Sep 11, 2017
How to get discounts in Japan
I was never a bargain hunter, never one to skim on the yennies, but after years of bringing the kids here, there and everywhere, I have come to truly appreciate coupons and vouchers. This article shares some of my tips for where to get discounts for services and restaurants in the Greater Tokyo area of Japan.
First up, my favourite: free magazines with pages of coupons and discounts. Yes, if you look closely enough in the places I am about to divulge, you will find that there are actually magazines in Japan printed with the sole purpose of providing the reader with discounts and coupons. The coupons and discounts are for every imaginable service and some products too. You can find them in almost every prefecture. You can also find issues that offer discounts by theme, such as skiing / snowboarding, that provide discounts for many different prefectures in the one book. In the old photo above you can see a sample of some that I had picked up in the greater Tokyo area at the end of 2014 start of 2015 when I was writing an article for my personal blog at that time. The ones pictured are for Karuizawa (Gunma), Yamanashi, Saitama and Tokyo.
I will use the Saitama magazine Moteco as an example, as it is my local magazine and I pick it up religiously at the start of every month. Moteco has in every issue discounts for hairdressers, beauticians, masseuse, acupuncturists, drain cleaners, pipe fitters, teachers, therapists, builders, instructors etc etc. It also has a couple of pages of discounts for restaurants. The only downside: the discounts and vouchers for restaurants are usually only for the month of the issue of the magazine. But never fear, the next issue will have another pile of restaurants with special offers for Moteco readers. You can pick up a copy of your local discount magazine for FREE in most book stores and / or drug stores. I always get my copies in either a Tsutaya or a Welcia. They also usually have them in roadside stations, parking and service areas.
Another regular source of my collection of discounts is the seasonal issues of Tokyo Walker magazine. Tokyo Walker usually costs between 500 and 600 yen. It seems to depend on the content in each issue as to how much they charge for that issue. I have found it is well worth the money not only for the content, but because I always make the money back by using the coupons in the magazine! Tokyo Walker coupons are often the same quarter to quarter. Thankfully they are for places I frequent such as family restaurants and the mega sports and play area for families Spocha in Round1. One trip to Round1 with my big family using the discount coupon from Tokyo Walker saves me more that what it costs me to buy the magazine!
Finally, for this article, I will share another regular source of coupons that I use: Mooks. Mook is the Japanese term for magazine-books. Every year, usually around the start of the calendar year in time for the start of the fiscal year, they print new family Mook showcasing play areas in the Greater Tokyo area. One of these Mook usually costs about 900 yen. Some of these Mook have a couple of pages with discounts for a selection of the attractions listed in that edition of the Mook. They are useful if you were planning to go to the attraction anyway. They tend to have the same coupons annually, for example, amusement parks such as Toy's Kingdom in Karuizawa, a selection of play centres, some animal related attractions too such as Safari Parks and they often have coupons for a selection of strawberry picking farms too. They *never* have discounts for Disney, just so you know!
There are many other places you can pick up discounts for services and restaurants in Japan, but these are some of the more readily available sources. I hope you can find and make use of a discount magazine in your area.
Level 8 LocalGuide with Google. Blogging about life in Japan as an Irish WAHM to 4 kids on insaitama.com.