IN SALES SEASONS AND SECOND-HAND STORES
Tokyo is a metropolis that offers clothes in a variety of styles. The Japanese fashion gives out a unique vibe, which attracts many from all over the world. Shopping centres and shopping streets in Tokyo are always filled with the fashionistas hunting for their favorite pieces.
If you are an abroad student in Japan with a shopahollic mindset, there are ways to fill your closets without damaging your accounts. Japan’s sales seasons are huge events that are widely advertised and in these promotion periods many bargains can be found. Shops can lower their prices up to 70-80% during the large new-year sales or golden-week, ranging from the large high-end brands to local designers shops.
However, the best priced clothes are often from the last season, so you have to think ahead of yourself when selecting what to buy. For example, in the fall, summer clothes would usually become very affordable, since people are putting out new collections for the cold season. But at the end of spring when temperature starts to rise, outerwear like coats or sweater can be purchased at a cheaper price compared to at the beginning of autumn.
Second-hand clothes are also a great option for students shopping on a low budget. In Japan, many retailers are well-known for selling used clothes such as Book-offs, 2nd-street or Uselet. No need to worry because most items are picked carefully by the stores, so they are in very good shapes. Some are even completely new and come with tags because the old owner might never even wore them before re-selling. The price for used clothes are often only 1/3 or even 1/5 of the original price, depending on the quality or brand of the piece.
RESEARCH IN ADVANCE
Lastly, maybe try playing around a little with Google before you head out! In Japan, one of the things people have to pay for when going out is transportations. As developed as the train systems are, they can be quite costly and time-consuming for visitors.
For abroad students, our advantage is that we have more time residing in the country. Try to do some research about the neighborhood you are interested in and find out all the hot spots to visit. Make a short plan to cover from shrines, pagodas to museums or department stores in one area so that you can walk from one place to another. Avoiding expenses and time on trains can save you a lot!
All in all, entertainments in Tokyo can be inexpensive if you know the right tricks. Hopefully these suggestions can bring you a better time out without having to worry too much about money!
Nam Chi / Vietnam