I lived there 7 years, and here's are some tricks:
- Learn a bit of the language, it will
- You can easily get beer for a couple of bucks in an izakaya, or other small restaurant (not to mention the vending machines)
- Get a bicycle; it's totally a bike-friendly place
- Go clothes shopping on the side streets; japan is the land of fashion, even their "cheap" stuff is way cooler than what I find in the U.S.
- No tipping! This brings the price of a restaurant right back in line with places like the U.S. or U.K.
That being said, if you stay in the best hotels, only take the shinkansen, taxis and and sushi, yeah man, Japan can be crazy expensive.