5 Cities on the Cheap


London, Paris, Sydney, New York City and Tokyo have never been cheap to travel to. From eclectic excursions in London and Paris to secret NYC, Sydney on foot and a culture-laden Tokyo, we’ve mapped-out itineraries which will help you discover it all without going broke

Illustrations: S SHETTY


Familiarise yourself with this crazy city through a free tour of Toyko accompanied by volunteer guides, organised by the Japan National Tourism Organisation. There are various groups listed with the JNTO to choose from. You can also book a free guide for the day from Tokyo Free Guide, another group of local volunteers eager to help you discover their city.

Start your day with early-morning Zen meditation at Toshoji International Zen Centre, a session that includes Zazen (meditation in a Zen posture), sutra chanting and a cleansing. Then head out for a different experience at the Tokyo Trick Art Museum, filled with 3D artwork and visual illusions. Bring out the geek in you at the Tokyo Anime Centre in Akihabara. You have to be a die-hard fan to enjoy this one. Finally, spend the early evening exploring the stunning landscaped gardens of Rikugien Park, one of Tokyo’s most beautiful.

Head out to Arashio Beya, a Sumo stable, to watch a keiko – traditional Sumo practice session. Then continue on to the beautiful Sensō-ji, which contains a golden statue of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Tour the grounds of the Imperial Castle, and don’t miss the iron Nijū-bashi and the stone Megane-bashi bridges. On Sundays, you can rent a cycle and hit the 3km cycling course around the grounds, which runs from the Iwaida Bridge to Hirakawa Gate. End your day at Origami Kaikan. The studio also does some free demos, and has a shop and gallery.

Start your day with a visit to the creepy Meguro Parasitological Museum for a look at its somewhat grotesque collection of parasites. Cool off at the Rinshi-No-Mori Park where the towering trees have been growing for more than 100 years or head to the fantastic Yoyogi Park, especially fun on Sundays. During the summer months, cultural festivals, live concerts and music performances, flea markets and farmers markets are held within the park. Visit the beautiful Meiji Jingu Shrine, right near the park. The grounds are dotted with pretty trees and walkways, a teahouse, pond and quiet spaces in which to relax. Leave Tokyo with memories of breathtaking panoramic views from the observation decks of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. On a clear evening, you might even be able to see all the way to Mount Fuji!The South Observation Deck has views of Odaiba District and should be visited during the day, while and the North Observation Deck is perfect for evening views.

The Sakura hotels and hostels across the city offer clean and comfortable accommodation.


  • If you are travelling to couple of places in Japan, get a JR Pass.
  • For cheap souvenirs and shopping, go to Daiso (the 100-yen shop).
  • Prices shoot up during Sakura cherry-blossom  season

We’ve got four more cities – Paris, NYC, London and Sydney – on the cheap.
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