Ohayo Gozaimasu! The best things in life are free. This rings true in Tokyo too. Despite the fact that Tokyo ranks as one of the top ten most expensive cities in the world, there remains plenty of free things to do and see in the city. And many of them are the best attractions that Tokyo has to offer.
From heritage to happening streets, palace gardens to public parks, and markets to magical fireworks, travellers are in for a treat. The best is that it doesn’t cost a cent to enjoy them all.
1. Hachiko Memorial Statue
Among the first things to do when you arrive in Tokyo is visit the infamous Hachiko Memorial Statue. Who is Hachiko? Only the famous Akita dog who came to Shibuya Station each day to meet his master returning from work.
According to this legendary story, Hachiko continued this routine even after his master died in 1925. In fact, the loyal pup made this daily trip to the station until its own death in 1935. Hence, a small bronze statue of Hachiko was created in front of Shibuya Station in his honour.
- Address: 1 Chome-2 Dogenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan
2. Ueno Park Tokyo
Hop, skip and jump to the famous public park in Ueno area, northern Tokyo. The most popular city park in Tokyo greets over 10 million visitors annually. Thanks to its spacious greenery and in-park attractions, it is a must-visit destination for travellers.
The best time to visit is in Spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Stroll along the gardens, past the lovely ponds and admire the wonders of nature. It’s common to watch performances in the park by artists and musicians.
Explore further and discover the temples and shrines along the way. In need of a coffee? Starbucks has a cafe in the park to relax and enjoy your fave cuppa.
- Address: 5-20 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007, Japan
3. Edogawa City Natural Zoo
A free zoo! It’s almost too good to be true. Let the kids enjoy the city zoo, explore the grounds and play by the lake without any expense. Moreover, the small but well-kept zoo features various animal species such as bunny rabbits, red pandas, birds, rodents and more. Further, the zoo provides interesting details on the habitats and lifestyle of animals. Look forward to an educational and exciting time at this zoo.
Located about a 15 minutes walk from Nishi-Kasai station, the zoo is part of the lovely Gyosen park. So, there’s plenty of open green spaces to have a picnic with the family.
- Address: 3 Chome-2-1 Kitakasai, Edogawa City, Tokyo 134-0081, Japan
4. The Imperial Palace East Gardens
Nowhere else can you get this close to a historic Imperial Palace in the city. The East Gardens are located in the inner palace area which was primarily the circles of defence in the past. Visitors can view the entrance gates, moats, walls and guardhouses that remain in the East Gardens today. Best of all is the landscaped Japanese styled gardens. It makes for an amazing stroll amidst scenic settings and beautiful tree-lined pathways.
Just a short walk from the Otemachi Station or alternatively, a 15 minutes walk from Tokyo Station, these gardens promise a lovely day out.
- Address: 1-1, Chiyoda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan
5. Meiji Shrine
As one of Tokyo’s famous landmarks, the Meiji Shrine is located adjacent to Yoyogi Park and Harajuku Station in Shibuya. Unlike other touristy places of worship, the Meiji Shrine is serene and steeped in tradition. Further, the shrine is dedicated to the late 19th-century emperor. The amazing 12-metre high gates greet visitors at the entrance that lead to a 200-acre park with century-old trees within.
Following tradition, visitors can stop by the cleansing station. Here, water is scooped to purify hands and mouth before praying for blessings. On Sundays, it’s quite common to witness a traditional wedding procession taking place through the courtyard.
- Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-8557, Japan
6. Tsukiji Fish Market
If you sense something fishy going on, it would likely lead you to Tsukiji Fish Market. Once, it was one of the most famous markets in the world for its tuna auctions. The largest bluefin tuna weighing almost 500kg was sold at this market.
The market was meant to close in 2016 and later in 2018 was relocated. However, the outer market still remains in the same area. Visitors can expect countless shops selling local merchandise (bonito flakes are everywhere!) and restaurants serving local cuisine. Stroll along and shop to discover wondrous finds that you’ll never get in a shopping mall. From trinkets to textiles, and street-side snacks to seafood, there’s something for everyone.
