While it’s all too easy to splurge on everything from electronics and clothing to exquisite food and drinks in Tokyo, this Japanese metropolis can also be enjoyed on a budget. Free attractions and activities around Tokyo will help keep your spending down as you experience the city.
Here are 10 free things to do in Tokyo:
Tsukiji Fish Market
Rise and shine at the break of dawn and make your way to Tsukiji Fish Market, where you can watch the lively tuna auctions at Japan’s largest seafood market. Most of Tokyo’s restaurants source their seafood from Tsukiji, which is free to tour.
Visit Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji in Asakusa. The temple is free to visit, but for a 100 yen ( about $1) donation, you can also get your fortune at an omikuji stall. After visiting the temple, do a bit of window shopping at Nakamise-dori, a shopping street along the temple entrance.
Book a free tour in advance to visit the lush grounds of Imperial Palace, where Japan’s Emperor and Empress live. If the tours are full, you can stroll through Imperial Palace East Gardens, once the site of Edo Castle. Today, you’ll find moats, gates and green spaces to enjoy.
The famous – and incredibly busy – scramble crossing outside Shibuya Station has long been a popular Japanese icon in pop culture. You can walk across Shibuya Crossing, experience the district’s bustle and snap a picture of the nearby Hachiko statue for free.
Unleash your inner geek in the Akihabara district, filled with electronics stores, anime shops, maid cafes, vintage toys and pop culture collectibles. The district is also filled with UFO catchers (claw machines) and gaming centers.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Usually, observatories charge a fee to let you enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city, but that’s not the case in Tokyo. Head to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku for free views of Tokyo and landmarks like Mt. Fuji.
Cosplayers dress like their favorite characters and flock to Yoyogi Park, where you can check out their elaborate costumes. Also on the agenda at Yoyogi are free concerts and performances by martial artists and other performers.
Meiji Jingu shrine
The Meiji Jingu in Shibuya, a Shinto shrine, is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his Empress, who ended Japan’s isolation policy. With 178 acres of grass, ponds and walkways, Meiji Jingu offers a distinctly more serene environment than the Senso-ji temple.
Love gadgets? Then, head to the Sony Showroom in Ginza and get your hands on Sony’s latest toys. You’ll even get to play with products that have yet to hit the market.
While the boutiques in Tokyo’s most fashion forward district can set you back a pretty penny, the fashion mecca of Harajuku also attracts the trendy, offbeat and the fashionistas who follow the beats of their own drums. The result? An afternoon of people-watching that’s sure to entertain, free of charge.
Do you have a way to enjoy Tokyo for free? Let us know below!
(Main image: Andrea Schaffer)