When we lived and worked in Japan we found ways to cut corners, the same as the Japanese. Many of these were tips on how to save money, how and where to buy groceries, ways of keeping down travel costs. Even though Japan was in the midst of its second decade of deflation, it was still a much more expensive place to live than Australia. Most of the advice came from helpful foreigners, former teachers and Japanese students.
One typical example was train travel, which, while being magnificent, was often quite pricey. We regularly went to Osaka on school business or shopping and Sanda had a direct JR line to Umeda. It was fast but more expensive if the we took it the whole way. But by changing at Takarazuka, we could hop onto the adjacent Hankyu line for the rest of the journey. This saved us a couple of hundred yen each, money that could be spent on lunch or sightseeing. The bonus was that the Hankyu train company was my favourite by a long chalk, their superb carriages in a burgundy livery instantly recognisable. If it was possible I would take Hankyu everywhere.
By contrast, Sanda's other train company, Shintestsu, which ran to Kobe, was expensive. The little spur line to Woody Town was even more so, relative to the distance. I tended to walk between stations rather than pay up though I caught the train a couple of time because, well, I love trains.
If you go to Japan, catch a train. You won't be disappointed.
A Hankyu main line train waits at Juso. (photo by Onagadori. Arigatou.)