- Address: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
7. Toyosu Fish Market
The new Toyosu Fish Market is located at Toyosu waterfront district. This is actually the inner market of Tsukiji Fish Market relocated to Toyosu. In addition, this market features 3 interconnected buildings that offer wholesale seafood, fruits and vegetables.
Admission is free but visitors need to pick up a visitor’s pass on entry. Watching auctions from dedicated viewing platforms in a glass-walled gallery is still possible. And signages that explain buyers’ hand signs help visitors understand the auction better.
The market is still one of the best places in Tokyo to taste the freshest seafood prepared in the simplest of styles. Not to be missed are the restaurants, relocated from Tsukiji Fish Market. They offer affordable meals in humble settings. Toyosu Fish Market is close to Shujimae Station and is about 2km east of Tsukiji Fish Market.
- Address: 6 Chome-3 Toyosu, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0061, Japan
8. Kabukiza Theatre
The premier theatre in Tokyo for the famed Kabuki is Kabukiza Theatre. What is Kabuki? A traditional Japanese performing arts that consist of wonderful dance, song and mime using elaborate gestures and body movements. Performances are chargeable. However, admiring the ornate architecture of the theatre and exploring its interiors are not.
So, step into the theatre and experience the world of Kabuki for free. Visit the Kabukiza Gallery which displays Kabuki costumes and props used in stage performances. Better yet, visit Kobikicho Square for souvenirs related to this timeless tradition of Japanese heritage.
- Address: 4 Chome-12-15 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
9. Suntory Musashino Brewery Tour
Cheers to good health and happy travels. At Suntory Musashino Brewery, you can certainly add cheer to your travels with a free brewery tour held daily. Moreover, it’s one of the oldest beer breweries in Japan. What to expect? The tour entails an educational talk and walk around the brewery to learn how the famed Suntory beer is made. Next, guests are welcome to sample the freshly produced beer for free.
Finally, the gift shop at the end of the tour offers plenty of Tokyo products and promos that shoppers will love. Located about 30 minutes away from the city, the nearest station is Bubaigawara Station. Best of all, the Brewery provides free shuttle bus services to and from the station.
- Address: 3-1 Yazakicho, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-0025, Japan
10. Hanabi Fireworks Festivals
Hanabi means fireworks. And Tokyo has one of the best fireworks festivals where the night-time skies light up with sparkles and splashes of wonder. During the summer months of July, August and September, the Hanabi festivals are held almost every weekend. Further, it is a highly anticipated event among locals and tourists alike.
Just sit back, relax and enjoy the fireworks display at different venues across Tokyo. To enhance your experience, there are lots of traditional Japanese snacks and dishes on sale. So, you can savour them while you watch the skies.
When you miss the fireworks in summer, then, try to catch the fireworks display that light up the skies above Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. So, look upwards around 8.30pm daily and capture the spectacular show from anywhere outside the Parks. Tickets are required to enter the Parks. However, visitors around the vicinity can still enjoy sky-high magic. The closest train station to these Parks is Maihama Station.
Tokyo, The Magical Capital City
To experience the magic, you can travel to Tokyo from any destination easily. Simply check flights and accommodation online at Traveloka for the best deals for each season. Keep a lookout for Traveloka promo to enjoy magical savings on your trip. Remember to go through ShopBack to score up to 6.5% cashback. Equally fantastic are the deals on Agoda. So, take advantage of Agoda promo code and get good discounts on every booking.
Travelling in a large group and hoping to reduce accommodation costs? Then, try Airbnb for more budget-friendly stays in Tokyo. Keep your eyes peeled for Airbnb coupon to enjoy better discounts. Just don’t forget to use ShopBack and take home P270.00 cashback.
More freebies in Tokyo have come across your radar? Do share them with us.
* Featured image credit: Sorasak | Unsplash
* Note: The information presented in the article is correct at the time of publishing and may be subject to change without prior notice.
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