Top Free Things to Do in Tokyo

Travelling in general is costly–but it doesn’t always have to.

Japan has an abundance of free things to do throughout the country and each one is well worth your time.

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Check out some of the free things you can do in Japan’s booming capital Tokyo.

  1. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
    1. There is an observation deck  on the 45th floor of the building in Shinjuku (west exit) for amazing view of the city. This is a must see while visiting Tokyo, for the views of Tokyo, Mount Fuji and Yokohama are positively stunning.
      Open: 09:30 to 17:30, sometimes 22:30.
      Closed: Monday (Tuesday, if Monday was a public holiday).

  2. Asakusa culture tourist centre

  3. Sky Carrot Tower
    1. observation deck. Trivia: Home to game company Game Freak, creators of Pocket Monsters/Pokemon.
      Sangenjaya. It’s actually just a building rather than a carrot shaped tower and it’s only 26 stories high – but there is nothing around it so you should get a great view of the city.

  4. Bunkyo Civic Centre — observation deck

  5. Yebisu Beer Museum — drink samples not free though.

  6. Suntory Musashino Beer Factory
  7. Morinaga Milk Tama Plant
  8. Coca-Cola Tama Factory

  9. Oath (Bar) — no cover/surcharge

  10. Suntory Hall Organ Promenade Concert Hall
  11. Tama Library Tokyo Magazine Bank
  12. Travel Library
  13. Only Free Paper

  14. Harajuku crossings / shopping arcade
    1. Harajuku is one of the most iconic locations in Tokyo. It is probably the most fashionable location as well, where you can always spot people wearing the latest trends of all types of fashion genres.

  15. Meiji Shrine
    1. If Harajuku’s colours and crowds become too much for you, take an escape to the forested grounds that envelope the capital’s premier Shinto shrine.

  16. Kabuki-cho (Shinjuku)
    1. “Red Light District”
      Home to many host[ess] clubs/bars, love hotels, karaoke places, izakayas, etc. A must-see at least once for the unique experience.

  17. Odaiba
    1. This island of reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay is linked to the city by the Rainbow Bridge. Walk over the 918-metre-long single-span suspension bridge to or from Odaiba where, weather permitting, you can sunbathe on a man-made beach and view a scale copy of the Statue of Liberty.
      If you are a fan of the anime/manga Gundam, then Odaiba is the place you want to be! They have the Gundam City and an actual to scale Gundam meccha.
      You can also find the club/concert hall Zepp Odaiba City here, where many famous groups and artists preform there. Of course, you need to purchase tickets for your concert of choice well in advance, as with all concerts, however, if you want to buy goods (merchandise) of the artist performing that day, you can do so without a ticket [usually].

  18. Higashi-gyoen [Imperial Palace Gardens]
    1. Opens 9 AM; not open Mondays and Fridays. On Sundays, there is a 3 km cycling course designated and closed off from vehicles to allow for everyone to cycle the path.

  19. Free bike rentals for the Imperial Palace Cycling course on Sundays (see above)
    1. Nishubashi-mae Street 10 am – 3 pm. Check it out here.

  20. Free Guided tours of the Imperial Palace restricted area
    1. 4 day advanced reservation needed

  21. Bank of Japan Currency Museum — Closed Mondays

  22. Luis Vuitton Escape Exhibit

  23. Meguro Parasitological Museum
    1. Not for the squeamish–the Meguro Parasitological Museum is the perfect place to get nice and cosy with that special someone when they need to hide from all the creepy-crawlies on display. Meguro Parasitological Museum displaying record-breaking tapeworms and gruesome photos of their victims.

  24. Yasukuni Shrine

  25. Senso-ji [Temple]
    1. Many people think that this temple’s name is actually Asakusa, but Asakusa is the neighbourhood it is in.
      Tokyo’s most famous Buddhist temple along Nakamise-dori, lined with colourful booths selling all manner of souvenirs from giant rice crackers to exquisitely decorated battledores.

