Exploring Japan on a budget....
Japan has never been the easiest country to explore on a budget but it is definitely possible. Road tripping in Japan makes for a great adventure whilst traveling at your own pace. Most road signs are written in both Japanese and English and seems to be a very safe country in terms of driving. Camping on the other hand can be a little bit more complicated with many campsites costing more than backpacker hostels just to pitch your tent and many of the public cheap/free campsites need reservation up-to at least 7 days in advance???
However there are many places that you can just rock up to and pitch your tent without any problems, sometimes with small fees collected from a Warden or in many cases not being hassled at all. As long as you respect the locals and the authorities. In any case its good to make sure beforehand.
Spending some time in the Cities?
Generally backpacker hostels in Japan are quite expensive and can quickly eat up your budget. We have found that Manga or Net cafes are found in most built up cities and normally situated around train stations. Prices vary depending on company and time slots. You can book from 1 hour up to 12 or more hours for a good nights kip. Although you wont get a comfy bed but you do get your own bit of privacy compared to being in a 12 bed mixed dorm room. Expect to pay around 1,500 yen for anything between 8 - 12 hours sleep.
If you are traveling with a tent, there is always places to find outside of the city and just get the train in each time.