TOKYO, JAPAN. It may be one of the most expensive cities to live in the world, but that doesn't mean visiting it has to be. The words 'frugal' and Tokyo are hardly ever uttered in the same phrase. While it is true that most things in Japan's capital can be pricey, it doesn't mean that those on a slimmer budget should be denied a visit. The key to doing Tokyo on a budget is to a little ingenuity and finding bargains hidden in the smaller nooks around the city.
Places to Visit:
Home of the rarely seen Imperial Family of Japan, the 400 year old castle is a magnificent site. After surviving WWII, it was rebuilt in the exact same design. Must see at the Palace are the Nijubashi, two bridges that form the entrance to the inner palace grounds. Also not to be missed is the beautifully manicured Imperial Palace East Gardens, which are open throughout the year (except Mondays, Fridays and special occasions).
Nearest station: Otemachi Station
Also known to locals as Akiba, this section of Tokyo is where you'll find all things electronic, both new and used, at an absolute steal. It is also where you'll find anime and Japanese collectibles (known as 'otaku'). Try Chuodori for new items and the back streets of Soto Kanda 3-chome for used items. Micro-sized cameras and similar gadgets can be found near Soto Kanda 1-chome. Most visitors like to peruse the stuff at Laox, but the best bargains and bigger varieties are found slightly further down the same stretch. Nearest station: JR Akihabara Station and Subway Akihabara Station
If it's a bargain you're after, there's no place like Daiso. One of the most popular chain stores in the county, its biggest outlet is in Harajuku and it sells everything from tubes of wasabi to candy, kitchen utensils and quaint household necessities.
Cost: Between 80 ¥ and 1000¥ (about RM3 and RM36)Nearest station: Harakuju Station, Takeshita exit
Though also available in Malaysia, there is nothing like the original. Established since 1899, this chain of Japanese cuisine fast food chain is a simple, cost efficient way to enjoy local delicacy and is a favourite even among locals. Most popular here are the Japanese curry dishes.
Cost: Between 280¥ and 500¥ (about RM10 and RM18) per meal
On the beautiful premises of Ueno Park are museums, art galleries, shopping stalls and street markets selling traditional Japanese souvenirs. But what this park is most renowned for, and for which everyone local and visiting, flock to the area for, is the cherry blossom festival. When the more than 1000 blossom trees are in full bloom (usually around April), joyous picnickers flock to the park to enjoy the magnificent sight.
Cost: FreeNearest station: Keisei Ueno Station and Ueno Station on JR and SubwayGinza Line
Taking its inspiration from the Paris' Eiffel Tower, this Japanese version stands at more than 1000 feet tall. Located at Shiba Park, Minato, Tokyo, it has two vantage points - at 150 feet and 250 feet above ground, offering two spectacular views of the city.
Cost: 600¥ (about RM22) for the 250 feet level, 800¥ (about RM30) for the 150 feet levelNearest station: Akabanebashi Station, Akabanebashi Gate
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