  26. Zojo-ji [Temple]
  27. Yoyogi Park
  28. Yoyogi Secret Park
  29. Sumo Wrestling Museum
  30. NHK Broadcasting Museum
  31. Kanto Earthquake Museum
  32. Sony Building (Ginza)
  33. Toyota Meg Web (Pallette Town, Odaiba)
    1. Futuristic car show

  34. Nakimese Shopping Aracde (Asakusa)
    1. Free food samples

  35. Wendy’s (Yes, the fast food chain in the USA)
    1. The shop in Ginza offers free drink refills. This might not seem big to some people in the West (mainly the US) but it’s huge in Japan, since most places do not offer refills unless you get a drink bar option in a restaurant.

  36. Tsukiji Fish Market
    1. Want to witness the famous tuna auctions? Then set your alarm for well before 5am when registration for the maximum of 120 daily viewing places starts.

  37. Nippon Budokan
    1. Olympic Martial Arts arena

  38. Kitomonaru Park
  39. Miura Penisula
  40. Mt. Takao
  41. Ueno Park
  42. Chidorigafuchi Park

  43. Origami Kaikan
    1. If you are interested in taking lessons in the art of origami, you can join in at that Origami Kaikan.

  44. Advertising Museum Tokyo (ADMT)
    1. One of the city’s most interesting free museums is ADMT. The museum has exhibits of old ads providing an illuminating visual history of commerce in Japan.

  45. 3331 Arts Chiyoda (Akihabara)
    1. 3331 Arts Chiyoda hosts a score of free contemporary art galleries offering a mix of exhibitions and interactive installations.

  46. National DIET Building tour
    1. Take a free tour of Japan’s seat of governance, the National Diet Building, to view the wood-panelled, leather-bound and gilded interiors and the gardens planted with species from across the country.

  47. Yansen neighbourhood (pre-WWII areas kept in tact)
    1. The streets of Nezu, Yanaka and Sendag provide an idea of what pre-WWII Tokyo was like. Here you’ll find small temples and shrines, craft shops, galleries and cafes and Yanaka Cemetery, one of the city’s oldest graveyards.

  48. Scai Bathhouse
    1. 200-year-old bath house
  49. Komorebi no Ashiyu
  50. Suginami Animation Museum
  51. Asukayama Park Monorail
  52. Yokojikkengawa Shinsui Park
    1. boat rides
  53. Fishing at Shimizuike Park — though, you cannot keep the fish you keep…
  54. Homonya Dobutsu Hiroba
    1. petting zoo
  55. Tokyo Tower
    1. On your birthday (with proof!) you get a discount ticket and free cake at the restaurant at the top of the tower.

  56. Joypolis Amusement Centre/Park
    1. Birthday = free admission and ride tickets
  57. Tokyo Kite Museum
  58. Chofu Aerospace Museum (JAXA)
  59. Tokyo Gas Museum
  60. Tokyo Fire-fighter Museum
  61. Hibiya Park
  62. Hinokicho Park (Akasaka)
  63. Hotel New Otani garden
    1. Beautiful gardens can be admired in Tokyo’s New Otani Hotel, even if you are not a guest.

  64. Chinzano Garden (The Four Seasons Hotel)
  65. Tamagawadai Park
  66. Gyosen Park + Zoo
  67. Roppongi West Park
  68. Shin-Edogawa Park
  69. Nissan Showroom (Ginza)
  70. Hakuhinkan Toyshop (Ginza/Chuo)

  71. M’s (Akihabara)
    1. 7-story sex[toy] shop.
      If you are of legal age, check it out if you dare. I gotta say that this is one of the most unique things in Tokyo/Japan, for having a full out building of this stuff is a feat in itself. No one really bats an eye at you there, though I would probably advise women going to go with a male friend to avoid unwanted attention.

  72. Senkaku-ji [temple]
    1. Famous for the 47 ronin burial site.

  73. Hongan-ji [Temple] (Tsukiji)
    1. Famous of being one of the only Western styled temples, in the style of a cathedral.

  74. Shimbashi Station
    1. On the 2nd floor there is the infamous panty vending machine. They still had one when I was there recently, so if you want to find the mythical vending machine, try your luck there! 😛

  75. “Tachiyomi” in every book-store and conbini [basically]
    1. 立ち読み (Tachiyomi) is the Japanese term for standing while reading. You will find people of all ages doing this, where they will essentially read an entire book or magazine in the shop without buying it while standing. Great to just kill time if you want for free.

Enjoy wandering around the Tokyo when you come to Japan and don’t forget to take advantage of all the freebies along the way!


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