Did you pour all your money into your flight to Tokyo? Don’t sweat it! Once you arrive in this booming metropolis, you have an endless array of cheap or free things to do in Tokyo.
From nature escapes nestled within urban life to spiritual temples, keep your wallet happy by sticking to affordable destinations.
Start with these eight to kickstart your budget-friendly vacation in Tokyo!
- Race Through the Shibuya Crossing
We’ve all seen the chaotic hordes of pedestrians racing from one street to another in this famous intersection. However, walking amongst the crowd is a completely different experience.
If you dare to enter the crossing, make sure to pick up the pace and not get lost in the shuffle. Towering skyscrapers and illuminated advertisements are a hypnotizing distraction from the maze of walkways.
A true representation of Tokyo’s frantic pace!
- Walk to Sensō-ji Temple
Tokyo’s oldest temple is a marvelous symbol of the impact Buddhism has made on Japan. Built in the 7th century, the temple honors the goddess of Kannon and has become one of the most famous images of Tokyo’s Buddhist culture.
Enter the grounds through the outer gate and waltz down the walkway offering tons of traditional snacks and homemade crafts. Keep walking until you reach the main hall and a stunning pagoda.
Witness the religious customs of the locals and admire the craftsmanship of each structure.
- Take a Boat Ride on the Koto Ward
Discover a more relaxed Tokyo and cruise down the Yokojikkengawa Canal in Koto Ward. The ride may only be a few minutes long, but it provides a chance to see Tokyo’s past life.
Before it morphed into one of world’s largest cities, it was a township powered by magical waterways. Wasens (Japanese wooden boats) cruised through the canals and navigated to different sections of Tokyo.
This brief, relaxing wasen ride is highly recommended to experience Tokyo culture of a different era.
- Relax in Ueno Park
This magnificent urban park is home to a plethora of museums highlighting Japanese arts and culture. Although some of the museums charge an admission fee, simply walking through the park offers a wonderful atmosphere.
Shinobazu Pond is dotted by beautiful lotus flowers and boats floating in the water. During the spring, Ueno Park is one of the top places in Tokyo for a hanami (cherry blossom viewing). You’ll see tons of locals relaxing underneath the bright-pink hued petals or sipping on a cup of tea.
- Visit Toyosu Fish Market
Japan has some of tastiest seafood in the world and the Toyosu Fish Market is the grandest market of them all. For decades, the iconic Tsukiji Market was the largest of its kind in the world. This energetic fish market hasn’t missed a beat since its recent move and visitors can witness the action.
Space is extremely limited, but the market offers two early morning tours to see the tuna fish auction. If you’re lucky enough to grab a spot, you’ll have insider access to the process of dividing each catch. Whether you love seafood or not, the atmosphere of the auction is a must-see.
- Catch a Spectacular Hanabi
Who doesn’t love a dazzling firework show? If you are visiting Japan during the summer, these nightly spectacles are a fabulous way to spend an evening.
Hanabi began as a Japanese tradition to cast away evil spirits and is still used to celebrate joyous occasions during the summer holidays. Locals fill the streets to watch the skies come to life and throw festive parties.
Make sure you search for your viewing spot early in the evening. The best spots are normally taken before sunset and it can be a challenge finding a comfortable area after dark.
- Wander the Streets of Shinjuku
The frenetic streets in this lively area of Tokyo offer tons of entertainment around every corner. Start off by watching the chaos unfold at the Shinjuku Station which has more daily traffic than any other station in the world. Buskers fill the airwaves with lively tunes and send you off humming a steady beat.
Wait until night arrives for a thrilling walking tours in Tokyo and see the magical neon lights decorating Shinjuku. Stroll through the famous red-light district and pass the world-famous Robot Restaurant. If your night does not include the epic performance of robots, pulsating music and scantily clad dancers, pose for a photo with the female robots at the entrance.
For a delicious meal, grab a nourishing bowl of Ramen or explore the Takadanobaba neighborhood for a cheap bite.
- See the Imperial Palace
Take in the glorious view of the moat surrounding the stone walls of the Imperial Family’s home. The arches of Nijubashi Bridge provide a stunning snapshot as they span across an enchanting pool. Visit the East Gardens for beautiful greenery and the remnants of Edo Castle.
Although the inner grounds are closed to the public, you can read here for more information on scheduling a visit.