Stretching your Yen in Japan is not impossible, you just need to know where to go, and you need to be okay with eating in alleys (think “Blade Runner”) and sleeping in pods (think “Matrix”). It’s not all like living a sci-fi flick though, as described in this SF Chronicle piece.
Eating: Check out Yakitori Alley, where lunch can be had for as little as $3.50, and this is good stuff: “Chicken and beef sizzling on outdoor grills, big pots of simmering noodles and the occasional cluster of sushi and sashimi are there for your inspection; you just pick a place that looks interesting.”
Travel: If you’re hustling around the country, invest in the JR Pass which lets you hop on and off the notoriously expensive trains for a full week for a little over $300.
Sleep: I know, who needs sleep while they’re traveling? Although, given my tendency to come down with nasty colds by the end of my trips, I should probably pay a little more attention to this aspect of travel. Anyway, Japan’s known for their “pod” hotels, the coffin-like sleepers that, at around $30/night, could end up saving you enough to pay for the flight during your next trip. Hostels are also quite prevalent around the country too.
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